Q. Someone told me that there have been cases where missionaries applied for conversion to Judaism in order to get inside the Jewish community so as to proselytise among them. Has this really ever happened and if so how can a conversion to Judaism be revoked?
A. Unfortunately there have been a few such cases, though not many. One wonders how any genuine believer could be so dishonest as to tell lies about their real beliefs and motivations.
There was a case of this kind in Chicago some years ago where a rabbinical court revoked the conversion of a family because there was evidence that they had remained Christians and had moved to Israel in the hope of spreading Christianity. The Israeli Minister of the Interior refused to register the family as Jews and the Supreme Court upheld his decision.
The family argued that a conversion cannot be revoked, but the rabbinical court, the Minister and the Supreme Court all stated that there had been no conversion at all since the family had acted under false pretences.
One of the judges of the Supreme Court quoted II Kings 17:33, which says, “They feared the Lord and served their own gods”. He added that the family were wrong in claiming that they had been expelled from the Jewish faith, since they had never been accepted into it.