Israel said it would accept no involvement by evangelist Pat Robertson in Jesusland, a biblical tourism project after he suggested that prime minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for a Gaza pull-out. Mr Robertson said on his 700 Club television show the day after Mr Sharon, 77, suffered a stroke a week ago that "he was dividing God's land and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course".
Avraham Hirschson, the Israeli tourism minister "found his remarks unacceptable", a spokesman, Jonathan Pulik, said.
The minister would deny Mr Robertson involvement in a planned $48 million Christian Heritage Centre on the shore of the biblical Sea of Galilee, Mr Pulik said. The growing importance of Christian tourism led to Israel's proposal to create a 125-acre park beside the Sea of Galilee. Mr Robertson had been one of several evangelical Christians with whom Israel had discussed the project, Mr Pulik said.