The man behind Shavei Norway, Arvid Bjerga
Shavei Israel works with many communities around the world, which is made possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff and volunteers. On the flip side, there are also many communities that work with Shavei, including in Scandinavia. One of our most dedicated supporters is Arvid Bjerga, who set up Shavei Israel’s Norwegian branch about a year ago.
Arvid Bjerga grew up in a deeply Christian Zionist home in Norway. He grew up learning about Jewish history, the Holocaust, and the birth of the State of Israel. As a child, his grandfather told him stories and prophecies about the Jews returning to Zion and rebuilding the nation. He grew up with a feeling of fascination and excitement around it.
“Zionism, either based on the Bible or in ‘reality,’ is a human rights movement. Even as an atheist, you can see the right for a people to rebuild on the land from where they were once expelled. With the Jewish people’s tragic history, it is only right for them to be able to build up again as a nation, and the land is at the heart of the nation,” says Arvid.
Arvid’s interest and understanding of the Jewish people’s history runs deep, and in the late 80’s he lived and worked in a kibbutz in northern Israel. There, he not only read many books about the modern Zionist movement but about the story of the Ethiopian Jews and the Bnei Menashe of northeastern India, which sparked his interest for “exotic” Jews and rekindled his interest in the lost tribes of Israel and the prophecies he grew up hearing about.
In 2018, Arvid came back to Israel for a visit and connected with Shavei Israel, which specializes in bringing “lost” and “hidden” Jews from around the world back to their heritage and to the State of Israel. He met with Founder and Chairman Michael Freund, and they decided to go ahead and start up a Shavei Israel branch in Norway.
To this day, Arvid speaks to Christian and Zionist audiences in Norway about antisemitism, the lost tribes of Israel and their return, and his work with Shavei Israel. Thanks to Arvid’s work, Shavei Norway has a growing base of 600+ followers online, and many offline supporters and donors as well.
Arvid Bjerga and his work tell a truly remarkable story about what an individual’s passion can do with and for the nation of Israel.
To start a local chapter of Shavei Israel in your community contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.