Evangelical pastor told to leave Israel

American pastor suspected of missionary work; two children married to Israelis.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
August 16, 2007 11:48
1 minute read.

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

An American evangelical pastor and his wife who have been living in Israel for nearly two decades have been ordered to leave the country within two weeks, after their request for permanent residency was turned down, officials said on Thursday. Ron Cantrell, 59, and his wife Carol, 54, have run a small Jerusalem-based ministry, Shalom Shalom Jerusalem, for the past four years. Cantrell previously worked for Bridges for Peace, an evangelical organization, for 14 years. Two of the couple's children have married Israelis and have Israeli ID cards.

  • US Lutherans consider Israel boycott
  • Interior Ministry officials said the decision was made following suspicions that Cantrell was involved in missionary work. The pastor categorically denied the allegations as baseless. Cantrell, who has been active in raising money for Israel as well as working on behalf of Soviet Jews, had resided in Israel on a special clergy visa during his work for Bridges for Peace, but then went back to a regular tourist visa, which needed to be renewed every three or six months, he said. The highly-coveted but sparsely-distributed clergy visa is primarily given to officials from mainstream Christian organizations. Cantrell, who travels extensively on lecture tours, could have continued living in Israel if he had left the country at least once every three months, but said that was an "unworkable solution" for his wife. Cantrell said the Interior Ministry had cited no reason for rejecting the residency request. Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said that the couple's request to receive residency status, after residing in Israel for years on various temporary permits, had been brought before all ministry levels up to the acting head of the population authority, who was also the director-general of the office. The request was turned down last month, she said. Ministry officials cited suspicions of missionary work. The Shalom Shalom Jerusalem Web site says that the couple "encourages Christians and Messianic Jewish believers in their understanding of the prophetic Scriptures" and "encourages believers to participate in God's end-time plans by being involved in positive support for the nation of Israel and Jewish communities worldwide ... in the regathering of the Jewish people to their homeland." The issue underscored the delicate balancing act evangelical Christian supporters of Israel face, between proselytizing, which is banned in Israel, and their fundamental belief that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land was foretold in the Scriptures and heralds the return of the messiah.

    Related Content

    Jisr az-Zarq
    April 3, 2014
    Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

    By SHARON UDASIN