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Brazilian Evangelical Tourists Covet "B-Side" of the Holy Land

01/08/2018 - 10h25

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DIOGO BERCITO
FROM MADRID

Parallels to the ever-growing influence that Evangelical groups have on American politics can be found in Brazil, where movements are calling for the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a decision made by American president Donald Trump. The political situation and tourism go hand in hand.

Brazilian Evangelicals have built their own Holy Land in Israel, strengthening ties with the Israeli government and encouraging people of faith to travel to the country.

More and more Brazilian Evangelicals are visiting not only the main attractions, but also the secondary locations that are brought up in the Bible.

Evangelicals made up 25% of Brazilian tourists who went to Israel in 2017, according to preliminary estimates offered by Israel's Ministry of Tourism, which Folha managed to obtain. Devout Catholics made up 22.7% of tourists while secular Catholics made up 19.1%.

According to the latest survey conducted by the Datafolha Institute in September of 2017, 32% of Brazilians are Evangelical while 52% are Catholic.

Just like most other tourists, Evangelicals are interested in the great attractions of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but they are also exploring areas that are not particularly on the radars of other communities, such as Hermon, Nazareth and Jaffa.

Mount Hermon, which is in Northern Israel, is a good example of this. Certain Evangelical groups believe that is where the transfiguration of Christ - in which his body miraculously conveyed light - took place, while Catholics traditionally consider this to have taken place on Mount Tabor.

Places such as Hermon are not as sought after by tourists and religious groups, despite their biblical tradition.

The city of Nazareth, which is an important stop on the itinerary of Evangelicals, is associated with the life of Jesus Christ. Jaffa, on the other hand, is brought up in the story of Jonah, the prophet who gets swallowed by a whale.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

Read the article in the original language

Rina Castelnuovo/The New York Times
The "Jesus Trail," a 40-mile walk in Israel, links key historical sites related to the life of Jesus
The "Jesus Trail," a 40-mile walk in Israel, links key historical sites related to the life of Jesus

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