Back in June 2009, I wrote about a court trial that was getting started in Beer Sheva, Israel. To refresh you: In 2005, the city’s chief rabbi Yehuda Deri called a prayer meeting (because demonstrations of more than 49 people are illegal without a permit) in front of the Messianic congregation Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua’s Inheritance). Five hundred people showed up. At some point, the demonstrators entered the building, disrupted service and broke electronic equipment. Police arrived but were overwhelmed. The mob persisted for three hours. A handful of protesters were arrested, but police released them on site at the behest of the rabbi. Last June, the congregation and pastor Howard Bass sued Rabbi Deri, and the anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim.
Tuesday, the there was another trial hearing. Bass’ attorneys said afterward:
“… 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.”
Pastor Bass said:
“I am very thankful that [Tuesday’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. “
Please take a moment to pray that justice prevails. If you feel inclined to intercede, the time is now as the two parties try to negotiate a settlement before the April 15 hearing.
Thank you and shalom.