Tamar Zandberg
Tamar ZandbergFlash 90

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) is pushing a bill which would criminalize bringing Jewish youth closer to observance of their religion.

Under the proposed law, such an act would carry a sentence of up to six months in prison.

In her introduction to the bill, Zandberg wrote: "In light of the many instances in which various religious bodies in Israel are attempting to seduce minors into becoming religious, among other things via activities and disseminating in schools materials which contain threats, it is proposed to prohibit, in the Punishments Law, direct or indirect activities by anyone acting on behalf of such bodies with the goal of enticing minors to become religious."

Zandberg also claimed that encouraging people to become religious is similar to enticing them to change their religion, the punishment for which has already been legislated in the Missionaries Law.

"From a practical perspective, enticing people to become religious is similar to enticing them to change their religion, the prohibition for which has already been set," she said.

"The proposal discusses enticing a minor, whose beliefs and ideas are not as set as those of an adult. To change his beliefs and turn him from a secular person into a religious person - this is something that it would be worthy for him to weigh on his own, without any pressure or external temptations."

The Yad L'achim organization responded to Zandberg's proposal, saying: "For many years we have been trying to pass a law banning activities by the Christian mission which aim to convert Jews in Israel. To our great dismay, we did not see MK Zandberg joining us and working to advance this important law, but at the same time she is advancing a new law which attempts to forbid Jews from spreading Judaism among their Jewish brothers."

"Why is enticing Jews to convert to another religion permitted, but teaching Jews about their traditions, which are thousands of years old, is prohibited?"