At a ceremony at Yad Vashem, the 1950’s American singer/songwriter presented the original lyrics to “This Land Is Mine” made famous by ‘Exodus’ film. (Clip included)
One of the biggest chart-toppers of the late 1950s, Boone – who recently announced a new venture to sell small plots of land in the Galilee to Christian Zionists in the United States – is here as part of a delegation led by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
The singer will present the Christmas card to Shaya Ben- Yehuda, managing director of the International Relations Division at Yad Vashem, during a ceremony scheduled for Wednesday.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, the 78-yearold Boone, who is famous for his renditions of songs such as “I Almost Lost My Mind,” said that while he had been raised in a conservative Christian household that looked down on other religious groups, he had grown to love the Jewish people and considered himself, as a believing Christian, to be part of the Jewish nation.
He said that officials at Yad Vashem had told him they wanted “every child” in Israel to learn the words to his song, which professes love for and ownership of the Land of Israel.
As part of the Jewish collective, and especially as the writer of “This Land Is Mine,” he said, he wanted to buy a plot of land in the Galilee that could be his in a real, rather than an emotional, sense.
This and a conversation with some Israeli friends led to the idea of selling 1-inchsquare plots and their GPS coordinates to American supporters of Israel in order to give them a stake in the land.
Even though most of those who buy will not come in person, he said, “you can go online and see it through Google Maps.” Those who do come in person can use their personal GPS units to find their spot and stand on it.
Boone said the Galilee region, between Nazareth and Lake Kinneret, was his favorite place in Israel because “Jesus as a young man walked between the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth,” and the plots are situated where he passed.
He also said that several Israeli charities would receive somewhere between 20 percent and 30% of the proceeds from the land sales, though final details have yet to be determined.
The singer said it was only recently that he had understood the biblical passage in which God tells the prophet Jeremiah to buy a plot of land in Israel despite the impending Babylonian exile.
“Why would God tell him to do such a thing?” he asked. “He’s never going to see it. Why buy it? The land will be desolate.”
But the biblical account, he went on, indicated a promise by God that the Jewish people would return to that land.
“I think that this is a sure way for Christians by the millions, evangelicals, who do believe God’s promises – that God has brought the people of Israel back, never to be removed again – to make a commitment. That’s what we’re doing and are urging others to do.”
One of his Israeli friends gave a deed for a parcel to one executive from a Christian television network interested in becoming a partner in the enterprise.
“He went there and came back very enthused. ‘I own this piece of land,’” Boone recounted before breaking into a rendition of “This Land Is Mine.”