The Jerusalem initiative is led by Deputy Mayor Naomi Tsur, with the full backing of Mayor Nir Barkat.
During the “Sacred Land Celebration” in Assisi, Italy organized by ARC, Deputy Mayor Naomi Tsur was inaugurated as the Green Pilgrimage Network Ambassador.
While the GPN provides a meeting ground for both cities and faiths, the case of Jerusalem is unique since, down the ages, Jews, Christians and Muslims from all over the world have made their way to Jerusalem. It is this triple identity that provides a special challenge on the one hand, and a remarkable opportunity on the other.
The impact of the network should reach beyond the member cities and sites, appealing to faith leaders and to the pilgrims themselves to integrate green ethical standards into their spiritual experience, and subsequently into their daily lives.
- To welcome millions of pilgrims and eco-friendly travelers to the City of Jerusalem every single year
- To promote the City of Jerusalem’s strategy for the conservation of our unique cultural, Biblical and natural heritage, alongside sustainable urban infrastructure and economic growth
- To showcase sites of green pilgrim significance in the City of Jerusalem and its surrounds
- To engage with faith leaders and communities and pilgrim tour operators to further promote tourism to the City of Jerusalem and its surrounds
- To engage in a process of greening the hospitality and conference industry in the City of Jerusalem
- To launch the Israel Chapter of the Green Pilgrimage Network
- To initiate a process to create an Ethical Code of Conduct for the Public Domain for the City of Jerusalem
“The idea is at once both grand and simple, since while there is nothing new in pilgrimage, the idea of a global pilgrim partnership is an entirely new concept, which sets goals for urban sustainability and economic growth on the one hand, and for interfaith dialogue on the other”.
The message conveyed by King Solomon, when he blessed the People of Israel at the inauguration of the First Temple some 3,000 years ago, is one of tolerance that can be a source of inspiration to us today.
King Solomon asks God to welcome strangers and answer their prayers, just as they are inspired by the holiness of the Temple.
First Kings, Chapter 8, verse 41:
“Moreover, concerning the stranger that is not of your people Israel, when he shall come out of a far country for your name’s sake – for they will hear of your mighty hand and your outstretched arm- when he shall come and pray toward this house; hear you in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calls upon you to do, that all the peoples of the earth may know your name, to fear you as does your people Israel, and that they may know that your name is called upon this house which I have built.”
King Solomon, ahead of his time, in a gesture of tolerance and outreach, asks God to welcome strangers to his holy site, convinced that the Temple he completed has a universal significance, and is not the sole property of his own people of Israel.
It is our hope that, as Green Pilgrim Jerusalem’s work progresses over the next few years, we can take King Solomon’s message and give it a fresh interpretation. Just as King Solomon welcomed strangers in his temple and hoped they would find spiritual solace, we should all be sensitive to the aura of sites holy to religions other than our own.