Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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Israel Invites US Christians to Biblical Archaeological Tours

Israel launched an exciting tourism plan targeting Christian tourists from the US. A joint partnership between Israel’s Tourism Ministry, the Museum of the Bible, and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the campaign aims to attract American Christians in a biblical archaeological excavation across Israel, reports The Jerusalem Post.

The initiative called ‘Unearth the Land of the Bible’ will start on April 17, 2023 and will offer a tour of archaeological digs, heritage and nature sites of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Archeologists will lead the excavations and lectures on the 10-day tour.

Tourism Minister Yoel Razbozov hopes this latest campaign will help improve Israel’s image overseas and its economy. “Our wonderful history in this land attracts many tourists, people who love Israel, who want to discover with their own hands the hidden treasures we have here,” he said. “In addition, a visit of Christians that combines archeology, conservation and assistance in uncovering findings related to the biblical legacy of the State of Israel will improve Israel’s image overseas and spread the legacy of the People of the Book to the Christian world.”

Our wonderful history in this land attracts many tourists, people who love Israel, who want to discover with their own hands the hidden treasures we have here. —Yoel Razbozov, Israel’s Tourism Minister

The program will launch ahead of the 75th anniversary of the State of Israel, so attendees can also take part in Israel’s Independence Day celebrations, which begin on the evening of April 25. The tourists will receive virtual instruction on the importance of their tour as part of uncovering and conserving historical findings ahead of their arrival in Israel.

“Nature and heritage sites throughout Israel tell compelling stories of biblical lands, and they are of great importance to Christian believers,” said Raya Shouraki, director of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. “Active participation in the excavation and conservation of biblical heritage through the hands-on work of the Archaeological Excavation and Conservation, with the guidance of professionals and experts from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, will deepen the connection between biblical enthusiasts and heritage sites And the historical story of the Jewish people in their country.”

Part of the tour includes a visit to the ruins of ancient Caesarea Maritima, a seaport city built by Herod the Great in 22 BCE. It is a significant spot for early Christians—it was the headquarters of Pontius Pilate, where the apostle Paul was imprisoned, and it was the city where Philip the evangelist lived.

Tour attendees will also volunteer at Mount Carmel; help discover and preserve the ancient capital of Galilee at the ruins of Tzipori in northern Israel; and dig into Kursi National Park, the site of the Miracle of the Swine mentioned in the Bible.

“Since opening in November 2017, Museum of the Bible has combined the latest research, rare artifacts, and state-of-the-art technology to illuminate the stories and historical impact of the Bible to more than a million visitors,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kloha, Chief Curatorial Officer of the museum. “Now, through our partnership with the Israel Ministry of Tourism and Israel Nature and Parks Authority, we are delighted to participate in these programs to provide people with direct and experiential encounters with the history of the Bible in Israel.”

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