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With Israel's Tourism Industry Dormant During War, Christians Visit to Connect with, Support Israelis

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JERUSALEM, Israel – While tourism in Israel remains slow due to the war, that hasn't stopped Christians from visiting to support the Jewish state and its people.

Scott Phillips leads Passages, a Christian organization that connects students with Israel to deepen their faith and build bridges.

Phillips told CBN News, "It's so important to be in Israel right now because Christians are called for such a time as this, to stand with Israel and the Jewish community worldwide."

On this visit, Phillips felt compelled to speak out about the alarming rise in U.S. anti-Semitism.   

"Too many Christians, during the Holocaust, they did not speak up enough," he stated. "And so, it's important that we build a movement of young Christians in the United States of America who are rooted in their biblical faith, are leading with courage at home and are standing with Israel and the Jewish people."


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The delegation met with Yami and Naomi Weiser, whose son, Staff Sgt. Roey Weiser, was killed on October 7th while saving 12 of his fellow soldiers on the Erez Crossing base near Gaza.

They also visited two Gaza border communities and the site of the Nova Music Festival, ravaged by Hamas on October 7th. 

"When we went down south to the communities of Nativ Ha'Asara and Kfar Aza and also the site of the Nova Music Festival, and to see all of the burned cars –   there's hardly any words to put to it," Phillips recalled. "The folks in our group really are just eager to be able to go back and tell the story of what they've seen, to do whatever they can in their communities, their spheres of influence – all over the United States – to be able to tell the story and stand with Israel."

Passages donated $250,000 each to the communities of Netiv Ha'asara and Kfar Aza to provide psychological counseling, and support young people affected by the horrors of that day. 

"Our group, those who have come over here to Israel with us during this time, are taking a message back – that this actually happened October 7th, the tragedies of October 7th," he explained. "The horrible tragedies of that day actually did happen and that they saw it with their own eyes. They're going to be able to take back a message of support for Israel, and support for the Jewish community back at home."

Phillips believes a spiritual blindness is causing people to deny the tragic events.  

"Obviously we've seen – we've seen the destruction. We've heard the stories of these communities and these people who have lost friends and family," Phillips declared. "And so we have to stand for the truth. We have to call what is good, good, and what is evil, evil. And, and there's a real distinction now, and we have to stand firm on that."

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and