Amish leadership travels to Israel to issue apology

New York – November 30, 2010: Amish leadership from Idaho, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Switzerland were in Israel November 21-27 to issue a declaration of repentance to Israel and the Israeli people. The apology was issued by Amish Bishop Ben Girod, along with many other leaders of the Amish community, including Pastor Micah Smith. Bishop Girod and Pastor Micah Smith are pictured above.

The 45-person delegation toured Israel, however their primary motivation was to ask for forgiveness and hold reconciliation meetings with rabbis, city officials, and Israeli families to simply say, “We are sorry for rejecting Israel, please forgive us.”

Among those the delegation met with included Mayor Deputy Ms. Neomi Tzur of Jerusalem; Shaya Ben Yehuda, the Managing Director of International Relations at Yad Vashem; Holocaust survivor Mr. Eliezer Ayalon; and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the Rabbi of the Western Wall. Israeli Channel 2 News covered the meeting of the delegation with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch at the Western Wall.

“We were excited to welcome Bishop Ben Girod and those accompanying him to Israel, the land of the Bible,” said Haim Gutin, Israel Commissioner for Tourism, North and South America.  “We are confident that their lives and faith were transformed in Israel, because we know that once you visit Israel – you will never be the same.”

For more information about travel to Israel, please visit

About the Israel Life of Tourism
With its main headquarters for North America in New York, the Israel Life of Tourism leads the State of Israel’s efforts at maintaining a strong tourism industry. The Life of Tourism promotes tourism to Israel via its Israel Government Tourist Offices in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

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