Two members of the Israeli Knesset have introduced a bill that would ban all efforts to spread Christianity in the land where the Jesus Christ was born
According to a report, the bill was introduced just before Palm Sunday and Passover, two important holidays in the Christian calendar.
The threatens violators with imprisonment, according to the All Israel News outlet.
The proposed legislation would ban “all efforts by persons of one faith who wish in any way to discuss or attempt to persuade adherents of other faiths to consider changing their current religious beliefs,” according to the outlet.
The bill applies to people who have spiritual conversations with Israelis of any religion, and the penalty for violating this law would one year in prison, and, if the conversation is with a minor, two years in prison.
The bill was presented last week by Representatives Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Asher, ultra-orthodox Jewish members of United Torah Judaism party, which has seven seats out of 120 in the current Knesset.
The two deputies are part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, consisting of 64 seats.
Warning against Christians in their official explanation of the bill, the two lawmakers emphasized a warning against Christians, in particular.
The bill could cause widespread international condemnation of Netanyahu’s far-right government, as well as a “serious clash” with evangelical Christians in the US and around the world
Apparently, the primary goal of the bill, according to All Israel News, is to make it illegal for followers of Christianity to encourage Jews to follow their religion, according to All Israel News.
The production and dissemination of videos online explaining the Bible to Jews or Muslims in Israel would be illegal under the bill.
The outlet stated that the draft law considers “books, other printed literature, online articles, podcasts, or other forms of media that explain the life and ministry of Jesus and his message found in the New Testament” to be illegal.
The outlet said Evangelical and Messianic Jewish leaders are “concerned” that the bill presented by Gafni and Asher could become law in the current Israeli political environment.
They stated that in the 120-seat Knesset, the current government coalition is made up of a large number of Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox members, who are “far more aggressive in this legislative session than ever before in pushing for legislations to be passed that advance their theological worldview”.
The former US ambassador for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback, said that the new bill poses “a massive threat to free speech, human rights, and religious freedom”.
“Free and democratic countries simply do not outlaw the free exchange of ideas, and that includes religious beliefs and convictions,” Brownback said.