Several years ago and in accordance with the Vatican Israel Agreement priests, ministers, pastors and members of religious congregations both men and women of all Christian denominations were granted long term multiple entry visas, at certain occasions, those visas granted also social rights, such as health insurance and other allowances.
At a certain point, the ministry of religious affairs was dismantled, and the issues of the Christian clergy was moved under the authority of the ministry of interior. At about the same time as the Family Reunification Laws and Regulations began to assume more draconian limitations so also did the visa requirements for, in particular, Arabic speaking clergy of all Christian denominations.
But the Christian Community of the Holy Land is already too depleted to be self sustaining in vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. Therefore recruiting by necessity must take place in Arab speaking neighboring countries since the community that will ultimately be served is an Arabic speaking community.
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion gleaned from scores of cases that this visa system is a direct attack on the Arabic speaking Church and the Arabic speaking Christian Community. The Church holds the community together more than any other institution. Taking away native Arabic speakers from an Arabic community is destroying the relationship of trust and love and cultural understanding between the people and their Church. The impact we have been seeing for years in the steady emigration of Christians from the Holy Land.