The Jerusalem Municipality has authorized the temporary establishment of an Evangelical Christian center for worship on the Mount of Olives for the benefit of those visiting the Holy Land, according to the city and the organizer.
The center, a large prayer tent, will be established at the end of March behind the Seven Arches Hotel on the Mount of Olives facing the Temple Mount.
A provisional permit for the site has been approved by the city for March and April, with possibility of renewal for two additional months, a city spokeswoman said Thursday.
The prayer tent, the brainchild of a Jerusalem-based Evangelical Christian leader who is directly involved in contacts between Asian Evangelical Christians and the Holy Land, will be able to host up to 500 people at a time.
A group of 300 Korean Christians is the first slated to use the center at the end of next month.
Its establishment comes at a time of burgeoning ties between Israel and the predominantly pro-Israel Evangelical Christian community around the world.
The prayer tent, which will measure 25 by 10 meters and five meters high, will have as its motif the 12 tribes of Israel.
The Seven Arches is an Arab-owned hotel and the prayer tent is likely to provide a further boost in the number of Christian tourists visiting the Mount of Olives, holy to both Judaism and Christianity.
Organizers hope that the center will become a permanent fixture and that the city will extend the interim permit.
Last year, the government announced plans to create a multimillion dollar Christian Heritage Center in the Galilee which will include a theme park, an auditorium and an outdoor theater.
Israel hopes to attract more than a million pilgrims every year to the park, which will be built near the Sea of Galilee close to sites where Jesus lived and preached.
Feb. 12, 2006