Haredi legislator tables bill outlawing missionaries

Evangelicals are outraged claiming the proposed bill is an affront to Christians who are supportive of Israel; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushes to post on his Twitter feed that there will not be any law against Christians

Itamar Eichner, Sivan Hilai|
United Torah Judaism lawmaker, Moshe Gafni, a senior member of the ruling coalition on Wednesday tabled a bill outlawing the approach of Jews by missionaries.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to announce there would be no such legislation in a twitter post.
    2 View gallery
    בנימין נתניהו, משה גפני
    בנימין נתניהו, משה גפני
    Moshe Gafni, Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch, Amit Shabi)
    " We will not advance any law against the Christian community," he said.
    Gafni's proposal is an addition to a law that already exists that forbids giving money or gifts in exchange for religious conversions, to now outlaw any missionary work at all, under penalty of jail.
    "There has been a recent rise in attempts by missionaries, primarily of the Christian faith, to promote religious conversions. At times, those attempts come with a promise of money or other material benefits," Gafni said. "Most such attempts concentrate on people in social and economic hardship who can be susceptible to persuasion," he said.
    The proposal raised the ire of the evangelical community, which is 600 million strong around the world and includes 60 million in the U.S. alone. Evangelicals are predominately supportive of Israel's right wing and the settlement movement.
    Christian media reported on the proposed bill and experts among Christian groups said it would be harmful to Israel's image and is a needless affront to a community that has been steadfast in its support of Israel.
    2 View gallery
    אוונגליסטים אוונגליזם סוכות
    אוונגליסטים אוונגליזם סוכות
    Evangelicals on visit to Israel
    Right-wing Newsmax quoted American Christian leaders calling for Netanyahu to block the legislation.
    Sam Brownback who served as the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, under president Donald Trump warned it was a threat to freedom of expression, human rights and religious freedom.
    After Netanyahu's statement, Gafni himself clarified that the bill was tabled at the start of each Knesset session since the 1980s and was tabled again as a matter of procedure. He said there was no intention to bring it to a vote at this time.
    The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.