Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov on Monday extended an official invitation to the 33 Chilean miners who were rescued last week to experience a "spiritual journey" this Christmas in the Holy Land.
The men, who were trapped underground for 68 days in a mine in Chile, are invited to Israel with their spouses for a week-long, all-expense paid sightseeing tour of various sites holy to Christianity.
"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," the tourism minister wrote in his invitation. "It would be a great honor for us to welcome you as our guests in the Holy Land."
"This December, Christians around the world – and here in the Land of Jesus - will celebrate Christmas. During that time, we welcome tens of thousands of pilgrims and we would be pleased to offer you this uplifting and extraordinary experience, as our guests."
The Tourism Ministry invitation includes flights, hotels and full board for 5-7 days, as well as sightseeing tours and visits to holy sites.
Last week, in a complicated but flawless operation under the far northern desert of Chile, the 33 miners were hauled out one-by-one through 625 meters of rock in a metal capsule little wider than a man's shoulders.
With much of the world transfixed on TV, celebrations erupted in Chile. The miners, who set a world record for survival underground, were welcomed as national heroes.
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