Israel Prayer Teams
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ex po sé

The Terror Bombing of
Israeli Messianic
Teen Ami Ortiz

by Donna Diorio

Part 2 Threats Precede Violence

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

Part 2 Threats Precede Violence

Threats to the Ortiz family had begun months before the bombing as fliers were distributed in the streets of Ariel with photographs of David Ortiz and other Messianic believers warning:

“Citizens of Ariel, Beware!
These people are Christian Missionaries
that masquerade as Jews
and belong to a cult called Messianic Judaism."

DebFigueras (Left) Example of a flier circulated against a Messianic pastor’s wife in Arad whose family and congregation have also been targeted by fierce, ongoing persecution.

Like other Messianic Jews throughout Israel, the Ortiz family was used to being targeted by hate speech and also used to exercising prudent caution for the sake of personal security.

Several congregation facilities and other properties of believers have been fire bombed over the past decade and threatening speech has almost always preceded the violence.

Reports of the threats – especially those leveled against the leaders of the Israeli Messianic congregations – have been on the rise since around 2005 after the “Disengagement” from Gaza. The wrath and contempt built up for Israeli authorities within the religious-nationalist camps have found Messianic believers a convenient target for lashing out.

Newspapers and web sites catering to the religious-nationalists have become quite open in opposition to Israeli Messianic Jews in Israel. There is very little restraint concerning what they are allowed to say or do. Religious articles declaring “war” on the “missionaries” as Jewish followers of Jesus appear often, and “anti-missionary” organizations like Yad L’Achim stoke the fires of hate and harassment.

It was only a matter of time before intimidation of individual believers and attacks against their properties would escalate to attempted murder. With the bombing of the Ortiz family, that line was crossed.

One self-proclaimed Israeli anti-missionary web site spies on indigenous believer ministries in Israel. The information it publishes is picked up by activist readers in Israel that translate the intel into various forms of persecution – whatever is within the means to do.

Notice the apple graphic is carved with a Christian symbol + skull & crossbones.

Above: “The Anti-Semitic ‘Messianic’ Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree” is a report on Yeshua Israel’s Shani Ferguson. Shani is a second generation Messianic ministry, the daughter of Israeli Messianic leaders and elders, Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram of Maoz Ministry in Tel Aviv.

The Ortiz family was also being probed in advance of the bombing. They had received suspicious telephone calls in months prior from both men and women requesting their location in order to attend to the worship services. As a rule, Israeli ministries do not widely publish the physical location of their congregations or homes. As a matter of security they must keep their contact information carefully guarded from unknown inquirers.

Just three months before he planted the Purim terror bomb, for instance, the confessed bomber Yaakov Teitel contacted the Ortiz family via email using an alias, Daniel Ivgeny. He wrote that he was interested in attending their next service and asked for the congregational address – which is housed in the same building as the family residence. The email aroused suspicions about someone they had no prior contact with, so David and Leah decided not to answer it but to keep the correspondence on file.

Another reason for caution is because the “anti-missionary” activist group Yad L’Achim likes to plant moles in congregations – people that pretend to be genuinely interested but are only coming for the nefarious purpose of gathering information about members that can be used to cause them trouble. Plants are also used in U.S. Messianic congregations to gather information on Messianic Jews planning to immigrate to Israel. Names are fed to like-minded anti-Messianics within the Interior Ministry that oversees all coming in and out of Israel.

MaozInfiltrate MaozSpread

A young Israeli reporter poses as a new believer to dish ‘the dirt’ on a Tel Aviv Messianic congregation. Her article, “Baptizing Cult” sees the proverbial demon behind every bush.
The full article is translated on the Maoz Israel
web site in the Sept 2008 Monthly Report.

In western democratic nations, an email request like the one Teitel sent the Ortiz ministry would not have been given a second thought but Israeli ministries are forced to operate with more security consciousness. Even those of us who are involved with the Israeli indigenous ministries have learned to be cautious with sharing their information, and discerning of those who seek it. Giving out information too freely – not being wise as serpents and harmless as doves – can lead to many harmful consequences for both Arab and Jewish believers in Israel.

An example of an Old City internet café’


After the bombing, police asked if they had received any suspicious emails. David and Leah promptly turned over the email from “Daniel Ivgeny” to police investigators. When police arrested Yaakov Teitel on October 7th they placed a gag order on the Israeli press reporting of the arrest while the investigation continued. When the gag order was lifted one month later, David and Leah read accounts in Israeli newspapers of how Teitel’s use of the internet had played a part in the arrest.

Two months before his arrest, police tracked Teitel to a Jerusalem internet café on Jaffa Street. Ten minutes after he left, five investigators descended on the café seizing the computer he used and the security tapes. Café owner, Moshe Cohen told Haaretz reporters that Teitel was a frequent customer and internet user, “He used to sit here a lot,” Cohen said. 15

“When we read this and realized that email was from Teitel himself, it really shook us up,“ David Ortiz would write. “But we were amazed at how the Lord had given us the warning in our spirits and the wisdom to not answer.” 16

By the time of the internet café raid, two other attacks had occurred on higher profile victims with similar methods and threat patterns as the bombing of Ami. The first was the pipe bomb explosion of an Israeli Peace Now activist, Professor Ze’ev Sternhell . The professor narrowly escaped serious wounding in the blast, which Teitel would say later had been meant as just a warning – not to kill.

After the bombing, fliers were distributed in the area calling the state of Israel the enemy, calling for a religious state and promising a $290,000 reward for anyone who killed a Peace Now member. (Text in box below)

The flier Teitel has confessed he distributed after planting the bomb at Sternhell’s home, is picked apart by some writers in the Israeli religious media. In an Israeli National News article in September of 2008 the flier is parsed pointing out mistakes in the Hebrew or in the talking points of various right-wing factions. In the end, “The Flyer is More than Fishy. It Stinks” decides the flier was either written by ultra-Orthodox groups or by the Israeli General Security Service, the latter to make religious-nationalists look bad.



Our blind loyalty to our country and her acts has rewarded us with treachery and death every time. Many of these Arabs stand and laugh at the same time that we are burying our dead. They sit and they probably know the spiritual and political leaders will continue to cooperate with them and to betray us time after time. They think that we are cowards and it is clear to them that the threat of torture and imprisonment will stop us from standing on what is ours. However they are wrong! The time has come to take their crushing heels off of our faces and to demand what belongs to us, what God promised us as His chosen people, this land! The time has come to establish a Halachic (Code of Jewish law) state in Judah and Samaria! The time has come for the kingdom of Judah!

In the breaking news of the Sternhell bombing an Israeli newspaper would reveal that police suspected that it was connected to the Ortiz bombing and two other incidents from 2006-7, but the admission was published as a leak. Within hours that bit of information had disappeared from the web under a gag order. Later police denied any connections between the bombings.

Leah Ortiz would write, “The story was published in the second largest newspaper in Israel. It is totally reputable and caters to the more conservative element in Israel. I believe that what they reported was true, but the authorities don't want to bring us into the picture before arrests are made because of our faith.17

Phone & Internet Threats in Attack of Gay & Lesbian Youth Club; Soldier from the Ultra-Orthodox IDF unit arrested for web threats
Two coordinators responsible for transportation to ceremony honoring victims of shooting attack on Tel Aviv gay youth center say get threatening phone calls by anonymous persons saying they will bring grenades to event.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem Police arrest haredi soldier suspected of making threat in online gay forums. M.O. fits the pattern of the Ami Ortiz bomber.

One year later around the same time investigators confiscated the computer Teitel used at the internet café, a masked attacker burst in with a pistol on a gay and lesbian youth club in Tel Aviv killing two and wounding thirteen.

In the days following the attack, threats of another larger attack were made on gay web forums which led police to arrest a 20-year old soldier in the ultra-Orthodox IDF unit. Several days later Shmuel Preimark was released from police custody for lack of evidence to connect him with “the cases” investigators said they were eyeing him for; but they also refused to explain to reporters “why Primarik’s arrest for posting online threats sparked such an extensive investigation.”18

On the day of the Ortiz bombing Ami was not supposed to be home, but normally David and Leah would have been. Out of her routine, Leah decided to accompany David to Jerusalem as he led a Danish tour group in a tour of the ancient City of David. Leah had an old friend staying with them and decided that the tour would be a nice outing for her friend. As she was leaving at 8 AM, Leah woke Ami telling him to get ready for school. A typical teenager, Ami went right back to sleep.

When he woke, Ami saw the Purim package on the kitchen table. It had been brought in by Marina who was cleaning the home and the congregational floor. Ami saw that the family dog needed to go out so he took Dusty down for a walk. When he came back Marina was preparing to leave for the day. She had just made it down to the street level dumpster when the bomb exploded. The blast blew out car windows on the street and throughout the apartment. Marina raced back up to the residence and found Ami lying on the kitchen floor bleeding profusely.

CarsOnStreeet PoliceInvestigate CrowdGathers
(L)Cars on the street damaged by blast, (C) Police investigate, (R) Crowd Gathered

The first responders were neighbors, and it is a good thing Israelis get valuable emergency training during their mandatory military service after high school. It enables men and women to keep a cooler head and render aid in emergencies.

A neighbor in the building next door was home from work sick when he heard the explosion. Items were blown off the shelves in his apartment. He ran down to the street and identified which apartment the blast had come from by the sight of its windows having been blown out. When he entered, he saw the teenager lying in his own blood on the floor with someone by his side, so the neighbor proceeded to search for a gas leak. Confirming there was no gas leak, he then observed the hole that had been blown in the kitchen table and knew it had been a bomb.

Neighbor responding to the blast shoots photos of Ami with his cell phone


Ami was lying on the floor ravaged and bleeding profusely, a large chuck of glass protruding from his neck – but he was conscious and able to speak. When emergency responders arrived Ami was asked his name, where his parents were and what had happened. He was able to answer all of the questions and even knew that what happened was that the Purim basket had exploded.

Down the street a young paramedic, who had moved into an apartment with fellow students the day before, heard the explosion. She went down to the street searching for what she also assumed had been a gas leak explosion and saw police arriving at the scene.

ERVehicles RushedHospital
(L) Police outside Ortiz apartment (R) Screenshot of Uvda TV report of Beilensen Hospital ER

When the fire department came they were the first to enter the residence to confirm it was safe; that a gas leak had not caused the explosion. Fire officials then gave clearance for other emergency services to enter. Someone yelled down that there was a victim wounded, so the paramedic neighbor raced upstairs to help. Months later she would tell the Ortiz family that even though she had been a paramedic for many years, what she saw when she came into the residence had been difficult beyond words.

She was able to administer life saving measures that were critical to Ami’s survival until the ambulance arrived. It was a 20 minute period which she would later say had seemed like hours. She assessed that Ami could not breathe because of a collapsed lung, but did not have equipment to deal with it. She did help to stem some of the severe bleeding and gave Ami care that his parents said they will be eternally grateful to her for.19

When Ami arrived at the Beilensen hospital ER, doctors did not give him much chance of survival. The bomb had literally exploded in his hands into his body. There was extensive damage and his body was riddled with the shrapnel that had been loaded into the bomb to make it as deadly as possible.

First news of the explosion was intercepted by the fifth Ortiz child, Elad, an army soldier who was serving in Samaria (West Bank). The bomb attack showed up in the army map room as taking place on the block the family lived on. A friend of Elad’s also called confirming the bomb had been at his parent’s home. Elad called his parents on their cell phone and they in turn immediately called Ami’s cell phone, getting no answer. Then Leah called the cleaning lady who had been at the house. Police answered saying their son was on the way to the hospital. She screamed, "Is he alive?" The police person answered, "You have to get to the hospital right away." 20

At the hospital emergency room in Petah Tikva, horrified family, friends and fellow believers gathered to wait for news of Ami’s condition.


In the days and weeks that followed, although there was little mention of it, believers across Israel experienced an increase in incidents of vandalism, disruption of services, thefts of security equipment and even stolen contact lists of believers in the land.

There has also been another swell in incidents since the arrest of Yaakov Teitel.


14 One Year After the Terror Bomb Explosion by Liel, a Messianic youth, March 2009

15 11-23-09 Ami Update

16 11-18-09 Ami Update

17 9-28-08 and 9-30-08 Ami Updates

18 Police widen probe of Haredi soldier who threatened gays By Jonathan Lis Haaretz August 11, 2009

19 2-7-09 Ami Update

20 9-8-08 Ami Update

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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