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More than 6,000 Christian pilgrims from some 100 countries are set to arrive in Jerusalem this week ahead of the 38th annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration hosted by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).
The event, which runs this year from Oct. 6-11, is the "largest annual Christian gathering in Israel," David Parsons, vice president and senior spokesman for ICEJ, told JNS.org.
According to ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler, the event is expected to see its largest crowd ever this year, drawing Christians to the Holy Land for a "dynamic worship experience."
"There also is the added attraction of celebrating the 50-year jubilee of a reunited Jerusalem, and this means we are truly in for a banner Feast," said Bühler.
The event commences Oct. 6 with an outdoor meal and concert at the Ein Gedi nature reserve near the Dead Sea. The Feast then moves to Jerusalem throughout the remainder of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, with most activities taking place in capital's Pais Arena.
"For most of the pilgrims," Parsons said, "the biggest highlight is the march through the streets of Jerusalem," which sees thousands of evangelical Christians walk in solidarity with the Jewish state alongside Israelis.
Many old-timers recall the feast's trademark march through the streets of Jerusalem when few took notice of the visitors' walking by. But in recent years, the event has been embraced by Jerusalem's Jewish residents, thousands of whom line the streets to cheer on the massive outpouring of tourists, exchanging greetings, "thank-yous" for coming to Israel, national flags and a lot of good feelings.
The Feast concludes with a prayer ceremony hosted at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem's Old City.
Despite anti-Israel pushes at the United Nations, Evangelical Christian support has remained steady and organizations such as Christians United For Israel (CUFI) has seen it's membership grow to over 3.2 million in just 11 years.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised Christian evangelicals as Israel's best friends in the world.