Israel deports Messianic Jew

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

israel-map-flag-protestJERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Worthy News)-- An immigration judge has ordered the deportation of a Messianic Jew arrested last week while participating in an evangelistic event in Israel, according to Morning Star News.

Barry Barnett, 50, a worker with Jews for Jesus (UK), was ordered to leave the country by early December. Barnett was assisting at the “Behold your God, Israel” campaign at the city of Be’er Shiva when he was arrested Wednesday.

According to his wife, Alison, six immigration officers took Barnett to an immigration office in Omer where he was held for several hours without charge; he was then transferred to a prison in Ramle where he spent four days in jail before his hearing.

In a press release, Dan Sered, Israel director for Jews for Jesus, stated that Barnett's arrest -- the first for any of the organization's members in Israel -- was “outrageous.”

“As an Israeli, I have been proud that our country allows for freedom of religion. Yet those who seized Barry and took him to prison have done a shameful thing.”

Sered said the presiding judge ruled that Barnett was not allowed to engage in missionary activity while in Israel.

“They did not really give a reason why they detained him,” Sered told Morning Star News. “All they said is that he was doing ‘missionary activity.’ That is correct: he was doing missionary activity and that is legal to do in Israel.”

But was Barnett actually authorized to engage in missionary activity under an Israeli B2 tourist visa?

“The global ethics code for tourism,” said Sered, “which the state of Israel signed and even advertises on its own Ministry of Tourism Web page, states that tourism for the purpose of exchanging religious beliefs is not only valid but also should be encouraged”.

Sered said Jews for Jesus would fight Barnett's deportation because it could be used as a legal precedent to expel missionaries engaged in any religious activities deemed unacceptable by the Israeli government.

Barnett's wife said that the ultra-Orthodox Yad L’Achim had shadowed Jews for Jesus teams in Israel since the campaign started, causing some of its members to suspect that immigration officials are acting in concert with ultra-Orthodox Jews to hinder the work of evangelists as part of a larger state-wide crackdown on foreign missionaries.

Yad L’Achim’s own website posted that it interfered with Jews for Jesus’ “spiritually poisonous propaganda.”

“Yad L’Achim has been dispatching beefed-up teams of activists wherever the missionaries are taking up positions in order to alert the public as to their nefarious goals.”

Jews for Jesus is an international organization that makes the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue for Jews around the world, including their homeland.

Alison -- who wasn’t with her husband when he was arrested -- said she expected some “opposition” while in Israel.

“And quite frankly, if we don’t get any, we probably aren’t doing our jobs right.”