Bishara Shlayan wants to build huge Jesus statue on Mount Precipice, near his home city in the Galilee.
Bishara Shlayan, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, is hoping to build a huge statue of Jesus on Mount Precipice, near his home city.
Shlayan told The Jerusalem Post in an interview that he has already begun fund-raising for the project and that he is getting positive feedback from the Israeli Arab Christian community as well as some Jews.
He sees the statue as being similar to but larger than the huge Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Shlayan is also looking to found a Christian Arab political party, which he says is still being sorted out, but has settled on the name "Bnei Habrit [Allies of the Covenant], the Christian party of Israel."
The party would support Israel as a Jewish state and national or army service for Arabs.
"I created the Bnei Habrit party and now I have created the Diglei Habrit [Flags of the Covenant] organization," in order to carry out the statue project, he said.
Mount Precipice, also known as Mount Kedumim, is believed by some to be the place where the people of Nazareth attempted to push Jesus off the mountain after rejecting him as the messiah. In the end he was able to jump off and disappeared, according to Christian tradition.
When Shlayan was in Jerusalem a month ago, he said he met Tourism Minister Uzi Landau by chance and asked him about the statue idea. Shlayan says that Landau said, "Start it, and we will bless it."
Shlayan is seeking a government support for the project, and says that churches are waiting for official confirmation before getting on board with the plan.
The Jewish National Fund owns the land where he wants to build, he said.
Asked about opposition, Shlayan responded, "People who are against it, it comes from jealousy."
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SOURCE: The Jerusalem Post
Ariel Ben Solomon