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Israel's persecution of Christians - time for EU action


Dame_Enda

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Supporter's of Israel call it "the only democracy in the region". Israel's supporters in the West (especially but not exclusively the US) more often than not are devout Christians who take a literalist interpretation of the Biblical Old Testament references to "Israel". Israel signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 18 states: “Everyone has the right to...change his religion...and freedom...to manifest his religion or beliefs in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” This makes their religious tolerance or otherwise the business of the international community.

But how would/do these Christians feel about Israel if they knew about their persecution of Christians? The offending law is penal law 5737-1977. It is high time the EU and UN took up the issue. We should not have an EU Association agreement giving Israel access to the Single Market to a state that denies the world's largest denomination its right to practice and promote its religion. And I say that as an agnostic.
If Americans Knew said:
Ted Pike
National Prayer Network
June 5, 2008

A Christian student was scheduled for deportation from Israel June 30 because the government accused her of “missionary work.” Roused by police at 6:30 a.m., German grad student Barbara Ludwig was taken to prison and told she must leave Israel by May 30. Haaretz says she “denied being a missionary, although she admits contact with Messianic Jews.”

“They may have seen me at some meetings of the Messianic Jews,” Barbara said. “I go around with Jews, with Christians, and with Messianics, and I read books about Christianity. So what? That’s no reason to deport me.”

Haaretz reports, "Michael Decker, Ludwig’s lawyer, said a hearing held on her case in 2004 in the Interior Ministry was a “humiliating religious interrogation” including asking her whether she believed Jesus was the Messiah.”

Calev Meyers, a lawyer representing Messianic Jews, indicated Ms. Ludwig is accused of violating Criminal Code Sec. 170 and 172 [of penal law 5737-1977]. This law bans speaking publicly in a way that is offensive to people of any religion. The law also says it is illegal to actively convince a minor to convert to another religion, or to pay someone to convert. (See, Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2008, “Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor: I’m Sorry About Burning New Testaments.”)
“Intolerance” in Israel

Israel signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 18 states: “Everyone has the right to...change his religion...and freedom...to manifest his religion or beliefs in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Avraham Benjamin, Israel’s First Secretary (Information) said in 1980 that Israel is a “country universally known for its religious freedom, tolerance, and plurality of views...”

Obviously, such “respect for diversity” no longer exists in Israel, if it ever did. There is much more freedom to witness for Christ in countries of the former Soviet Union, where evangelical Christianity flourishes. In the coldest part of the Cold War, Billy Graham was invited to hold crusades in some of these countries. But never in Israel.

Evangelicals fantasize that Israel is turning to Christ. Statistics prove otherwise: In 1920, nearly 12 percent of the inhabitants of Palestine were Christian. But, largely as a result of decades of consistent unpublicized government persecution, Israel’s population of Christians had shrunk to 2.1 percent in 2004.

Anti-Christianity in Israel increases. (See, Christians in Israel: An Endangered Species) Legislation now pends in Knesset that would not just deport but could imprison Christians such as Barbara Ludwig. It says, “Whoever...publicizes things in which there is an inducement to religious conversion is punishable by - one year imprisonment.” (1) This is exactly what Jesus prophesied would happen in the last days. Jewish leaders “...will deliver you up to the courts, and scourge you in the synagogues.” (Matthew 10:17)
Blind Loyalty to Israel

When will evangelicals face the fact that they are helping build up a Christian-persecuting totalitarian regime, not a democracy? One would think that if fellow evangelicals began to be imprisoned in Israel it might get them thinking. Maybe not. Already, hundreds of New Testaments have been burned in Israel.(See, Israel: A History of Hate Crimes) Would evangelicals reevaluate their unconditional support if Christians were being burned?

That’s a good question. In 1948 “Israel-first” evangelicals only praised Israel as she drove tens of thousands of Christian Palestinians from their homes in Israel to be imprisoned in squalid refugee camps for generations. (See, Why The Mideast Bleeds) They praised Israel in 1982 and 2006 as she killed thousands of Bible-believing Christians through horrific saturation bombing in Lebanon. Right now, they praise Israel as Messianic Christians are daily persecuted in southern Israel. American evangelicals and the government of Israel look on, doing nothing.

Such evangelicals are certainly consistent.

They are consistently more loyal to Israel than to the Christians she oppresses.Endnotes:

1. Here is the actual text of Israel’s proposed anti-missionary law:

Proposed Law of the Knesset members: Moshe Gafni Nissim Zvili P/950
Proposed Penal Law (amendment--possession, printing, reproduction, dissemination, distribution, and importation of publications to induce [SEE FOOTNOTE #1] religious conversion). 5757--1996
1. After paragraph 174B to the Penal Law 5737--1977 [SEE FOOTNOTE #2] would come:
Prohibition of inducement for religious conversion 174C
A) Whoever possesses contrary to the law or prints or reproduces or disseminates or distributes or imports tracts or publicizes things in which there is an inducement to religious conversion is punishable by -- one year imprisonment.
B) Any tract or publication in which there is inducement to religious conversion will be confiscated.

My friend Stan Rittenhouse, in his book, “For Fear of the Jews,” summarizes Israel’s original anti-missionary law. Because of its severity and potential to offend evangelicals, this law has not been enforced to the point of imprisoning Christians. It does, however, provide a precedent and pattern for more recent laws.

The Penal Law Amendment (Enticement to Change Religion) - law, 5738-1977, was passed by the Knesset during Christmas week (December 27, 1977) and went into effect Easter week (April 1, 1978). Violation of this law is a criminal offense, punishable by five years in prison or a fine of 50,000 Israeli pounds (or the equivalent in shekels). The above applies to those attempting to convert someone to their faith if a material benefit is offered. The State of Israel is not as harsh on those converted: Their sentence is three years in prison or a 30,000 Israeli-pound fine. The law reads:

1. Whosoever gives or promises to a person money, money’s worth, or some other material benefit in order to induce him to change his religion or in order that he may induce another person to change his religion, is liable to imprisonment for five years or a fine of 50,000 pounds.
2. Whosever receives or agrees to receive money, money’s worth, or some other material benefit in return for a promise to change his religion or to cause another person to change his religion is liable to imprisonment for a term of three years or a fine of 30,000 pounds....
 


Clanrickard

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kalipa

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Supporter's of Israel call it "the only democracy in the region". Israel's supporters in the West (especially but not exclusively the US) more often than not are devout Christians who take a literalist interpretation of the Biblical Old Testament references to "Israel". Israel signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 18 states: “Everyone has the right to...change his religion...and freedom...to manifest his religion or beliefs in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” This makes their religious tolerance or otherwise the business of the international community.

But how would/do these Christians feel about Israel if they knew about their persecution of Christians? The offending law is penal law 5737-1977. It is high time the EU and UN took up the issue. We should not have an EU Association agreement giving Israel access to the Single Market to a state that denies the world's largest denomination its right to practice and promote its religion. And I say that as an agnostic.
Many of us have been lobbying for years for Israel to be brought to task for her hypocrisy regarding Christians. Christian tourism is worth billions to Israel as are the huge sums they get from evangelical groups in the US, that is why Israel likes to put on a show for them. They get the sanitised tours when they visit, no sign of the "wall" or the locked up churches with no access allowed. These groups are not brought to shop in Christian businesses and as friends of mine, who were on one of these tours recently said, awkward questions about Christians under the Occuption are passed off as lies or not answered to at all.

We have been trying to get the truth out to Christians worldwide and in recent years it has been having some affect. Many of the larger Christian churches are divesting from companies involved in the occupation like CRH, Caterpillar, Veolia (who run the Luas in Dublin) and others.

I have no problems with Israel disliking proselytizing but stopping people worshiping whatever God they choose is a breach of human rights.

Of course Clan would want this Zooed. Typical kneejerk reaction from a supporter of Zionism who doesn't like the truth getting out
 
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Clanrickard

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I have no problems with Israel disliking proselytizing but stopping people worshiping whatever God they choose is a brech of human rights.

Of course Clan would want this Zooed. Typical kneejerk reaction from a supporter of Zionism who doesn't like the truth getting out
Nobody is prevented from practicing their religion in Israel. Both the Christian and Muslim population are growing. Israel is the only country where such freedom is allowed in the middle east. There are things about which you can criticise Israel but freedom of religion is not one of them. That is why I want this thread zooed.
 

Levellers

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You only need to remember the massacre at the Tel el-Zaatar camp to know what the Zionists think of Christians.

The terrorist state of Israel is a theocracy like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.
 

The Field Marshal

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Israel is not a democracy but a theocratic state. That it legally proscribes and limits the freedoms of all non Jews is normal and to be expected.
 

gerhard dengler

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Nobody is prevented from practicing their religion in Israel. Both the Christian and Muslim population are growing. Israel is the only country where such freedom is allowed in the middle east. There are things about which you can criticise Israel but freedom of religion is not one of them. That is why I want this thread zooed.
What?

Christianity is in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Jordan and Lebanon.
 

The Field Marshal

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Nobody is prevented from practicing their religion in Israel. Both the Christian and Muslim population are growing. Israel is the only country where such freedom is allowed in the middle east. There are things about which you can criticise Israel but freedom of religion is not one of them. That is why I want this thread zooed.
Your wrong. Christians are legally prohibited from proselytising in the theocratic Jewish state of Israel.
 

Clanrickard

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You only need to remember the massacre at the Tel el-Zaatar camp to know what the Zionists think of Christians.

The terrorist state of Israel is a theocracy like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.
Israel is not a democracy but a theocratic state. That it legally proscribes and limits the freedoms of all non Jews is normal and to be expected.
 

kalipa

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Nobody is prevented from practicing their religion in Israel. Both the Christian and Muslim population are growing. Israel is the only country where such freedom is allowed in the middle east. There are things about which you can criticise Israel but freedom of religion is not one of them. That is why I want this thread zooed.
the growth of Christian or Muslim populations have nothing to do with the fact that both religions are only tolerated by Israel, especially Christanity , because of the revenue it bring in. That does not negate the fact that obstacles are constantly being put in the way of people trying to practice their religion.


Israel detests Christians whether you like it or not
 

Shqiptar

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You only need to remember the massacre at the Tel el-Zaatar camp to know what the Zionists think of Christians.

The terrorist state of Israel is a theocracy like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.
There is freedom to worship in Israel in the creed of your choice. That's not true in KSA or Afghanistan.
 

Shqiptar

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Proselytizing is only illegal if minors are targeted or if payment is offered to induce someone to convert.

Ludwig was expelled because she resided in Israel illegally for five years.
 

The Field Marshal

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face-palm]
You don't like being told you are wrong . So I'm going to say it again prosletysing for Christianity is illegal in the Jewish state of Israel.
 

Clanrickard

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You don't like being told you are wrong . So I'm going to say it again prosletysing for Christianity is illegal in the Jewish state of Israel.
No it isn't. It is illegal if you pay or promise money and target minors.
 

chriskavo

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CBS's 60 minutes did a report on this very subject:
The above story ran on 60 Minutes tonight. It's a powerful piece showing life under occupation, and a damning portrait of Michael Oren as the chief spokesperson for Israel's unjust control over the West Bank. On the onerous permit regime that limits freedom of movement and defines Palestinian existence in the occupied territories Oren says, "It's their inconvenience, it's our survival." Oren tries to blame the dwindling Christian community in the West Bank on Islamic extremism, and Palestinian Christians interviewed nearly break out laughing. Not surprisingly, Oren calls Israel's Christian critics anti-Semites.

But perhaps the most revealing part of the show was Bob Simon sharing that Oren had complained to CBS News head Jeff Fager before the segment had even been aired, calling it "a hatchet job."
You can watch the video here: '60 minutes' profiles Palestinian Christians
 

kalipa

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No it isn't. It is illegal if you pay or promise money and target minors.
Israel doesn't like Messianic Jews either

Messianic Jews detained at Ben-Gurion
Dec. 14, 2008
Matthew Wagner , THE JERUSALEM POST

A director of the US Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations and his wife were detained Sunday at Ben-Gurion Airport by Interior Ministry officials amid allegations he is involved in illegal Christian missionary activity.

It is illegal in Israel to proselytize among minors. It is also prohibited to engage in missionary activities among adults when economic incentives are offered.

After over eight hours of detention, Jamie Cowen, a former president of the union, and his wife, Stacy, were permitted to enter Israel only after they agreed to sign a document that they would not engage in missionary activities during their stay.

The Cowens are in Israel to visit their two daughters, one of whom is an Israeli citizen. The other is in the process of obtaining citizenship after she and a group of other Messianic Jews won a Supreme Court case against the state.

The Cowens and their daughters all identify as Jews but believe that Jesus is the messiah.

"This type of religious discrimination would be expected of Iran, not Israel," said Jamie Cowen, a US immigration lawyer, a few hours after he was released by immigration police.

"In the US we imprison individuals suspected of terrorism. Here apparently one can be jailed for his religious convictions. This is a case of blatant discrimination against basic rights. It is a story of a bureaucracy run amok. Someone has to crack down and bring in people of integrity."

Cowen said he had visited Israel about 10 times, and had been active in social causes via the Knesset Social Lobby.

"I've brought $100,000 in humanitarian aid to Israel. We've provided lone IDF soldiers with about $50,000 in aid. This is unbelievable," he said.

The Interior Ministry, which directed the police to arrest the Cowens, said they had classified information regarding missionary activity.

"The Immigration and Population Authority has reliable information that the Cowens were involved in missionary activity prohibited by Israeli criminal law during their last visit to Israel," a ministry spokesman said.

"This is the reason they were detained. As soon as they agreed to refrain from any missionary activity they were allowed in."

The Cowens arrived in Israel on a flight from Frankfurt at 3 a.m. They were arrested at passport inspection and placed in detention at the airport.

"As an immigration lawyer I have visited many detention facilities for illegal immigrants. This one was particularly dirty, smelly and overcrowded," Cowen said.
 

Dame_Enda

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Oren's intervention demonstrates how the control-freakery of the Zionist movement. We may not criticise them (called anti-semitic). Americans must sell to them (US Office of Anti-Boycott Compliance).
 

Shqiptar

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The OP has no valid premise. You simply need to consult the law [note Penal Law 5737-1977 is simply the entire criminal code]:

http://www.oecd.org/investment/briberyininternationalbusiness/anti-briberyconvention/43289694.pdf
Change of a minor's religion
368. (a) If a person performs a religious conversion ceremony of a minor
or performs some other act that leads to the change of a minor's
religion, in violation of the provisions of section 13A of the
Capacity and Guardianship Law 5722-1962, then he is liable to
six months imprisonment.
(b) If a person induces a minor, by addressing him directly, to change
his religion, then he is liable to six months imprisonment.


Clanrickard is right This thread should be zooed.
 

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