Israel excludes priests, nuns

The Israeli government has cancelled re-entry visas for priests, nuns and other church workers who wish to travel in and out of the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories.

Independent Catholic News reports the measures have left a number stranded abroad.

Until now, re-entry visas have been readily granted in Israel by the Israeli Government to Arab church workers in the Holy Land. Clergy travelled relatively freely to and from points overseas, including the United States.

According to the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, Arab church personnel will now have to apply for re-entry visas at Israeli consulates abroad each time they travel outside the areas of Israeli control.

The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation offered the example of Fr Fares Khleifat, the only Greek Melkite priest in Ramallah, who travelled to Jordan for several days earlier this month. When he tried to return to his parish on 14 September, he was stopped at the Israeli border, and his multiple-entry visa was canceled.

He has been forced to remain in Jordan and his parish now has no priest.

Holy Land Church workers refused re-entry visas (Independent Catholic News, 26/9/07)
Israel Tightens Policy on Re-entry Visas (Zenit, 26/9/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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"Incredulity" at Israel cancellation of Vatican meeting (CathNews, 28/3/07)
Benedict receives Israeli PM at Vatican (CathNews, 15/12/06)
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