Israel bans Christian missionary channel’s Hebrew version, says it is trying to convert Jews

Israeli authorities on Sunday ordered the US-based Christian missionary channel ‘God TV’ off the air citing that the channel hid its missionary agenda when it applied for the license.

Asher Biton, the chairman of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council in Israel has stated that he has given a seven-day ultimatum to the channel God TV to stop its broadcasting.

Biton, as per reports, has stated that while the channel had cited in its application that it is targeted at the Christian population, it has been appealing to the Jews with its Christian evangelical content.

God TV was founded in 1995 in the United Kingdom. The channel rapidly spread through several countries claiming to reach 300 million households at this moment. The international broadcasting licenses are held by the Florida based Non-profit organization.

In Israel, God TV was broadcasting content through a Hebrew language channel named Shelanu.

Broadcaster says it will apply for license again

The official broadcaster of God TV, Shelanu Tv stated that it was stunned by the “unprofessional decision” of Biton. It stated that its existing license “stated equivocally” that the channel will broadcast its content in Hebrew while most Christians in the holy land speak Arabic. the channel stated that “Therefore it is not at all clear what was wrong beyond political considerations.”

Shelanu’s Israeli spokesperson said that the station may reapply for the license. He said that the management hopes that the council will approve the request “and thus avoid a severe diplomatic incident with hundreds of millions of pro-Israel evangelical Christians worldwide.”

Reportedly, when the Christian missionary channel reached its seven-year contract with Israel’s main cable provider earlier this year it represented itself as a content producer for Christians. In a recent video message, the CEO of God TV, Ward Simpson was seen saying that the channel aims to convince Jews to accept Jesus as their messiah. He said, “God has supernaturally opened the door for us to take the Gospel of Jesus into the homes and lives and hearts of his Jewish people.”

Later Simpson apologized for offensive remarks and clarified that the missionary channel would comply with all regulations.

Evangelical Christians usually do not target Jews

It is notable here that while a lot of Christians support the state of Israel and consider it as the fulfilment of a biblical prophecy, they usually do not attempt to ‘convert’ Jews. Many Jews consider the attempts to convert them to Christianity as deeply offensive, a reminiscent of the persecution and forced conversion their community has faced for centuries by Christian rulers.

Israeli law allows evangelisation, but attempts to convert minors, and conversions by economic coercion are illegal. Shelanu will be the first Christian channel to be banned in Israel. There are other Christian channels operational in the country. But Shelanu was the first Christian channel to broadcast in Hebrew.

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