This post is written by a member of the Messianic community in Israel or guest contributor. The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Kehila News Israel.

After 15 years in the Land, Israeli’s citizenship remains under assault

When Richard and Carolyn Hyde of Heart of G-d Ministries made Aliyah to Israel in 2003, each was granted citizenship and issued an Israeli passport. Later, when the time arrived for the couple to renew their documents, the Israeli Ministry of Interior (MOI) routinely issued a 10-year passport to Richard, who is Christian, but declined to renew Carolyn’s, a Jewish follower of Yeshua.

Since that time, with varying levels of intensity, the MOI has continued to challenge Carolyn’s right to Israeli citizenship based on her beliefs.

The MOI, in concert with Orthodox Jewish factions in Israel, has a well-documented history of attempting to prevent Messianic Jews from making Aliyah to Israel and living unharassed in the Land. See, for example:

The Hydes have not concealed their faith.

“Heart of G-d Ministries is actively engaged in sharing the Good News in Israel to people from all walks of life, promoting Aliyah (the biblical return of the Jewish people to Israel), helping to plant Messianic Congregations and encouraging and equipping Christians to fulfill their biblical calling toward the Jewish people,” their ministry’s website says.

An objective observer might find it difficult to understand how the Hyde’s ambitions, especially as practiced within Israel — a country that represents itself to the world as the Middle East’s only free, democratic state — constitute grounds for banishment. Yet, effectively, in the MOI’s latest challenge to the validity of Carolyn’s passport (and their threat to extend that challenge to her entire family), banishment seems to be the most accurate description of their intent.

The Hydes once travelled extensively for their work.

“About seven years ago, the MOI first denied issuing me a renewed passport,” Carolyn told Kehila News Israel. “So I have been forced to return to the MOI offices each year since then to get a one-year extension. At the initial meeting, MOI representatives said they had heard ‘some things’ about me, but they didn’t clarify… The following year they said I had to sit for an interview.

“They took me into a back room and asked questions about my personal life. The lady questioning me would look at a paper on her desk, ask a question, then type into her computer. While we were talking I leaned over and was able to read the title of her paper upside-down — it was headed, Yad L’Achim.” (Read more about the pursuits of Yad L’Achim, an Orthodox Jewish organization focusing on “counter-missionary” activity in Israel here: My Coffee Talks with Anti-Missionaries from Yad L’Achim)

“I told her that the interview was over. I knew the law and she was breaking it. It’s against Israeli law for a governmental office to base an investigation on information received from a non-governmental source. She was apparently embarrassed when I confronted her and she asked no further questions.”

But Carolyn’s most recent attempt to renew her passport was met with vigorous opposition.

The MOI “…threatened to revoke my Israeli citizenship although I’ve been a citizen for 14 years. When they added that they also wanted to interview not only Richard and me but also our daughter, we called our lawyer. When our attorney arrived, we again spoke with the head of the MOI in our area. After the meeting, our attorney characterized the encounter as ‘pure harassment.’”

“After arriving home, I was quite broken,” Carolyn said. “So I picked up my guitar to worship the Holy One of Israel. Afterwards, the MOI called to offer me a 10-year passport. Hallelujah! Just before going into the office, I obeyed the L-rd’s call to drive two nails into the ground of the MOI while repenting for the generational iniquities of my forefathers who have cursed Yeshua.”

But Carolyn’s battle has apparently not ended. The MOI has insisted on conducting another interview into her status after she and Richard return to Israel from a long-planned trip abroad.

“So it looks like my citizenship is still threatened,” Carolyn said. “But we are praising the L-rd for His victories one step at a time.”

The Hydes have asked for prayer in support of their quest to be treated fairly by the MOI. They seek justice, not vengeance, hoping to someday be able to travel freely to and from Israel, like other Israeli citizens, and to feel secure that Israel will remain their, and their family’s home.

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Cliff Keller lives in Jerusalem, Israel with his wife, Marcia after making Aliyah in the spring of 2011 from the United States. His most recent novel is a work of historical biblical fiction entitled The Lion or The Lamb: Samson Ruth and Salvation. Cliff also blogs at Standing by the Gate and has a writing website, goodStories.

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