Wilson Meets Ayalon, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister
Adventist leader promises prayer for peace of nation, all neighbors
BY MARK A. KELLNER, news editor, reporting from Jerusalem, Israel
Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, representing the world’s 17 million Seventh-day Adventists, met June 18, 2012, with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, the Hon. Danny Ayalon. The session included an appreciation for the more than 300 Adventist theologians, scholars and administrators visiting Israel since June 11 for the church’s Third International Bible Conference.
“We have known about the Seventh-day Adventists for a long time, and there is no doubt, I think, by anyone, that we share a common heritage and belief, and also a common destiny,” Ayalon, who served for four and one-half years as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, said.
He added, “Certainly when we see the tumult in the world, and specifically in the Middle East, and specifically in the persecution of minorities, whether they are Kurds, whether they are Jews or whether they are Christians, this is something all of us have to fight for and defend, for human dignity and for all interests.”
Wilson and his wife, Nancy, are on their first-ever visit to Israel. Ayalon noted this and said, “It is a great pleasure and an honor to have you here. I hope there will be many more [visits] to come, because there is a lot to see here, and a lot to feel here.”
In response, Wilson said, “One of the very specific things about Seventh-day Adventists is that we are apolitical; we work with whatever setting we find to build up society, to introduce them to the beauty of God’s plan for the human race, physically, socially, mentally and spiritually. So we are very much involved with many educational (and) health oriented aspects, and of course with spiritual things, because in the end that is what really matters.”
Wilson said the Adventists who have been here will go home and “be good representatives for the kind of hospitality we have received” in Israel. He added, “The best thing we can do is pray for peace, that God will … touch the lives of people.”
Wilson continued, “We have been very well received in the country. To be in the [Israel] museum, to see that incredible stone that was uncovered … that mentions the House of David. Things like this … help our understanding of Biblical history. The Bible is our best tour guide, not only for the country, but also for life itself.”
Ayalon and Wilson exchanged protocol gifts, with the Adventist leader presenting a Hebrew translation of Patriarchs and Prophets, which tells the story of humanity from pre-Creation through the beginnings of the Old Testament.
Along with the Wilsons and Ayalon, Ambassador Bahij Mansour, the Foreign Ministry’s religious affairs department director; Biblical Research Institute director Artur Stele; Clinton Wahlen, BRI associate director and conference coordinator; and Tailor Made Tours president Josephine Zinder attended the meeting.