Israel’s Tourism Minister to Christian Media Summit: ‘Ties to Holy Land Stronger than Pandemic’
Israel’s new Tourism Minister Farkash-Hacohen addressed the all-digital 2020 Christian Media Summit on Sunday and stressed the strong bonds between the Jewish state and the Christian world.
While the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought Israel’s tourism industry to a screeching halt, Farkash-Hacohen said Israel is using the forced hiatus to renovate infrastructure in preparation for millions of Christian visitors.
“We are here, and we are waiting for the day the skies open and flights to the Holy Land resume,” she told participants at the Summit.
“Israel’s ties with the Christian world are unbreakable – not even by a pandemic or an economic crisis,” Farkash-Hacohen said, noting that Jerusalem’s vibrant, colorful, tourist-filled streets were “another victim of the COVID19 shutdown.”
For many of the Christian tourists, Farkash-Hacohen said, “visiting Israel, the holy land, is not just a visit or a vacation, it is a transformative, inspiring and long-lasting experience. Coming here is ‘a vacation beyond belief’.”
She added that Christian tourism to Israel has grown from many countries in recent years, as groups and families came to Jerusalem, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, among other sites.
“These sites are ready, waiting for the visitors to return,” she said.
Visiting Israel was the ultimate show of support for Israel, she told participants, detailing how tourists “support it in every way: they enhance its image, contribute to its economy and make a statement that they care.”
Farkash-Hacohen concluded her remarks by urging Christians all around the world to travel to Israel when possible.
“A temporary break is not the end – it is just time to breath before visiting once again. We feel confident that once international travel resumes – we will be able to welcome millions of Christian travelers again,” she stated.
The Christian Media Summit, organized annually by Israel’s Government Press Office, was held in a digital format for the first time, due to the pandemic.
It featured remarks by President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu among other leaders.