Prominent South African Christian and Communal Leaders Visit Israel
The Embassy of Israel in partnership with *South African Friends of Israel and The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led a delegation of prominent Christian and communal leaders in South Africa to experience and explore the Holy Land of Israel. The tour consisted of 5 days of intense biblical tours, cultural experiences, holy sites, and meetings with Akiva Tor; Head of Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The delegation consisted of some of South Africa's leading Christian figures including; His Majesty King Mthimkhulu III, Bishop Phakama Shembe, Bishop Mutula, Prince Skekhune, Barry Isaacs, Pastor Ratau, Kgosi Pilane, and Inkosi Mahlangu.
Israel is a multi-faceted society with ancient roots for many ethnic, religious, cultural and social backgrounds. Christians regard Israel as their biblical Holy Land and is one of the only Middle Eastern countries where the Christian population is not diminishing. The delegation experienced Christian life in Israel as well as the vast diversity and multicultural society this small country has to offer.
Ambassador Lior Keinan said, "Israel and South Africa share religious roots, and this delegation represents the strength of the people-to-people relationship between our two countries."
The tour was not only biblical as it included a number of visits to Israeli organisations which are involved in assisting Africa mainly in the agricultural and health sectors. The delegation visited Organi Green - an agriculture farm that provides solutions for countries in Africa, as well as Save a Childs Heart Foundation which recently operated on its 5000th child in developing countries, and its 2000th Palestinian child.
An average of 21,000 South Africans visit Israel throughout the year, with a large number being South African Christian groups going to experience their religious roots in Israel.
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*South African Friends of Israel (SAFI) is an initiative by the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF), focussed on building relationships with the wider communities in South Africa in creating support for Israel through a shared Biblical connection to the Holy Land.