Friends, family members, children, local council members, and representatives of the IDF and Border Police officers gathered outside the Tomb of Machpela to sow what was almost uprooted. The gardens where Genadi Kaufman tended received new flowers, seedlings and a stone engraved with his name to mark the spot where he dedicated his life.
Genadi was part of a team of gardeners from Hebron and neighboring Kiryat Arba who took care of the landscaped gardens, patios and the unique "Seven Species Garden" which contains the seven species of plants and fruits mentioned in the Bible.
Photo: Knesset Minister Uri Ariel (right) and CEO of the Jewish Community of Hebron (left) join children in planting outside the Tomb of Machpela in Hebron.
Among those who mourned Genadi and celebrated his life was Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel who stood up to speak and then got down on the ground to plant.
He stated that the memorial garden is a symbol for planting the roots of the Jewish people in its ancestral homeland. "The terrorists, he said, "think the attacks and murders will uproot us, but we say to them and to the whole world, any such attack will only deepen our roots."
Photo: "Gan Genadi" in memory of Genadi Kaufman.
He noted that the many weddings that are held at the Tomb of Machpela, burial site of the Biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs, will be beautified by the new installations. The frequent tourists, which are estimated at almost 700,000 visitors a year, will have a more pleasant experience. This is in contrast to the pre-1967 days when Hebrons historic sites fell into neglect.
A month ago, Genadi died after bravely fighting for his life for three weeks. He was stabbed by a Jihadist terrorist while waiting for the bus to go home and light Chanukah candles. For three weeks people from all over Israel prayed for his recovery. He was laid to rest in the ancient cemetery of Hebron, near the graves of many famous sages dating back to the Middle Ages.
Uri Karzen, CEO of the Jewish Community of Hebron, stated that the residents will continue cultivating the gardens around the Tomb of Machpela.
Chief gardener Pesach Pinczevski, who worked closely with Genadi, added that he and his fellow landscapers will continue their work, pledging to plant trees and beautify the site for future generations.
Noam Arnon, spokesman for the community, moderated the ceremony which was attended by about 100 people. He noted that the area outside the Tomb of Machpela complex is quite possibly the site of the first garden in Jewish history. As it states in Genesis chapter 23, Abraham purchased the rights to the cave and surrounding field. Arnon added, "it is here that Genadi worked, connecting with our fathers and mothers, and the memory of Genadi will flourish in this place forever."
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Genadi Garden Dedication | 27 Images