Amid Backlash, Netanyahu Says Israel Will Not Pass Bill to Jail Christians For ProselytizingChris Menahan
Mar. 22, 2023
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday on Twitter that Israel "will not advance any law against the Christian community," an apparent reference to Knesset members Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Asher's bill to ban preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ with jail time.
"We will not advance any law against the Christian community," Netanyahu said.
As All Israel News reported, the bill would punish those preaching the Gospel with one year in jail if they were proselytizing an adult or two years in prison if they were proselyting a minor.
Israel currently bans Christians from proselytizing minors and Netanyahu has made zero effort to repeal that law.
Moshe Gafni, one of the authors of the bill, put out a statement on Wednesday where he ran from his own bill and claimed it was meaningless and "not relevant."
Notably, Gafni said the bill was "not planned to move forward at this stage."
Gafni said in a statement released to All Israel News:
The mission bill was introduced as in every beginning of the Knesset and not promoted at this stage, so dealing with it now is not relevant.If Netanyahu actually wanted to defend Christians' rights in Israel he would be demanding the law against proselytizing children that's already on the books be repealed. The fact of the matter is Orthodox Jews believe Christian proselytizing must be illegal under Jewish law (because Christians are "idol worshipers") and they've been pushing to make it illegal for decades.
With Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews controlling the Knesset and their numbers demographically exploding due to high birthrates it's likely just a matter of time before they get their way.
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