This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
A colleague of mine at the bank recently returned from a guided tour of Israel. He was so enthused and excited about the trip and the very special guide he enjoyed, that I thought I should find out a little more about the knowledgeable and dynamic leader. His name is Daniel Rona and his tour is called "Israel Revealed."
Daniel Rona was born in 1941. His German-Jewish parents had fled the Holocaust, then met and married in the British Mandate of Palestine where Daniel was born. Daniel spent his first years growing up in Israel and then went to New York City with his father when his parents separated.
As a child, Daniel was brought up in his Jewish heritage, traditions and holiday observance. He and his father were introduced to the Latter-day Saints at a once Jewish synagogue in Manhattan. They moved to Salt Lake City where Daniel grew up keeping his Jewish individuality.
He served as an LDS missionary for two and a half years, and upon his return, he married Marilyn Minardi. Daniel had a successful career in broadcasting but in 1967, the Six-Day War in Israel had a profound impact on the young man. In 1973, the Yom Kippur War broke out and a strong emotional pull drew Daniel, his wife and their children to Israel.
While living and working in Israel, Daniel noticed the great many Latter-day-Saint tourists in the Holy Land. Being a local resident and ethnically rooted in Israel, he became serious about providing a professional and spiritually-oriented touring experience for those visiting his homeland.
After two years of study and training, Daniel became the first and remains the only licensed LDS guide and tour operator in Israel. His tours developed into a regular program, with mainly LDS guests arriving almost every week. In addition to the tours, he founded The Ensign Foundation, a charitable, nonprofit organization that fosters bridges of understanding and exchanges of science and technology, as well as cultural and educational ideas between the Israelis and Latter-day Saints.
I very much enjoyed my visit with Daniel in his Salt Lake City office. It was very quickly obvious why my friend enjoyed his Holy Land experience so very much.
For Zions Bank, I’m Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.