[AN] Le parc a thème biblique loin de faire l'unanimité !

Publié le par parcattractions.fr

Israeli biblical theme park plans in doubt

Plans to build a biblical theme park on the shores of the Sea of Galilee today appeared to have collapsed after Israel refused to do business with Pat Robertson, the project's main backer.

The US evangelist angered the Israeli government when, a day after Ariel Sharon had suffered a huge stroke, he said the Israeli prime minister was experiencing divine retribution for the withdrawal of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip.

"He was dividing God's land, and I would say: 'Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course', he told viewers of his long-running television show. "God says: 'This land belongs to me, and you'd better leave it alone'."

Avi Hartuv, a spokesman for Israel's tourism minister, said officials were furious about the remarks.

"We will not do business with him - only with other evangelicals who don't back these comments," he said. "We will do business with other evangelical leaders, friends of Israel, but not with him."

Mr Robertson's theme park proposal put him at the head of group of evangelicals who pledged to raise $50m (£28.4m) to build the Christian Heritage Centre in Israel's northern Galilee region.

The 125 acre site the evangelicals wanted is close to key Christian sites such as Capernaum, the Mount of the Beatitudes and Tabgha, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where the gospels say Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fish.

Under a tenative agreement, Mr Robertson's group was to put up the funding, with Israel to provide the land and infrastructure. Israeli officials believed the park presented a lucrative opportunity to attract an estimated one million pilgrims a year.

The tourism minister, Avraham Hirschson, is one of Mr Sharon's biggest supporters and was a founder of the prime minister's centrist Kadima party.

Mr Hartuv, his spokesman, left the door open to continuing the project with financial backers who repudiated Mr Robertson's statement.

"Those that publicly support Ariel Sharon's recovery ... are welcome to do business with us," he said. "We have to check this very, very carefully."

Mr Robertson - who has previously called on the US to assassinate the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez - was criticised for his comments about Mr Sharon by other Christian leaders and the US president, George Bush.

The theme park project underlines the way in which ties between Israel and evangelical Christian groups that support the Jewish state have strengthened in recent years.

The US Christian right - best known for television evangelism and its stars such as Mr Robertson and Jerry Falwell - has been among the strongest supporters of Israel.

Not all Israelis welcomed the theme park project, with some fearing that the ultimate aim of the evangelicals was the conversion of the Jews to Christianity rather than support for Israel.

Fundamentalist Christians believe that in order for Jesus to return, two preconditions are Jewish control of the land of Israel and the conversion of the Jews to Christianity.

Source : The guardian

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