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Chilean miners visit Israel as guests of Tourism Ministry

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Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

‘Pilgrimage of Thanks’ brings the formerly trapped men to religious sites of Israel as well as tourist spots and a meeting with the president.

After two months trapped underground in a collapsed mine as the world looked on in horror, 25 of the 33 rescued Chilean miners accepted the gift of a trip to Israel.

The Israeli Ministry of Tourism paid for the miners, along with their spouses or girlfriends, to come for a tour of the religious sites and famous sightseeing spots in the Holy Land.

From playing in Dead Sea mud to walking along the Via Dolorosa and touring Christian sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Garden Tomb, the Catholic group got the VIP treatment.

In welcoming them to his residence, President Shimon Peres recited the traditional prayer of thanksgiving after a situation of great danger – particularly appropriate for a journey that had become known as a Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving.