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Although many can’t travel abroad due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions, Christians can have a taste of the Holy Land delivered to them this Christmas season, and at the same time, support struggling Israeli businesses as thousands have closed due to declining tourism.

The quarterly Artza subscription gift boxes provide customers with nine artisanal goods from the Holy Land and the stories behind them as well as provide a source of revenue for Israeli businesses and charities.

The past 20 months have been “brutal” on Israeli small businesses, Itai Schimmel, the founder of Artza, told The Christian Post in a recent interview. Over 40,000 businesses have been forced to close permanently and an additional 20,000-plus have had to close temporarily…

Borders into Israel have been closed for almost two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cities of Bethlehem and Nazareth, which usually host tourists all year round, particularly during the Christmas season, have struggled with “zero source of income.”

“Over 70% of both Bethlehem and Nazareth inhabitants’ businesses rely on tourism. To see the Bethlehem markets empty for a second year in a row is truly heartbreaking,” the Israeli resident stressed.

Artza gift boxes are meant to help local artisans stay afloat. The boxes contain food, crafts, and other items made by Israeli artisans. To date, Artza has helped over 42 small businesses and seven charities. Subscribers have raised over $1.2 million for small businesses.

“Helping small businesses and charities is one of our two core missions at Artza,” Schimmel said. “With every box, we source products from a different region or city in Israel and source the most beautiful hand-crafted gifts, ceramics, foods, spices art and more from the local small businesses and charities that bring that city to life.”

“Our other core mission is to bring the stories of the Bible to life, to connect our subscribers to their faith, to the places, stories, characters and Land of the Bible,” he added.

Every box brings another region to subscribers, allowing them to visualize, taste, feel, smell each region. Accompanied with photography and stories, each box teaches the history of each region and alludes to Scripture related to those regions.

“It is a box with meaning. So that next time you read the Bible, you can say, ‘Hey, I know this place. I have experienced it myself.’” Schimmel stated.

Pray for the small businesses effected by Covid in the comments!

(Excerpt from The Christian Post. Photo Credit: Unsplash)


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