Daniel Rona BioDaniel Rona was born in Israel, and raised in the United States. He is an American, an Israeli, a Mormon and a Jew. His training, along with his LDS background and years of experience living in Israel, gives him extraordinary qualities as a Holy Land tour guide. He is the only LDS licensed guide in Israel.
Daniel Rona was born in 1941 in Israel. His German-Jewish parents separately fled the Holocaust, then met and married in the British Mandate of Palestine where Daniel was born. Daniel spent his first years in Israel then later went to New York City with his father. As a child, Daniel was brought up with Jewish traditions and holiday keeping. Daniel's grandparents were killed at Auschwitz. Daniel's father was searching for answers to the reason six-million Jews could have been allowed to perish without, at least, a warning from God. He found the profound message of living prophets at an LDS Ward, which was meeting in a synagogue in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Manhattan. He was impressed that becoming an LDS member was a fulfilling step in his Jewish life.
Daniel and his father moved to Salt Lake City, where Daniel grew up as a Mormon, but still keeping his Jewish identity. After serving a successful mission in Germany, Daniel had the opportunity to visit his mother, Kitty, and step-father, Zvi Tohar, in Israel. Captain Tohar was famous because he was the Israeli pilot who flew Adolph Eichman, the holocaust war criminal, to Israel for trial.
Apostle Ezra Taft Benson asked Daniel to report on his mission, and more importantly, his Israel experiences, at LDS Headquarters in Salt Lake City.
After his mission, Daniel met Marilyn Minardi (who had also accepted the gospel). They married and now have five children, three born in the U.S. and two born in Israel.
Daniel began a successful career in broadcasting the U.S. In 1967 the "Six-Day War" in Israel had a great emotional impact on Daniel, and in 1973, when the "Yom Kippur War" broke out, Daniel still avoided contact with any news media because he found it hard to deal with the "pull to return to Israel." But the "pull" came anyway! Marilyn was supportive. It wasn't easy, but by August 1974, they had moved their family to Israel.
New immigrants to Israel usually get some kind of financial aid, but someone had told the immigration authorities that Daniel's association with Mormons somehow "negated his genes" which meant he was not accepted as a returning citizen of Israel. This meant that he couldn't be employed in Israel and receive the usual government support for immigrants. Luckily, Daniel had packed tools, paint brushes and rollers in his suitcases. And Daniel worked at odd jobs and was able to support his family without any governmental assistance. Eventually he was accepted as a returning Jew and a full Israeli Citizen.
Daniel saw that Latter-day Saint tourists coming to Israel desired to experience the spirit of the land and learn more of the cultures and traditions of their brothers and sisters of the House of Israel. Unfortunately, they were often disappointed. So they often sought Daniel's insights because he is a native Jew and a Mormon. These experiences prompted Daniel to become serious about providing a professional, as well as spiritually oriented, touring experience for Latter-day Saints and others. This career change came, along with a 'peace of mind and heart,' as he was accepted by the Ministry of Tourism Course for Guides at the Hebrew University. After two years of study and training Daniel became the first, and is still the ONLY LDS licensed guide and tour operator in Israel.
Special relationships were formed with hotels, bus drivers, caterers, airlines in Israel and the U.S. In more than twenty-four years of service, Daniel has toured tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints. His success has been based primarily by 'word of mouth,' referrals from those touring with him. He has also created a major television production of six half-hour programs that highlight the beauty, geography, history, and most important, the spirit of Israel.
Daniel has had many responsibilities as teacher, counselor and in various presidencies in the Jerusalem Branch and District. He has founded the Ensign Foundation, a charitable, nonprofit organization that fosters bridges of understanding and exchanges of science and technologies as well as cultural and religious ideas between Israel and other nations and peoples. This foundation, among other things, is funding Daniel's various speaking engagements throughout the world. The foundation has also been involved in archeological digs, scientific and medical research, and other activities in harmony with its mission.
Daniel Rona is an American and an Israeli, a Mormon and a Jew. He was born in Israel, and raised in the United States. He was educated in America, became a Latter-day Saint, and worked as a successful radio broadcaster. Then in 1974 he returned to his Israel homeland with his wife and children. He decided to become a licensed tour guide in Israel, and completed the extensive two year government training program at Hebrew University. Thus he became the ONLY LDS licensed guide in Israel (Israeli law requires that all tours have a licensed guide). Daniel Rona's training, along with his comprehensive LDS background and years of experience living in Israel, gives him extraordinary qualities as a tour guide. Because of these qualifications and his personable nature, his tours are very popular, and he has guided more Latter-day tours in the Holy Land than all the other tour operators, universities and travel agencies put together.
Daniel and his wife and children live in Jerusalem and Salt Lake City.