While Christians and Jews continue to build bridges of understanding because of our shared faith, our critics just won't stop. This is especially on display at a biblical site in the Holy Land that has sparked controversy even as it grows in popularity. AP News' Ilan Ben Zion tells us about Tel Shiloh, the site believed to be where the Ark of the Tabernacle was, which is now cared for by Israeli settlers and visited by Israel's evangelical friends:
Deep in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have transformed an archaeological site into a biblical tourist attraction that attracts tens of thousands of evangelical Christians each year.
Tel Shiloh is believed to have been the site of the biblical tabernacle, but not everyone is pleased at how the ruins are presented to visitors.
Like many Holy Land sites, Tel Shiloh sits at the confluence of competing narratives of archaeology, religion, and nationalism. Critics say the site promotes a narrow interpretation of history popular with Israeli settlers and their Christian supporters...
Because of its biblical significance, the archaeological ruins have become a pilgrimage site for evangelical Christians.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Tel Shiloh with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and settler leaders, calling it Israel’s “first capital.”
Huckabee, a television host with a strong evangelical following, tweeted that “Shiloh is proof from 3000 yrs ago this land was home to @Israel site of ancient Tabernacle.”
In 2009, Tel Shiloh hosted 30,000 visitors, 60 percent of whom identified as evangelical Christians...