A Swedish solidarity flotilla has arrived in Israel, kicking off a series of pro-Israel celebrations.  

By: Ilanit Chernick/TPS and United with Israel Staff

A flotilla standing in solidarity with Israel, which set sail from Sweden just over a month ago, arrived at Herzliya Marina on Israel’s coast on Thursday afternoon.

Its aim: To express support for Israel and present the “other” Sweden.

“On the ship are about fifty Evangelical Christians,” explained former Israeli ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman.

Swedish businessman Stefan Abrahamsson, a devout Christian who considers himself an Israel supporter, decided to sail his own boat to express solidarity with Israel and in an effort to show a different Sweden.

The ship, named the Elida, will remain at the Herzliya port in the coming days and will be open to the general public, who will be invited aboard to enjoy light refreshments and Swedish music.

The Elida was met by the Israeli navy and a flotilla of Israeli yachts and escorted to the escort it into Herzliya Marina.

The Foreign Ministry hosted the delegation for a lunch in Jerusalem on Sunday, with the participation of the Swedish ambassador.

During their stay in Israel, the members of the flotilla are visiting the Technion in Haifa, and the ship will be anchored at the Ashdod Port from Tuesday.

Bachman described the flotilla “as a solidarity with Israel marine voyage” carrying “Swedes who love Israel.”

“In a political-social climate there, in which it is not common to cry out loud strong support for Israel, they proudly do that,” he added.

The Elida is a refreshing change, as Sweden is usually the port of origin for anti-Israel flotillas which sail for Israel to challenge its sovereignty and express solidarity with the Palestinians.

In July, the Israeli Navy stopped a boat flying the Swedish flag that tried to break through to the Gaza Strip,  and arrested 12 foreign nationals on board.