First physical Feast since 2019 marks return of Christian tourism to Israel

First physical Feast since 2019 marks return of Christian tourism to Israel

After two years of severely limited tourism to Israel due to the global pandemic, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is excited to be hosting its annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration once again, with over two thousand Christian pilgrims from more than 70 nations expected to attend this year’s gathering in Jerusalem during the week of Succot, from 9 to 16 October.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming thousands of Christians from around the world to Jerusalem for this year’s Feast,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “After all the global travel bans of recent years, the response from our worldwide following has been truly amazing. Our Feast clearly signals that Christian tourism to Israel is back.”

“These Christians are here to enjoy fellowship with other faith pilgrims from many lands, to bless and encourage the people of Israel, and to rejoice in the Lord God at this festive holiday season, just as the Hebrew Scriptures command,” added Dr. Bühler. “Indeed, it is an honor for us to host the largest international conference in Israel since we emerged from the COVID lockdowns.”

Among this year’s Feast attendees are a number of cabinet ministers, parliamentarians and other honored guests from African, European and Latin American countries. [More information on our visiting dignitaries will be released later.]

Some of the main speakers at this year’s Feast include Israeli President Isaac Herzog (invited), Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, and American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was imprisoned in Turkey for two years on false charges of “terrorism.”

The musical performances at Feast 2022 will feature a wide variety of local and international worship artists, including singers and musicians from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Ivory Coast, Norway, South Africa, the USA, and two Iranian-born singers who will perform specially written songs in Persian and Hebrew.

Tens of thousands of additional Christians are expected to join the Feast through daily broadcasts on GOD-TV, Vision Norge and other global Christian TV channels, as well as the ICEJ’s special online streaming platform, making it the first ‘hybrid’ Feast (with both in-person and virtual attendance) in the 43 years of this gathering – traditionally considered Israel’s largest annual tourist event.

For the first time since it was launched in 1980, the Feast will open in northern Israel, with two evening concerts on Sunday and Monday, 9-10 October, in the Capernaum National Park along the shores of the beautiful Sea of Galilee, where Jesus lived and ministered. The gathering then moves up to Jerusalem for five days of events, starting with the colorful “Roll Call of the Nations” in the Pais Arena and peaking with the popular Jerusalem March through the streets of the capital city. The eighth and final day of the Feast will take the Christian pilgrims down to the western Negev for a special solidarity rally and tree-planting ceremony with the local Israeli communities in the Gaza border area.

The closing visit to the Sha’ar HaNegev region will highlight the ICEJ’s numerous assistance projects for Israeli towns and villages in the Gaza envelope, including 140 portable bomb shelters and two dozen fire-fighting vehicles donated over recent years to help these Israeli communities deal with the constant threat of rockets and fire-balloons from Gaza. The ICEJ also is now partnering with Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel (KKL/JNF) to plant protective hedges and re-forest burned areas in the Gaza periphery.

“We are very excited to end this year’s Feast with a solidarity rally alongside our Israeli friends who live and work and raise their families near the Gaza border with great courage and endurance,” said Dr. Bühler. “We especially want our Christian pilgrims to witness the incredible positive spirit emanating from these Israeli communities despite all they face. We know it will inspire our Feast participants to confront and overcome the many crises hitting their own lands in these unsettling days.”

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