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  • Visiting an elderly couple in Ofra
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From Abraham to Israel Today

editor - 13 December 2017

By Marie-Louise Weissenböck.. Under the theme ‘From Abraham to Israel today’ a group of 23 participants from Austria, three from Germany and one from Switzerland, toured Israel for nine days, beginning 26 October. Marie-Louise Weissenböck (Regional Director Europe and Chairwoman in Austria) and Moshe Gabay (Keshet Tours Israel) led the tour. The main objective of the tour was to deepen our Biblical understanding of the role Israel and the Jewish nation play in God’s plan of redemption. We achieved this by gaining knowledge of the facts on the ground in Israel today and by meeting various people belonging to Israel’s diverse society.

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Starting off in Jerusalem, we celebrated the beginning of Shabbat together with many joyous people at the Western Wall, followed by a Shabbat meal at Hineni, a humanitarian organisation in Jerusalem which looks after the poor, lonely and traumatised, especially Holocaust survivors and terror victims.

During the four days we spent in and around Jerusalem, we learnt more about the Biblical times as well as the political status and the security of Israel’s capital today. To broaden our view, we also visited the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, and Kfar Etzion, a settlement in the Gush Etzion block on the border of Jerusalem. The settlement was established on purchased land in 1930, but was completely destroyed during a massacre by Arabs in May 1948 and re-established by the children and grandchildren in 1967.

A day tour took us to Jericho, up the Mount of Temptation and down for a swim in the Dead Sea. We visited Samaria including ShiloMount GerizimOfra and Beth El. In Ofra, we were invited for coffee into the home of an elderly couple, who had only moved there from Tel Aviv after reaching the age of 65. Both had made aliyah with their parents as small children from Germany and Holland respectively. Today they are 87 years old and have never regretted their decision to move to the hills of Samaria, a part of the heartland of the Bible.

One of the highlights during our stay in the Galilee was a visit to the Kibbutz Misgav Am, on the border with Lebanon. Meeting three 19-year old soldiers defending the border made us realise the huge responsibility that is put on such young shoulders.

Further highlights included a meeting with an Arab Christian pastorPr. Touma of Nazareth and a leader of the Aramaic Maronite Congregation of Gush Halav, both impressing us with their deep love for Israel.

On our way to Tel Aviv, we visited HaifaMount Carmel and had lunch in the home of a Druze family. A moving visit to the Hall of Independence completed our blessed tour.


Marie-Louise Weissenböck
Christians for Israel Austria

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