'Evangelicals deserve our support'

Evangelical Church recog

The Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry differed this week regarding the status of, and benefits given to, Evangelicals, Army Radio reported Wednesday. The Foreign Ministry "wanted to recognize the Evangelicals as a sovereign group or an independent church, like other churches recognized by Israel," said Bahid Mantzur, head of the Religious Affairs Division of the Foreign Ministry, according to the report. "The goal was to help them receive benefits like other churches that we recognize, among them tens of clergy churches, tax and customs breaks on cars - and that also has an effect on religious people who come here from outside the country," Mantzur explained. An Interior Ministry representative was quoted by Army Radio as saying, "If the Evangelicals are added to the list, dozens of additional streams of Christians will demand to receive similar recognition and be eligible for benefits, and the state is not able to withstand such a surge." Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon held a discussion on the subject this week, saying that the Evangelicals, who donate funds and support Israeli public relations within the US, deserve help. During the course of the discussion, it was decided that a mechanism composed of representatives from the two ministries will be established in order to find a solution.