Israel to deport German woman with suspected ties to missionary group

Authorities have ordered the deportation of a German student who claims she is a victim of government persecution of missionary groups. The government insisted Thursday that Barbara Ludwig, 33, is not being kicked out because of missionary activity, but because she has resided in Israel illegally for five years. However, her lawyer, Michael Decker, said she is in Israel illegally because the ministry rejected her valid application for a student's visa, and didn't act on her appeal for years. Two letters on ministry letterhead that Decker sent to The Associated Press had clear references to Ludwig's alleged missionary activity. The last was dated April 28. And several years ago, the ministry interrogated Ludwig about her ties to missionary groups and Messianic Jews - suggesting those ties are the real reason her request for a student's visa was denied, Decker said. Messianic Jews, also known as Jews for Jesus, accept Jesus as their savior.