Lutheran bishops’ Holy Land study tour becomes course in sorrow, fears

During the assault on Gaza
Two years ago, when U.S. and Canadian Lutheran bishops began planning a hands-on visit to the Holy Land for their inaugural Bishops’ Academy, they had no idea what the political or security situation would be on the ground. They relied on faith.

When the 44 bishops landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport in early January, they found themselves less than an hour’s drive from the war zone where Israel had launched an assault on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to stop rocket fire into southern Israel.

The delegation spent time in Jordan, Israel and Palestinian areas of the West Bank and stayed clear of the Gaza violence. Yet nearly every meeting they held with clergy, politicians and private citizens—including a group of bereaved Jewish and Arab parents—was colored by the suffering in Gaza.

 

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