"Share what you have with God's people, and practice hospitality." Romans 12:13

Hosting Israeli Tourists


If you have a heart of love for Israel and Israelis but have no way of demonstrating it, this may be what you need. Friends in New Zealand probably already know about this.

Over the last 15 years, tens of thousands of young Israeli travelers to New Zealand have been brought into contact with Christians and the Gospel through a programme called Host Israeli Travellers that is now going International.

That is the core idea behind a unique Messianic ministry that has recruited hundreds of Christian families across New Zealand and now Australia) to welcome Israeli travellers into their homes.

Hospitality as a tool for witness

by Ryan Jones - Israel Today magazine - February 2016 - used with permission

"There's no better way as to show love and support than by inviting people to stay with you This especially true with the Jewish people who for 2000 years have suffered so much hatred and persecution." Omri Jaakobovich, founder of HIT Hosting Israeli Travelers), told Israel Today.

"This simple act opens so many doors to be able to witness to the people of Israel. As the famous saying goes, 'No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care'

When young Israelis finish their mandatory military service, most take time to travel the world before settling in to studies and a career. These journeys take place at a formative time in their spiritual life. as evidenced by the many Israeli backpackers who latch on to all manner of Eastern and New Age religions.
The Orthodox Jewish movement Chabad recognizes this opportunity and for decades has manned hospitality houses around the world where young Israelis and Jews can find warmth and welcome.

HIT and the Israel-loving Christians who are part of the network are catching on, and the response has been encouraging.
"The Israeli travelers make use of HIT to save money, but once they have been hosted, they come to love and appreciate the experiences they have with our hosts," said Jaakobovich. "Ninety percent of the Israelis enjoy 90 percent of their hosts, and vice-versa, and many stay in close contact for years after."
Indeed, a number of HIT members on subsequent visits to Israel were invited to stay with Israelis whom they had hosted years earlier.

The goal, of course, is to reach these Israelis with the gospel and love of Yeshua (Jesus) - an opportunity to plant a seed that will hopefully grow in the future. For some, the close encounter with loving Christians causes a more immediate spiritual awakening.

Such was the case with Gal Lavie, who told us that while he had indeed made use of HIT for the financial savings, he walked away with something far more valuable.
"I had a lot of friends who went to New Zealand ahead of me and told me I could save money and make use of these great accommodations," Lavie recounted. "They also mentioned that
some of the hosts might talk about Jesus and their love for Israel, but not to worry about that."
At first, Lavie was travelling with other Israelis and brushed off efforts by the Christian proprietors to share their faith. "The big impact happened when I was traveling on my own," he said. "I was more open since I didn't have to worry about criticism from fellow Israeli travellers."
One family hosted Lavie at a crucial junction in his spiritual journey. "I saw the Ten Commandments on their wall and it shocked me. You don't expect that from Gentiles. Even as a secular Jew, it hit me in a sensitive place and made me consider what it means to be Jewish."
That family went on to show Lavie "how much they love Israel and the Jewish people, and how much they love the God of Israel ...They provoked me to jealousy. They clearly had something I didn't"

So would Lavie encourage other young Israelis to use the HIT network? Absolutely.
"It's about much more than just hospitality and accommodation," he concluded. "It's being able to woo young Israelis and help those who are genuinely seeking. As a non-believing Israeli at the time, I had never experienced anything like that."

For more info: www.hitinternational.net


From another writeup - by Christian Life Magazine - Jan, 2015

What began as a 'God idea' a mere 14 years ago, has become an amazing success story - positively impacting the lives of the 10,000 young Israeli travelers to New Zealand who have participated in the HIT-NZ travel program since its inception back in 2000; a program which is now set to expand into many new countries this year with the launching of 'HIT international'.

'Hosting Israeli Travellers' a travel club, otherwise known as HIT, (an acronym that has the added meaning of 'coming into contact with') is the brain child of Israeli, Omri Jaakobovich who, at the age of 27, while travelling in New Zealand, came to know Yeshua (Jesus) as his Messiah. He then fell in love with Paihia in the Bay of Islands and decided to stay on. And it was in the year 2000, just a few days before driving to Auckland Airport to meet Jacob Damkani, the Israeli founder of Trumpet of Salvation, that the possibility of setting up a network of Christian families throughout the country who would be interested in hosting young Israeli travellers like himself began to formulate in his mind.

While HIT is in fact a travel club, it creates the perfect framework for Bible believers to minister to God's 'Chosen People'. To express their love and gratitude to God for all the blessings they've received from the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, without whom they would have no Saviour and no Bible. Though, when you ask HIT hosts why they have Israelis to stay, the almost standard reply is . . . "Because we just love them"

"It's a matter of loving what God loves; the nation He has chosen as His own out of all the nations on the earth and the people to whom He has bound Himself in everlasting Covenant, love and faithfulness." Is the way one host expressed it.

And now after 14 years in existence the program is going 'International' to cater for the increasing requests to establish the programme in other countries. In order to accommodate this expansion of operations, HIT will be going Online under the new title of 'HIT international', and the familiar 'HIT book' or directory of Hosts' names and addresses throughout New Zealand will be replaced this year with a brand new website.

Trish Nicholls counsels readers 'If you are contemplating Hosting, I would suggest you go for it! You can be as old as, or as young as . . . you do not have to have a mansion. The most important thing is to relax and enjoy this unique 'for such a time as this' God given opportunity.'

Many Christians love Israel and want to bless the people to whom they are so deeply, spiritually indebted and HIT is a wonderful God provided platform to express that gratitude in practical terms, and demonstrate support for Israel in the face of the rising global anti- Semitism. However, meeting and caring for these young people brings its own reward, and host families quickly discover that what they initially considered to be a ministry to others becomes instead, a ministry to them, as the lives of these young people enrich their households with lots of fun and laughter, friendships are formed and their own appreciation of Israeli life and culture is deepened.

It truly is a win win situation for all, and it is hoped that Pastors too, will recognize the opportunity presented here for their congregations to be a blessing to Abraham's descendants.

Omri, HIT International's Director, also extends his invitation to our readers, I would love to use this opportunity to invite you and your Christian/Messianic friends (if you're interested and able) to host with us. . .

Email hosting.israeli.travelers@gmail.com or visit www.HITinternational.net



Posted 30/05/14

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