Obama brought the magnolia tree to Israel aboard Air Force One, and told reporters Wednesday it was "just like what we have outside the White House."

"It is an incredible honor to offer this tree to this beautiful garden, and to someone who is champion of the Israeli people and a champion of peace," Obama said as he helped plant it in the president's garden.

According to the White House, the tree was intended "to signify the strong roots of the relationship between the United States and Israel." The tree is a biological descendant of an original magnolia tree on the White House grounds, and was planted near an olive tree brought by Pope Emeritus Benedict in 2009.