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Christians for Israel Netherlands organized their annual Tulip Tour, as they have done for almost 20 years. With 5 members of the team they travelled through almost the whole of Israel in one week. In each place they visit, we left a few boxes with tulip bulbs, a typical Dutch present, as a token of friendship.
Johan van der Ham, member of the team, shares his experiences: ‘During the second half of November we visited several regions. As usual, our team met up in Jerusalem and then headed toward the north. We visited many places in Upper Galilee, on the Golan heights, in Shomron, Ashkelon, Eshkol region, Gedera, Be’er Sheva, Merchavim regional council, the Dutch ambassador in Ramat Gan and of course the mayor of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), eternal and undivided capital of Eretz Yisrael. Yerushalayim, city of David, of the Messiah, city of Go(l)d.’
|With Mr. Nir Barkat, mayor of Jerusalem|
Showing our love and friendship
‘Every day there were a lot of places to go to. After arriving at a place, we were welcomed by the local residents, they would show us around and give us coffee. Then we would share the reason of our visit. The reason, in a nutshell, is to encourage the chosen people of the God of Avraham, Yitschak and Ya’akov. We love and follow the same God, read the same Tenach and therefore want to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and bless His people. It really touches their hearts and we can see they are moved by our love and friendship. It’s so important for them, amidst a world of hatred and lies, with a biased UN and a lot of terror threats, to know that there are thousands of Christians that pray every day for their peace and prosperity. Receiving the typical Dutch present of tulips that will bloom by the end of January, makes them happy. It keeps us in touch as well, because many of them send pictures of the flowers after they spring!’
|Bringing tulips to a school|
Visiting special places
‘A special place to visit demographically was our visit to Rag’ar, at the border of Israel, Lebanon and Syria. You can’t even find this place on a map, it’s a former Syrian village. After both Lebanon wars and border conflicts in which it was split up in two sections, the community decided to be entirely Israeli. This happened in 2006, after the IDF withdrew from Lebanon. It’s an interesting, very well organized village that showed us great hospitality!
From a political point of view, it was special to visit the Ofra outpost, hilltop community Amona. There’s not a single day without political turmoil about this outpost. During the preliminary reading of a new bill Netanyahu's coalition was exposed to stormy weather in the Knesset about the Amona topic that has engaged the country for quite some time now.
But we did even more. We got in touch with mayors, kindergartens, kibbutzim, moshavim, regional councils of Merchavim, as well as regional councils of Jordan valley among others. We got insight to security issues around the Gaza strip, where the daily threat of Hamas terror causes a lot of tension, as well as psychological damage. Therefore, they built a resilience centre in the Eshkol region for example. This is in order to prepare the locals for a terror attack, but also enable them to deal with the ongoing psychological pressure of tunnel attacks.’
Israel and the Jewish people are in our prayers
‘Before leaving the promised land we saw large fires, and it was horrendous to notice that it was – at least partially - the work of arsonists. Due to a strong east wind and severe dryness as a result of a lack of rain for month, the fires were very hard to fight. Thank God, they succeeded.
Although we left the country physically, we keep on praying and it is daily in our hearts and minds. Above all, the God of Israel never left His country and His people!!’
Johan van der Ham
Until now, the Annual Tulip Tours were led by Henriette Heuvelman, but Johan van der Ham will follow in her footsteps from now on.
|Unloading the boxes with tulip bulbs|