Obama Offers Peres Tree, Israel's Ag Ministry Uproots It

Thursday, 21 Mar 2013 08:18 AM

By Matthew Auerbach

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UPDATE: The Israeli government says it won't uproot a magnolia tree planted by President Obama in the residence of Israeli President Shimon Peres.

"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 (sic), will not be removed from its place," reads a statement issued by the Israeli government.

"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."


Original story below:

A tree brought by President Obama as a gift to Israeli President Shimon Peres was planted at Peres’ residence Wednesday but was ordered uprooted soon after by the Israeli agricultural ministry because it had not passed proper testing, according to the Israeli website Ynet.

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Politico reports Obama brought the sapling magnolia tree from the United States aboard Air Force One.

“It is an incredible honor to offer this tree to this beautiful garden, and to someone who is champion of the Israeli people and a champion of peace,” Obama told Peres, after the planting.

But Ynet reported that the tree was soon ordered uprooted to undergo testing for pests.

“As President of the United States, Barack Obama has brought the plant with him and because agricultural products are not allowed into Israel from abroad without passing inspection -- for fear diseases or pests are found on the plant itself -- it will be uprooted for testing,” the Ministry of Agriculture explained, according to a rough translation of the Ynet report.

If the tree passing testing, it will be returned to Peres's residence, although the results of the testing might not be known for months, Ynet said.




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