Shir Hadash started these efforts after learning that many political groups visiting Israel take Shabbat “off” during their visits here since Israeli government offices are closed. Many such groups either scheduled their return home over Shabbat, or feeling there was nothing to see or no Israeli to talk with, spent this time hearing the Palestinian narrative. “We have always felt that this was a shame, not because these groups shouldn’t visit elsewhere, but because Shabbat itself is such a powerful experience and provides a wonderful insight into the Jewish people,” our Rabbi was quoted as saying by a US Newspaper. As a consequence, we started working with government agencies, tour operators, religious institutions and political organizations to craft an inspiring experience that connects these groups to real Israelis, real families and real life. In addition to hosting scores of political leaders – such as this group of US Attorneys General pictured above brought to Israel by the America – Israel Friendship League – as well as academic, artistic, business and student leaders, Shir Hadash has hosted many religious leaders, including those already supportive of Israel but also many who are not. Pictured below is a group of Muslim Imams from Indonesia — brought to Israel thanks to the Australia – Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.
In addition to hosting friendly Presbyterian Ministers dedicated to fighting against their movement’s plan to support the BDS movement (pictured below), we’ve also hosted Mennonite pastors actually leading the charge for their movement to engage in BDS. Following a series of seminars and lectures, exposure to a Friday night service and, most importantly, home hospitality, they leave Israel changed, more connected to the Jewish people and more sensitive to the Jewish nation’s connection to this land.
And the feedback has been amazing, with groups as diverse as a delegation of U.S. attorneys general, evangelical ministers and school superintendents all listing their Shir Hadash experience as a highlight and most meaningful aspect of their visit.