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To: dlt
I was told that Christian missionaries are not allowed to proselyte in Israel. In fact, they are not supposed to give away New Testaments or tracts either. How could this have happened, if such things are prohibited by law? Is the Jewish religion "protected" by their constitution or not? Help me out here, you Jewish scholars..
122 posted on 12/25/2001 10:41:04 AM PST by Paulus Invictus
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To: Paulus Invictus
Is the Jewish religion "protected" by their constitution or not?

It was my experience that people can legally worship as they choose in Israel. However, there is tremendous pressure not to discuss any other religious alternatives with people of the Jewish faith. Maybe the following article will shed some light on this for you:

Tuesday, March 31, 1998

No missionary activity in Holy Land

The Associated Press

Representatives of 50 Christian evangelical groups have agreed to make an unprecedented joint statement promising not to carry out missionary activity in Israel. As a result, MK Nissim Zvili (Labor) said yesterday he would drop his sponsorship of an anti-proselytizing bill that has drawn protests from Christians around the world.

"This is better than a law," Zvili told The Associated Press. "This is a very big accomplishment."

In the statement, the Christian groups say they "rejoice in the presence of the Jewish people in this country of their ancestors" and agree to avoid "activities which have as their intention to alienate them from their tradition and community."

Missionary activity touches a particularly raw nerve in the Jewish state, home to 300,000 Holocaust survivors.

Clarence Wagner, director of the evangelical foundation Bridges for Peace, said the statement was an important step toward understanding between Jews and Christians. But none of the groups were engaged in proselytizing anyway, adding: "We don't believe that we have been or are in any way a threat to the Jewish people. We are among the most vocal supporters of Israel worldwide."

Christian groups opposed the proposed bill as stifling their freedom of religious expression, Wagner said. The agreement, which is to be announced formally tomorrow, was reached through the mediation of Joseph Alpher, director of the American Jewish Committee's Israel office. The accord represented "a dynamic Christian commitment to the vitality of Israel and Judaism," he said.

Another sponsor of the anti-proselytizing bill, MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said yesterday that he rejected the agreement. "We have a long account with Christendom," Gafni said. "They tried to wipe out Judaism by force Ñ the pogroms, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain, and now they are pursuing us even into our own country."

But the decision by Zvili to drop his sponsorship will deprive the bill of broad-based support. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also said he opposed the bill, which Alpher said he hoped would now "wither on the vine." As initially proposed, the bill would have banned possession of any written material that proselytizes, which some Christians feared could be used to ban possession of the New Testament.

(c) copyright 1998 Ha'aretz. All Rights Reserved

Note: I would often debate various religious topics with Israeli friends, just like politics or economical issues. It is not my nature to try to convert anyone. But the official Israeli position is that there should be no "preaching" to Jews. It is their country and I see no problem with it. I just get annoyed when we in the U.S. criticize countries other than Israel for the same behavior, yet ignore that Israel has the same policy in place.

143 posted on 12/25/2001 12:01:20 PM PST by dlt
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