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World News

Israel has stopped issuing clergy work visas

by Sophie Drew

Israel has stopped issuing visas to evangelical Christian preachers, according to local media reports. 

Although nothing has been confirmed by the state, journalists in Israel claim evangelical Christian organisations are no longer able to obtain visas for staff working in the country, even those that are pro-Israel. 

We are slowly being squeezed out of existence by the interior ministry," David Parsons, vice president and senior spokesperson of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), told Haaretz. 

"We cannot continue our vital work to build global Christian support for Israel under these strict new rules."

According to the group, a crackdown on work visas first occurred in the Covid pandemic, and Evangelicals have struggled to obtain one ever since. 

The ICEJ had, until the new government came to power, “routinely” been given work visas for clergy, but have since been told that their organisation does not count as a “religious institution” in a letter from the interior minister. 

The government is believed to be largely distrustful of Christians over fears of proselytising to the Jewish community. In 2020, authorities took a Christian TV station off air. 

However, ICEJ warns that the “squeezing out” of Christians is affecting church-based charity work, including working with survivors of the Holocaust.

The group’s attorney is threatening to bring the case to court.

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