Israel starts campaign to bring American Christians on excavation trips

Israeli Tourism Ministry launches joint effort with Museum of the Bible and parks authority, offering American Christians 10-day tours featuring trips to archaeological digs and heritage trips.

By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner

Israel is embarking on a joint campaign with Washington DC’s Museum of the Bible to lure American Christians into taking part in archeological excavations throughout the country next year.

“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,” said Yoel Razvozov, Israel’s Tourism Minister.

“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.”

The initiative dubbed, “Unearth the Land of the Bible,” is a joint partnership between Israel’s Tourism Ministry, the Museum of the Bible, and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. The program aims to take 30 American Christians on a 10-day tour in mid-April next year to go on archaeological digs, historical heritage trips and visit nature sites around Israel. The excavations will be led by archaeologists and expert lectures to follow the historical story of the Jewish people and the conservation of their culture.

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“The nature and heritage sites throughout Israel tell the compelling stories of the land of the Bible, and they are of great importance to Christian believers,” said Raya Shourky, Director at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. “The active participation in excavating and conserving the biblical heritage, through the hands-on work of archeological digging and conserving, with guidance by the professionals and experts of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, will deepen the connection between Bible enthusiasts and heritage sites and the historical story of the Jewish people in their land.”

As part of the tour, participants will visit the ruins of ancient Caesarea Maritima and be guided through archeological findings, including wall paintings of saints; volunteer at Mount Carmel; discover and help conserve the ancient capital of Galilee at the ruins of Tzipori in northern Israel; and excavate at the Kursi National Park which boasts the remains of a monastery and church from the Byzantine period.

The initiative was timed ahead of the 75th anniversary of the State of Israel, so attendees can also participate in Israel’s Independence Day celebrations, which start on the evening of April 25.

“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, the Museum of the Bible’s Chief Curatorial Officer. 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.”