General News of Saturday, 22 February 2020
Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, on Friday, cautioned Christians undertaking a tour to historic sites in Israel to pray not to attempt absconding as the Israeli Police will hunt for them.
He reminded the 50 Christians that since the introduction of pilgrimage to Israel in 2017, not a single person absconded or attempted to hide in order to stay behind and work or use the pilgrimage as conduit to travel to other countries whenever they embarked on the journey.
Mr Dzamesi said the government was collaborating with Israel to ensure that anyone who attempted illegal act was dealt with according to the laws of the host.
“It is not a private pilgrimage, but government to government, so if you try to run away, you will be arrested and be put in jail and trust me, you will not like Israeli jail,” Mr Dzamesi said.
He encouraged them to use the one week period of stay in Israel to pray for themselves and for the nation as a whole.
“Make sure you grab the spirit when you go so that when you return, you will become a different person. You know that to do good is more difficult than to do bad, so pray so that we will all be able to do the right things easily,” he added.
The Minister said over thousand people went to Israel and returned successfully since 2017, and disclosed that another 200 people would also embark on the pilgrimage in May and another 200 in August this year.
He explained that none of the travelers was sponsored by government, but by themselves and their churches.
Mr Dzamesi noted that, there was a thorough screening of the people who applied to embark on the trip by the Bureau of National Investigations, Police, and the Ministries of Chieftaincy and Foreign Affairs.
He said 250 people applied to embark on the trip, but only 47 qualified to be beneficiaries.
Mr Victor Satuh, the Head of Business Development, One People Travels, a travel and tour agency and organizers of the trip, advised the travelers to be law abiding and disciplined, while on the trip to avoid any problems with the Israeli law enforcers.
He also asked them to be patient and undergo all health screening processes on the way, especially as the epidemic of Coronavirus was on the rise.