Although the relationship between Israel and religion has never been simple, Israel is home to many ethnicities and faiths. A sacred place for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, the nation embraces religious freedom and supports all theologies. The obvious Hebraic roots of Christianity has garnered Christian support for the restoration of the Jews to their ancient homeland since as long as Christians have been able to read the Bible.
In 2018, 61% of the four million tourists who visited Israel were Christian. It is a testament to Israel’s significance to Christians that goes beyond its heritage. A state of many dimensions, Israel has a unique entrepreneurial spirit rooted in its history of overcoming obstacles. As a nation, it’s an extraordinary example of determination to push the boundaries of what is considered possible. Today the country is thriving, with a myriad of pioneering startups, backed by robust public-sector support.
Here are some ways Christians can help ensure a stronger Israel:
Plan a Visit
You will never be the same. It is the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see where historic events happened and have the Bible come alive. As well, you can see breathtaking landscapes, eat bucket loads of hummus, and experience places from the lowest point on earth — the Dead Sea — to the mountain-top experience of Masada. Enjoy a lunch in Bethlehem with a Palestinian family and join Jewish believers to share a Shabbat meal. The Jerusalem and Bethlehem Day Tour and others can be found at Christian Tours to Israel. Visiting Israel means seeing God’s words and miracles in action. It means enjoying the plump and vibrant fruit at Machane Yehuda Market, just one example of how Israel is a miracle each and every day. Although it may be the target of rockets, Israel’s spirit, community, and land itself thrive with a fierce and unflinching tenacity.
Support Israeli Startups
From Waze to SodaStream, Israeli innovation has given the world some outstanding products and services. Why not help Israel’s economy (and maybe even benefit from its extraordinary record of innovation) by investing in Israel bonds? Those interested in Israeli’s growing technology infrastructure can also help by supporting the Technion Fund, which fosters the same environment of technology and entrepreneurship that has made Israel a global technology leader.
Enjoy Israeli Media
You don’t have to be in Israel to acquaint yourself with its pulse. Now you can stream radio online. Go to tunein.com and stream music, talk, news, culture, college and Kabbalah radio from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. In addition, Netflix has quietly added a handful of new Israeli shows to its platform, broadcasting them around the globe in more than a dozen languages. More than 130 million people can watch shows like When Heroes Fly, Shtisel, Hashoter Hatov and the film The Cakemaker. Check out a whole host of new Hebrew content, ready to stream.
Send Holiday Gifts of Israeli Products
You don’t need to be Jewish to enjoy a gift from the land of Israel. You can shop online to buy 100 percent authentic Israeli products created by the most talented artists and designers the country has to offer. Be it a religious item, a scrub from the Dead Sea or a piece of art or jewelry, any gift will draw on the land itself and bring an extraordinary item from the Holy Land.
Give to Israel Philanthropies
Take a tour of innovative projects throughout the country. For example, Bnai Zion, a 110-year old foundation, funds capital projects in Israel in the areas of social inclusion, health and culture. Visit the Bnai Zion Medical Center. Located near Haifa, it’s within range of rocket attacks from Lebanon. Since the emergency room at the hospital is vulnerable, Bnai Zion is raising funds to build a new protected underground unit that will be fortified against nuclear, biological and chemical attacks to ensure that all who need medical care can receive treatment in a secure facility. As well, disadvantaged children have found refuge in a residential community called Ahava Village for Children and Youth, where they have access to a range of therapeutic programs, from psychological counseling to bibliotherapy.
Plant a Tree in Israel
Christians can literally watch their investment in Israel grow by donating to IsraelTrees.org, which was established to help Israel’s future through planting fruit trees there. The organization plants a tree in the name of those who give, and it runs school programs in the United States.
Read the Bible
Totally reliable and without typos or errors, the Bible is unique among so-called “holy” books in that it does not merely give moral teaching and say, “Trust me.” But it is a way Christians can receive communication from God. Like checking your e-mail or voicemail for messages, the Bible is where God allowed some of His thoughts to be recorded for us to learn from Him, and to incorporate those teachings into our daily life.
The Israeli Day Parade, variously known as the Salute to Israel or the Celebrate Israel Parade, is an annual event held in New York City each June to celebrate the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. This year, the landmark 55th annual Celebrate Israel parade is scheduled for Sunday, June 2, 2019. If you don’t live in NYC you can stream it online. As a show of strength in numbers, it offers a special way for Christians to show support for Israel by dancing and marching in the parade.
Collect Israeli Art
The visual arts scene in Israel is flourishing. From the country’s numerous museums, to one of the world’s only villages for artists (Ein Hod), to daringly creative street graffiti, the wealth of creative talent in Israel is overwhelming. A new breed of art tours around Israel offers the chance to tap their creative energies. Beer Sheva Art Experience and Paint Israel Art School combine touring with art workshops. Why take a point-and-shoot photo of the Negev when you can paint it?
The best way to help yourself is to help others. There are many ways to give of yourself; it can be time, money and engagement. You can write an opinion piece or take action in real life or online. Join social media groups, read newspapers and novels. Immerse yourself in the culture. And finally, spread the word. Find what works for you and stick with it. The fruit of your advocacy will prove a unifying and humbling experience.
Religious tourism is nothing new in the Holy Land. Evangelicals and Christian Zionists began flocking to Israel in the 1970s, with the numbers of foreign Christian visitors outnumbering Jewish ones for more than a decade. Bnai Zion will lead a Winter Mission to bring pastors, ministers and interested Christians to tour Israel. This exciting spiritual and educational sojourn will include different Bnai Zion projects that cross all political, religious and party lines. And, of course, it comprises historical sites of the Old and New Testament that hold deep meaning as the locus of faith for so many. Bnai Zion also arranges VIP tours.
For more information on Bnai Zion and its projects, please contact: Cheryl Bier — email@example.com