Messianic ‘Jewish’ organization can’t be denied tax break, Israeli Supreme Court rules

The Messianic organization’s site says that it established a “Hebrew indigenous Messianic Jewish congregation in Tel Aviv.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday to overturn a Knesset Finance Committee decision to deny tax-exempt status to Yachad Ramat HaSharon, a Messianic “Jewish” organization.

Religious, cultural, educational, and welfare-oriented organizations are typically granted tax-exempt status under Israeli law, which means that their donors receive tax benefits.

But in 2015, the Knesset voted to deny Yachad that privilege, saying that the organization actively works to convert Jewish Israelis to Christianity.

Yachad is the legal name of Maoz Israel Ministries.

On its site, the missionary organization describes itself as a “Messianic Jewish ministry in Israel…a catalyst and vehicle for outreach, training, translating” and boasts that it “established and underwrites a Hebrew indigenous Messianic Jewish congregation in Tel Aviv.”

Shira and Ari Sorko-Ram, Maoz Israel’s founders, are described in a Facebook post by the organization as working for “over 40 years…to reach the lost of Israel with the Good News… spreading the passion to reach our nation, until all Israel is saved.”

MK Moshe Gafni of the United Torah Judaism party blasted the Supreme Court decision and said the ruling was another example of judicial overreach.

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“The Supreme Court judges are making a last-minute attempt to interfere with the finance committee’s decisions,” said Gafni, who headed the committee in 2015 and spearheaded the decision to deny the exemption.

“The entire Knesset, government and opposition alike, agreed not to grant tax-exempt status to missionary organizations on account of their actions in opposition to the law. This is a matter that the law leaves in the hands of the Knesset, yet the Supreme Court has seen fit to cancel that authority and turn the Knesset into a rubber stamp.

“One of the Supreme Court’s claims on other issues was that the Knesset did not hold debates and did not make a decision for a long time, which of course does not justify their intervention in these matters,” added Gafni.

“I suggest to the judges of the Supreme Court to save their interference for the inevitable war against their overreach that is sure to come soon.”