The battle against systematic persecution in Israel

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the LORD.”

Proverbs 21:31

Since 2011 Beit Hallel Congregation has been facing a targeted persecution campaign lead by the anti-missionary organization Yad Le’Achim. It all began with a mass demonstration they organized in 2011, when they brought busloads of orthodox protesters to riot outside our congregation, with lead rabbis encouraging further actions against us.

It has been 9 years of systematic oppression, harassment and outright persecutions on many levels, fuelled by a hate-campaign led by Yad Le-Achim where they have called time and time again for actions against us, declaring their goal is to stop our work completely and drive us out of the city.

Their systematic and targeted harassment has filtered down to many areas affecting directly our congregation and ministry.

We’ve been enduring weekly gatherings of Yad Le-Achim activists right at our building’s doorstep, with them shouting, filming our people as they are coming to the service, intimidating children, blocking the entrance and causing confrontations. We’ve had police called many times, and it has been complicated to get them to protect our rights, until now when we finally have the course resolution.

They have vandalized our property, causing us great financial damages. They were caught on camera doing that and yet the authorities didn’t do anything to protect us.

Another aspect of persecutions we’ve had to endure is the pressure Yad Le-Achim have been exercising within city hall. Due to their influence within city hall, they have been able to get our permit to operate our humanitarian work from our new building revoked. Hundreds of families in need have suffered as a result from that, our work had to be restructured so that we are able to continue operating our humanitarian outreach despite the obstacles.

Yad Le-Achim extended their influence and reach into local Ministry of Interior Affairs here in Ashdod, resulting in putting in danger the residency/citizenship status for several of the families that go to Beit Hallel, one of them is our associate pastor Eitan and his wife Yulia, who has been denied any kind of status and almost deported, despite Eitan having citizenship. They’ve had to seek legal advise from a lawyer to help their case; something that is out of reach for most people.

All the avenues they have used in order to hurt, oppose, hinder and outright stop us and our work has been arbitrary and systematic. They have not made it a secret and publicly called the entire Orthodox community to join forces with them in order to “cleanse the city” from our presence, using “any means possible…” It can be read in a decree they signed publicly with 29 of Israel’s chief rabbis.

They have launched a publicity smear campaign in every possible media, trying to recruit more support from the public and discredit us completely, making it seam as though we operate illegally, when in actual fact they are the ones breaking the law by targeting us based solely on our faith.

All this and so much more has driven us to take action due to this situation that has become unbearable. We had to seek legal help, despite the high costs it would entail. God’s work cannot be allowed to be trampled in such a blatant fashion. We know this is not only our battle, this is a battle we are engaged in on behalf of every congregation and believer in Israel, because every court ruling, every verdict and decision will create a precedent for every congregation in Israel.

This is a spiritual war we’re engaged in, and we have to ensure we prepare our “horses for battle”, because victory belongs to the Lord.

This past week we experienced an amazing breakthrough and victory in the court against Yad Le-Achim’s illegal and incessant harassment.

The judge on our case determined that Yad Le-Achim and anyone on their behalf are not allowed to come within 100 meters of our building. They are also forbidden from using loud music and dancing in order to physically block our entrance (as they have been doing for months). They are not allowed to gather in larger groups than is specified by law, as well as every protest of theirs has to be backed up by permits from both the city hall, as well as the police (much like any other legitimate protest in Israel).

They are forbidden from now on to film or photograph us and our people, including children (which they did, illegally).

The judge noted that while they conserve their right to protest and express their “beliefs” freely, it was made evident their protest are done with the sole purpose of disturbing our operations, and it cannot be allowed.

This is such a significant victory and breakthrough for not only Beit Hallel Congregation, but for all local believers in Israel. It is so crucial to stand against injustice, especially when you know your rights and the law is on your side. We have to “prepare our horses for battle”, so we can see God’s victory in the lives of all local Israeli believers who are face religious oppression every day simply for their faith in Yeshua.

We know this is not the end, and we are thankful for this task God entrusted us with; to lift up the banner of the gospel of Yeshua in Israel, while showing no fear in the face of persecutions and ruthless opposition.