A delegation of 71 Harley Davidson motorcyclists from Texas visited the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem late Sunday afternoon. The group of 71 tattooed pilgrims was brought to Israel in conjunction with the Israel Tourism Ministry and “Coral Tours”, by a Christian ministry called M25: Mission of Hope, based in Amarillo, Texas.
Made up of US military veterans, the group stood at the Kotel on Sunday where its members prayed for the safety of the Jewish people and Israel, while holding a moment of silence for Israel and America’s fallen soldiers.
The executive director of the mission, Paul Klassen, indicated that the visitors feel a special connection with Israeli veterans. “There are many American veterans who are Christians and feel a great kinship to Israel and her veterans. This motorcycle mission is our way to show appreciation to fellow veterans,” Klassen said.
Upon arriving at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport last week, the group presented the Israeli Tourism Commissioner, Haim Gutin with a signature leather vest.
The motorcyclists are on a 10-day tour of Israel, visiting much of the country with a police escort guide. On Sunday, the group drove from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, stopping at the Armored Corps Museum in Latrun along the way, the site of important battles in the 1948 War of Independence. “The IDF has been so good about keeping this land free so we can come and visit it,” said Pastor Gary Burd national director and leader of the mission.
Last month, the motorcyclists’ bikes were shipped to Israel and they will be returned to the United States at the end of the tour. In addition to the bikes, the mission also brought with them over $600,000 in medical aid which they passed on to an Israeli NGO, according to Burd.
The group has thus far covered Beit She’an, Megiddo, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Caesarea, Ashdod, the Golan Heights and the Kinneret and will finish off their trip riding to Be’er Sheva and the Negev.
At the Western Wall, the group was joined by representatives from Israel’s small community of about 800 Israeli Harley Davidson owners, who came to join their ‘brothers.’
Photos by Flash 90: