US report says Israel unfair to Messianics

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 | 
A US State Department report on religious freedom placed Israel on notice regarding its treatment of Messianic Jews, foreigners and minorities. The “Israel and Occupied Territories” chapter in the 2005 International Religious Freedom Report expands its criticisms of Israel's treatment of non-Orthodox Jewish denominations. For the first time, the report listed complaints by Messianic Jews that their members were denied entry to Israel and that anti-missionary groups harassed them. “Problems continued to exist stemming from the unequal treatment of religious minorities, and from the State's recognition of only Orthodox Jewish religious authorities in personal and some civil status matters concerning Jews.” The report expounds on alleged discrimination against non-Jewish spouses of Jewish immigrants; discriminatory funding in favor of Orthodox schools; and efforts to legislate civil marriage. The purpose of the report, according to John Hanford, director of this year’s report, is to encourage, “A careful and continual examination by every government and society as to whether each person's right to believe as he or she chooses is fully protected or unnecessarily limited.”

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