Crikey! Eucalyptus elected most ‘Israeli’ tree

Israelis choose the imported Australian tree over the local olive and oak

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Eucalyptus trees in southern Israel (photo credit: Nati Shohat/flash90)
Eucalyptus trees in southern Israel (photo credit: Nati Shohat/flash90)

A survey shows Israelis have chosen the eucalyptus as the most Israeli tree, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday, despite the fact that the tree is native to Australia and not the Middle East.

In honor of the Hebrew analog to Arbor Day, Tu Bishvat, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development conducted a survey to find out which tree is considered the most Israeli. Participants were presented a list of 13 trees and asked to choose the one they thought best represented Israel.

The most Israeli trees: eucalyptus, olive, oak, cypress and pine

Both the olive tree and the oak tree received 10 percent of the votes, tying for second place, while 19% voted for the eucalyptus, earning the Australian native its new title, “most Israeli tree.” The cypress tree came in fourth place, and the stone pine rounded off the top five.

Responding to the survey, 54% of those asked said mature trees need to be preserved in developed areas. However, 65% did not know it was illegal to cut down mature trees without approval from the Forest Commissioner.

Orit Noked, the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, told Yedioth she was happy with the overall result of the survey, though there was room for improvement regarding awareness of the ban on cutting down trees.

Tu Bishvat will be celebrated on Wednesday. This Jewish holiday honors nature, and it is traditionally marked in Israel by planting trees.


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