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Israel's messianic village ordered to pay $20,000
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 11/03/2012 @ 7:15 pm In Faith,Front Page,Money,World | No Comments
A new report in Israel Today reveals that a small communal village started by Christian lovers of Israel and run today by Israeli messianic Jews is facing a legal assault for not allowing lesbians to use its facility for a “wedding.”
The report by Ryan Jones in Israel Today describes the plight of Yad Hashmonah as similar to that of several businesses in the United States where same-sex duos have brought legal action over the refusal by Christians to support their lifestyle. One prominent case involved a New Mexico photographer who was assessed some $6,000 by the state for declining to photograph a lesbian ceremony.
Similar cases have developed in the United Kingdom, too.
Yad Hashmonah was set up in 1974 and over the years, the children of the original pioneers married into the local believing community, the report said.
But its identity as a “beacon of messianic Jewish faith” has had its price, the report said.
Israel Today described how Yad Hasmonah was sued for refusing to host a lesbian wedding at its event hall and biblical gardens.
“Liberal elements opposed to the interference of biblical faith in this land saw an opportunity, and struck. Beyond the $20,000 in damages Yad Hashmonah was ordered to pay the lesbian couple, the village has now become a target for the more extremist elements in the homosexual community, and may end up losing the use of its hall and gardens as a business,” the report said.
Ayelet Ronen, a director, said the issue arose for a part of the village that is registered as a business.
“Though we stressed at court that we are a Bible-believing village, the judge said that was not enough, and that based on the law our public service facilities (which are registered as a business) are not a religious institution and therefore must serve everyone equally,” Ronen told the publication.
He said the end result may be that the facilities will be closed to everyone.
“These facilities might have to be closed as a general public service. If we decide against our own legal action, we will have to rethink what we have here. Already we are receiving many phone calls from other gay couples asking to be married at our facilities. They want to force us (as believers) to facilitate this kind of event, but we cannot and will not do so. For now we have to simply turn down all new bookings,” Ronen said.
“Our goal was always to be a living testimony to the Israeli public. Many believers work in the ‘Christian’ field, in ministries, in organizations from abroad, but our desire was to be integrated into mainstream Israeli society by offering a quality little guest-house service (a concept very popular with Israelis) where our faith is openly declared. And hundreds of Israelis go through this place every month. We get a chance to share openly about our faith on a daily basis, and we do it with love, despite the fact that it’s not always easy,” he continued.
Ronen explained the options are limited.
“We are down on our knees praying about how and where to turn, for a change in direction. I really believe that God is doing something here and I am willing to follow, even if it means closing the facilities completely or re-opening them solely as a messianic center. But we need help, and if brothers and sisters around the world can stand with us in practical support, now is the time!” he said.
The organization is online at www.yad8.com.
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