Paul Calvert interviews Zac Waller, the executive director of HaYovel Now, about uniting Jews and Christians through volunteering on Israeli farms, and fulfilling scripture.
Paul: What is HaYovel?
Zac: HaYovel is a non-profit organisation based in the United States. We bring Christian volunteers from all over the world to help Jewish farmers in Judea and Samaria with their vineyards and olive groves.
Paul: What does HaYovel mean?
Zac: HaYovel is a Hebrew word that means the Jubilee.
Paul: When and why did HaYovel start?
Zac: Actually my father made his first trip to Israel in 2004. As a Christian it blew him away to see the land of Israel being restored. For 2000 years it laid desolate and then all of a sudden it's exploding with people and agriculture.
As a Christian and as a Bible believer my dad was blown away by that and wanted to connect to it more. He wanted to figure out what exactly what was going on and how all these miracles could be happening here in Israel. That's basically how it all started.
After that trip he knew he wanted to connect, but wasn't sure exactly what that meant or what that was going to look like. He certainly didn't realise that it was going to grow to be the largest volunteer organisation in Israel. He just knew there was something here that he needed to connect to more. So we started travelling back and forth as a family.
I actually have 10 brothers and sisters, so we have a big family. We started travelling back and forth as a family and getting to know Israel better; getting to meet the people and to know the land.
As farmers we really connected to the vineyard, the agriculture and the miracles that were bringing that back to life.
In 2007 we made HaYovel official.
It happened because we told our friends about what we were learning and experiencing. They told their friends and pretty soon we had 300 people signing up to come over. That's when we started HaYovel.
It's been crazy how much interest there has been from people wanting to come and connect to the Bible, and to the people here, and see what's really going on.
People hear all this news, but they don't really know what's going on in Israel, so we bring them here to get to know and personally experience the land.