BY NICOLE JANSEZIAN, TRAVELUJAH
In a big boost to Israeli tourism, hundreds of Christians with several leading pastors and politicians from the United States visited Israel this month to tour the Holy Land and to meet with key leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.
These visitors help continue the trend of record-setting tourism numbers in the Holy Land. According to figures published today by the Central Bureau of Statistics, some 250,000 tourists visited Israel in January, a record for the month with a 17 percent increase on January 2010.
During the tour, Pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen held an event called a Night of Hope at the Jerusalem Theater last week. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) aired the service earlier this week.
“As Christians, Victoria and I feel that it is important to stand in support of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people,” Osteen said in a statement. “As always, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That’s our Christian roots. That’s where our faith started.”
Osteen, one of America’s most well-known Christian figures, pastors a 40,000-member church in Lakewood, Texas. His services are televised weekly and he has several books that have made The New York Times bestsellers list. Osteen was also named as one of ABC News personality Barbara Walters’ 10 most fascinating people of 2006.
The Osteens were part of an 800-person tour organized by TBN and led by Matt and Laurie Crouch of TBN.
At the same time, former Arkansas Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Huckabee made his 15th trip to the Holy Land. An ardent supporter of the country, Huckabee broadcast his Fox TV show from Israel. He was ccompanied by actor Jon Voight.
Another notable Christian on the tour was Kim Clement, a prophet and teacher originally from South Africa. Clement, who now resides in the US, visited Israel for the second time. He is planning to lead a large tour to Israel in September
Nicole Jansezian writes for www.travelujah.com, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Users can learn, plan and share their travel experiences on Travelujah