The Star of Bethlehem, Church of Nativity, Bethlehem
Briefing, October 2007
The Holy Land
Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) in Jerusalem has
reported on September 23rd 2007 that Israel has stopped
issuing re-entry visas to Christian ministers.
HCEF also reported that Rev. Fares Khleifat, a Christian
minister and the only Greek Melkite priest in Ramallah, was
deported on September 14, 2007. Mr. Khleifat traveled to
Jordan for several days in mid-September; when he tried to
return to his parish on September 14, he was stopped at the
Israeli border, and his valid, multiple-entry visa was
canceled. Forced to remain in Jordan, he has been
effectively deported from the Holy Land by the Israeli
government, and his parish now has no priest.
Mr. Khleifat and other Christians are very much connected to
Muslims because, whether in occupied cities or
inside Israel itself, are experiencing daily injustices in
the form of oppressive policies imposed on them by the
Israeli government. Christians, like their Muslim
equal, have experienced dispossession and have not
been immune to Israeli occupation.
This shift in policy is a strong indication that Israel is
denying entry to Christian ministries that are not driven by
faith to support the state of Israel and the Jewish people.