At the request of our late Provincial Prior the Right Eminent Knight D. Gary Read K.C.T. a contingent of Knights Templar accompanied by their partners travelled to Israel. We intended to visit the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital and the “Tree of Hope” in Muristan, where we would see the two swifts placed on the tree in recognition of the support given to the hospital by the knights of Staffordshire & Shropshire. Gary was represented by his daughter Stephanie and her husband David
The planning for the trip started some 14 months ago and the main focus for the visit was to visit the eye hospital where we were greeted by the CEO Dr Ahmad Ma’ali who delivered an excellent presentation about the work of the Hospital and its outlying centres. After this our Prov Sub Prior the Very Eminent Knight Alan Howls P.Gt.Reg. presented a further £3000.00 raised within the Province in support of the hospital. We were then taken on a tour of the hospital and saw first-hand examples of the work that the hospital does and how this benefits the individuals who live and work in the area. Patients come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and religious groups and treatment is provided at modest or if necessary no cost to the individual. It was interesting to note whilst reading the notice board information what we would have to do in the event of a “rocket” attack, hopefully this is something that won’t be required in UK hospitals! All of the staff were extremely professional and polite and took great pride in promoting the work of the hospital, which was followed by a lovely lunch in the peaceful and tranquil gardens.
Throughout the trip the group also enjoyed various ethnic cultures and were amazed at the scenery, religious heritage, culture, historical sites and cuisine throughout this amazing country.
Our itinerary was packed with visits to the many sights of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, The Hill Top Fort at Masada, The Sea of Galilee and beyond. The whole group really enjoyed each other’s company. The noise of excited conversation was obvious at every location that we visited and our guide Gadi was a mine of information whilst our driver Moses managed to get a coach where some of us would struggle to park a push bike and they were both congratulated on a “job well done” during our last night celebrations.
Highlights of our visit were personal to each and every one of us, some focused-on floating in the Dead Sea, others at being Baptised in the River Jordan and the more boisterous of us, dancing during our boat trip on the Sea of Galilee. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Holy Land and would recommend a visit to anyone who has the opportunity.