Tourism, faith and politics in the Holy Land: An ideological analysis of evangelical pilgrimage

Yaniv Belhassen, Jonathan Ebel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This article aims to enhance the discussion of the role of ideology in the development of tourism practices through a closer examination of the case of Christian pilgrimage. The analysis focuses on the theo-political ideology of Christian Zionism and its roles and manifestations in the context of evangelical pilgrimages to Israel. Findings suggest that ideological dynamics within the development of these tours can be discussed by distinguishing between four tourism actors, namely, ideological organizations, tour organizers, Israeli officials, and the tourists. We suggest that these actors can be differentiated from each other in accordance with their ideological roles and orientations. Additionally, by demonstrating the similar utilization of pilgrimage by theo-political opponents of Christian Zionism, such as Sabeel and FOSNA, this article illustrates how pilgrimage to the Holy Land has become an arena for competition between these two rival ideologies within the Evangelical movement. The article concludes with a discussion on the role of pilgrimages to Israel as a platform through which theo-political ideologies are manifested, distributed, utilized, and consumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-378
Number of pages20
JournalCurrent Issues in Tourism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 7 Sep 2009


  • Ideology
  • Israel
  • Politics
  • Religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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