A group of Russian businesspeople including billionaire Mikhail Fridman and Skolkovo business school president Andrei Rappoport are celebrating Passover by marching through the Israeli desert to replicate the Israelites’ biblical journey through the wilderness.
The travelers set off with camels from the Arava Desert on Tuesday and will end their northward trip about 200 kilometers later in Jerusalem on Friday.
“This way the pilgrims will walk through the desert in conditions as close as possible to those of biblical times,” said a spokesman for the group, Mikhail Sazin, Interfax reported.
He said the journey would pose “a serious spiritual and physical challenge to the particpants.”The other members of the group include Otkritie co-owner Boris Mintz, gaming business and amusement industry magnate Boris Belotserkovsky, and the two top officials of the Russian Jewish Congress, Yury Kanner and Benny Briskin, who organized the trip.
Kanner said that the well-heeled travelers would live like ancient Jewish nomads, Israeli news site Izrus reported.
Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, the group will bake unleavened bread following an old recipe and participate in a Seder ceremony on Friday evening.
In the city, the Russians also will return to more familiar surroundings at the Mamilla, a luxurious hotel with views of Old City walls and other landmarks and located smack in the middle of an upscale shopping and entertainment district. Rooms start at about $400 a night, according to the hotel’s website.
The Russian businessmen are to fly back to Moscow on Sunday.
The eight-day Passover festival, which marks the biblical account of the Israelites’ flight from slavery in Egypt, begins on Friday evening and ends April 14.