Left to right, Avi Zimmeman - Ariel, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1st), Tony Perkins - President - Family Research Council, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA-4th), Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R -VA-4th), Rabbi Eliezer Melamed - Har Bracha, David Ha'ivri -Shomron Liaison, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4th) (Photo: Heather Meyers)
From the Arutz Sheva article "Congressmen with 'Judeo-Christian Spirit' Tour Heartland":
On November 9, five US Congressmen ventured into otherwise uncharted territory, at least by the standards of traditional diplomatic delegations to Israel. A strong affinity to Israel and genuine frustration with repeated fatal failures of "peace processes" drove these American leaders to take a fresh look at Israel's heartland. . . .
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1st) with Gershon Mesika, the Director of the Samaria Regional Authority. (Photo: Heather Meyers)
The historic visit began with a bus tour led by Mayor Ron Nachman along the Trans-Samaria highway, where the delegates learned about Israel's narrow waistline, security needs and strategic provisions. At the Ariel and Barkan Industrial Parks Mayor Nachman discussed co-existence, the 4,000 Arabs employed at the factories and the indiscriminate boycotts imposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and European Union on products from the factories. Mayor Nachman also showed the group the layout of the Ariel Bloc of communities, and the short distance from the Tel Aviv Coastal Plain.
The Congressmen learned about Judeo-Christian teamwork and at Israel's primary outdoor training facility, the Ariel National Leadership Development Center. From there the group proceeded to the Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts, where they enjoyed a private performance by Ariel's young singers and internationally renowned dancers . . .
Rep. Randy Forbes (R -VA-4th) addressed the [inaugural Samaria] by stating his unwavering support for Israel's peace and security. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5th) discussed Israel's inherent value and the commitment of the Congressional Republican Israel Caucus and the Israel Allies Caucus which he co-chairs. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1st), who is known for his instrumental role in arranging for Prime Minister to deliver his acclaimed speech to both houses of Congress in May, 2011, explained how Israel cannot sacrifice its own security by relinquishing land to those who are committed to its destruction. They were joined by Congressman John Fleming (R-LA-4th) and Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH-4th), who shared the sentiments of their colleagues.
The tour is a manifestation of the "Judeo Christian" teamwork that has been growing deeper in recent years, as pioneering Jews in Judea and Samaria and Christian Zionist leaders in the US and elsewhere learn to trust each other. In the face of genocidal Muslim fanaticism, leaders of the nations that have the Bible in common are seeking common political ground as well.
The 2011 Congressional Initiative was arranged by Heather Johnston, who identified the need for America's leading Congressmen to become familiar with Judea and Samaria and develop ties with Members of Knesset.
Above is a photo of tour leader Heather Johnston,
on left, from a Christian Zionist site.
Heather is the spiritual director of summer staff at JH Ranch and is responsible for JH Ranch curriculum development. She helps lead our tours to Israel and overseeing the JH Ranch partnership with the city of Ariel, Israel to develop a national youth leadership program.