This is a reminder about our next and last day in court in our civil lawsuit against Beer Sheva Chief Rabbi Yehuda Deri, and against the Shas-related ‘counter-missionary’ organization, Yad L’Achim.
On Tuesday morning, March 9, in the Beer Sheva Magistrate’s Court Shalom (Room 44, 4th Fl), testimony will be heard by Rabbi Alex Artovsky of Yad L’Achim. Following his testimony, the lawyers representing the parties will each give their oral closing arguments before the Judge, Iddo Ruzin. The judge will have 30 days in which to render his verdict.
The case arises out of an illegal demonstration and trespass on to private [‘church-owned’] property, which developed quickly into a riot, requiring about 70 policemen to bring order after about 3 hours of disturbances preventing lawful assembly for the purpose of conducting lawful religious activities. All this occurred over four years ago, on Dec. 24, 2005. The police did not follow up with the case; we filed suit in February 2007.
We are represented by attorneys Marvin Kramer and Kevork Nalbandian.
“For the vineyard of YHVH of Hosts is the House of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice (righteous judgment), but behold, oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.” (Isaiah 5:7 Hebrew)
Here is a link to a well done video by MAOZ regarding our going to court:
For those who could not open the link http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/971/819.html to the original online Maariv newspaper article, it seems to work if you copy and paste, and then click on the Hebrew word at the left side of the page which comes up.
Here is the Caspari Media Review English translation of part of the article: it seems to indicate that the article says we are suing for slander because of being accused of trying to convert Jews. I had not noticed that in the original, but if that is what it says, please know that we do evangelize whomsoever that they may believe the gospel and be born again, and be conformed to the image of the Son of God.
Date: Wed, 02 Dec 2009 06:01:24 -0500
From: Caspari Center
Subject: Caspari Media Review – December 2, 2009 December 2, 2009
An article published in Ma’ariv (November 27) featured the congregation in Beersheva (Nachalat Yeshua) as its law suit against Yehuda Deri, the city’s chief rabbi, was finally heard. Entitled “He Encountered a Determined Jew,” its subtitle read: “Howard Bass and the Messianic Jews in Beersheva organized a baptismal ceremony. Rabbi Yehuda Deri heard about the planned event, arrived at the premises with his people, and started a riot. They broke Bass’s glasses, threw him into the pool, and destroyed property. This week Deri gave witness in court. ‘I acted as a rabbi is supposed to,’ he explained. ‘I deserve a medal.'” The pastor of the local congregation, Howard Bass, “waited a whole year” before deciding to bring the case against Deri. “‘It’s not easy to bring charges against the chief rabbi of a city,’ he said. ‘We’re talking about the highest spiritual authority in the town. We wanted to do this with care, but we also wanted people to understand that they can’t take the law into their own hands.” Bass is suing Deri for 60,000NIS [approx. $16,000] for damage to property, the breaking of his glasses, and slander.
According to the suit, Deri waited outside the premises while his followers ran amok, only entering three hours later and attempting to calm down the ruckus. Bass claims that the consequences witness to the fact that the demonstration was orchestrated rather than spontaneous. “At present, Bass and Deri face off against one another, each one fortified by his faith and convinced that he did the right thing for his community. Each views the events from the point where he stood when the event occurred: Bass was inside the congregational compound, whereas Deri entered only toward the end of the incident. Whatever the outcome of the trial, the rashomon they represent [i.e., their individual subjective perception] will never be reconciled.” Although Deri insisted that the prayers held outside the building included no violence – “‘Anyone who says otherwise is lying,’ he declared; ‘people came, prayed, sang – nothing else'” – “media reports concerning the demonstration describe disturbances which calmed down only with the intervention of the police. Deri himself, in an interview with ‘Erev Chadash’ [on TV], replied in response to a question concerning why the demonstrators had thrown stones, that the phenomenon of Messianic Jews is a modern twentieth-century form of the Inquisition. ‘We shall not rest or cease,’ he then said.” In defending his decision to call people to pray outside the congregational building, Deri asserted that he wanted the community to “‘think twice about what they were doing, when they saw Jews praying nearby.'” “‘When Jews take on Christian customs,’ he wrote, ‘the chief rabbi has the right to conduct prayers whose purpose is to get that same public to consider their actions. Freedom of religion works both ways.’ At the same time, he was certain that the event would not deteriorate into violence. According to his statement, he emphasized that prayer must be conducted without any disturbance. ‘I’m against violence; any act of violence will gain the opposite effect.'”
Bass, on the other hand, claims that this is a “‘false plea of innocence’ … The dozens of demonstrators who broke into the compound were indeed determined to act, and did so within the framework of an illegal demonstration.” Deri himself claims that he witnessed no violence, maintaining that he cannot be held responsible for people who acted on their own judgment, that he did not call for anyone to demonstrate nor expect people to show up earlier, and that what was done was performed contrary to his call. “‘From the time I arrived, there was no violence,’ he stated in court. ‘I cannot be held responsible for the actions of the demonstrators. The rumor of a baptismal ceremony of Jews reached the ears of others apart from me and the rabbis with whom I consulted, and they decided to trespass and act provocatively. I never expected that anything would be done to desecrate Shabbat; it’s unthinkable that I would incite anyone to desecrate Shabbat.'” Bass, on the other hand, claims that Deri could have entered the compound much earlier than he did (and thus ended the disturbance much more quickly), and that if there was no violence what need was there for seventy policemen to arrive? His demand for 50,000NIS for slander is based on the fact that the following day Deri stated in a radio interview that the congregation was engaged in converting Jews: “‘This is one of the most serious accusations a Jew can make, and no one with Jewish blood in his veins can tolerate listening to such a reproach.'” In response, Deri argued that he was innocently doing his job of making people aware of what was happening.
The court’s ruling will be handed down in a couple of months’ time. “Deri is convinced that it will exonerate him. ‘The person who brought order to the situation was me,’ he said. ‘The person who prevented violence and ordered the people to return to their homes was Yehuda Deri, the chief rabbi of the city. Everything happened before the time scheduled for the prayer assembly. I didn’t hear about any violence. The claims are false … I was the only calming influence there … I acted as a rabbi should.’ [Interviewer:] ‘A rabbi is supposed to bring hundreds of demonstrators to a Messianic congregational service?’ [Deri:] ‘Baptism is a very serious matter. When I receive a report about the baptism of children I must call a prayer assembly. It would be unimaginable for me not to do so. I did my duty. A rabbi cannot be responsible for this or that disturbance. In this matter, I deserve a medal.'”
Many of you have written, and even called, to express your support and encouragements for our day in court today. This has been wonderfully gratifying to us, for we know through you how much God is with us.
Yesterday, brothers and sisters from all parts of the country, and also from Europe and North America, came together at the ‘Old House’, where the Nachalat Yeshua Congregation meets together to worship. There was a joyful and meekly confident spirit amongst us all as we gave ourselves to thank, to praise, and to worship our Heavenly Father and the Lord Yeshua, the Lamb upon the Throne. Something special took place yesterday, which we pray and believe the Holy Spirit to carry through towards sanctifying the Body of Messiah — even as we sanctify ourselves — to fulfill the answer to Messiah’s, the Son of God’s prayer for our complete union, which will be the full testimony of who He is and who we are in Him. Many thanks to Arni Klein for taking this whole matter to heart, and to act in faith upon it.
Today, we woke up hearing that the court recorders (stenographers) were still on strike, and thought that we may not have a day in court after all. We know that all of this is in Yeshua’s hands, which is a TREMENDOUS benefit of being His! At the court, and in the courtroom — once again filled by faithful and interested fellow believers from different cities of Israel (including the Ortiz family) — the judge offered himself to type out the transcript (the protocol), but in a condensed form. This was accepted by all the parties.
We were able only to question the Beer Sheva Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yehuda Deri. The judge on several occasions wanted to restrict our lawyer from questioning Deri as much as would be necessary to the main defendant. It seems that the time was more important than clearly understanding the reason why we have accused Deri of primary responsibility for the illegal events of that day on December 24, 2005.
We were not able to question Rabbi Alex Artovsky of Yad L’Achim today, which will actually give our lawyers more time to prepare closing arguments. God is for us because we are on His side in Yeshua! We are actively seeking His help.The judge has scheduled another day to conclude the trial: Tuesday, March 9, 2010! The Lord is also the Father of Times!
Our case will not prevent further harassments or persecutions from coming against the believers in Israel. We hope, though, that by it, it will help to deliver many from being persecutors, and to become lovers and disciples of the One who alone is the Good Shepherd and Righteous King.
Once again, there was no news reporter present. God will bring the hidden things to light in His way and time.
Thank-you all again for your steadfast prayers and genuine support for us all. Please remember the Ortizes, as they prepare for their own trial against Yaacov Teitel, the ‘Jewish terrorist’, next month in Jerusalem.
This Friday, the Maariv will carry a story about our lawsuit. This is the first such article as news that the Israeli media is doing! Other newspapers, such as the HaAretz, which did a major article recently about/against Yad L’Achim and their activities against the Messianic believers, have not covered this story even though a significant chief Rabbi of a major city in Israel is being sued for illegal acts done under his authority. I contacted the writer of that story, yet received no response.
For those following our case, we did offer Rabbi Deri [only] another opportunity to issue a public apology, and to pay what amounts to about 1/2 the court and legal expenses, before he must give testimony in court on Monday, Nov 23. He refused it, just as he did at the beginning. Although he says that he is ‘against violence’, and knows that ‘pleasant ways’ produce better results, he has no regrets about the violence and unpleasant ways against us, and he denies any responsibility for them.
Attached are directions for getting to the Old House, the Beit Kehilat Nachalat Yeshua, for those coming down sometime during the day on Sunday, Nov 22, to intercede and to worship together. We will begin at 12:00 noon, and continue until at least 19:00. A number of people will even be sleeping there. Anyone else who would also like to sleep there, please notify me in advance so that we can make some [very informal and flexible] arrangements. There is a full kitchen and also showers.
On Monday, Nov 23, we would again ask that only those who have sufficient understanding of Hebrew try to sit in the very small courtroom. The doors of the Beer Sheva Magistrate’s Court open at 0830; the trial is scheduled to begin at 0930. For those who hope to get a seat, it is advisable to arrive at the court building by 0815, in case the supporters of the defendants should also want to get into the court room. The case will be heard in Room 44, 4th Fl, of Beit Mishpat Shalom, located at the intersection of Itzhak Rager Blvd and Henrietta Szold St.For those who do not know enough Hebrew, and for those who are unable to get a seat inside the court room of Judge Iddo Ruzin, you can remain quietly in the foyer of the 4th floor, without entering into any disputes with those who support the defendants. Or, from 9:00 till 11:00 at Ha-MaKoM (located within walking distance at the intersection of Herzl St and Rambam St in the Old City). We do not know how long the day in court may be, but the Judge has said that he wants to conclude it that day.
WE WOULD VERY MUCH BE ENCOURAGED TO HEAR FROM THOSE WHO ARE NOT COMING BUT ARE STANDING WITH US IN SPIRIT. And if there are any who still feel that our action is improper, you can also speak up so that we can humbly take all things into account as we come before the Lord.
For the true peace in Jerusalem and upon all Israel,
Howard, and Kehilat Nachalat Yeshua/Amutat Nichalim BaNegev
The anticipation of our scheduled final day in court on November 23 is increasing. Believers from all around Israel and from other nations are writing and encouraging and PRAYING for the righteousness of God to be revealed through the proceedings of the day, and especially in the verdict which the judge will deliver sometime up till December 23, four years after the illegal event which we believe that the anti-Christian/Messianic organization, Yad L’Achim, represented by Rabbi Alex Artovsky, and the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Beer Sheva, Yehuda Deri, are legally responsible or irresponsible for inciting and approving. Sunday the 22nd has been set apart as a national day of worship and intercession, with many from the Body of Messiah in Israel coming together that day.
Both of the defendants are connected with the Chabad sect within ‘normative’ Judaism, and they have elevated their Rebbe from Brooklyn who died in 1994 to a position which can only be properly given to the true Messiah and only-begotten Son of God. Their rejection of YHVH God’s Anointed One for one who has come in his own name is what animates their extremely hostile spirit. Along with this is the fear that all they have ever learned as being ‘truth’ is being shown to be actually a lie, and, unless one is prepared to come into the light, then what light there is will fade even more.
Our charges against the two defendants include illegal demonstration; trespass onto private property; offense to religious sensitivities; slander; damage to property, both personal and congregational. Both of the defendants will testify in court on Nov 23. The witnesses for our side concluded testimonies on June 10 and 21. All of the lawyers representing both sides have been instructed by Judge Iddo Ruzin to present their closing arguments verbally in the court on Nov 23. This is an added burden on ours, Marvin Kramer and Kevork Nalbandian, but also an excellent opportunity to publicly convince the Judge and those in the courtroom of the justification of our case.
Once again we remind you: This case is not against Israel or against the Jewish people. It is not to be used in any way to foment or promote anti-Israel or anti-Jewish actions or reactions. It is already known through the Scriptures that Israel at present is opposed to the good news of God, so we are not out to make them an enemy. Nor is our legal action intended to be used by any other minority or religious groups in Israel to encourage or affirm anti-Israel/Jewish sentiment. For the sake of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, Israel and her people are beloved by God the Father for His honor and glory, and for the honor and glory of His Son.It is clear to all of you who have joined with us that this lawsuit is not a personal one, but rather a representative one. That is why the Holy Spirit has been bringing us all together and so many taking part in the battle for the sanctification of the name of the Lord Yeshua Messiah/ Jesus Christ here in Israel, the land and the people which are His both by birthright and by the Father’s covenantal blessings. In any case, since Yeshua is Heir of all things and has authority over all things, we want and pray that the fear of YHVH would come upon His people, and that many would be saved by calling upon His name. The knowledge that there is both good and evil already makes us ‘like God’, but to be truly a child of God is not only to know that there is both good and evil, but to also discern and distinguish between them — and to choose the good! almost a month earlier who planted the bomb at the Ortiz home at Purim, March 2008, almost killing the youngest son, Ami. The Jewish American Israeli nationalist zealot has also confessed to other actual murders and attempted murders of others he perceives to be a threat to his version of a Jewish Zionist state;
Very recently two significant news items have surfaced which helps to put our case and that of the situation involving the Ortiz family in Ariel in perspective for those who have eyes to see:
firstly, on Oct 28 the gag order was removed regarding the arrest of the man who was arrested
secondly, yesterday’s (Monday) Maariv newspaper headlined on the front page an extreme Jewish rabbi and his new book in which he promotes the killing of Gentiles and any others who threaten his version of a Jewish Zionist state.
We want to work while it is still day. The night IS coming, and, according to the words of Messiah Himself, no one will be able to work. May the power and grace of our God work in and through us to honor His holy name.
God bless you, and all of us together for His name’s sake, and for the gospel,
Shalom, and thank God for Yeshua that our names are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
I want to update you on some good news regarding our lawsuit against the Beer Sheva Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yehuda Deri, and against the anti-great commission organization, Yad L’Achim with Rabbi Alex Atrovsky as their representative being the head of their Struggle Against the Mission section, scheduled to be completed in the Beer Sheva Magistrate’s Court in our civil suit on November 23, with a decision by Judge Iddo Ruzin by December 23, exactly four years from the [second] riotous event against our congregation, Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua’s Inheritance). The two defendants are the only ones remaining to testify in the court proceedings.
Judge Ruzin has approved us obtaining the recording as admissible evidence, even though our knowledge of its still existence came very late. This is very good, and we pray still that the judge will actually listen to it! It was the attitude and the tone of the rabbi in this interview that really had us consider from the Lord if we should take the matter to court this time, including his false statements and his disregard for the rule of law in their actions against people like us.
It is very important to continue to pray for our two lawyers, Marvin Kramer and Kevork Nalbandian. They have to really be led by the Spirit of Messiah in their handling of the case in court, in order to prove and to convince the judge that the two defendants are in fact responsible — or irresponsible — for the illegal demonstration and other violations of law that day. The defendants have to incriminate themselves in the courtroom before the judge! At the same time, they/we must show respect for Rabbi Deri because he is a Chief Rabbi of a major city in Israel and also a regional Rabbinic Judge (Acts 23:5; Ex 22:28).Remember that our case is not only against private parties, but against religious authorities and spiritual strongholds, defining a whole society and culture. And again, I want to emphasize that this case is not against Israel or against the Jewish people. It is not to be used in any way to foment or promote anti-Israel or anti-Jewish actions or reactions. It is already known through the Scriptures that Israel at present is opposed to the good news of God, so we are not out to make them an enemy. Nor is our legal action intended to be used by any other minority or religious groups in Israel to encourage or affirm anti-Israel/Jewish sentiment. For the sake of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, Israel and her people are beloved by God the Father for His honor and glory, and for the honor and glory of His Son.
A number of worship groups and intercessors have already indicated that they want to come down to Beer Sheva over the next couple of months leading up to the trial date, and perhaps even till the judge’s decision. Groups from within Israel and from abroad, especially from Germany, are truly going to battle with us in a marvelous way. Local believers and congregations around Israel are joining with us in words of encouragement from themselves and/or from the Word of God; with financial contributions; with prayers and intercession; with appearing in the courtroom in our two previous occasions in June.
We bless you from Beer Sheva, the City of the Fathers – of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel.
Howard and Randi
Your and our prayers have been heard and answered regarding the audio recording of the radio interview with the rabbi on December 25, 2005, the day after the illegal demonstration!
Thanks again for expressing so much support for us throughout this lawsuit, which is a significant part of what the Lord is seeking through our stand together.
I have been asked to give banking information, in case any one is interested in helping us cover our legal and court costs for the trial. We have received some contributions over the last couple of years, and have even been blessed to receive from some Israeli congregations and organizations. Our two believing lawyers have given us a very ‘brotherly’ rate for their extensive services, but, nonetheless, the costs do add up.
Any victory that is savored afterwards was hard fought.
Good evening from here after a hot, hard, and long day.
Our trial — no pun intended but very apropos — is not yet over, and will be convened again for a final date on November 23 at 9:30 in the morning. The verdict will then be given by December 23.
I have been greatly encouraged by the response of the believers within and without Israel to us and this case. It anticipates a day when there will be a unity that transcends all those things that still is out of God’s order in His perfect redemption of His creation.
Thank God that we can trust in Him! He rules in Heaven and Earth and in our hearts, which sustains us in opposition to sin and sinners against His righteousness and glory. When there is no fear of God, anything can become justifiable. We still pray and believe that the truth will be heard, discerned, and judged as truth, wiping every smug smile off those who do not want to come to the light, because their deeds are evil. Without Yeshua as our Head is to be as without God in the world in a daily and practical way. We once were like that, and it is dreadful to consider where I would be today if that were still the case.
The courtroom was filled today by believers, from different parts of the country, who got there early enough to have a seat in the small room (maximum 20 seats for visitors). While we were all waiting for the defendants and their lawyers to arrive, we introduced ourselves to one another and prayed with each other! The only person in the room during that precious time was a journalist for the Jerusalem Post, Larry Derfner, who came down to cover the story. So far, he is the ONLY secular reporter to take an interest, after some urging by other believers who know him. His article is supposed to appear in the Friday, July 3rd, edition of the Post, in their Friday magazine section. (I have been offered to write an article for the Post this week, which, if printed, should be in this week’s paper sometime as an opinion piece.) For some reason hard to understand, the Judge did not accept the Chabad Rabbi and head of their yeshiva (rabbinic orthodox educational system) as a hostile witness, which was why we subpoenaed him. On the witness stand, he called us “troublers” (like Ahab called Elijah), and claimed that Messianic Jews do not exist (since they think that a Jewish person who believes in Yeshua/Jesus is not a Jew). Of course, remember that Chabad believes that the rabbi from Brooklyn, who died in 1994, is the Messiah!
By strangely not accepting him as a hostile witness, who is the one whose English was featured in a major Hebrew newspaper in April 2008 to convey his expressive ‘admiration’ for me, the Judge did not allow our lawyers to question him any differently than had he been a witness for us!
Our case rests on words spoken and written by the defendants themselves the day after the riot. We have sufficiently demonstrated to the judge that an extremely serious riot took place, which is the reason for the compensatory damages we are seeking. November 23 is the day we have to prove that the two defendants are joined together and responsible for that event. What seems so obvious is not so simple to prove in a court of law. In the same, but more perfect, way that the defense attorneys and the judge want to pressure us as the plaintiffs, so will the Righteous Judge and Lawgiver hold those who oppose Him answerable in the Judgment Day. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God! Every mouth will be stopped, but those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb will burst with inexpressible joy!
Your prayers to God and your words to us will move the Lord to do something wonderful for His glory. Thank-you.
Howard and Randi
I have long considered Ezekiel 20: 45-49 (21:1-5 in Heb.) as relevant to us in these our days, and Beer Sheva, the City of the Fathers, still has a valuable place in God’s plans for the future of His land and people.
We want to thank so many of you who have written or called, both before the day in court today, and since we left there this afternoon. Your support and encouragement have been a real strength for us and a hopeful indication of the Lord’s blessings upon this entire affair. Also, on Sunday, the evening of praise and intercession was very freeing in the Spirit and a big part of our preparation for the battle we are in. It was a very tiring day. It is very much WORK for the lawyers.
It is definitely a battle, but it is also the day that the Lord has made! A number of brothers and sisters have received Psalm 37 as a word for us, as well as Isaiah 51:1-8.
Arab brothers have also stood with us, and one dear brother even came to the court today from the far north! The Body of Messiah in Israel is being prepared for greater things to come!
Judge Iddo Ruzin today was very tough, but I would say fair. Most of the witnesses on our side were called, which was actually a surprise for both sides that things were moved along so quickly. THE JUDGE ADMITTED THAT “A VERY SERIOUS INCIDENT” OCCURRED AND THAT THAT IS INDISPUTABLE.What we must do at the next session on Sunday, June 21, is prove that Rabbi Deri and Yad L’Achim are linked to this ‘very serious incident’ and are responsible and liable for the riot and offenses and damages.We want to make the name of Yeshua honorable and faith in Him acceptable as Jews. I personally believe that by upholding a righteous standard the Holy Spirit can ‘more effectively’ bring conviction of sin, which Yeshua described as “not believing in Him”. We want to be credible as witnesses and shown to be responsible and accountable for our actions and words.
We pray that this case will be used by the Lord towards more Jewish/Israeli people being freed from the strongholds over their minds against the gospel, and to believe it! Lawlessness will increase, whether we win or ‘lose’ this case, and we desire God’s mercy to save more before the wrath to come.
Additional Prayer Points for June 21
–for God to continue to confuse lying tongues
–that Deri and the Yad L’Achim rep, [probably] Alex Artrovski, will not give compatible testimonies
–that their lawyers will not be able to undo damage done in cross-examination by our lawyers, Marvin and Kevork, of Deri and Artrovski
–discernment for Judge Iddo Ruzin as to who is speaking truth
–boldness to render a decision in accordance with God’s righteousness