(JNS.org) An Israeli Christian leader is planning to erect a 100-foot Jesus statue in Nazareth.
Bishara Shylan, a merchant seaman from Nazareth, said he hopes to erect the statue on Mount Precipice, a 1296-foot mountain overlooking Nazareth that the Christian Bible considers to be the site where the “Rejection of Jesus” occurred.
Shlyan is concerned that Nazareth is losing its Christian identity, and hopes that the statue will restore the city’s connection to the childhood home of Jesus.
“Slowly, but surely, the Christian identity in Nazareth is beginning to disappear,” Shylan told Fox News. Shylan noted that in Nazareth’s main square, there are now signs that read, “There is no power but Allah.”
Nazareth has seen a sharp decline in its Christian population, with Muslims now comprising nearly 70 percent of its 80,000 residents. The plan for a Jesus statue was endorsed by Israeli Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, who told Shylan he should “start it, and we will bless it.”
In addition to the Nazareth statue, Shylan has been active in creating an Israeli-Arab Christian political party called B’nei Habrit. Along with Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest, Shylan has sought to encourage Christian participation in the Israeli army.
“Christians, who live here, need to donate and to contribute, not just in talk, but with action… We live here, and this country protects us, therefore we need to protect it,” Nadaf recently told JNS.org.