The language used in the bill would make any attempt to convert an adult punishable by one year in prison. The sentence could increase to two years if it concerns the conversion of a minor.
The text, which was submitted by ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism MKs Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Asher, said that “missionary groups, especially Christians,” have stepped up their proselytizing efforts in Israel.
Israel had already considered an anti-proselytism law in the past. In 1998, Avodah MP Nissim Zvili sponsored legislation that criminalized evangelistic writings — material that Christians had feared could have been used to make possession of the New Testament illegal.
He withdrew his bill after dozens of evangelical groups pledged that they would not engage in proselytizing activities in the country.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself embroiled himself in the controversy late Wednesday, writing on Twitter that “we will not advance any law against the Christian community.”
They are slowly trying to silence Christians who fortunately still have the power to oppose themselves against these authoritarian laws, with the support of some Jews and Muslims. But let’s be very attentive to current events.