Exactly 120 years ago, the first Israeli school children went out on Tu B'Shvat, The New Year of the Trees, to plant trees in the Northern town of Zichron Ya'acov, established less than 10 years earlier on the Southern end of the Carmel Mountain range. Today, over 1 million people take part in this wonderful tradition by planting trees throughout Israel.
The State of Israel marks this holiday as one of tree-planting ceremonies, symbolizing an era of renewal as Jews started returning to the land of their forefathers. When the Jews were in exile, the beautiful forests of the Land of Israel were cut down and the soil dried out. As the first Zionists started returning to Israel, they considered it a sacred duty to afforest the country. They planted eucalyptus trees in the mosquito infested swamps, cleared away stones, and above all, planted trees.
Each Tu B'Shvat, school students country-wide attends tree planting ceremonies.
The Knesset's first session was on that date, therefore the Knesset celebrates its own birthday on the fifteenth of Shvat.