JERUSALEM (LifeSiteNews) — A bill proposed by members of Israel’s majority coalition in the Knesset (parliament), which punishes anyone who shares their faith in Jesus Christ with significant prison time, will not be moving forward, according to one of its sponsors and, presumably, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As LifeSiteNews reported earlier this week, two members of Netanyahu’s tight majority coalition from the United Torah Judaism party (UTJ) are sponsors of legislation that penalizes anyone “who solicits a person, directly, digitally, by mail, or online in order to convert his religion” with “one-year imprisonment” and if the person is under 18 years of age “two years imprisonment.”
Though the legislation applies to anyone having a conversation about their faith with Israelis of a different religion, in their official explanation of the bill, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sponsors emphasized their motivation to target Christians in particular.
“Recently, the attempts of missionary groups, mainly Christians, to solicit conversion of religion have increased,” the UTJ legislators said. Such activities involve “many negative repercussions, including psychological damages, [which] warrant the intervention of the legislature.”
Jewish Evangelical Christian Joel Rosenberg wrote, “[t]he bill’s primary objective, therefore, appears to be making it illegal for followers of Jesus (‘Yeshua’ in Hebrew) to explain why they believe that Jesus is both Messiah and God with the hope that Israelis might consider following Him.”
Rosenberg, who lives in Israel, also warned that if the bill was passed not only will face-to-face communications of this type be prohibited but “producing and publishing online videos explaining the Gospel to Jewish or Muslim people in Israel – and to those of any other religious faiths – would suddenly become illegal.”
And since so many members of Netanyahu’s majority government coalition are “hardline Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jewish Knesset members” who seek to impose their theological beliefs on the entire nation, Rosenberg wrote in All Israel News that many Evangelical leaders were “very concerned this bill could pass” and actually become law.
Thus, after an aggressive campaign soliciting objections from mostly Evangelical Christian leaders, mainly in the U.S. where political perceptions of a high Christian majority (69%) are essential to the interests of the Israeli government, one of the bill’s sponsors issued a statement affirming there are no plans to advance the bill at this time, but did not exclude the possibility in the future.
Moshe Gafni, one of the UTJ sponsors of the bill, tweeted Wednesday that the bill was “placed on the Knesset table procedurally only with the convening of the current Knesset more than four months ago and is not planned to move forward at this stage.”
Ten minutes later, while not specifically referring to Gafni’s bill, Netanyahu issued a separate generalized statement, tweeting, “We will not advance any law against the Christian community.”
לא נקדם שום חוק נגד הקהילה הנוצרית.
We will not advance any law against the Christian community.
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) March 22, 2023
The prime minister did not treat the objection that the bill itself is neutral toward all religions and it is only the sponsors’ official explanation that issues a complaint about Christian evangelization and thus the proposed law in and of itself would therefore not specifically be “against the Christian community.”
Despite such assurances, Christian bishops in the Holy Land have routinely and diligently attempted to raise awareness among fellow Christians in the United States and around the world that the Israeli government has, in many ways, acted in a discriminatory way against them, explicitly in their laws and at least in their failure to prosecute Jewish terrorist crimes against them.
READ: Orthodox patriarchate condemns ‘Israeli radicals’ for attacking bishop, priest at Church of Gethsemane
In December 2021, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant leaders in the Holy Land sounded an alarm with a formal letter addressing “countless incidents of physical and verbal assaults against priests and other clergy, attacks on Christian churches, with holy sites regularly vandalized and desecrated, and ongoing intimidation of local Christians.”
They called these terrorist tactics “a systematic attempt to drive” Christians “out of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land” while lamenting with “grave concern” how “the declared commitment of the Israeli government to uphold a safe and secure home for Christians in the Holy Land … is betrayed by the failure of local politicians, officials and law enforcement agencies to curb the [violent] activities of radical groups.”
In 2015, Fr. Jamal Khader Daibes, who is now a vicar bishop for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, expressed “concern about the rise of Jewish extremism, manifested by the recurrence of attacks and acts of vandalism against Christian and Muslim places of worship.”
“These attacks worry us, but even more the impunity of perpetrators. These criminals are known to the authorities but are not prosecuted,” the priest explained.
Americans are familiar with this dynamic as well due to the tactics of a globalist financier who in 1930 was born George Schwartz but later had his name changed to George Soros. While simultaneously funding Black Lives Matter terrorists who committed enormous crimes in 2020, the billionaire also backed the election of corrupt prosecutors who refused to prosecute these crimes.
This resulting two-tier justice system is also dramatically manifested by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice, which through terrorist tactics pursues the full prosecution of non-crimes by pro-life activists like Mark Houck while essentially ignoring over 125 pro-abortion terrorist attacks on churches, pro-life organizations, and people since May 2022.
READ: Catholic leaders in Holy Land decry escalating Jewish attacks against Christians, shrines
Observing this similar situation of Jewish terrorists in the Holy Land, Fr. Daibes asked, “What is the rule of law in Israel, and especially, for whom?”
As if to answer this question in 2018, the Jewish majority in the Knesset passed the equivalent of a U.S. constitutional amendment that, as described by the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, “legislated that the people whose ‘welfare and safety’ it is most concerned to promote and protect are limited to the Jewish citizens of the State of Israel.”
This “law promotes an inherent discriminatory vision” against the minority Arab population, including Catholics and other Christians who “are profoundly rooted in this land,” the bishops wrote. While contradicting “international laws and conventions to which Israel is a signatory,” the law clearly lays out “principles according to which Jewish citizens are to be privileged over and above other citizens.”
Netanyahu, who as prime minister oversaw the passage of the new Basic Law, later affirmed to an Israeli television host that “Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the nation-state law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people — and them alone.”
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