Israel is the last nation in the Mideast (Lebanon to a degree) that allows Christians to practice their faith. An Israeli Arab Christian named Bishara Shlayan wants to build a statute of Jesus In Nazareth. It will be modeled on the Christ the Redeemer statue In Rio de Janiero. He also is creating a new Christian Arab Party that supports Israel.
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.
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.”
Asked if there is opposition based on religious grounds, he said there are some Muslims and Jews that are not too pleased with the idea.
On the streets of Nazareth, one can hear Muslim opposition to the plan, he said, and some of the supporters of the new Muslim mayor, Ali Salam, said they would prefer a statue of the mayor rather than of Jesus.
“I don’t believe in statues, but it is a symbol of love and peace,” Shlayan said.
Shlayan is also seeking the support of international Christian organizations.
Regarding his political party, he said he is ready to register the party, but is waiting for more donations, since once he registers the amount donors can give is restricted.
The plan for the statue “could help the party,” he said adding that it would bring more Christian support.
I hope he succeeds with his project.