Religious Freedoms Lawsuits in Israel
The Arad Battlefront
King’s Men Chess and Bible Shop
Lura and Eddie Beckford's ministry to the
elderly and poor
Jews, Arabs and Bedouin in the Negev Desert town of Arad
Lura's email on February 1, 2007
to your prayers and God’s grace, we have
experienced a major victory in the Supreme Court of Israel.
We accept this victory in humility and with caution. Read
on and you will see why….
past month: After we wrote a check to the court
house for the court costs incurred, our check was turned
over to the Haredim [ultra-Orthodox] by someone (?) and
they tried to cash it. The bank refused as it was not
made out to them. Instead the Haredim photo-copied the
check and enlarged it, and have been parading around town
showing it and claiming that we are criminals and we had
to pay them. The actual check was returned to us by messenger
and I paid the court house directly, however, the Haredim
are still boasting with their lies and slandering us to
anyone who will listen.
weeks ago: The Haredim have been requesting
a police permit for 700 people to demonstrate outside
Polly’s house* in Arad
and the Beersheva police turned them down. The Haredim
took the police to court and after more than a
year of deliberating, the Supreme Court upheld the police
decision and went a step further and denied the Haredim
permission to demonstrate outside private homes at all.
They also said that a situation needs to be avoided where
one group can harass another group and push them out of
town. We will soon post the decision in Hebrew and English
on the website. Legally, this is a major victory
for the believers.
the Haredim are not law-abiding citizens and
feel no compunction to adhere to the court’s ruling.
They are still demonstrating and ever since the
verdict was handed down two weeks ago, they have been
more aggressive and nastier than ever. Since
our Chess and Bible Shop is not a private home, we are
feeling the brunt of their aggression a bit more than
usual. They are trying to think up something more devious
against the believers. The Lord is our Defense in every
A side effect of this verdict has affected us
personally as today we went to court again to answer one
of the many false charges the Haredim have filed against
Eddie. The prosecutor dismissed this particular
charge and we left the court in a jubilant spirit, thanking
We did not realize how discouraged
our lawyer has been in fighting all these cases and not
being able to win any of them, only to postpone them pending
the outcome of the Supreme Court case. Today his first
words outside the court room were giving thanks to God.
We were able to sit down and talk with him and fully realize
the depths of his depression about this case. He is very
encouraged now and ready to face the future cases. We
have another one on Feb 11. We thank the Lord for renewing
his strength and would appreciate your prayers for him.
Some of the Habadniks (from the late Rabbi Schneerson’s
group) have been getting angry at the Hassidei Gur group
and telling them to stop making trouble. Up until
now, both groups were working together and now there is
a split in the Habad group of ultra-orthodox Jews. This
is good and we pray that it continues to foster discussion
about the believers.
from Lura Beckford on February 28, 2007
Shalom Friends. On Feb. 25 Eddie was inside the
Chess and Bible Shop and a small army of Haredim came
looking for him. The Chess players shut the door
and told Eddie to stay inside. However, the Haredim next
surrounded our van in the parking area. The Bedouin came
running to tell Eddie that the Haredim were messing with
the vehicle. Intending to just get in the van and drive
away, Eddie went running to the parking area. They would
not let him drive away, so he got out and ran after one
of them – the others jumped him and he was hurt
and they ripped his shirt. The police came and
the Haredim complained that Eddie attacked them.
folks, a mob--the usual suspects--claiming that one man
attacked them, and the police of the small town,
knowing the history of harassment this particular mob
inflicts on the owner of this shop, arrests the man for
trying to protect his vechicle!--dd]
The police never ask what the Haredim are always doing
at our place around our car, congregation, etc. We never
bother them, but the police saw their chance to act against
us. They blame us for the disturbances the Haredim
cause: They tell us, "If you weren't here, we wouldn't
have to deal with this trouble."
they arrested Eddie and put him in leg irons and took
him to jail. They completely ignored
the Bedouins testimony that Eddie did nothing
and the Haredim attacked him. He spent the night in a
small filthy cell with 5 other men and in the middle of
the night, they transferred him to another filthy cell.
This afternoon, he was arraigned before a judge
in Beersheva, and a plea bargain was offered to him. Go
to jail or agree not to return to Arad for 45 days. So
Eddie agreed not to return to the city of Arad for 45
is 5:30 p.m. and I just returned from a day in court,
then taking Eddie to Dimona to retrieve some of his personal
effects, and now I am in Arad to try to retrieve his I.D.
Card, which was confiscated by the police. Eddie is waiting
for me at Mohamed's outside town. We will spend the night
in Beersheva and decide what to do next. I am very grateful
to the Lord for releasing him from prison.
This is a culmination of a week of horror as far
as the Haredim are concerned. Just this week,
“A” was harassed by them four different times
- they blocked his car and pounded on it, etc. “R”
has been harassed while walking her child from school
by these grown men. She and I have been harrassed several
times in public areas while walking. All of us have put
in complaints with the police on assault charges.
had the privilege of being hit by the chief Rabbi of Arad.
Why? Just because I believe in Y'shua as the
Savior of the Jewish people and the world. "S,"
a visiting friend of ours has been terribly harrassed
while giving out literature, including being beaten and
spit upon. All this because we have committed the crime
of being believers.
for us! Pray for the Jewish People - May God have mercy
upon the souls of those who act in ignorance. The rest
I leave in His righteous Hands.
P.S. This latest escapade has cost us dearly -
if you wish to contribute to our legal defense fund and
help us survive here and continue to do good for the needy
- Please send checks to M.H.C.F., Inc. 2796 N.
Cherry Lane, Ronks, PA 17572 USA Please designate the
gifts for Israel - Beckford
Thanks for standing with us - We appreciate it more than
you will ever know! It is difficult right now, but we
are more determined than ever to finish the work God has
entrusted to us.
is a believer and
a widow who has taken in several children from believing
families as foster care. Because it is against the law
to share the faith with any child under the age of 18
years old in Israel, the ultra-Orthodox have over the
past three years been daily protesting Polly's care of
these children. They are loud, clamoring and threatening.
You can read the online documentation of the persecution
at Lura and Eddie's site (lots of documentary pictures
also). The congregation in Arad led by Yakim Figeuras
is also a target of harassment.
always when we bring these disturbing reports from the
Holy Land regarding the abuse of our spiritual family--the
followers of Yeshua in Israel--we want to emphasize that
in no way are we encouarging anyone in anti-Jewish or
anti-Israel actions or reactions.
It is important for the Church to handle this
information in a Christlike manner. We don't
ignore the truth or pretend it doesn't exist because our
brothers and sisters will suffer greatly if we react in
that false manner. But we do not make Jews or Israelis
our 'enemies' because these persecutions are allowed to
Mature believers will acknowledge the truth of
the situation and take it to prayer before the
throne of God. But our duty does not end there. We must
support the believing community in Israel and also speak
out on behalf of those being persecuted.
matter what relationships we have formed with unbelievers
in Israel, if we don't speak to the persecution
of our brothers and sisters who are Israeli citizens,
than family members who allow a family member to repeatedly
beat a spouse or child without intervening. The blood
is upon the hands of those who remain silent knowing that
abuse is being perpetrated.--Donna Diorio