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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In an effort to connect with Israel both spiritually and physically, tens of thousands of Christians across the globe have watched live webcasts of Jerusalem holy sites on the Internet since the free service was launched several months ago, the head of a new Christian on-line broadcast provider said Friday.
More than 30,000 people have viewed the webcasts on www.ipraytv.com since its launch four months ago during the Feast of the Tabernacles/Succot, said Mike Peros, founder and CEO of IPrayTV.
The site, which rose to prominence after its live webcasts of Christmas in Bethlehem, has attracted Christians of various denominations as well as some believers of other faiths, although the majority of viewers were evangelical Christians, he said.
The service's launch, which was featured at this month's annual National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, came amid burgeoning relations between Israel and evangelical Christians around the world.
"The site is the only provider of Internet broadcast services to faith-based organizations linking ministries to the holy sites through simulcast, allowing people to connect with the Holy Spirit from the center of the universe live from Jerusalem and the Holy sites via live video streaming," the Web site says.
The broadcaster offers live webcasts of nine Holy Land locations, including the Mount of Olives.
The Web site, which requires a one-time free membership registration, aims to include live video streams of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Garden Tomb ahead of Easter.
"Jerusalem, according to scriptures, is at the center of the universe," Peros said. "It is important for people to see the very origin of Western civilization based on the Bible."
Peros, who came up with the initiative after attending a biblical study program at the Hebrew University, said that hardly any of IPrayTV's viewers had ever been to Israel.
"Our goal is to expand this service even further so that millions of people from around the world pray for the peace of Jerusalem at the same time," he said.