Israel (MNN) — A recent push for anti-conversion legislation in Israel met resistance from the United States.
“An anti-conversion law [was] proposed in the Knesset by two ultra-Orthodox Jewish members who are also part of the government,” Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says.
If passed, the law would have “put someone in prison for a year if they encourage someone to convert, to change their religion. That [could include] sending them an email or putting something online,” Nettleton continues.
“If the person who converts is under 18, the prison term is two years.”
Pro-Israel evangelical Christians in the U.S. provide strong and vocal support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When evangelical leaders pressured Netanyahu to reject the bill, he obliged, tweeting, “We will not advance any law against the Christian community.”
A few days later, one of the bill’s authors said he would withdraw it from consideration. However, the issue could quickly resurface. “These two guys have proposed it (the anti-conversion law) several times; this is not necessarily something new,” Nettleton says.
“In the past, this law has never gotten any traction. We’ll see if it’s different [now] because they (the authors) are part of the governing coalition.”
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“Ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups are very much anti-missionary and doing some things to put pressure on Gospel workers,” Nettleton says.
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Maayan Nemanov/Unsplash.