The Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Hon Ebenezer Kojo Kum, has said the Ministry would seek the support of Israel through its Embassy to promote local religious pilgrimage in order to link Christians in Ghana to a worldwide community of Christians, especially Israel, the oases of religious tourism.
According to him, following the COVID-19 pandemic which halted Christians of different denominations of Ghana pilgrimage to Israel, the Ministry is considering promoting some local religious sites and would tap into the experiences of Israel which have developed that years ago.
Hon Ebenezer Kum disclosed this when the new Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Shlomit Sufa, paid an official courtesy call on him in Accra on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The visit was to introduce herself to the Ministry as part of policies like the New Ambassador to deepen bilateral relations between the two nations.
It also afforded the two to discuss means in promotion of a strong relationship between religious groups in Ghana and Israel.
While interacting with the Ambassador, Hon Kum expressed concern about the fact that the COVID-19 has affected the ministry plans thereby making it unable to organize religious pilgrimage activities for the past two years.
He said, “As a Ministry, we hope and pray a solution will be found to this covid variant as quickly as possible. So that, that kind of relationship in the area of salvation will further strengthen.
“It is a collective effort on the part of both countries so as long as this relationship exists and the mutual understanding we have, I am sure when the pandemic subsides it will be possible for us to resume this religious activity,” Hon Kum added.
On her part, Madam Sufa, stated that Israel was fully aware of the significance of the Ghanaian Christian pilgrims committed to visiting Israel for religious spiritual nourishment, emphasizing that, “We cherish this kind of tourism pilgrimage coming to Israel.
She added that Israel wants to support it as much as it could, stating, “giving it the appropriate screening and coordination within my government, and I strongly believe that we will be able to meet again to discuss this preeminent issue of Ghana on a much more practical level.”
Madam Sufa has paid similar courtesy calls on other state institutions after she presented her letter of credence to the Presidency of Ghana.
A religious book titled, “Thou Shalt Innovate” authored by Avi Jorisch, was presented to the Minister.
Ghana and Israel has a long-term diplomatic and bilateral partnership and Ghana is on record to be the first African country to establish diplomatic relations with the State of Israel, the second state in Africa to have an Israeli embassy and the first African state to have a state visit by Israel’s former Foreign Minister, Golda Meir, in 1958.
In 2011, the State of Israel reopened its Embassy in Accra, which has since strengthened the relations between Ghana and Israel.
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