Surveys and Commentary – 5 Apr 2011

In recent days there have been interesting items in the news and opinion pages, which we as believers in Israel would do well to heed as realistic attitudes.  One is a survey of Israeli young people; the other a couple of paragraphs of an insightful commentary by Caroline Glick.  She found it pertinent to express her views about Messianic Jews in her article concerning a Jewish problem.

In an article published April 1 in the online JWR (Jewish World Review), “Jewry’s Jewish Problem”, Caroline Glick, whose commentaries I generally find to be very incisive, makes use of her perception — and that of most Jewish people everywhere — regarding Messianic Jews to make her point.  Here is an excerpt from the article:  

According to the AJC and Brandeis surveys, less than ten percent of American Jews tend to accept the Arab line against Israel. Given the wall to wall support for Israel among American Jews, why do American Jewish organizational leaders refuse to do what their members want them to do? Why are they taking Jewish communal funds to finance activities and causes that are offensive to the Jewish community? Why are they pretending that the call to end communal funding for anti-Israel activities is a call for an abrogation of free speech?

To get a sense of how unprecedented this is, it is useful to consider the American Jewish community’s response to Jews for Jesus. While Reform and Orthodox rabbis agree on almost nothing relating to Jewish laws and practices, since the emergence of Jews for Jesus in the 1970s, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis have been unified in their rejection of the Christian missionary group’s protestations of being Jewish.

Everyone understands that while Jews have a perfect right to change their religion, they have no right to force the Jewish community to accept Christians as Jews. That is they have no right to change the definition of Judaism to include people who worship Jesus. So-called Messianic Jews falsely call themselves Jews to undermine the community from within. But no Federation feels compelled to invite a representative of so-called Messianic Jews to proselytize on stage as part of a panel discussion in order to “welcome multiple voices.” Hillel organizations have rightly refused space and funding to Messianic Jewish groups.

But today, American Jews find themselves helpless when a marginal group of anti-Zionist Jews demands —like the Messianic Jews of their day—communal funding and space for their anti-Israel activities.

The anti-Zionist groups make the same arguments as the Messianic Jews. They call themselves pro-Israel even as they engage in activities aimed at harming, defaming, weakening and delegitimizing the Jewish state. They claim that refusing them communal funds constitutes a violation of their free speech rights.

Yet while communal leaders did not hesitate to call the so-called Messianic Jews’ bluff, they cannot find the way to expunge anti-Israel groups from their umbrella organizations. The explanation for this behavior apparently is apparently social. Federation leaders don’t mind disappointing evangelical Christians. But most of their friends are leftist. Consequently, the perceived social cost of taking action against groups like Theater J, J Street, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence and Jewish Voices for Peace is too high for many American Jewish leaders to bear.

As a present election of grace, we Jewish believers in Jesus are a proof of God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises to His people, and we establish the truth that Jesus says He has come to fulfill all that is written in Moses and the Prophets.  We are not here to impose His Kingdom before the time, but rather to call people out to Him now, and be spared the wrath to come.  What the Jewish Israeli apostle to the Jews preached to all the people of Israel after he was baptized by the Holy Spirit at Shavuot/Pentecost nearly 2000 years ago still remains the essential message of God to His largely unrepentant people.

The other article of interest shows the attitudes of young Israeli people to what they perceive as the most important issues facing the county:

A survey carried out by a German foundation finds Israel’s youth has become more nationalist and does not expect peace. Some 1,200 Jewish youths and 400 Arab youths (not from the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas and not between the ages of 18 and 21) were polled. The survey shows that a third of Jewish youth in Israel say Judaism is the most important goal for the State of Israel – up from only 18% a year ago. Only 14.3% of Jewish youth said democracy was Israel’s most important objective. Over 40% of the Jewish youth identify politically with the nationalist parties, with another 20% expressing solidarity with the “moderate” right-wing. Only 11.5% identify with the left-wing. Among Arab youth, 35% said they “don’t know” their political affiliation – approximately four times more than in the Jewish sector.  Some 41% of the Arab youth said their most important goal was to build a happy family, and 3% said it was to contribute to society.  Among Jews, it was 65.5% and 8.5%, respectively. Nearly three-quarters of Jews felt that security concerns must “always” or “nearly always” take precedence over ideals of democracy if they clash. (INN)

There is a revival of religion and nationalism around the world.  When these two combine —  together with fear, envy, and hatred — an explosive and unprecedented outbreak of violence can be expected.  May the Lord help us “be still, and know that He is God”.

OF ROCKETS AND DEMONSTRATIONS – 25 Feb 2011

Last night around 9:40 (21:40) a grad rocket launched from Gaza hit near our neighborhood in Beer Sheva.  The rocket was the first to hit a major city in Israel since the 2009 war against Hamas, which Israel  launched near the end of 2008 because of eight years of thousands of rocket attacks against cities both near to and farther out from Gaza.  Thankfully the warning siren worked properly and lives were saved, even though houses and cars were damaged.  The Islamic Jihad group took ‘credit’ for the attack; Israel responded with air strikes against launching sites.

This overt provocation comes at a time when the whole Middle East (Near East for the Europeans) and North Africa is a powder keg, with uprisings in several countries, and violence a too-characteristic way of dealing with fear and despair.  Instead of brotherly love, we have civil wars and brotherly hatred.  All of these events could be setting the stage for wars and tribulation as prophesied for the end-times, such as what is written in Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38, Matthew 24:3-14, 2Thes 2:3.  Many Muslims from these Gentile nations willl, by the sovereign grace and wisdom of God, be saved by the only Mediator and Savior whom God has given for any person or nation. (1Tim 2:1-7)  They will be truly and radically revolutionized with a new heart and a new spirit from the one true living God, who alone gives and fulfills promises of righteousness and peace and Godly joy!

Who really identifies with his people and nation and homeland?  Who really cares for the well-being of their people — both old and young — and fears and trembles at upheavals within the social order?

Next Tuesday evening, March 1, a major demonstration by a sect of ultra-orthodox Jewish people is planned against the Messianic community of believers in Yeshua in the small Negev town of Arad, situated between Beer Sheva and the Dead Sea.  The police have given permission for 200 (after rejecting the initial request for 400) Hasidei Gur adherents and yeshiva (seminary) students, and Yad L’Achim activists and paid ‘volunteers’, to protest the presence of believers in Jesus in Arad, and this in front of the private home of a widow and foster mother who lives in a cul-de-sac (dead-end street).  The Arad Messianic/Christian community has exhibited much patience and general self-control through nearly seven years of being daily harrassed, cursed, having their peace disturbed even in their homes and public places, while the religious and civil authorties have till now conspired together to protect them. 

The believers are fasting and asking for prayer seeking God for the salvation of many of these precious souls for whom Yeshua died to offer God’s forgiveness of their sin of unbelief in Him, which thing leads to all kinds of sins.  The Hasidei Gur do not even believe that the State of Israel is legitimate because to them the Messiah has not come, and only He can bring redemption, which includes the return of the Jewish people to their own land as promised by YHVH God to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and their descendants.  Praise the Lord, Messiah has come, and is fulfilling His redemptive plan to save His people and to fulfill all of His promises pertaining both to the Land of Israel, and to the whole Earth!

LAWSUIT UPDATE – Final

Today a small representation of leaders of Messianic congregations and other ministries from all sections of the country met together to discuss the lawsuit and its verdict and the ‘what now?’.  The ‘what now?’ is still an open discussion.  In the very short term, unless a very clear Word of the Lord should come to say otherwise, there will be no appeal of the verdict.  We spoke and heard today how the lawsuit was initiated and handled, and how the evidence was presented to the court, and the judge’s decisions during the course of the trial to our side of the case.  Another leader with a legal background was also present, who changed his mind from before coming:  he clearly saw along with everyone else that there is very strong legal basis for filing an appeal.  With that, no-one present — nor any who have communicated with me in the past few days — had a conviction that an appeal is the clear will of God.  Some were uncertain; others were against. 

I want to say that God has given His peace to us regarding the verdict handed down by the judge in our lawsuit against Beer Sheva’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, and against the international anti-Messianic/-Christian organization, Yad L’Achim (Hand to Brothers).  The Lord provided us with the funds required of us to pay the defendants and their lawyers, including the punitive reward they were given for their actions.  Some responded so immediately to donate towards our financial obligation that it can only be seen as a demonstration of God’s direct involvement.  Even some who anticipated the verdict to be as it was have stood with us.  This reminds me of the prophets in Antioch who warned Paul by the Holy Spirit what awaited him in Jerusalem, yet they blessed him when he knew he must go — also by the Holy Spirit.

The verdict was so one-sided and unjust, and the defendants and their lawyers were even rewarded for their involvement in the “serious event” (the judge’s own words) on December 24, 2005, that truly it is liberating to know that the case was not decided on legal grounds, but on religious.  The secular judge, in a civil court, deciding a civil suit for illegal demonstration, trespass onto private “church-owned” property, property damage, personal injuries, ultimately interpreted all the evidence to satisfy the religious precept that “to save a [Jewish] soul in Israel is like saving the whole world” (pikuach nefesh).  This precept allows even the Sabbath to be violated, lies to be told (“the end justifies the means”), harm to be done.  Praise God, He wants to save Jewish souls, and Yeshua/Jesus is the Savior of the world, especially of those who believe!  And we too, as believers in Messiah Yeshua, may use means that seem unacceptable to others, yet we are taught by the Lord Himself and by His apostles to preach the gospel and to act righteously because salvation ultimately belongs to Him, and not to any methods of men or of demons.

Laws restricting proselytizing to minors or by offering material inducements are good and proper, and protect all of us.  Seeking to prohibit all evangelism can serve no-one and no “free” society well.  It is ultimately unenforceable, and can only lead to repression of liberties of speech and conscience.  Should all political parties be banned from trying to gain supporters or members?  Should no one be allowed to present what he considers good reasons for a better economic system?  The irony here in Israel, of course, is that the very good news that is rejected and denied has its roots, stock, branches, flower, and fruit all right here!  And YHVH God is faithful:  untold multitudes of Gentiles have turned to the God of Israel through Jesus Christ, the King of Israel who will be also the King of the Jews, to whom He first came, and to whom He will return when they bless Him who alone truly and fully comes in the name of YHVH.  Then will they realize that the One they have pierced and have been rejecting is the One who has nonetheless really loved them.

We went into this suit in weakness:  we did not present any witnesses who have immigrated since the ‘Beresford Case’ on Dec. 25, 1989 (anyone interested that does not already know can look this up on the internet), so as not to put them in any jeopardy; we did not take to court certain persons who clearly were instrumental in the riot, knowing that they would not testify against the Chief Rabbi or against Yad L’Achim; we strived to respect the Chief Rabbi because he is the Chief Rabbi of the city, despite his total lack of regard either for us or for our self-control.  We acted on the principle that the person or agency in charge is responsible for actions taken by those under their authority:  after bombings, don’t people wait to hear who accepts responsibility for the evil deed?; doesn’t Israel hold Hamas, for example, responsible for rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities?; didn’t the world hold Israel’s Prime Minister and Defense Minister responsible for the recent flotilla incident (even though refusing to hold the guilty persons, organizations, and governments accountable)?; don’t the Scriptures hold the religious and political leaders of the people more accountable than the common people? (Lev 4)

Our lawsuit was never about money:  we were not interested in their money, but we used the monetary claims against them to express the seriousness of what they were doing, according to existing Israeli laws.  We were seeking to uphold the right to assemble together legally without illegal interference.  We were not trying to gain equal rights or recognition for believers within mainstream Judaism, nor expecting that our lawsuit would prevent future attacks.  We did hope that our case might give some of those who now oppose us pause to reconsider the reasons for that, and the means they use to express their hostility.  Despite the judge’s off-the-record comments about the nature of the event — which justified a lawsuit — he himself trivialized it in his verdict by demanding we pay our adversaries the percentage of our claims, even if we did not satisfy him in sufficiently proving their personal liability.  It is a corrupt system in any country when even the police do not bring to justice those whom they have arrested for illegal acts, especially when they were eyewitnesses to it.  We were given no opportunity to reference the same defendants’ cooperation for a similar event on November 28, 1998, even though the judge allowed them to refer to it untruthfully to serve their purpose, accepting their testimony as true.  There are a number of legal and procedural reasons why an appeal of the case could justifiably be made, but the reality of the entire proceedings only confirms that the real nature of our battle is spiritual and not carnal.  Just as wars are a necessary part of life till now, yet never permanently solves the problems nations have towards one another, so, too, are legal battles sometimes necessary, but neither can they win the ultimate victories for righteousness and justice.  Only God’s own righteousness being imputed to those who have come to Him by His way and on His terms can change the heart, mind, and conscience of a person or of a nation.  Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH!  Not in words and prayers only, but in faithfulness and truth.

Israel is not called by God to be a democracy, but a holy people and nation under the rule of the Sovereign YHVH God of Heaven and Earth (Mic 5:2) for a blessing to the whole world.

We have sought to honor the name of our Lord and Messiah, Yeshua, the Son of the living God, whose name is casually cursed and blasphemed here, often without even realizing it.  Just as Israel is continually placed on the defensive by the likes of Hamas, with never even a legitimate defense that is acceptable, so, too, do many of my brethren — the Jewish/Israeli people — relate and react towards those who have repented, and now believe the Word of God spoken through Moses and the Prophets regarding YHVH’s Anointed One.  All things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.  Hallelu-Yah!  God bless you in Messiah our righteousness.

No Confidence in the Flesh

Philp 3: 3-11 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in the Messiah Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.  If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so. . . .  But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Messiah.  Yet indeed I also reckon all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as dung, that I may gain Christ. . . .

Tomorrow is Pentecost, the 50th day of counting the sheaves of wheat, according to the Law of Moses, which Jesus came to fulfill.  The counting does not begin from the day after His death and burial – or even from the time He descended into the lower parts of the Earth to set free the captives – but rather from the day of His resurrection, from the day after the Sabbath.  We who believe in Jesus as Lord and Messiah are a new creation.  We begin with resurrection life in Messiah and then begin to learn what it is to suffer for His sake, to die with Him to ourselves, to live our lives unto God and His will.

The gospel is not something Jewish, since the Law makes no one righteous, and we can not be justified by the works of the Law.  Neither is the gospel something Greek or gentile, because non-Jews were outside of God’s covenant with Israel, and, according to the Bible, the gentiles worshipped demons and not the one true God.  So we see that the gospel is neither religion nor philosophy, not man’s wisdom or knowledge, not of demons or angels.

If our fellowship with God the Father and His Son Yeshua and with other believers is based upon any of these things esteemed by the world, then this is what Paul calls “having confidence in the flesh”.  Yet Paul claims that to be a true Jew and a true Christian is just the opposite:  “to have no confidence in the flesh”, concerning which he writes that he had more to boast in than others.  Let’s look at his credentials from our passage and consider how they apply to our identity and hope as God’s children.

circumcised on the eighth day

of the race of Israel

of the tribe of Benjamin

a Hebrew of Hebrews

in regard to the Law, a Pharisee

 

as for zeal, persecuting the church

as for legalistic righteousness, blameless

Notice that all of Paul’s “confidence in the flesh” have to do with those things of natural birth, supposed keys to citizenship in God’s Kingdom either through no choice of their own, or either through confidence in choosing the right party.  Everything here takes pride in one’s self, status, giftings, intellect, or else in one’s “team”.

Paul learned that these outward endowments and benefits are not ultimately those which count for eternity, for God is no respecter of persons.  He is after people, like David, who have a heart for Him, whose relationship with Jesus is worth more than whatever else he or she thinks important, who live now with a vision of the everlasting Kingdom of God.  All that is of now, Paul counts as rubbish, and he looks for the glory to come, which is all of God.

Have we learned. . .are we learning. . . to reckon all that makes us feel proud to be but refuse compared to the matchless beauty of the meek and lowly Holy One of Israel?

Let’s close with Paul from v. 12-21 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but one thing:  forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.   Let us therefore, as many as be perfect , be thus minded; and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.   Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.   Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk according to the pattern we gave you. . . . For our citizenship is in Heaven, from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our body of the humiliation, that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working of His ability even to subject all things to Himself.

LAWSUIT update – VERDICT update

Shalom Brothers and Sisters,

A verdict has been handed down by Judge Iddo Ruzin in our lawsuit filed against the Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yehuda Deri, and against the anti-Messianic organization, Yad L’Achim.  The judge did exactly what we have been praying and hoping . . . that he would not do!  Judge Ruzin has determined that the two defendants are innocent of any wrong-doing concerning the events before, during, and after 24 Dec 2005, and that we did not produce sufficient evidence to prove any personal liability on their part in our civil suit against them.
Judge Ruzin has ordered that we pay 1000 ILS to each of the defendants, graded percentages of our claims against them for violations of Israeli law, attorneys’ wages for their clients’ defense, and the five appearances in court for the trial, for a total of approximately 155,000 ILS ( ($40,200; 32,900 Euros; or GBP 27,800).  This miscarriage of justice is a sad commentary on the state of affairs, and should be seen, too, as a wake-up call to all who care for truth and righteousness.

We express our sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of you for your encouragements, prayers, praises to God, and financial contributions throughout this lawsuit to date.  We believe, with many of you, that we were led by the Lord to enter into this lawsuit, and we have sought to honor the name of Yeshua.  We believe that at least in this latter regard, we were successful:  even the judge in his decision referred to the Lord as “Yeshua”, and not by the acronym commonly used by many in this land.  We understood from the outset that there was a risk involved in taking these particular defendants to court for what we still know they are liable.

If we decide to file an appeal of this decision, we will do so only after consultation with other Messianic leaders from around Israel, just as we did before going to trial.

We always believed, and still believe and accept, that the verdict is from the Lord, and it is for us to discern what He is saying to us through it.

Glory to the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel.

Lawsuit Update – 24 May 2010

We are still waiting for the Judge’s verdict in our lawsuit. The customary 30 days have passed, but he is under no legal obligation to have given it during that time. The times are in the Lord’s control, and so we trust Him for making the best use of this time to bring forth the verdict He wants, and the consequences of it. Please continue to pray for Judge Iddo Ruzin, who is understandably under much pressure.

Lawsuit Update – 17 May 2010

We are still waiting for Judge Iddo Ruzin to deliver his verdict on our case.  It is possible that he has already decided and posted it in the mail, or it may be that he is still deliberating on it.  In any case, we hope to receive his decision in the coming days.

This may be a good time to say plainly that we have not gone into this suit as a civil liberties issue, nor on the basis of Israel being a democratic country.  There are many who would deny that Israel is a full democracy, nor do we want to defend the right of ‘sinners’ to parade themselves as a ‘basic civil right or liberty’.  It is no sin to be born Jewish or Arab or black; it is not a sin to be Israeli, Korean, or Mexican; it is a sin for any person to break God’s holy and righteous laws, and the laws of a society which have been enacted to protect the general welfare of its citizens, residents, strangers, and aliens.  We know that it is the righteousness of God to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God.  For the Jewish people as a whole, that is the unforgivable sin!

Democracy has served certain countries well; it is not suited for  others.  The Word of God tells us to pray for all in authority who rule over us; He does not differentiate between forms of government in this commandment for believers in Messiah Yeshua.  God’s government, though, is not a democracy, however much freedom He gives to those under His rule and authority.  God’s government is a KINGDOM, with the Lord Messiah as the KING, which Yeshua has come to restore…and will restore at the appointed time the Father has set for His coming again.

Interestingly, Laodicea means “rule by/of the people”, or, “democracy”!  It’s inherent and fatal flaw — it’s ‘original sin’ — ultimately brings forth compromise and indifference to truth and moral absolutes, and places God OUTSIDE its borders.  Democracy ultimately insists on rule by, for, of the PEOPLE (whatever that may mean) — not by, for, of YHVH GOD.  In this generation, we see the foundations of civil society broken up; ungodly people ‘lording over’ the people; unrighteousness increasing rampantly:  all this on so-called grounds of ‘basic human rights’ and ‘free and democratic elections’, no matter how many do NOT vote, or how ignorant the voters, or how many empty political promises are made, or how corrupt the system.  The enemy of righteousness and peace takes advantage of this falling away (apostasy) when discernment is at a low level, and when the means to hold the flood back are greatly weakened or lacking altogether.

This generation prides itself on its great knowledge and technological brilliance.  Man’s view of itself and his achievements are not quite the way the God of Heaven and Earth assesses reality.  (Look again at the letter of Jesus to His church in Laodicea.)  In the book of Daniel, the image of King Nebuchadnezer’s dream depicts the historic Gentile kingdoms, qualitatively descending  in value from the head down to the feet, until the Kingdom which shall not pass away knocks the whole thing down from underneath.  In God’s estimation, this last non-cohesive clay-mixed-with-iron kingdom of our generation before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in great power and glory to re-establish the Kingdom of God in this world is the LEAST, the POOREST in quality and value!

We did not go to court to perpetuate or to affirm or to take over a world system which is against YHVH and against His Anointed One!  We went to battle for the honor of the name of the Lord Yeshua and of those who believe in Him in connection with the legitimate right for us to lawfully assemble together to worship together on privately owned property — all in accord with the existing laws of the State of Israel, whatever kind of nation it is deemed to be — against those who have disregarded these laws, acted illegally to hinder us from doing so, and then publicly belittled both the event and us who believe.  What we were doing is legal; what they did is not.  Had they done what they did against us against Muslims at a mosque, rather than being in a beit mishpat (court of justice), they would have found themselves in a beit kevurot (a graveyard).  Had what they did against us been done against Jewish people in a synagogue anywhere else in the world — especially the western, Christianized world — there would have have been public outcries by the victims, and a reasonable expectation, even insistence, that religious and political leaders denounce such anti-semitic incitement, acts, and violence.  But here, in Beer Sheva — the City of the Fathers —  and throughout Israel, there has been a virtual news cover-up and no visible intervention by public officials to express their regret over the infringement of our ‘rights’ of religious freedom.

Our battle is not carnal, but spiritual, and will not be won by any arm of the flesh, but only by the Arm of the LORD of Hosts!  We are salt and light in the world, and are to impact it for righteousness sake, for the gospel’s sake, for the Kingdom of God’s sake, for the name of Yeshua’s sake.  If, as a result of our lawsuit, it helps to strengthen the freedoms we do enjoy under the form of government we do have, praise the Lord.  It may also result to serve further efforts to restrict our liberties as believers in Yeshua here in Israel, as was done against Daniel in Babylon, and against Mordecai and the Jews in Persia.  In the world there is tribulation, but praise God, Yeshua has overcome the world!  Harassment and persecution will not end yet as a result of our lawsuit, but more people may come to realize the love of the truth, and call upon the Name of the only One who can deliver and save.

Lawsuit Update – 18 Apr 2010

Shalom to all.  This evening Israel commemorates Memorial Day for all those who have been killed during the years of wars and rumors of wars.  It is a true statement that we must fight for liberty and peace.  Tuesday is Israel’s Independence Day, and God is working to sanctify His name amongst His people whom He will cleanse from all their ungodliness  and uncleanness.  We praise and worship our great God and Savior that He has paid the greatest price and won the war, and gives His peace to those who believe it!

Here is a more detailed report of where things stand in our lawsuit against those who still do not believe:

In accordance with the instructions of Judge Iddo Ruzin, the three sides to the lawsuit prepared drafts of a proposed compromise and submitted them to the court.  At that time, we, Nichalim BaNegev [Streams in the Negev – the registered, non-profit society that provides legal coverage for Kehilat Nachalat Yeshua/Yeshua’s Inheritance Congregation, and me, as plaintiffs, along with  Beer Sheva’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Yehuda Deri, and the anti-Messianic organization, Yad L’Achim/Hand to the Brothers, as defendants, faced the judge for the final time.  Our lawyers, Marvin Kramer and Kevork Nalbandian, have faithfully represented us throughout the more than four years since we first decided to file a civil suit against those defendants for the illegal demonstration, trespass and violence against us on 24 December 2005 (which was the second time that the same two parties have worked together and were involved in a massive demonstration against our congregation).

When we appeared in court, the Judge submitted his own version of a proposed compromise, and submitted it to us for review.  None of the parties was willing to accept the compromise as drafted by the Judge.  Despite efforts to reword and revise the language, we were not able to reach agreement.  We said that a public apology for the event getting out of control would be acceptable, since they publicly lied and ridiculed us in the media.  We did not even insist that they accept ‘guilt’ in order to apologize, but rather that they would express remorse and apologize for their actions, which resulted in a riot which got out of control.  The defendants were not willing to apologize, and it became very clear that there was no regret or remorse from either of them.  From the tone and content of their words in open court, we realized that we could not accept the court’s proposed compromise, as in our opinion, it contained untrue statements, and our faith would not allow us to say that wrong was right, or agree to compromise on a fundamental premise, namely, a public apology.

There were other aspects of the proposal that we also could not agree with, such as a request by one of the defendants for an order directing that any compromise reached would not be allowed to be publicized.  At the end of the hearing, Judge Ruzin said that he would prepare his decision and send it to the attorneys in the mail.  We hope to receive it within 30 days.

Throughout the course of the lawsuit, we felt not only the burden of representing ourselves, but also recognized that we were taking a stand for the believing community as a whole here.  Our decision to risk accepting the judge’s verdict over a meaningless ‘compromise’ was done in the belief that this lawsuit is approved by the Lord with His blessing.   The fact that so many of you have stood with us — not only in prayer, but also in appearances in court, in coming to Beer Sheva to worship and to intercede, to give financial contributions towards the cost of the case — has greatly encouraged us that this is not our personal issue or battle, but God’s!  We know that the outcome is in His hands, and we continue to pray that His righteousness will prevail.

We all thank you all very much, and praise God for this opportunity to work together towards accomplishing His purposes at this time.

Howard and Randi

Lawsuit Update – 8 Apr 2010

Greetings in the name of Yeshua, who is and who was and who is to come!

This is a reminder to please remember to continue in prayer for the outcome of our lawsuit against Beer Sheva’s Chief Rabbi Yehuda Deri, and against the anti-Messianic organization, Yad L’Achim.  Our next and “last” scheduled appearance before the Judge Iddo Ruzin is next week on April 15 at 11:10 that morning.

We have submitted to the judge and to the two defendants our position regarding what we expect from them in issuing a public apology for the violence and unpleasant ways during their illegal demonstration and trespass against our congregation on December 24, 2005, and in doing all that is in their power to do to prevent any such recurrence of illegal acts against believers in Yeshua in the future.  We have also stated that we will continue to act within the laws of the State of Israel, as we have done all along.  (Should laws be changed to work against the gospel even more, then we will, of course, in the love of the Lord and by the power of His grace, do our utmost to honor Him and, if necessary,suffer for His name’s sake.)  We walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before, and we follow the Lamb wherever He leads us.

Their responses to the judge and to us is expected by Sunday.  If there is anything I can update you on before the day in court, then I will.  Your prayers and other tangible support through coming together as one Body around this case have been a source of much hope, and I pray that none of us will be disappointed in whatever verdict of the God of all encouragement.  It is not certain that the judge will give his decision next Thursday, and he customarily has up to 30 days following to make his judgment known.  How the Israeli general public will know anything is still a question.

And once more, let us remember:  This lawsuit 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.

Thank-you for your part in carrying this case through to its end for the righteousness of God to rule, and for many in Israel who have fallen to repent and believe the gospel, that they may rise again to serve the living God!

For the peace of Jerusalem above to be upon you already, even as we look to that day when the Jerusalem that now is will know her peace in Messiah our Lord,
Howard