On May 17th Victoria Hearst returned to Ariel with her perennial delegation of pastors that she leads to Israel. As in the past the visit was a moving experience for all participants, some of whom had come to Israel for the first time.
The visit began with a personal meeting with Mayor Ron Nachman at the Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts. The Mayor was a perfect introduction to their stay in Ariel. The next stop was the Ariel Sheltered Workshop where 70 Ariel residents with various disabilities are busy running a self-sufficient electronics factory and packaging facility. Victoria has been very generous to the Sheltered Workshop in the past, which is named and dedicated to her father Randolph Hearst. During their visit, Victoria happily pledged an additional contribution: a commercial elevator which will transform the packaging operation from a physical challenge to a complete and utter joy. As always, the People of Ariel thank her for her sincere generosity.
In addition to a tour around the city, we made one special stop with our special guests. The group visited the Ariel University Center where they met a student whose family emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel. Our guests, who included our dear friend Pastor John Peyton and a number of black pastors from the United States, were pleasantly surprised to discover that the Ariel University Center educates the greatest absolute number of Ethiopian-origin students in comparison with each of Israel’s academic institutions. The participants came to understand the challenges of the Ethiopian community in Israel and in many respects to identify with them. Indeed, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece, Pastor Alveda King, participated in the tour. She was very excited about partnering with the Ariel University Center initiative to integrate Ethiopia Israelis within the academic and professional echelons of Israeli society. We appreciate her friendship and her forthcoming interest in what's happening in Ariel.