Israel has not introduced a bill making it illegal to talk about Jesus Christ

By: Christian Haag
December 20 2023

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Israel has not introduced a bill making it illegal to talk about Jesus Christ

Source: Instagram/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts


The Verdict Misleading

A bill was proposed on January 9 meant to prohibit missionary work in Israel, but it was not advanced and would not have banned talking about Jesus.

Claim ID 7abe05d3

What has been claimed? 

A viral post on Instagram published on December 12 claimed that "Israel is looking to introduce a bill a bill to make it illegal to talk about Jesus Christ," featuring a news report by right-wing conservative news outlet Newsmax, aired on March 20. The caption accompanying the post reads, "Do we need to say more? Do you see how these lot are NAZIS." [sic] An archived version of the Instagram post can be found here

Screenshot of Instagram claim with caption. 
Source: Instagram/Screenshot/Edited by Logically Facts.

However, the claim is misleading.

What did we find?

While a bill was introduced, it was neither recent nor would it make talking about Jesus illegal. On January 9, 2023, two Israeli PMs in Knesset, Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Asher, members of the Ultra–Orthodox political party United Torah Judaism, submitted a proposal to prohibit "the act of solicitation to convert religion, when it is done directly to a person." In short, the proposed bill aimed to prohibit missionary work in Israel, focusing primarily on Christian missionaries. United Torah Judaism holds 7 out of 120 seats in the Knesset and is part of the current Israeli Government

The bill caused uproar among evangelical Christians in the U.S. but was never advanced. In March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on X (formerly Twitter) that "We will not advance any laws against the Christian Community." Moshe Gafni also told AP News that he proposed the bill as a procedural matter and had no plans to advance it. Thus, the bill never progressed past the proposal. Two Ultra–Orthodox MPs aren't representative of the entirety of Israel. 

Religious conversion is not illegal in Israel but is restricted. According to the 1977 Israeli Penal Code, conversion in exchange for material benefits is prohibited, as is the conversion of a minor without parental consent. However, this refers to all religions, not just Christianity. 

The bill resulted in several false claims being disseminated on social media at the time of the proposal. Harsher interpretations, such as Israel wanting to ban Christianity or any mention of Jesus, have been fact-checked by PolitiFact and Myth Detector, respectively. 

The verdict

Considering that the bill was introduced on January 9, 2023 – not recently – and did not progress or intend to prohibit speaking about Jesus, we have marked this claim as misleading. 

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