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ex po sé

The Terror Bombing of
Israeli Messianic
Teen Ami Ortiz

by Donna Diorio

JPost Ynet Haaretz

ex po sé
1. A public exposure or a revelation,
2. A formal exposition of facts.

Across Israel – for those who have heard the reports – there is shock and disbelief that a terror attack on a 15-year old Jewish boy in Ariel in March 2008 may have been a case of Jewish terrorism. It is a hard concept for Jews to accept – a horrific act of Jew-on-Jew terrorism. Having been the victims of such acts throughout the annals of history, to believe that Jews could become exactly like their persecuting enemies is almost unthinkable to most Jews. The unthinkable is not softened by the cold insistence from some that the targeted family is “not really Jewish” because of their faith in Yeshua (Jesus).

Yaakov Teitel, an ultra-Orthodox settler, appeared for the first time in open court December 10th to stand trial for multiple murder and attempted murder charges including the Purim 2008 attack on a Messianic Jewish family which seriously wounded David and Leah Ortiz’ youngest child, Amiel.

The case places several sensitive and controversial issues in public view from the troubling rise of a new Jewish extremism within the settlements to the appalling state of civil and religious freedom protection for Messianic Jews in Israel. It is a case that Israeli authorities might be anxious to see quietly brought to a swift end with the conviction of a deranged “lone wolf” with no greater implications unpacked.

But that is not the truth of this case, as we have learned from 21 months of following the case via weekly input from the Ortiz family.

This article seeks to shed light on why the police theory that Teitel acted without accomplices cannot be correct. It contains details recorded in the real time of the unfolding of events from March 20, 2008 to the present. If the whole story is not told, the trial could actually circumvent justice bringing only one perpetrator to accountability. That would leave his compatriots free to continue their misguided religious mission to exact ‘God’s vengeance’ on those whom they consider detestable enemies.

Donna Diorio
December 9, 2009
the day Jack Teitel went on trial for the attempted murder of Ami Ortiz.

Part 1 Purim 2008: Haman Visits Ariel

The day before Purim on March 20, 2008, security cameras on the third floor entrance to the Ortiz apartment documented the terror bomb being placed for the Ortiz family to find.1 Cameras covering the street level showed a man exiting a car that had circled the block twice then let him out up the street from the Ortiz apartment building.2 The driver of the vehicle was veiled to hide his identity demonstrating that he was not unaware of the passenger’s murderous mission.3

After exiting the vehicle, the perpetrator walked up the street entering the Ortiz apartment building wearing a large backpack. This was another calculated effort to not draw attention in the neighborhood because a festive booby-trapped Purim basket was hidden from view inside the backpack. No one that happened to be on the street would take special notice of the man in an IDF uniform wearing a backpack. It was a common sight. More importantly, no eyewitness would later be able to give identifying details of seeing a soldier carrying a brightly colored Purim basket into the building.

Once inside the building, the terrorist removed the bomb disguised as a gift. He left the backpack behind, carrying only his deadly “gift” to the third floor. Clearly every step had been carefully planned, including the advance scouting to locate security cameras inside the building and on the street. This was a premeditated act that involved several people who took every precaution to avoid identification and apprehension.

A security camera covering the third floor stairwell captured the terrorist placing the IED (improvised explosive device) just inside a gated hallway to the Ortiz residence door. He was painstakingly careful to guard against the cameras capturing any details of his face. With his head lowered, wearing a cap and sunglasses, he also took the precaution of holding a white kerchief over his nose and mouth with his left hand. In his right, and presumably dominant hand, he carried the disguised bomb.

The package placed where it would be clearly intended for the Ortiz family, he turned and whisked back down the stairs to be picked up by his accomplice circling the block in the getaway car.

Soon the youngest son of David and Leah Ortiz – a 15-year old who over-slept missing school that day – would open the Purim basket at the family kitchen table.


FotogScene blastzone

Top Left: Ami, shown left a few weeks before the bombing holding his nephew
Top Right: Ami lying conscious minutes after the blast
Lower: Damages to the surrounding blast area

Ami’s body would take the full brunt of a massive explosion meant primarily to kill his father David because he is a minister of the gospel to Jews and Arabs. It was a bomb rigged to do maximum damage to everyone in the room. The blast blew out every window in the apartment, as well as windows in cars on the street.

It would be ironic that the biblical holiday of Purim was chosen as the day for a Jew to attempt to murder a Messianic Jewish family – that is, if the date had not been specifically chosen to make a point. In 1994 another American Jewish settler committed a shooting massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. In that Purim attack, Baruch Goldstein opened fire with an automatic rifle, killing 29 and injuring 129 Muslims worshipping at a mosque on the Arab side of the religious site. He too would see himself as enacting a Maccabee-type attack on the enemies of Israel.

Based on the Book of Esther, Purim is a holiday that recalls the story of evil Haman concocting a genocidal murder plan to exterminate the Jews living in exile in ancient Persia. When Haman’s depraved plan is overthrown and he is hung on the gallows he had intended to hang the Jew Mordechai, the “lot” (purim) of the Lord is shown to be with the Jews. The weapon that had been formed against the Jews was overthrown and a day of rejoicing is declared for Jews to celebrate through all generations by festivities and sending gifts to one another.

In modern Israel the celebration bears some resemblance to the American Halloween holiday in that everyone dresses in costumes and gives gifts of candy and other goodies to one another. One big difference is that in Purim the costumes portray the main characters of the Bible – with kings and queens wearing tiaras and capes – not ghouls and goblins.

Purim baskets

The “mishloach manot” – the sweets basket is all part of the fun. It would not be an unusual gift to be found on the Ortiz doorstep the day before Purim. The assassin placed the basket inside the gate with a large Happy Holiday gift tag visibly facing out. It was handwritten – “in Hebrew with Sabra handwriting” (meaning fluent native-Israeli Hebrew penmanship). This is significant because Israeli authorities claim that the man arrested for the crime – Yaakov Teitel – acted alone. There are many problems with that assertion including the fact that the accused is a fairly recent immigrant from the U.S. with minimal command of verbal or written Hebrew. 4

Like ultra-Orthodox extremists often express, the bomber fancied himself in the heroic role of Mordechai – not cast as the villain, evil Haman. 5 If he could peer honestly into his own heart, he would see that this was the act of an aggressor and a persecutor – not a ‘defender of Jews’ as he has deceived himself to believe. In a treat basket, he delivered in true nightmarish Halloween trick instead.

This is a critical point because the mindset of those who are persecuting the Messianic Jews of Israel believe themselves to be defending Jews from “missionaries” who are “stealing the souls of Jews.” 6 Some consider the Jews who believe in Jesus to be more dangerous than Hamas terrorists. 7

“God is king!”8 Teitel shouted during a remand hearing recently, adding that he had no doubt God approved of his actions. "It is a pleasure and an honor to serve my Lord. I do not regret it.”9

As an increase of Jews coming to faith has risen over past decades, so has the popular argument risen that they are no longer be Jews. The reasoning is that because they have betrayed Judaism by coming to faith in Jesus, they are no longer Jews but now are gentiles (Christian). Those who persecute them have this common denominator: they believe that they are protecting Jews from traitors of Judaism – ex-Jews who have become Christians making them more dangerous to the soul of Judaism than Hamas.

If Teitel held any doubts that he was doing the right thing in God’s eyes by persecuting the targets he chose, the just-published book, The King’s Torah would remove his doubts. Written by the Rabbi of the Yitzhar settlement the book gives halachic license to kill gentiles and even innocent children in situations in which their presence endangers Jewish lives. 10

Halachic means according to Jewish religious law – biblical, Talmudic and rabbinic.

Within the Israeli public it should be stressed that those who believe to this extreme are a religious minority, because Israel is in majority a secular state.

However, it is important to recognize that the extremist minority are much more protected by Israeli authorities than one of their favorite targets of persecution, the Messianic Jews. Too many threats, too many incidents of harassment are not treated as serious incidents by police or the courts.11 Arrests are few, but threats coupled with illegal incidents are a continuous fact of life for Israeli Jewish believers.

Most Israeli Messianics keep the proverbial stiff upper lip when it comes to the persecution and threats they often experience. They are mindful not to stir up anti-Semitic sentiment by communicating what is going on with them in the Jewish homeland. The believers in Israel are living examples of the Sermon on the Mount, walking circumspectly regarding persecution, by turning the other cheek and forgiving those that persecute and abuse them.

“We don’t worship Israel.
We worship the God of Israel."

- David Ortiz

It is a fine line to walk out, especially for parents who have lived through the horror of a bomb blowing up in their son’s hands. When a parent stands in that place, the truth of the message you preach is put to the real test. It is no longer what your theology is, but what your reality with God is. In this the Ortiz family has been a sterling example.

“We don’t worship Israel. We worship the God of Israel. And in doing so,” David Ortiz continued, “we have to bless His people, through the good and the bad.” 12

Now that the ordeal has entered the stage where evidence will be aired in a public trial, the Ortiz family must speak the truth in love, not let ‘love’ keep them from speaking the truth. There will be pressure upon them not to press for a full disclosure of the facts in this case, and some of it will even come from within the Body.

“The Body in Israel likes to hold their cards close to themselves,” David Ortiz said in a recent interview. “They need to put it all on the table so we can all share together and strengthen one another. If we don’t engage in the simple art of communication, the enemy will defeat us. But once we lay down our cards, and we’re not controlling or afraid of being controlled, then we can go forward.” 13



1 One Year After the Terror Bomb Explosion Interview and Story with Ami Ortiz This is the English translation of an article written by an Israeli Youth, Liel for an Israeli Messianic Youth Magazine

2 11- 28-09 personal response from David & Leah Ortiz to a question

3 The Jewish terrorist: ‘Lonely’ killer sets out to purge Israel by Shallé McDonald, ICEJ Staffer for the Christian Jerusalem Post, Dec 2009 (ICEJ email copy)

4 11- 28-09 personal response from David & Leah Ortiz to a question

5 Meet Daniel Pinner: an extremist West Bank settler By Chaim Levinson Haaretz 12-5-09

6 3-6-09 Ami Update

7 The Evangelical-Messianic Crossover (as if there was ever a difference) by Ellen W. Horowitz 4-29-09

8 Teitel as trial begins: ‘God is king' by Ben Hartman Jerusalem Post 12/9/09

9 Cool, calculated ‘Jewish terrorist’ shows no remorse in court By Chaim Levinson, Haaretz Correspondent 11-13-09

10 West Bank rabbi: Jews can kill Gentiles who threaten Israel Haaretz 11-9-09

11 U.S. State Department 2009 International Religious Freedom Report: Israel and the occupied territories Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor October 26, 2009

12 Hope for Israel Newsletter PDF of Moran Rosenbilt “Blessed are the Persecuted” December 2009 Special Edition

13 ibid

Part I –Purim 2008: Haman Visits Ariel An act of religious extremism targets Israeli Jewish believers in Jesus on Purim. ‘Wicked Haman’ is finally busted in October 2009.

Part II – Threats Precede Violence Hate speech, harassment and violence lay the buildup to attempted murder against targets with the Messianic community of Israel who are stalked and spied on.

Part III – The Family Grapples with the Unthinkable That is, the Ortiz family, the family of indigenous believers in Israel, and the greater family of Israeli Jews – citizens and officials.

Part IV – Meanwhile in the Real World What must we do to safeguard innocent people from those willing to commit religious terrorism? Counter terrorism experts are telling, but is anyone listening?

Part V – Israeli Justice on Trial What is at stake in the trial of Yaakov Teitel is a hidden spiritual truth. It is one of those trials of God that we often don’t recognize as from Him until after our choices are made and the test is over. In this trial, Israel is also choosing in measure her own future – “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged.”


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