Christian Grape Harvesters Fulfilling Prophecy?
Volunteer harvesters from the United States and Canada, have local Jewish vintners in Samaria, otherwise known as the West Bank, wondering if not just the grapes, but also the times - are ripening.
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah predicted that close to the time of the Messiah's coming, the sons of foreigners would be their vinedressers.
"Our sages have taught us that during the times of the final redemption, which we are right now in, other nations will come to help build the land of Israel, to help the Jewish nation, to fulfill all of the prophesies," said Yonatan Behar, the spokesman for the Yeshiva Har Bracha.
Tommy Waller, a Christian from the U.S., has harvested in Samaria's vineyards for the past six years. What started out as a one-time family project has grown into Ha Yovel Ministries with more than 150 North American volunteers.
"The word of God is true and that people need to connect to it and people need to come to the land to experience the harvest," Waller said.
"We just wanted to come out here and fulfill prophecy of picking grapes. We've read the Bible, Jeremaiah and Isaiah," one harvester said.
This year, they are harvesting about 100 acres of vineyards -- the equivalent of a staggering 400,000 bottles of wine.
Israelis are saying, 'If you don't come, we're in trouble. If you don't come, these vines don't get harvested.'
Why? It's difficult to attract Israeli labour, and regular sabotage of the fields makes Jewish vintners cautious of Arab workers.
The harvesters come bringing musicians to play worship music while the grapes are gathered. At a time that Israeli Jews believe could be the final redemption before the Messiah comes, it appears that the fields are ripe and that Christians are the ones given the task to harvest.
"In the Bible, it is written that when Meshiach will come, people from all the world will come and help Israel, and we believe in it," Vered ben Sa'adon, Tura Winery and Vineyard, said.