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A bill, introduced by two ultra-Orthodox members of the Knesset, the Israeli legislature, would prohibit one person from trying to convert another person from one religion to another. However, the measure is unlikely to become law.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would prevent the bill from becoming law.
A recent bill proposed by Israeli lawmakers has sparked outrage online, particularly from evangelical Christians, who claimed it would bar their religious practices.
A Facebook video, shared April 20, claimed Israel is banning Christianity. The video starts with a clip of Israeli police officers monitoring a crowd of people at a street market. It then shows clips of a news outlet and a TikTok content creator discussing a bill that would prohibit Christian proselytizing in Israel.
"Many of you have heard the news that in Israel they are trying to ban you from talking about Jesus and spreading the gospel," the TikTok creator said in the video.
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
The bill mentioned in the video is real, but claims that the proposed legislation means Israel is banning Christianity are far-fetched.
In January, two ultra-Orthodox members of the Knesset, Israel’s legislature, introduced a bill that would prohibit one person from trying to convert another person from one religion to another. The lawmakers behind the bill, Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Asher, are members of United Torah Judaism, one of the six parties that comprise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government coalition.
The bill states that soliciting a person "directly, digitally, by mail or online" to convert their religion is punishable by one year in prison, and solicitation of a minor is punishable by two years in prison.
"Recently, the attempts of missionary groups, mainly Christians, to solicit conversion of religion have increased," the bill states.
However, the bill is unlikely to become law.
Gafni said he does not intend to advance the legislation, The Associated Press reported. He introduced the bill as a procedural matter, as he has done in the past.
Additionally, Netanyahu has spoken out against the bill, saying he would prevent it from passing. "We will not advance any law against the Christian community," Netanyahu tweeted in March.
We rate the claim that Israel is banning Christianity False.
Facebook video, April 20, 2023
All Israel News, "FULL TEXT: Read the English translation of the newly proposed legislation to outlaw sharing the Gospel message in Israel," March 19, 2023
Knesset, "Moshe Gafni," accessed April 26, 2023
Knesset, "Yaakov Asher," accessed April 26, 2023
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tweet, March 22, 2023
The Associated Press, "Israeli leader halts bill against Christian proselytizing," March 22, 2023
The Times of Israel, "'I've done it': Netanyahu announces his 6th government, Israel’s most hardline ever," Dec. 21, 2022
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