Israel not renewing visas, Catholics say

Government refusal precipitates crisis
The Israeli government’s refusal to renew visas to Christian clergy in the Holy Land has precipitated a crisis with the Vatican and the entire Christian world, say Catholic representatives. All told, it is estimated that hundreds of priests, nuns and Christian volunteers have not been granted permission to remain in Israel.

Israeli police now have the legal power to arrest and deport all in this category, although so far no church leader has reported that any staff have been forced to leave. “It’s a problem not only for the Catholic Church but for all [Christian] denominations in the Holy Land,” a spokesman for the Apostolic Delegation, the Vatican’s representatives in Jerusalem, said at the end of March.


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