Your gates will remain open at all times; they will not be shut during the day or at night, so that the wealth of nations may be delivered, with their kings leading the way.
Isaiah 60:11 NET
Haaretz recently published an article, “New Visa Policy Threatens to Shut Down Evangelical Organizations Operating in Israel,” saying that the Ministry of Interior (MOI) has implemented a new visa policy, making it difficult for Christian organizations to function as they have for decades. It could mean that many of the volunteers are sent home and not allowed to return for a set time.
The MOI has stopped issuing clergy visas to evangelicals for now. Clergy visas allow for long-term volunteers to contribute to the necessary functions of operations. Before the pandemic, many volunteers with clergy visas could stay in Israel for years. We had friends who volunteered for fifteen years or more. Also, regular volunteer visas are difficult to obtain under the current administration. Currently, a volunteer visa allows one to stay in Israel for up to three or four years.
Frequent changes in the ministry’s administration over the past few years have contributed to the problem. Historically, Netanyahu considers Christians “Israel’s best ally.” But the right-wing government, ruled by the Ultra-religious, does not like Christian influence.
This sudden and unexplained policy change is seen as a threat to the future operations of these vital organizations. Constant turnover creates deficiencies, and hiring local Israelis to do the humanitarian work would require most of the operating funds.
Organizations like Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), established in the 1980s, invest millions a year in humanitarian causes. They, and others like them, have helped thousands make Alyiah, fed and housed Holocaust survivors, helped the poor, and much more. The quality of life would not have been as good, especially in the beginning years of the mass return of Jews from all over the world in the 80s and 90s, if it had not been for Christians.
Representatives of the affected organizations plan to appeal the decision through a special tribunal at the Interior Ministry and, if needed, take their case to court.
I want you to join us in prayer. Please don’t be pessimistic about the Israeli government, the Ultra-religious, or anti-missionary groups. But, we must be realistic and pray intelligently and according to the scriptures—for favor and for their eyes to be opened.
שָׁלָה Shaw-law – to be at rest, prosper, and be at ease: that’s the promise from Psalm 122:6: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper (Shaw-law) that love thee.”
We have many good Jewish friends who are as concerned as we are and want our organizations to continue to thrive. They are also praying for the right decisions to be made.
The Christian organizations are pulling together to fight for Israel. We want to continue to show our love and support. Despite what some Israelis think, our help for the Jews to return is not to “manipulate” Jesus to return. We know God’s assignment for the Jews, and the part they play in the end times, and we agree with His plan. There will be a time when all the nations will flow into Jerusalem, and the Gates will not close again.