The President's Residence said the procedure had been agreed upon in advance as the plant, which Obama brought on his plane, did not undergo a check upon arrival in Israel.
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The Agriculture Ministry said the seedling will be placed in quarantine and later returned to the President's Residence if found to be free of pests.
A statement on behalf of the Ministry said, "As US President Barack Obama brought the seedling with him and as it is strictly prohibited to bring vegetation from overseas into Israel without a check of quarantine due to fear of exposure to disease or pests, the plant will be examined."
Planting tree at President's Residence (Photo: Reuters)
It was further stated, "The president planted it inside a flowerpot and if found to be free of pests, it will be returned to the President's Residence's courtyard. Many times pests, which we do not have in Israel, lurk underneath leaves and we don't want to import them."
The ministry stressed that the President's Residence was aware of the procedure and coordinated it with the Foreign Ministry. The examination may take months, it was noted. "It all depends what is revealed in the quarantine. It is impossible to foresee. It is likely the seedling will be returned to the President's Residence."
The President's Residence said that the Americans were fully aware that the plant would be taken for examinations and for this reason it was planted with its roots.
Noam (Dabul) Dvir contributed to this report
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