Robertson Seeks Forgiveness Of Sharon's Family and Israel

Friday, January 13, 2006

After a barrage of criticism from Israeli officials, the White House and fellow evangelical Christian leaders, the Rev. Pat Robertson has apologized for suggesting that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for giving land to the Palestinians.

In a letter to the prime minister's son, Omri Sharon, Robertson asked for forgiveness from Sharon's family and the Israeli people for saying on his "700 Club" television show last week that "God has enmity against those who 'divide my land' " and "woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course."

The letter, dated yesterday, said: "My zeal, my love of Israel, and my concern for the future safety of your nation led me to make remarks which I can now view in retrospect as inappropriate and insensitive in light of a national grief experienced because of your father's illness."

After his original remarks, Israel's tourism ministry had said it would not sign a deal with Robertson to build a $50 million center for Christian pilgrims on 35 acres near the Sea of Galilee. It was unclear yesterday what effect the apology would have on the project.

-- Alan Cooperman

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