Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear the Jewish State will not criminalize Christianity.
He was responding to a bill put forth by two ultra-Orthodox members of the Knesset that outlaws anyone from sharing the New Testament gospel with imprisonment in the very land Jesus walked, All Israel News reports.
“We will not advance any law against the Christian community,” Netanyahu tweeted Wednesday.
It is already illegal to proselytize minors in Israel, but Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Asher wanted to take it much further.
Their bill, which is now dead, was introduced in January that would put Christians in prison for one year if they shared their faith with anyone in Israel of another faith, and a two-year sentence if they tried to convert a minor.
“Recently, the attempts of missionary groups, mainly Christians, to solicit conversion of religion have increased,” the bill said.
It would also make it illegal to publish books, literature, articles, podcasts, and other media, including text messages or social media posts about the life and ministry of Jesus.
Joel C. Rosenberg, editor-in-chief of All Israel News who broke the story on Sunday, celebrated Netanyahu’s consistent defense of evangelicals in the Holy Land.
“I am deeply grateful to the prime minister for his strong, clear unequivocal statement in defense of the Israeli Christian community and that he will not allow the bill by Gafni to move forward,” the evangelical New York Times best-selling author, who is based in Jerusalem, said.
Sam Brownback, former U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom in the Trump administration, also praised Netanyahu.
“Bibi Netanyahu is an amazing leader of courage,” Brownback told ALL ISRAEL NEWS in a text message on Wednesday. “I applaud his quick and decisive move to address what could have become a major issue.”