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ICEJ Feast peaks with Jerusalem March on ‘Schalit Day’

Israeli minister Ayalon, Mayor Barkat embrace Christian pilgrims

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19 Oct 2011 (All day)
ICEJ Feast peaks with Jerusalem March on ‘Schalit Day’

The annual Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, came to a rousing conclusion on Tuesday with the colorful Jerusalem March through the streets of the capital and a Grand Finale’ service featuring Israel’s deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon.

“As a Jew and a representative of the Government of Israel, I welcome you here – Christians from all walks of life – to celebrate your faith, to praise God, and to bless Israel,” Minister Ayalon said in a powerful send-off address last night.

“There is a great awakening here in Israel and around the world of the need for the 'coming together' of Jews and Christians to keep God’s commandments,” added Ayalon. “God is sending you home as watchmen of Israel, so that His purpose will be fulfilled.”

Earlier in the day, the week-long Feast gathering peaked as more than 6,000 Christians from over 80 nations paraded in traditional costumes through the center of Jerusalem. Seated on the official viewing stand outside the King David hotel, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was among the tens of thousands of Israelis lining the streets to greet the Feast pilgrims and witness the incredible display of solidarity, which came on the day that Israel welcomed home IDF soldier Gilad Schalit after five years of numbing captivity in Gaza.

A number of Feast pilgrims were holding signs which said, “Welcome home Gilad” and “Israel is not alone.” Others handed out small national flags, candy and other gifts to smiling children.

“We are so grateful about Gilad Schalit’s release! It’s been a prayer that has been going on for a long time and we are so thankful. That’s fabulous news during this great week,” assured Shay Kasper of Los Angeles, California.

“All the Jerusalem marches have been wonderful. We see more and more love going from both sides, from the Christians and the Israelis together,” added Kasper, who has attended every Feast since 1981.

“We had fun as a group, showing our support for Israel and basking in the atmosphere coming from the Israelis watching the parade,” said Sybille Hochuli from Switzerland. “The march is the highlight of the Feast, because we get a chance to see the ordinary people who live in this city.”

“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 Schalit returns home,” said ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Juergen Buehler. “We share the relief and joy of the Schalit family and all Israel that Gilad has come back alive. We also share the pain of so many that the price for his return has meant having to set ruthless murderers free. Our pilgrims will no doubt return to their own nations with a deeper appreciation of Israel’s unique challenges and an even stronger commitment to standing with the Jewish state and people.”

Mayor Barkat relished his role as parade marshal, diving into the waves of Christian pilgrims on several occasions to shake hands and embrace his city’s visitors from around the globe. When the lead banner of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem passed by, he jumped to his feet again and marched alongside it to the roaring approval of Christians and Israelis alike.

On Monday evening, the ICEJ hosted its annual Israeli Guest Night at the Feast, with a record 2,000 Israelis in attendance.

“Anyone who doubts that Israel has incalculable Christian support in at least 70 countries should have heard the cheers and loud, long blowing of shofars each time MK David Rotem, chairman of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, mentioned Jerusalem as ‘the undivided city of David, the undivided capital of the State of Israel,’” wrote Jerusalem Post social columnist Greer Fay Cashman in her report on the event.

Rotem said that all over the world there were people trying to take part of Jerusalem away from Israel, “but your presence here is because you know that the covenant between God and Abraham is real and no one can work against this covenant.”

The Christian Embassy’s Feast celebration has once again maintained its status as the largest annual solidarity mission to Israel, and the nation’s largest tourist event this year.
 

 

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