Israel launches website to promote visits by evangelical Christians

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A new website launched by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism promotes visits to the country by evangelical Christians, offering information on places of interest, events and tour guides.

A new website launched by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism promotes visits to the country by evangelical Christians, offering information on places of interest, events and tour guides.

There are also sample itineraries packed with stops at biblical sites. For example, a day on one itinerary begins with a visit to Ein Karem, the traditional birthplace of John the Baptist, and wraps up in Jerusalem. Some of the highlights along the way: “Drive west to the Valley of Ayalon, where Joshua called on the Lord to make the moon stand still . . . Stop at Emmaus on the road to which Jesus appeared to two of his disciples when they left Jerusalem after his Crucifixion . . . Continue to the Valley of Elah, where David fought Goliath . . . ”

The website links to a list of more than 30 tour operators across Canada selling Israeli packages.

Last year about 16,000 Canadians went to Israel on Christian-themed tours or pilgrimages — a quarter of the total number of Canadian tourists to the country, said Oded Grofman, Toronto-based director of the Israel Government Tourist Office in Canada. Christian tours from Canada are expected to be worth $50 million to the Israeli economy this year.

Growing interest in faith-based trips is a worldwide trend, said Grofman.

“I don’t think it’s only to Israel. . . . I think people all over the world want something different in their trips, something spiritual, something transforming.”

Overall, Israel’s tourism industry is having its best year ever, Grofman said. About 2.4 million visitors came in the first nine months of 2010 from around the world, up six per cent from 2008, the previous best year.

On the web:


Organizations: Ministry of Tourism, Emmaus, Israel Government Tourist Office

Geographic location: Israel, Canada, Jerusalem Valley of Ayalon Valley of Elah

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Recent comments

  • Pat Cooney
    November 06, 2012 - 23:12

    Hi MACDONALDBANK - I read your article with interest and find that you may be right, for religion does cause problems. However Jesus Christ did not come to create a religion but a relationship. Jesus would be in agreeement with most of what you say, for he came to set us free from tyranny and bondage. His death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice to give you and me freedom. We are all trapped in our own little cages in our own little cells that we created to keep ourselves safe from the problems around us. Some because of abuse, some because of pain, some because they have been lied to and some because they have been misused. However, Jesus went through all this and more, but he came to show us a way to overcome these tragedies. He came to reconnect you and me back to God through Forgiveness. He died in your place, willingly, because he loves you and wants you to be free to enjoy life, life free from the bondage that the world and religion has placed on you. Jesus came to show you the way back to God (love your neighbour, do good to others, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love your enemy, forgive others). This is real religion. Forgiving others is for our benefit not theirs. We are freed from the bondage of hate when we forgive others. We may remember the hurt but we are no longer mastered by the pain. We are free, through forgiveness, to move on to a enjoy a life full of joy. Through forgiveness comes emancipation, but emancipation has a price. That price was Jesus dying on the cross. But, he rose again so that you would have freedom through him. We have all sinned in one way or another but Jesus said that God will forgive us, if we ask him. Jesus said ask and you will receive, so go ahead and ask him to help you forgive those who hurt you and then ask him to forgive you for the things you have done (for none us us are perfect). God bless you as you trek through this world.

    November 23, 2010 - 21:12

    There is no scientific evidence to prove any of the cross related bogus elements of christianity. Our early human ancestors; on this earth … go back more than 6 million years … 5,996,000 years before the Greeks, Romans and the Jews. Christianity is basically a 2010 year old fictional cult. Moses was one of history's biggest hatemongers who supposedly wrote that Leviticus filth in 1445 BC and it should cause the bible & torah to be banned! In the year 300 AD when Emperor Constantine, who to some was the first pope; went on to fabricate & market Christianity - a fantasy - which turned out to be one of the most hateful & evil concoctions ever perpetrated on the world. I am the son of a catholic father who never went to church and a protestant mother who took us to church and Sunday school. Onward christian soldiers; I think not. Such absolute drivel. To be manipulated by a santa claus; an easter bunny and worst of all a bogus cross! One should appreciate each day of life and not expect another and if there is it might be given by a God of Love. The Vatican basically supported Hitler and religion is responsible for more corruption and violence in the world. Pope Ratzinger was involved in the Nazi youth. The Pope with his blatant witchcraft related to the bible and its hateful beliefs; tries to rule with extreme prejudice against a world … that may fall victim to religions' absolute evil. Many theologians state quite correctly that the birth; crucifixion; resurrection and other elements of christianity actually didn’t even happen! The pope is running a bigger fraud than Madoff’s $50 billion ripoff. Today’s evangelical extremists are like the nazis who cast others into ovens & are actually supremacists - who practice their bogus hocus pocus - and are trying to suppress and deprive others of their happiness and their legal rights in an open and proud society. Bring back the period when they threw the christians to the lions. Einstein stated in a letter recently auctioned that the bible was a collection of primitive legends. He said believing in God was childish and he as a Jew is no different than another person and are not chosen by God. Do you want to be lambs at the slaughter or be wise and reject religious cultist manipulation? Mean & nasty; run by evil and bogus religious cults from Rome or wherever. Is this the world you want? The pope talks about ending prejudice and hate; what a hypocrite! Religion is a crutch for the insecure. Appreciate every day and if there is no tomorrow; then know that you were fortunate to have lived on this earth! This bogus religious filth should be banned. It exists as a tax exempt structure which discriminates against human rights. The pope, bishops and mormons are cult members promoting discrimination against minorities. That bogus black book called the bible should be banned. Religion and the churches should now be exposed as a bigoted structure that gets away with hate mongering. Love between two guys or girls existed long before these cults existed. By enjoying their tax exempt status and benefits from the state it also puts churches at the mercy of the state; to be forced to adhere to the human rights laws. Religion is thriving like a cancerous growth on society that should be stopped in its tracks; outlawed & banned. The Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chretien told the Vatican that there was to be no cross erected over the Canadian Parliament buildings figuratively speaking; when the Pope demanded the Prime Minister go against gay rights. An Alberta bishop had the audacity to say that The Canadian Prime Minister would go to hell for going against the church. Such outrageous evil threats. The Right Honourable Prime Minister in return; basically told the Pope to go to Hell! The Honourable Irwin Cotler, Canadian Minister of Justice, stood for equal rights for the gay community. With reference to protecting the children: The Honourable Hedy Fry, member of the Canadian Liberal Parliament, who happens to be a doctor who delivered many babies; spoke eloquently to defend the rights of babies being born and stated that she was in fact defending their rights by speaking on behalf of equal rights for the children and youth of the future -- defending their integrity and dignity. Minority rights must be decided by a dignified judicial system and/or a compassionate government. United States is supposedly fighting for democracy but within the U.S. they treat gays like secondary citizens. Being left-handed, black or being gay is just as natural. If blacks’ or women’s rights were cast to the masses to decide … then the majority or lunatic religious fringe in this case -- has the advantage to decide minority rights. The annual economic impact of gay travelers is about $63 billion in the U.S. alone. A great story pertains to a boy at a catholic school in Oshawa, Ontario who wanted to take his boyfriend to his school prom. The evil catholic school forbid this. A father of one of the boys is an employee with General Motors Canada and the courageous union leader Buzz Hargrove stood up for the boys’ rights. The boy took his case through the courts and because the evil catholic school was benefiting from government funding which demands equal rights void of discrimination; the judge ordered the school to allow the two young boys to attend together. Their limo arrived at their prom with adoring onlookers. Tell them to take that cross and shove it where the sun don't shine and pay their taxes along the way before they take that cross down forever with its final station; extinction. It is written; so therefore it shall be? We are the chosen people? Such a wicked fantasy. To see the religious lunatics manipulate government and our lives is shameful. To think of Matthew Shepard choking on his own blood after being savagely beaten; virtually sanctioned by the church is evil beyond comprehension; yet is the same as boys being bullied into suicide; most likely being supported by the bullies parents’ religious cults. Bigotry and hatemongering against gays should be banned. It is a sometimes rare occurrence to fall in Love and to hold that person in your heart and be loved in return ... it is something that should be celebrated! If it is between two guys or girls all the better. It takes even more courage to defend that LOVE! My father fought at the front on D-Day in Normandy … through the Battle of the Scheldt to Germany and grandfather was a Sgt. Major at Vimy. My Dad who was a catholic -- is alive today at 87 and doesn’t believe in santa claus -- an easter bunny or any of that bogus cross related filth.

  • Sami
    October 23, 2010 - 12:13

    Correction, what is shown in the picture is the dome of the rock in occupied east juresalem,not Israel! Please be accurate next time!

    • DaVID
      November 06, 2010 - 08:41

      No Sami. The Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall Plaza in the forefront are both in the Old City of Jerusalem, which is located in Israel. Israel liberated it from Jordanian rule in 1967. Interesting fact, Jerusalem has been the spiritual capitol for Jews for over 3000 years, ruled by Jordan for less than 20, and never a capitol of any Arab country.

    October 22, 2010 - 15:33

    You should add a "Christmas in Bethlehem" trip by Evangelical Christians to your tourism packages. It would be a hit!