Following an invitation from Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov, 31 of the 33 miners rescued after 68 days underground in Chile, will be coming to Israel with their spouses, the Regional Governor of Atacama and Chilean journalists to take part in a Pilgrimage of Thanks in the Holy Land (23 February – 2 March 2011).
In his invitation, Minister Misezhnikov wrote, "Your bravery and strength of spirit, your great faith that helped you survive so long in the bowels of the earth, was an inspiration to us all. It would be a great honor for us to welcome you as our guests in the Holy Land."
Together, the miners and their spouses will embark upon a spiritual journey throughout the Holy Land, visiting various Christian holy sites and enjoying some of Israel's leading pilgrimage and tourism locations. Their itinerary in Jerusalem will include visits to the Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Garden of Gethsemane, Room of the Last Supper, as well as the Western Wall and King David's Tomb. They will be welcomed by President Shimon Peres at an official reception at his residence.
While in Israel, the miners will also visit the Dead Sea and Masada, before travelling north to visit sites such as the Church of the Annunciation, Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes, Megiddo and Tel Aviv-Jaffa. The pilgrimage will also include a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem*.
*Under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. Visiting the site/s may require special arrangements, including coordination for transportation and guides.