Seedling planted by Obama 'quarantined'
Jerusalem: Rules are rules and are applicable to all. It was clearly in evidence when the Israeli agriculture ministry decided to quarantine a seedling planted by US President Barack Obama in the Israeli counterpart's garden.
"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," the ministry of agriculture here said.
The seedling planted by Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres will be sent for examination and it may take several weeks before it returns to the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem.
Peres' staff said that the procedure had been agreed upon in advance as the plant, which Obama brought on his plane, did not undergo a check upon arrival to Israel.
The agriculture ministry said that it will take a while before the plant returns to the President's house.
"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 said.