Spokesmen for Peres and Israel Ministry of Agriculture say tree will not be dug up for quarantine...
Spokesmen for President Peres and the Israel Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday issued a joint statement denying reports in Israeli media that President Obama's gift of a magnolia tree to the Israeli statesman will be dug up. The two Presidents planted the tree in the garden of Peres' residence on Wednesday afternoon during a small ceremony, and afterwards Israeli media reported that Ag officials said it would need to be removed from the ground to be quarantined to inspect for diseases and other pests. (Above, during the ceremony)
But such required tests will be conducted while the tree is in place at the residence, according to the spokesmen.
"The Office of the President and the Ministry of Agriculture would like to clarify that, contrary to recent reports, the magnolia tree, given as a gift to President Peres by US President Barack Obama, and planted in the garden of the resident, will not be removed from its place," read the statement.
"The relevant authority in the Ministry of Agriculture will conduct all the necessary tests in accordance with the law within the garden of the President's Residence without removing the tree from the place where it was planted, as was agreed."
President Obama transported the young tree, propogated from a magnolia tree on the White House grounds, aboard Air Force One. A Ministry of Agriculture official on Wednesday told Ynet that there was "a reasonable chance" the tree would not pass inspections and would be sent back to Washington, but also said the tree roots are wrapped in plastic netting to prohibit any disease transmission.
Peres is scheduled to host a State Dinner for President Obama on Thursday night at his residence.
The President's Thursday schedule and links to all post about his trip.
*Photo by Office of President Peres