By: DAVID LAZARUS, Israel Today—
Israel has initiated a mission intended to raise up a generation of Christian leaders who will support Israel. “It is critical to bring the next generation of leaders in the Christian community to Israel,” declared Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer at the annual Christian Solidarity Event at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC.
The new program, titled “Covenant Journey,” is modeled in part after the highly successful Birthright project that has brought over 500,000 young Jewish Americans to Israel. Already this summer the Covenant Journey program is bringing hundreds of Christians student leaders to Israel. Organizers are now in the planning stages to bring thousands more young Christians over the next few years in order to begin building bridges with Israel and Israelis.
“There’s one thing better than standing with Israel, and that’s standing in Israel. If they walk in the places where the patriarchs and the prophets and the kings and that young Rabbi from the Galilee walked, then they will stand with Israel here and they will strengthen their Christian identity,” said Dermer.
Students will be able to join the Covenant Journey for only $500 thanks to subsidization by Christian donors, including Museum of the Bible and the Philos Project.
“Visiting the Holy Land—where Abraham journeyed and gave birth to the nation of Israel, David conquered Goliath, and the Prophets and Apostles wrote and lived—and walking where Jesus gave his ministry, is without question, a life-changing experience. As young adults experience Israel firsthand, their faith is strengthened, their knowledge of the Bible is increased and their understanding of the connection between the Bible and the Land of Israel is put on solid ground. It will create a foundational platform from which they can become goodwill ambassadors for Israel and the Jewish people, and the Covenant Journey participants will never be the same,” said Steve Green, chairman of the board for Museum of the Bible and a keynote speaker at the Israeli Embassy event.
The other keynote speaker, Paul Singer, added that “by enabling Christian students to visit the land of Israel and see it firsthand, Covenant Journey is raising up a generation that will not only be stronger in their faith, but will also be introduced to the real-life people who live there. The students will discover ancient Israel and modern Israel at the same time. And for me, as Jew, that’s huge. At this point, Covenant Journey has become part of my journey, and I’m proud to say that I support everything that it stands for. I truly believe that Jews, Christians and all of Western civilization will be reaping the fruit of this project for years to come.”
Covenant Journey will be choosing students based on their recognized Christian leadership roles on campus as well as their desire to become advocates for Israel. Students participating in the 11-day mission will learn about biblical history and experience the reality of everyday life in modern-day Israel. Participants will then be able to serve as ambassadors of goodwill for Israel by sharing what they have experienced and learned in Israel on their campuses, in churches and in their future leadership roles.