The process of restoring the Jewish nation in its ancient homeland Israel is a long process. After all the Jews were scattered and homelandless for 2000 years and that cannot be undone and reversed in 64 short years.
The idea to restore the Bible to life, through a large Biblical village model, conceived as an educational theme park, was originally developed, in 1996, by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. And the best and only natural place to bring this idea to fruition is the ancient land of the Kingdom of Judea, today, the state of Israel. But then the 2nd Lebanon War broke out and the government budget for this project was frozen and the project was put on hold.
Then, in 2005 it was revived by a group of prominent Israelis who formed “Israel Bible Park” – a not-for-profit corporation. The founders include Zvi Kesseh, management consultant; Shlomo Gertner, architect and planner; Itzik Efron, educator; and Dr. Nathan Sas, city planner.
The planned location of Israel Bible Park, known also as the international and interfaith center for Bible and peace in the Land of Israel, is Emek Ha’Elah and nearby land, southwest of Bet Shemesh. Emek HaElah is best known as the place described in the Bible where the Israelites were encamped when David fought Goliath.
The Yoav Regional Council in Israel is providing the land and the management and government grants and sponsorship have begun.
- The Office of Israel’s Prime Minister is a sponsor under the project’s slogan, “Strengthening the Jewish Heritage of the Land of Israel,” with $100,000 first grant.
- Israel’s Ministry of Tourism agreed to support, but no dollar amount is known yet.
- Israel’s Ministry of Education with future grants anticipated.
To explain why such project will be a worldwide phenomenon, with a million visitors anticipated annually, I would like to digress for a moment and refer the reader to The Colonial Williamsburg, Founder John D. Rockefeller Jr., its theme is “that the future may learn from the past.”
The Colonial Williamsburg takes the visitor to the life in the 18th Century, people, places, and the making of history. It is a reenactment of the early life in America that created the Democratic Republic of the United States of America. Colonial Williamsburg is the largest tourist – international and local visitors – attraction in America. And Colonial Williamsburg will be serving as the model for Israel Bible Valley.
Israel Bible Park mission
To increase appreciation of the Bible and the relevance of its story and message for our world today.
To develop a large interactive, hands-on theme park where visitors of all ages can fully experience the Bible in the place where it originally occurred.
There are five viable reasons why Israel Bible Park, its theme is, ‘helping a new generation to re-discover the timeless truths of the Bible,’ is needed:
The Bible is the foundation of the Jewish and Christian faiths. It is the single most pervasive influence in shaping the history of the Israelites as a nation and as a people in their homeland, Israel. The Bible’s truth for guiding the lives of individuals and nations is timeless and that includes Jesus of Nazareth.
The Hebrew Bible is not only the literary and historical treasure of the Jewish nation; it is the Jews’ moral and spiritual compass, shared by more than a billion people around the world. There is no book, other than the Bible, that has influenced the course of history or inspired the lives of countless individuals throughout the ages.
*Regrettably, the Bible’s great stories have become increasingly unknown to the younger generations facing a complex and fractured world, with a myriad of confusing and conflicting voices, all are clamoring for their allegiance. The Bible can be an anchor of wisdom and counsel for the generations to come in search of truth and meaning.
Israel Bible Park will present the story of the Bible in an exciting, dramatic and innovative manner, as never before done, to enable those who visit and study there, from around the world, to understand and appreciate its messages. Israel Bible Valley’s biblical theme park and living museum will make the Bible come alive and thus will greatly motivate visitors to visit the Holy Land.
The theme park will offer audio/video interaction with international audiences who may not be able to visit the facility in Israel. Live interactive via webcams, videos of the park’s activities on the website, and DVDs will connect the viewers, youth and adult, in classrooms, synagogues, churches and community activities’ venues with on-going happenings at Israel Bible Park.
Israel Bible Park will offer a back into the past vacation experience to all. That will include, a lake for swimming, boating and fishing, amphitheatre and wide spaces for performances and festivals, as well as family recreation area.
I asked Dr. Efraim Warshaw, Director of American Friends of Israel Bible Park, why such project is relevant today?
His answer was clear: There are four targeted audiences the park is designed to appeal to:
Jews who will visit Israel from around the world. In Israel Bible Park, the deep historical connection between the Bible and the Land of Israel will become obvious, and major spiritual and ethical teachings of the Bible will be demonstrated.
Israeli Jews. Israel Bible Park will bring to life the Bible’s history, stories and legends, which they have studied throughout their school years and which give spiritual/cultural meaning to their life as Israelis. Also will provide a vivid historical perspective. The Park will offer special programs for children and youth visiting with their families, as well as educational experience for schools and youth groups.
Evangelical – and other – Christians tourists. Israel Bible Park will be portraying the Hebrew Bible as the foundation stone of Christianity and will emphasize the spiritual qualities of the Biblical heritage that Christians share with Jews.
Other tourists, who are neither Christian or Jewish. Israel Bible Park will present the Hebrew Bible as part of history, literature, law code and spiritual guide that has inspired billions of people around the world for well over 2,000 years, and continues to move large number of people on the five continents.
But this is all in hearts and minds, on paper and in the planning. Those who are excited to see Israel Bible Park become reality, please call.
People who wish to become part of this wonderful project and be a member, to include help amassing the funds needed to build it, please contact American Friends of Israel Bible Park – a not-for-profit organization – Director, Dr. Efraim Warshaw (Ben-Yakir) at [email protected] or by phone+1-818-712-9383