SCLC Revisits Israel on a Holy Land Tour
In an ongoing effort to encourage people to put themselves face to face with history, to look to the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to go back to their roots, a delegation of about 40 people, including members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), recently traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel with the SCLC in the first of many upcoming planned trips to the Holy Land.
The tour, which was sponsored by Unitours, EL AL Israeli Airlines, and the hosting hotels, included such amenities as roundtrip flights departing from New York on EL AL Israeli Airlines; modern, air-conditioned buses for sightseeing; six nights accommodations in first class hotels; full Israeli breakfast and buffet dinner at the hotels daily; English speaking, government licensed guides; all entrance fees to sites visited; and all airport taxes, and transfers from/to airport in Israel.
Among one of the many scheduled stops on the trip was a visit to Dimona, Israel. Dimona is the desert town that is the site of the very first international SCLC conflict-resolution center, the Ben Ami Institute for a New Humanity. The Institute for a New Humanity offers courses, counseling and training in resolving differences within families, and between communities, faiths and nations. The premise of the institute is based upon the principles, which inspired Dr. King and will provide the state of Israel with a platform of leadership development in today’s ever-changing world. In the wake of the Israeli government’s negotiations with the Palestinian Authority at Sharm-El Sheik, coordinators see possibilities for an expanding role in bringing stability to the region.
Other scheduled stops included such historical sites as Jaffa (the biblical port town), Mt. Carmel, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Jordan Valley, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea, to name a few.
“It’s a New Day and a New Way!” said SCLC National President Charles Steele. “SCLC is operating under a renewed vision and agenda, which encompasses civil and human rights for both our brothers and sisters in America, and our brothers and sisters in distant and foreign lands. Under the philosophy and vision of our founding father, Dr. King, we are seeking to establish the ‘beloved community’ that he often spoke about and diligently advocated.”
“Dr. King was an international icon among activists for human rights and champion of non-violent tactics in pursuit of social and spiritual change,” continued President Steele. “During a visit to Israel as part of a congressional delegation in September 2004, I saw King’s vision in practice among the daily lives of the Hebrew Israelites in Dimona. Now it is time for SCLC to foster and bring about opportunities for those who believe in the principles of non-violence and brotherhood espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to join us in our mission. The Holy Land is a good place to start in exploring our rich history, common legacies, and dreams for a more peaceful and harmonious future.”
The tour, which began on Monday, June 20, concluded a week later on Monday, June 27, 2005. It is the goal of the SCLC to take 144,000 people to Israel by the year 2007.