In the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria stands Mount Gerizim. It was at this mountain that Moses commanded Israel to place six tribes of Israel and the other six tribes on the opposing Mount Ebal while reading the blessings and curses of following or disregarding the Torah. From this point, Mount Gerizim was also known as the Mount of Blessing.
Fast forward a few thousand years. Through all of the wars, rulers, and desolation of the land, Israel returns as a nation to the land they were promised. After the Six Day War in 1967, Israel reclaimed the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, commonly referred to today as the West Bank (meaning the “West Bank” of the Jordan River, previously the nation of Jordan that was won during this defensive war). For the first time in thousands of years, the Mount of Blessing is under Israeli sovereignty but like much of land, it remained empty and desolate, until recently.
About 15 years ago, some young Jewish men, fresh out of their mandatory army service, recognized that no one was living on a portion of the Mount Gerizim. They believed that it was the time and season for Israel to resettle the land of their forefathers and chose an empty hillside on the top of the mountain. Looking for ways to bring in some income, vineyards were considered. Experts were brought in to evaluate the land, the soil, and topography to give their opinions on planting vineyards. The expert’s conclusion was that it was terrible soil, wrong elevation, and a host of other reasons why vineyards would never work. Yet, as God fearing men, they prayed and found this scripture:
“Again you will plant vineyards, on the hills of Samaria; The planters will plant and will enjoy them”. Jeremiah 31:5
With faith in God, a biblical promise about vineyards in Samaria and a healthy dose of Israeli chutspa (Yiddish slang term for “hardheaded nerve”) they randomly chose some grape varieties and planted some vineyards in Samaria, on the Mount of Blessing for the first time on almost 2000 years. Within a few years the vineyards exploded and the fruit was in high demand. For this reason, it was decided to begin making their own wine which soon also became wildly successful and called it Har Bracha or the Mount of Blessing vineyards.
A few years ago, after some local success, Har Bracha decided to enter a few of their wines into a 14,500 blind bottle taste test in Europe. Several categories were entered. To everyone’s surprise, Har Bracha won #2 in one category and won #3 in another, beating out famed and established wineries in France and Italy. The world loved Samaria’s wines, until politics crept in when they learned it was from “the occupied West Bank.”
During this time, a Christian organization called Hayovel connected with the vineyards and also saw a prophetic opportunity in the Scriptures found in Isaiah 61:5.
“Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks and foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.” Isaiah 61:5
Hayovel brings hundreds of Christians every year to the vineyards of Samaria during vineyard pruning, planting, and harvest time. This is done as free service and blessing to the farmers and vineyard owners in Samaria. From their selfless service, in 10 years Hayovel has seen and helped these vineyards increase by 750 percent. If you would like to personally get involved, find out more at www.hayovel.com.
For the first time since the time of Yeshua, Christians and Jews are working together and sharing Sabbath meals together in the hills of Samaria. And more importantly, the name of Yeshua is being honored and His selfless love is being demonstrated in the biblical heartland of Israel.
God is fulfilling His promises to His people Israel and the “nations” that can recognize it, have a unique opportunity to be a part of that process. Now is the time.