Featured Story News

Mayor plants first of 30,000 olive trees in symbolic move

MAYOR Bilal El-Hayek, second from left, after planting the first olive tree outside Lakemba Mosque with officials and guests – the first of 30,000 to be planted across the city in remembrance of the innocent lives lost in Gaza.
MAYOR Bilal El-Hayek has planted a symbolic olive tree in front of Lakemba Mosque, the first of 30,000 olive trees to be planted across the LGA, after the council decision to plant the trees in remembrance of the innocent lives lost in Gaza.
The motion was put forward by Councillor Linda Downey who said the move came from a place of deep concern, with the choice of olive tree reflecting the local connection with what was happening in Gaza “because everyone pays a price when mass slaughter is not stopped in its tracks”.
“The olive tree since ancient Greek times is a symbol of life, friendship, reconciliation, cleansing and healing,” she said.
“When given as a gift, it represents peace, wealth and prosperity.
“Olive trees play a significant role in the lives of Palestinians but there has been ongoing destruction of olive groves, many of which have been around since the time of Jesus, as a means to sever Palestinian connection to their land.”
She said that for the past four months, the world has been awash with the images coming out of Gaza, and none good, with the death toll likely over 30,000.
“Over 100 journalists have been killed, with their key message that what is happening there must be kept in the public eye and international pressure must be brought to ensure a ceasefire happens sooner not later,” she said.
Cr Downey hopes to give some comfort to families, with the planting of olive trees a small step.
“I further proposed the council sets up a dedicated page on its website for residents to register their olive tree or donate trees for others to plant,” she said.
The Mayor’s planting of the first olive tree followed Eid-Ul-Fitr Prayer at Lakemba Mosque last Wednesday, drawing possibly its largest ever attendance, with an estimated 50,000-plus worshippers.