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Christians Join Israel in Welcoming Kidnapped Israeli Soldier back Home

18 October, 201118 October, 2011 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized
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Christians in Israel for the Feast of Tabernacles joined the nation at the Jerusalem March on Tuesday in welcoming home Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was released after five years in captivity at the hands of his Palestinian kidnappers.


Thousands of Christians representing about 80 nations joined Israelis in rejoicing at his safe return. Shalit was kidnapped on June 5, 2006 by militants who tunnelled into Israel from the Gaza Strip and held him hostage, incommunicado, for years. Several of the marchers on Tuesday waved banners of support for Israel and held welcome home signs for the 25-year-old soldier.

 

“It feels like Christmas, like Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day), like a holiday. It is the best day of our lives,” Norwegian Arvid Binttsen described to Travelujah the feeling of being in Israel on the day of Shalit's release. “Thousands of Christian Zionists have been praying for his release for five years.”

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

Photo: Nicole Jansezian


Binttsen, along with another man, carried a large Norwegian flag with the message “Welcome home Gilad Shalit” in English, Norwegian and Hebrew.


The Christians, who take part in the parade every year, infuse color and joy to the march with festive costumes from their native countries and large banners expressing support for the Jewish state. Many hand out flags and candy to people along the parade route while shouting exhortations such as “we love Israel” and “hag sameah” (happy holidays).


The Chinese delegation of the parade carried flags from the communist nation and many of the w
omen wore white gowns they said represented the bride of Christ walking on the streets of Zion.

 

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

 

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

Photos: Nicole Jansezian

Many in the Brazilian contingent wrapped themselves in flags from their country and raced through the streets shouting support for Israel. The Canadian marchers carried large flags and some wore the uniforms of the Canadian Royal Mounties.


“I came to Israel to let the country know we love Israel, we love the people and we want to bless Israel,” Jeff Young, from the Toronto area, told Travelujah. “We want to let Israel know, Canada stands with you.”

 

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

Photo: Nicole Jansezian

 

Mabel Lau made her third trip to Israel from Singapore.


“I come to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, to support and rejoice with the Jewish people, and to give them support – spiritual and moral support,” she told Travelujah.


Most of the parade's Christian contingent, described by the announcer as Christians who love Israel, are attending the annual Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.


“It is good for our Feast pilgrims from around the world to be here to express our solidarity on such a momentous day, as they will also see and experience first-hand what Israel is going through as Gilad Shalit returns home,” said ICEJ Executive Director Juergen Buehler. “We share the relief and joy of the Shalit family and all Israel that Gilad has come back alive. We also share the disgust of so many that the price for his return has meant having to set ruthless murderers free. These are the paradoxes which Israel constantly lives with, and our pilgrims will no doubt return to their own nations with a deeper appreciation of Israel’s unique struggles and an even stronger commitment to standing with the Jewish state and people.”


About 6,000 Christians from more than 80 nations are attending the ICEJ Feast celebration, which will concluded Tuesday night with a farewell address by Israel’s deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

 

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

 

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

Photos: Nicole Jansezian

 

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