A foreign member of the Messianic Jewish ministry Jews for Jesus was detained in Israel this week while taking part witnessing campaign near the Negev city of Beersheva.
Barry Barnett, from the UK, joined several Israeli members of Jews for Jesus on a local highway holding a large "Yeshua" banner including a telephone number for more information.
According to Jews for Jesus, "a group of six immigration inspectors seized the banner and took Barnett into custody."
Dan Sered, the director of the Israel branch of Jews for Jesus, said none of his staff had ever been arrested despite engaging in open and direct sharing of their faith in Yeshua.
It is believed the immigration authorities could be trying to define Barnett's activities as "work," which he is not allowed to perform in Israel on his B2 tourist visa.
UK-based Messianic blog Rosh Pina Project commented on the incident, suggesting that the radical anti-missionary group Yad L'Achim likely had a hand in the arrest.
"One thing Israel needs to be cautious of is the manipulation of its immigration laws by non-governmental religious groups," wrote Rosh Pina Project, noting that the current case could set a precedent whereby Israel becomes something of a police state where demonstrations of any type by foreign citizens are forbidden.
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