Jerusalem, Israel - Jan. 20, 2019 - President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama, on January 20, hosted a traditional Tu Bishvat seder, a celebration of the agricultural holiday and the new year of the trees, at Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem,israel. Farmers and growers participating in the celebration presented the president and his wife with baskets of fruits and the president spoke. Itzik Cohen, CEO of the Fruit Growers’ Association spoke and representatives of the ‘Or Lamishpachot’ organization for bereaved families also participated. In the center of the hall was a display by the artist Orna Tamir Shestovich’s ‘Seeds of Heritage,’ an exhibition of ceramic plates with designs of plants and fruits of Israel.

In his remarks, the president said, “Tu Bishvat is the holiday on which we celebrate the covenant between the people and the land, between us and the environment.” The president  continued, “this year, we are honored to celebrate Tu Bishvat with representatives of ‘Or Lamishpachot’,  who have paid a heavy price for the covenant between our people and its land. You are living proof of the ability to grow, to live, to put down roots and even to sprout anew after the terrible storm in your lives that felled a dear and much-loved branch.”

He also addressed the representatives of the Fruit Growers’ Association, who were present, as in past years of celebrations of Tu Bishvat at Beit HaNasi. “I believe with all my heart that agriculture is one of the cornerstones of the State of Israel. Agriculture is not merely a job or a trade. Agriculture is a value, agriculture is economy, agriculture is security and, most importantly, agriculture is independence for our country.”

Cohen replied, “The fruit growers have a relationship with Beit HaNasi that stretches back many years, but President Rivlin and his wife have a special relationship with us. He has always had a special link to the farmers and has always been on our side. I am proud to continue the tradition and to present to the president and to the whole State of Israel the finest fruits produced by this country’s farmers.”

The Tu Bishvat seder included four glasses of wine and a variety of fruits symbolic of Eretz Yisrael going back to Biblical times. 

Also included in photo essay are photos from the Beit HaNasi gardens taken prior to the event, in the midday sun.