Delegation Date: February 11, 2016 – February 18, 2016
Rev. William H. Harter, PhD., co-convener of the Presbyterians for Middle East Peace and a member of the AIFL Board of Directors led a 6 days delegation of Presbyterian clergy members and lay leaders across Israel.
The Delegation included exploration of the traditional religious sites in the Galilee and Jerusalem as well as expert briefings and site visits concentrating on general security concerns of Israel in the North and the Jordan Valley. Special emphasis was placed on addressing the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict through meetings with Jewish and Arab community leaders and journalists.
The visit to Israel started with a short tour at the ‘Garden Tomb’ followed by a long southeast ride, where the members could see Masada and the Dead Sea. The second and the third days of the delegation were devoted to Jerusalem and commenced at the Sharuver Promenade with an educating site-view, followed by a geo-political briefing session by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a visit to Yad Vashem: the World Holocaust Center, where the members had many discussions regarding Israel, water issues and how world religions play, this part of the trip has ended with an insightful dinner with Rabbi Michael Melchior.
The fourth and fifth days of the mission were extremely busy and included an inspiring presentation at the Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel, a meaningful visit at the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation where David Nekrutman and Steven Khoury gave an emotion filled, personal testimony of their experiences as a Jewish man and Arab Christian man building a friendship working towards peace and understanding, later on the members received an educational lecture of Prof. Shlomo Avineri a brilliant scholar.
The sixth day of the visit has started with a visit to Nazareth, and the Church of the Annunciation, followed by a meeting with Reem Younis, of Alpha Omega Engineering at the Nazareth Industrial Park. That day was concluded with the magnificent view of the Sea of Galilee.
During their last day in Israel, the AIFL Presbyterian Clergy Delegation members had a hopeful meeting with leaders of the Druze community in Israel, followed by a fascinating visit at the Israeli-self-made miracle, the drip irrigation plant – Netafim. As always, the visit was concluded with some exciting experiences in sunny Tel Aviv.
This visit to Israel was Rev. Harter’s 50th visit to Israel, an extraordinary event on which he was commemorated by the AIFL
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