March 9, 2010, Updated September 13, 2012

Growing for hundreds of years, Israel’s oldest trees have borne witness to some of the key moments in the country’s history. Each of them has a unique story to tell.


Many ancient trees grow throughout Israel, some of which are hundreds of years old. Each one has its own story that’s related to the country’s cultural and religious traditions.

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) cares for many of these old trees and over the last three years has been conducting a survey to determine their “orthopedic” needs and building supports, fumigating them and treating rot when necessary.


Photo courtesy of Yossi Zamir/Flash90.
An ancient olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane. The olive trees here date back hundreds of years, and many believe these trees are shoots of trees that grew in the garden during the life of Jesus.

ISRAEL21c’s video reporter Harvey Stein took a trip to visit some of these ancient trees, including an ancient olive tree at the Beit Gamal monastery outside the town of Beit Shemesh between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv; a venerable hundreds-of-years-old oak on a sloping hill outside Kibbutz Tzuba just a few miles away; and the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, where the tree whose wood was used to build the cross on which Jesus was crucified is said to have grown.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

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