A delegation of donors, alumni and staff from Passages, a Christian organization that brings students to Israel, recently finished a weeklong solidarity mission, which included traveling to the Gaza envelope.
The delegation visited Netiv HaAsara and Kfar Aza, two of the hardest hit communities from the Oct. 7th massacre. Passages has brought groups to the area several times a year for many years.
While visiting, the delegation presented each community with a donation of $250,000 and a plaque expressing love, solidarity, and commitment to help rebuild the communities.
The donations are meant to be used for counseling youth from the communities affected by the attacks. Passages also committed to making further donations and promised to continue bringing student delegations to both communities.
“These are two places where we have taken over 11,000 college students on Passages trips in the last eight years,” said Scott Phillips, CEO of Passages. The organization brings students to Israel to experience the roots of their faith and to build bridges of friendship with the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
“In these communities live our friends, people we know, people we work with, people our students and alumni have interacted with.”
While visiting Netiv HaAsara, the Passages delegation went to the cemetery, where they heard stories of those killed. They also visited the village (moshav), where they were shown how Hamas terrorists managed to infiltrate and attack the community on the 'Black Shabbat' of Oct. 7.
“I would like to thank Passages because you are the only Christian organization that has donated to our moshav, showing care for our community, and we more than appreciate that,” said Benny Ledom, head of the security committee and a community leader of Netiv HaAsara.
The delegation also heard from several soldiers who took part in the fighting on Oct. 7, who told them it was important that Christian supporters come to witness what took place there.
“After October 7th, the Jewish community looked around for friends and allies. The Christian community showed up and they keep showing up, not just in word, but deed,” said Rivka Kidron, co-founder and board member of Passages.
“These are communities which Passages students visit on every trip. They lifted up and supported our students and now we must stand up and support them. Our students will continue coming here to bear witness to this tragedy and stand alongside the State of Israel and the Jewish people, especially in the most difficult times.”
The delegation also visited Kfar Aza, where residents asked them to spread the word about what happened there, especially those who were kidnapped and are still being held captive in Gaza.
“It’s been a heavy honor visiting Kefar Aza and Netiv HaAsara today, talking with residents who walked us through the horrors of 10/7,” said Daniel Anger, a Passages alumni.
“We share the grief. We earnestly pray for the return of the hostages and for the comfort of many, many people who are suffering such unthinkable loss.”
The delegation visited the memorial to the victims of the Nova music festival, met evacuees from the south, and visited the Israeli parliament building, the Knesset, where they had the opportunity to meet with MKs from across the political spectrum.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.