THE BURDEN AGAINST EGYPT – 5 Feb 2011

This last month has seen the beginning of rumblings in the Islamic nations of North Africa and the Middle East.  There is an uprising against the entrenched leadership of the Arabic Muslim rulers, beginning with the ruler of Tunisia, and moving on to Egypt, and threatening Yemen and Jordan, with other rulers and nations worried about the repercussions within their borders.  Israel, the only non-Muslim nation in the region, is rightly concerned with the outcome of these uprisings:  only Egypt and Jordan have peace agreements with Israel, and these “peaces” are more cold than warm, but they have held for more than 30 years.

YHVH God has always warned His people Israel not to lean on Egypt for help, yet with Egypt being the leading Arabized nation (Egyptians are not Arab in their origins), Israel has always sought quiet borders on her south side with the nation God used to make a nation for Himself.

What is striking about these uprisings so far is the cry of people in these countries for their deposed leaders to get out.  This is a sad testimony that these rulers have not led their people as a father to their nations, but as lords and benefactors who enrich themselves at the expense of the common welfare.  Islamic fundamentalists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, are set to take advantage of these uprisings through so-called democratic processes — rousing the passions of disaffected citizens and of lawless trouble-makers —  and this does not bode well for Egypt herself, or its relations with Israel or with the Christians within Egypt and the other Muslim nations.

I am reminded of an Egyptian church leader I heard speak at a Middle East conference held outside Cairo in 1993.  He spoke from Isaiah 19, and reminded all of us that the day will come when not only Israel will be the “People of God”, but also Egypt will be called by Israel’s God, “My people” (v.25).  This preacher spoke prophetically then that those who oppress Egypt (Is 19:20) are not Egyptians, but Arab Muslims who have come in.  Egypt, from the Biblical record, is named from Mizraim, one of the sons of Ham, a son of Noah. (Gen 10:6)   (The Arab peoples originate from Abram/Abraham, a Semite, and his Egyptian concubine, Hagar, whose son was Ishmael.  In Hebrew, the word for Arab denotes ‘mixture’.)  After the gospel went out from Israel, many in Egypt became Christians, and the Copts today continue that heritage.  The burden which these “oppressors” bring will be used by the Lord to turn the Egyptians to call upon Him for a Savior and a Mighty Deliverer.  It may also be worth noting that the “land of Judah” (Israel today) is a “terror to Egypt” (v. 17), and despite the peace treaty between them now, Egyptians are brought up to fear Israel as a hated and cruel enemy.

It is interesting that in Egypt they do not teach their children or people about the Israeli exodus from Egypt, led by Moses.  This Exodus made YHVH, God of the Hebrews, “famous”. (Ex 9:13-17)  It was also the plagues which YHVH brought upon the Egyptians to bring out His people Israel with signs and wonders that are memorialized in the Passover, and which demonstrated that the gods of Egypt are no gods.  Israel, likewise, does not teach her children or people about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for in His death and resurrection He made a show openly of all satanic and human opposition to Himself and to the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  Both Egyptian and Jewish historical chronologies are distorted so as to divert attention from the true account and historical records given in the Bible.

So as the rulers of Egypt continue to mislead their people as to the true God (v. 11-13), He will bring them all into disarray, that they may call upon the name of Yeshua/Jesus for salvation, and know that YHVH alone is the one true God.  As more Egyptians are saved, the day draws nearer for the salvation of Israel and the coming again of the Lord. (Rom 11:25-27)

The Word of God given to us in the Old and New Testaments is always up-to-date to shed light on current events and insight to their significance.

YESHUA/JESUS IS COMING AGAIN! – 14 Oct 2010

This news is not new!  It is also good news for those who love His appearing!  It is the same “old” news!  It remains current news!

There is a wave of deception entering from without and working within the “Church” connected with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven to judge the nations and to establish His righteous reign over Israel and the rest of the world.  Many professing believers/Christians — and some are truly so — are re-defining terms to interpret the Word of God to be saying what He isn’t, or else to not be saying what He is.  The spirit at work in this seeks to de-legitimize both Israel and the gospel in their uniqueness; to make what God calls “new” (as in New Covenant and new creation) only something re-newed or re-cycled; and to weaken doctrinal support not for these only, but also for the hope of the literal and personal return of the same Yeshua/Jesus who ascended in bodily form to sit at the right hand of the Father until the time appointed.

The gospel/good news goes out to “whosoever” from whatever nation and group of people.  God is working to save whosoever repents and believes His good news concerning repentance and faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and the free gift of eternal life to all who truly believe.  Any consequential transformation of a society or a culture is only in part and definitely temporary.  Only the return of the Lord to establish the Kingdom of God on the Earth is going to permanently change this situation at a universal level.  Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit is working to bring as many as will to have part in the better resurrection, which is the first resurrection, which is far better than merely entering the Millennial Kingdom in the flesh for those of Israel and of other sheep nations who come through the great tribulation without giving themselves over to the antichrist, and upon whom Yeshua will show mercy and compassion at the end of the age.

To make this as simple as possible:  as long as Satan is the god of this world, then the world is not going to be transformed to a degree satisfactory to YHVH God and His Son; and as long as Israel — His chosen people and nation — remains an enemy of the gospel, then the God of Israel is not going to be satisfied with any lesser transformation.  Both of these conditions will prevail until the coming again of Yeshua, and thank God that the Father has set a time for this!

Therefore, it is for true believers not to lose sight of the blessed hope as we go about being light, salt, and a fragrance in the world in the faith, hope, and love that more individuals will have their own heart and minds transformed by that which is the power of God to save:  the gospel.  In God’s Kingdom, every part will be holy in order that all is holy.  It appears that the elect are going to be more and more “hid with Messiah in God”, and not be the most vocal and visible, or high profile, or most popular, or even most ‘influential’.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH!

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 – 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

Lawsuit Update – 10 Mar 2010

Shalom upon you!  (Shalom aleichem!)

My apologies for not being able to get this out sooner, since I know that many of you were and have been praying for our day in court yesterday.  Also some of you even called, or SMSed, or sent e-mails, and we are very encouraged by such attentive support.

Up to about 30 also met at Ha-MaKoM for worship and intercession during the course of the court session, which went on till about 1:00pm.  Once again, the defendants displayed a disrespect for the court and for the entire proceedings by showing up late or not at all.  This is the attitude taken by the religious authorities in other cases involving believers in Yeshua here, that the authority of the civil courts are not fully recognized, if at all.  (I would say that believers, who find themselves in court over legal matters in any country, need to be careful not to show contempt of court, since we are commanded to submit to the civil authorities, and not to curse our rulers.)

I still stand amazed how little bearing false witness (perjury) seems to carry much weight in court.  Maybe I am myself pre-judging, but ‘oaths’ to tell only the truth go unchallenged when lies are clearly stated as if true.  Again, I thank God that we have and Advocate in Heaven who intercedes for us!  That we have Someone to call upon who is the Righteous Judge of all the Earth, and who is also the only one who forgives sin, that people would fear Him.

God honors human beings, whom He created in His image and likeness.  Each one, even those who will be sent away from His presence forever, will stand before Yeshua face-to-face for His righteous judgment.  In our present case, the judge has said that the defendants do not even have to show up in court for our next session (April 15), only to be available by telephone!  To me, this only strengthens the attitude of belligerent people to disrespect the legal system.

I am very thankful that yesterday’s proceedings ended with us (including me personally) being able to state our position once again, just as we did at the outset of the pre-trial hearings — but this time before the Judge in the courtroom — that we are willing to accept a public apology from the two defendants, rather than ‘demanding’ from the Judge a verdict that he is unable and perhaps unwilling to give.  I truly felt the Holy Spirit give me a peace that this is our way of seeking to show His way:  “In wrath remember mercy”.  Whether or not the sides will be able to come to an agreement that satisfies each of the parties is still uncertain.  Should the defendants not appreciate the grace being shown by not judging themselves, our Father in Heaven knows how to deal with wayward children who would be His children, and He knows how to deal with those who are determined not to submit to His holy and righteous ways for true peace.

Here, I want to please ask that any reports you may receive about the case not be taken as ‘official’ until you have heard from me or from our lawyers.  If not, there is potential for mistaken analyses, or for misinformation being used as if accurate, and could also be used against us, or be used to suggest that we are not holding ourselves to the standard we would expect from others.  In the event any of you have received reports before this one, here is a clarification by our attorney, and if any of you have used previous information, please correct whatever you may have passed on to others or posted on blogs or websites:

“. . . After completion of the closing arguments by the respective attorneys, the court asked whether there was still any possibility of concluding the dispute by agreement. This led to various discussions with the attorneys for the different parties in the lawsuit, during the course of which we, on behalf of the plaintiffs, pointed out that we want a public apology from both of the defendants. The judge encouraged all of the attorneys to try to meet together (but did not order us to do so) to work out language agreeable to all parties, to which the court would give validity as a judgment. In the absence of agreement, each of the parties would submit a proposed text to the court. A further hearing was set for mid-April for the purpose of trying to conclude the matter without the judge rendering a decision. If agreement cannot be reached, he will issue his judgment after that.

There was no “order” to “Rabbi Deri and Yad L’Achim to issue a public apology to the Messianic congregation within 10 days or suffer more court costs”. Nor does the record reflect any warning to “Yad L’Achim against further violence”. . . .

We need to be careful about reporting what took place and what was said in court and stick to what appears in the transcript. The case is not over until it is finally over and [unauthorized] statements . . . can end up hurting us. . . .”

God bless you all, and may He find us faithful and in the faith,
Howard and Randi

Lawsuit Update – 28 Feb 2010

Hag Purim sameach!  The God of Israel continues His sleepless watch over His people. . .and because of such sovereign grace and power, we are not consumed but prevail!  Hallelu-Yah!

Next Tuesday, March 9, at 9:00, in Beer Sheva Court Shalom, 4th Fl, Room #44, our scheduled last appearance before Judge Iddo Ruzin takes place in our lawsuit against Beer Sheva Chief Rabbi Yehuda Deri and against the organization Yad L’Achim.  Alex Artovsky, their director for the department, The Struggle Against The Mission, is scheduled to testify, after which the three principal attorneys will present their closing arguments before the judge, who will then have up to 30 days to give his verdict in our civil suit.

The courtroom is very small, holding at most 20 people on a first-come basis.  For Hebrew speakers who would want to be in the court, it is advisable to be at the court building by 8:15; the building opens at 8:30.  Go up to the courtroom and be in a position to enter when it is possible.  We do not know whether friends of our adversaries will also want to attend the hearing, but, again, it is on a first-come first-in basis.  In any event, we do not want any provocations on our part, whether inside the courtroom or outside.

For those who do not want to, or can not, enter the proceedings, but would like to still join directly into events, please participate in the prayer and worship gathering at Ha-MaKoM.  Whether present or absent, we would all very much appreciate your remembrance of us in your thoughts and prayers before the Throne of Grace that morning.  Our hope and trust is in our Heavenly Advocate and Intercessor, even as He works through each of you and us simultaneously.  (Wonderful, isn’t it!?)

Although our case has been in process for three years now, and arises out of the illegal events from more than four years ago, I believe the over-riding sovereignty of Yeshua has been at work.  It is interesting that it is the time for Yad L’Achim to give testimony, now that more light has been shed in their works of darkness, “Jewish terrorist” Yaakov Teitel’s active involvement with them, and the Jerusalem Institute of Justice letter to the Attorney General to outlaw and to dismantle the organization.  YHVH, God of Hosts, is aiming at His target from within His people, with the intent that more Israeli Jewish people be set free to hear, repent from unbelief, and to believe unto salvation in the glad tidings!

Some specific prayer points until the verdict is given:

–for our lawyers, Marvin Kramer and Kevork Nalbandian, that they know how to question Artovsky, and in a manner acceptable to the judge in his courtroom, and that the closing  arguments will be convincing to Judge Ruzin to aid him in ruling in our favor

–for Judge Ruzin, that he would pay attention to not only what he hears and sees, but to intangibles that help him to discern who is of the truth and who is not; that God would  strengthen his heart to rule sufficiently in our favor that the two defendants will know and feel that they have been held accountable to existing law, for him to fear God more than man or devil

–for the unholy alliance between Rabbi Deri and Yad L’Achim is broken; that they would not be able to trust each other, even if they continue to have similar objectives

–REMEMBER:  This is a spiritual battle; no arm of the flesh can defeat a spirit. . .it will simply find another outlet until Yeshua Himself puts away the evil one and evil-doers.  But in the meantime, we can submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from us.  We are called to be salt, light, and a fragrance of Messiah in the world, ant to believe the Lord to use us to help set people free in a redemptive way.  We have a prophetic gifting and calling to speak on God’s behalf and to call people to repentance and to righteousness from the sin of unbelief in Yeshua for Who He Is.

–for the Lord’s intervention to make known to the general Israeli public the issues in these lawsuits by believers against those opposing our legitimate liberties–that our case will have a positive effect upon the believers in Arad, and in other cases now proceeding, such as Pnina Conforti, the Ortizes, and before the Attorney General

–that no matter the verdict, if we have believed and supported this lawsuit to be obedience to the Lord in this particular situation, then that we accept the verdict as also being His for His own purposes beyond our own knowledge and understanding.  If the verdict seems favorable to us, that we guard against pride in whatever form it may try to uncover itself; should we feel that the judge ruled in an unjust way against us, that we would commit it to Him who judges righteously, and guard against criticism against any of us.  The devil wants to sow discord amongst brethren, and, if he can not defeat us one way, he will subtly and craftily look for another way to make us fall to the dishonor of ourselves and especially of our Father in Heaven and the Lord Yeshua, in whose name we trust and whose name is upon us.  When Yeshua was crucified, even His closest companions and chosen vessels to proclaim Him to Israel and to the world, all thought that He had lost and that their hope had been in vain.   Let us, too, learn to let God work through the appearance of defeat (if that should be the case) to show, in truth, that He has won!

Shalom upon Israel, and we thank-you and bless you for your support in the battle,
Howard

Lawsuit Update – 7 Feb 2010

Shalom,

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)

In the fear of God,
Howard

Lawsuit Update – 2 Dec 2009

MAOZ Video of Lawsuit 

Blessings,

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.'”

Lawsuit Update – 23 Nov 2009

Shalom to All,

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.

You’re wonderful,
Howard and Randi