A Young Christian finds his soul in the Holy Land
Call to Zion Tour 2018
I had the privilege of being part of the Call to Zion Tour with Bridges for Peace. It was my first time visiting the state of Israel, and it was enlightening, inspiring and totally life changing.
I left South Africa in anticipation of the incredible journey ahead, and arrived in Israel late at night. I woke up early the next morning, and had the opportunity to meet with the other participants from 13 countries who were also on the tour. It was wonderful to meet everyone as we engaged with one another and tried to get an understanding of the anti-Israel sentiments in our respective countries. What I did find out, was that most of the tour participants were Christians who just love the State of Israel.
Out of 42 Christian youth who attended the tour, South Africa had five representatives, 3 from Cape Town, 1 from Pretoria and me from Gauteng. We all engaged in interesting discussion about the SA - Israel relations and the challenges.
The Call to Zion tour taught us about the Christian connection to Israel, I learnt about the important work that Bridges for Peace is doing. They are developing future ambassadors for Israel, by educating people in their own countries.
What I loved most about Bridges for Peace’s way of educating is how they used biblical verses as the foundation of the tour. We were taken to all the places of biblical importance- we saw the City of David, Mount of Olives, King Solomon’s Temple and walked in Jesus’s footsteps.
From the first day I spent with the team until the last day I saw the change in the participants. People went home ready to defend the Holy Land because they saw the places that they had read about in the Bible.
The tour helped me as now I can speak about the Land I know and saw with my own eyes. I learnt that what Mandla Mandela was talking about was a pure lie; about Israel being an Apartheid state. What I saw with my own eyes was that Israel is the only democratic state in the Middle East. The Arabs of Israel are full citizens - they have the vote and Israeli Arab MPs sit in parliament. An Arab judge sits on the country’s highest court. Arab and Jewish babies are born in the same delivery rooms, and Jews and Arabs travel on the same trains, taxis and – yes – buses. Universities, theatres, cinemas, beaches and restaurants are open to all.
I truly hope that our present government will continue to forge ties of friendship and co-operation with Israel.
After returning from this tour, I realise the importance of taking young Christian leaders on the Call to Zion Tour. I wish to visit Israel again, but on a political tour to learn more about political issues, to see the borders, visit Ramallah and Save a Child’s Heart Centres.
I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to see Israel for myself.
(Son of Zion)