Tu B’Shevat

Rabbi Tuly Weisz, CEO of Israel365, left, and Donna Jollay, Israel365 director of Christian Relations, plant a tree in Hebron.

For Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish new year for trees, more than 100 Christian Zionists raised over $10,000 to plant dozens of trees in Israel’s biblical heartland. The fundraising campaign, which was spearheaded by Rabbi Tuly Weisz, founder and CEO of Israel365, organized the planting of olive trees in the Jewish community of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion and in the Jewish section of Hebron.

“Our Christian tree donors are not only looking to help fulfill biblical prophecy, but to strengthen the Jewish presence throughout the land of Israel,” Weisz said.

“The orchards we planted in Bat Ayin are stopping the Palestinian land grab and fortifying the Jewish communities in Gush Etzion. The trees we planted at Maharat HaMachpela (the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron) strengthen our roots in a place that Bible believers hold so dear,” he added.

Known as the “Jewish Arbor Day,” Tu B’Shevat generally falls in late January or early February and is celebrated as an ecological awareness day on which trees are planted.

The Christian donors were able to watch the tree planting through a broadcast on Facebook Live by Weisz, who read aloud the donors’ names and blessed them during the ceremony.

“Tears welled up in my eyes and I bowed my head down in prayer,” said Beth Madras, a Christian Zionist from New York, regarding hearing her name read on the Facebook broadcast. “I love Israel and Jerusalem with all my heart, and I pray for the people every day … I will be sure to do this year after year after year.” JN