Wednesday, December 22, 2004

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Strange Israel News from Wired: How a hologram, a blimp, and a massively multiplayer game could bring peace to the Holy Land.

Yitzhaq Hayutman holds the key to peace on Earth - it's on a floppy disk in his pants pocket. With his full white beard, bald pate, and well-pressed khakis, the 61-year-old Israeli cybernetics expert and tech investor looks like Moses done over for a Banana Republic ad. Right now, he's showing me how he wants to position an airborne hologram over the Dome of the Rock, a gold-capped shrine that's one of the most holy sites in Islam. "The blimp will go there," Hayutman says pointing into the blue. "And eventually the Messiah will come."...

As Ezrahi and Hayutman developed the game, some of that kabbalism seeped in. It's still there, in dozens of esoteric riddles and puzzles. But the Jerusalem Games System, as Hayutman now calls his project, has evolved into a cross between Myst and Doom set within the walls of old Jerusalem. Players navigate the narrow streets and bustling marketplaces trying to uncover and decipher Christian, Jewish, and Muslim scriptural clues relating to the end-times. They can choose to kill each other, but they won't be able to move to the next level if they do. The goal is to unlock the secret that will induce the coming of a messiah - whether players believe he will turn out to be the Christian Jesusx, the Jewish Moshiach, or the Muslim Mahdix.

It's possible, according to Hayutman, that the game itself may be the realization of prophecy. "The Book of Revelations describes a New Jerusalem which will encompass the entire Earth," he says, citing Revelation 21. "The online, worldwide virtual reality version of Jerusalem is the only thing that could fulfill that requirement. The digital version of the city would exist in Germany or Indonesia at the same time it exists in Jerusalem itself."...

While in Jerusalem, I make a pilgrimage to the oracle. I ask, "How will World War III begin?" Google answers with a Web site that details the struggle over the Temple Mount. Before coming here, I'd read that the Mount was a "powder keg" and "ground zero for the apocalypse." The reality is that the fuse is already burning. Every day, Jewish zealots are praying for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock, and there are legions of Muslims ready to give their lives to avenge its desecration...

It's odd, and a bit out of date (April 2004), but odd and Israel often go together. Read the whole thing...Wired Magazine Wired 12.04: Apocalypse Now

Credit to the blog HaMikdash for posting the reference.


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