American Magnolia Tree Obama Planted in Israel May Be Uprooted

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A magnolia tree President Barack Obama planted in Israel during a recent trip might be uprooted for inspection.

The tree, planted in Israeli President Shimon Pere's garden, was a gift for a man who has sown "the seeds of progress, the seeds of security, the seeds of peace - all the seeds that have helped not only Israel grow but also the relationship between our two nations grow."

All trees brought into the country must undergo a series of tests, an Israeli official told ABC News. Both the U.S. and Israel were aware of this before the tree was planted. Likewise, the U.S. does not allow for plants from foreign countries to be planted without inspection.

The tree, a symbol of strong roots of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, was planted with its root still inside a plastic covering. The Israeli President's office later clarified that the tree will remain in the ground while it is tested.

According to the NY Daily News, the tree was originally grown from seeds belonging to the Jackson Magnolia in the White House Rose Garden, which was planted there in 1830 by President Andrew Jackson. The White House confirmed it is the oldest presidential tree on the grounds.

During remarks at Pere's residence, Obama mentioned the story in the Talmud of Honi about the Carob Tree. When Honi the Circle Maker asked a man planting a carob tree how long it would take to bear fruit, the man told him it would take 70 years, Honi then asked him if he thought he would live to taste the fruit. Obama quoted the man's response: "When I came into the world, I found carob trees. As my forefathers planted for me, so will I plant for my children."

(NY Daily News, Yahoo!)