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(photo credit: AP - File)
Israel is rethinking its decision to cancel a potential $50 million contract with Pat Robertson after the evangelical broadcaster apologized for suggesting that Ariel Sharon's stroke was punishment from God for the disengagement from Gaza, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The change of heart came after Robertson sent a letter to Omri Sharon expressing regret for his remarks and reportedly made an apology on television, radio and on his Web site.
Tourism Ministry spokesman Ido Hartuv told the Post that Robertson has also indirectly requested that Tourism Minister Avraham Hirchson deliver a letter of apology to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on his behalf.
"We recognize that such a public apology is not an easy thing for anyone to do," Hartuv said. "We know also that Robertson is a friend and a strong supporter of Israel." Hirchson will make his decision about resuming ties with Robertson in the coming days.
The two were soon to sign a deal committing the government to provide the land and infrastructure for a Christian Heritage Center in the Galilee, while Robertson would head a group of evangelical leaders to raise the money, but Hirchson pulled the plug on the agreement in protest over Robertson's comments.
The charismatic broadcaster subsequently sent a letter to [Omri] Sharon asking forgiveness for the comments,
The project, slated for completion around 2011, is expected to bring an additional 750,000 visitors to Israel annually.