Beslan Families Visit Israel

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Beslan Families Visit Israel

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (ANS) -- This week members of For Zion’s Sake, a ministry of Calvary Chapel Jerusalem, hoped to send another team from Jerusalem to the town of Beslan, North Ossetia, in southern Russia to comfort the survivors and families of victims of the terror attack on the school there. (Pictured: Children and families who survived the Beslan school massacre were entertained in Israel this week. Courtesy: Maariv International website).

“We were disappointed when our visa request was denied due to the continued terror threat in the region,” said Pastor Bradley Antolovich.

“Although our return trip to Beslan was delayed, the Lord arranged for eighteen children who survived the massacre (along with their families) to visit Israel this week!”

Over the next two days, these families will be touring Jerusalem, visiting primarily Christian sites, Antolovich said.

“The Lord has blessed For Zion's Sake with the means to sponsor their tour, provide a believing tour guide fluent in Russian, and see that they are accompanied by Russian-speaking believers from our congregation. (Pictured: Some of the children from Beslan who were guests in Israel this week. Courtesy: For Zion's Sake).

“The families will be joining us here at the fellowship for lunch and children’s worship. Each child will receive a gift and a Russian Bible. The day will end with a visit to the Garden Tomb where we will bring the gospel message and invite all to receive Christ!”

Antolovich asked Christians “to pray for open ears and hearts to the gospel and for favor as we work with the Israeli government agency overseeing the bulk of the trip. Please pray for boldness for the team working with the children and parents, and that none would leave Jerusalem without accepting the Lord Jesus as their Savior!”

He also requested prayer support, “for favor and grace with the Russian Consulate in Tel Aviv as we re-apply this week for humanitarian aid visas to Beslan.”

According to a local website, 38 residents of Beslan, including 18 children who survived the school carnage in the town, arrived Sunday morning at the Haifa Port to be guests of the city of Ashkelon in the next three weeks.

The initiators of the visit, city mayor Roni Mahatzari and Moshe Mano of “Mano Shipping,” expressed the hope they would be able to provide their guests with three weeks of great experiences that would hopefully help them deal with their tragedy.

On Monday, the children were examined at the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon and then commenced their journeys across Israel. They will be staying at the French Vacation Village in Ashkelon.

According to Mahatzari, “As a nation that has so much experience in dealing with terrorism, I believe we have something to offer countries such as Russia regarding the treatment of children who are victims of terror.”

Head of the Beslan delegation, Allan Dubayev, said the town of Beslan would like to thank the City of Ashkelon and all those who were involved in bringing the children to Israel.

The connection between Beslan and Ashkelon began at the beginning of September. After the atrocious attack perpetrated by Chechnya rebels left 330 adults and children dead, Mahatzari wrote a letter to his counterpart in which he had offered to host children who were victims of the attack.

The City of Ashkelon, the Even Ezer Foundation and the Organization of Olim from the Caucuses financed the trip.

For more information:
P.O. Box 1429 Jerusalem, ISRAEL 91013
Tel/Fax: (972)-(2)-648-2056

Humanitarian Aid for New Immigrants
P.O. Box 6536
Huntington Beach, CA 92615
Call toll-free at 1-800-334-2033