Israel Prayer Teams
PO Box 111302
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The Religious Freedoms Lawsuits in Israel
The Arad Battlefront

The 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

From Lura's email on February 1, 2007

Thanks 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….

This 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.

Two 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.

However, 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 way!

Today: 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 God!

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.

Lately: 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.

Email 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.

[Imagine, 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."

So, 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 days.

It 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.

I 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.

Pray 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.

Lura Beckford

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.

*Polly 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.



As 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 take place.

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.

No 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

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