Billionaire Bishop Edir Macedo, head of the Brazilian mega-church Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), will be laying a cornerstone in a ceremony to take place tomorrow, December 17th, at Machaneh Gilgal, located in the Jordan Valley, near Patza’el. Invitations to the private event were issued by one Roberto Grobman.
This morning one of those invitations made its way across the desk of Ellen Horowitz, JewishIsrael's Content and Research Director. A cornerstone for what exactly remains a mystery at this time, but our sources assure us that it promises to be an enormous undertaking, involving mega bucks.
Is it another $300 million project on the scale of the bigger-than-life replica of the ancient Temple of Solomon that Bishop Macedo built in São Paulo Brazil, and which Israel’s Ambassador to Brazil paid homage to? Or will it be a tourist resort, with Jewish religious themes and trappings? Or perhaps Christian ones?
For those excited about the prospect of more tourism for Israel, it should be noted that when a Pentecostal leader such as Macedo builds, it's for worship and not just tourism. And yes, UCKG is a missionary church, boasting some 12 million members world- wide. It most certainly does target Jews for conversion and seems to be especially fond of death-bed evangelism.
This Gilgal project seems to have been kept under wraps for some time but David Alchayani, the head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, seems to be bulldozing plans through. Alchayani is a Likud Central Committee member.
Forbes and Bloomberg have run features on Edir Macedo, Brazil's richest church leader and owner of Brazil's second largest broadcasting network. While these publications allude to his shady past, it is the Christian Post which cites accusations of "criminal activity, including money laundering and using church funds for his own business ventures". A 2009 article in the Guardian reported on allegations claiming Mecedo's "organisation had siphoned off billions of dollars of donations intended for charity."
JewishIsrael has concerns about a certain personality working closely with Macedo in Israel.
Why is the Jordan Valley Regional Council dealing with a mega-church, Jew-targeting missionary who in the past has been accused of major criminal activity?
This is a developing story.
UPDATE Video: Macedo lays cornerstone for a new city in Gilgal, Israel