Thousands of Christians coming to Jerusalem for Feast of Tabernacles

The Fijian deputy prime minister will lead his nation's delegation ahead of planned embassy move.

Thousands of Christian pilgrims parade in Jerusalem, marking the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and the Feast of Tabernacles, Oct. 13, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Thousands of Christian pilgrims parade in Jerusalem, marking the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and the Feast of Tabernacles, Oct. 13, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Thousands of evangelical supporters of Israel from around the globe will gather in Jerusalem this week for the annual Feast of Tabernacles celebrations that run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 6

The gathering, the largest tourism event of the year, coincides with the weeklong Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

The eight-day event, which is expected to be attended by 3,000 Christian pilgrims from more than 80 nations, is the flagship happening organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, the largest Christian Zionist organization based in Israel’s capital.

Fijian deputy PM leading delegation

The participants in this year’s event include delegations from regional Muslim countries such as Egypt and Turkey, as well as a group of Fijan pilgrims coming on the first-ever Fiji Airways chartered flight to Israel.

The Fijian delegation will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Viliame “Bill” Gavoka, who is leading his government’s move to open an embassy in Jerusalem next year. Cabinet ministers, parliamentarians and dignitaries from many other countries will also attend, the ICEJ said.

The roster of prominent Christian leaders coming in for the Feast includes William Wilson, president of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., and Pastor Enoch Adeboye, head of a Pentecostal denomination based in Lagos, Nigeria, that has more than 9 million members.

The Feast of Tabernacles will take Christian visitors on a pilgrimage through the Land of Israel, starting with two days at Ein Gev on the Sea of Galilee. They will then visit Jerusalem for six days, which will include the group’s traditional colorful march through the streets of Jerusalem in support of Israel on Oct. 4. Hundreds of participants will also take part in a gathering to show solidarity with Israeli communities along the border with the Gaza Strip.

“We are privileged again to welcome the nations to Jerusalem for Sukkot, according to the ancient vision of the Hebrew Prophet Zechariah,” said ICEJ President Jürgen Bühler. “We trust that as they encounter Israel up close, that they will return to their home countries with a deeper love for this nation and a fresh inspiration from God, in keeping with Isaiah’s prophecy that the word of the Lord will go forth from Jerusalem.”

Israel’s best friends

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called the evangelical community “Israel’s best friends,” will address the group by video, as will President Isaac Herzog.

Israeli government speakers at the event will include Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel and Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum.

The ICEJ, which has won accolades from the State of Israel for its four decades of work on behalf of the Jewish state, recently resolved an issue with the Interior Ministry regarding long-term staff permits for such groups in Israel following the intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office.

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