A theme park for the Holy Land?
American Evangelicals and Israeli officials plan to unveil this month a $60 million park where Jesus walked.
By Ilene R. Prusher | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
JERUSALEM – Officials in Israel say that out of about 2 million people who will realize their dream of visiting the Holy Land this year, more than half will be Christian. And among those, more than half will be Evangelical.
With that in mind, the Israeli ministry of tourism has gone public with a plan to build - in partnership primarily with American Evangelical churches - a sprawling Holy Land Christian Center on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee, home to some of the most notable chapters in Jesus' ministry. The center, to be built on approximately 125 acres that the Israeli government is offering free of cost, would be a Christian theme park and visitors' center, one that would be particularly attractive to Evangelicals and other Christians who want to spend more time in the places where Jesus walked.
Highlights may include a Holy Bible Garden, full of plants and trees mentioned in the New Testament, and equipped with quiet sites for reflection and prayer. A Sea of Galilee Amphitheater will overlook the mouth of the Jordan River and hold 1,500-2,000 worshippers. And the park will have a Christian Experience Auditorium and a Multimedia Center. The center would also feature an online broadcast center, which would give religious leaders an opportunity to address their followers back home, live, near the tranquil blue waters of the Sea of Galilee (which today is considered a lake).
This seems kind of goofy to me, but I guess they think there's a market for it. I hope they're right that it won't degenerate into a Disneyland.