ex po sé
The Terror Bombing of
Teen Ami Ortiz
by Donna Diorio
Part 3 The Family Grapples with the Unthinkable
ex po sé noun
1. A public exposure or a revelation,
2. A formal exposition of facts.
Part 3 The Family Grapples with the Unthinkable
At the hospital believers from across Israel gathered to stand with the Ortiz family as Ami began the first surgeries to save his life. After ER surgery Ami was transferred into Schneider Children’s hospital which is back-to-back to Beilensen where he was admitted to ER. In the waiting room Jews, Arabs and other believers from Dan to Beer Sheva would gather daily – as many as 70 per day – coming to encourage and comfort the stricken family. David is well known and appreciated for his ministry among the Palestinians, as well as his fellowship and ministry among Jews in Ariel.
The next morning doctors reported that Ami would live but was severely injured. Ami had been put in an induced coma and was expected to be in the intensive care unit for at least two weeks.
Ami’s wounds many weeks after the bombing.
Ami had second and third degree burns on his stomach, chest, and thighs but none on his face. Five pieces of shrapnel were lodged in both lungs and another one in his right eye. Shards of metal and glass peppered both eyes and it was expected that he would be blind in the right eye. Three of his toes had been amputated. He had a heavy loss of flesh and blood from his thighs and serious injuries to his hands. But Ami was a living miracle – for him to be living was a miracle in itself. The blast had not damaged any of his organs, no arteries were severed despite the horrible wound in his neck, and there was no brain damage. 21
“Death has climbed in through our window
and has entered our fortresses;
it has cut off the children from the streets
and the young men from the public squares.”
David gives the testimony at “Epicenter 2008” gathering of Christians
the invited guest of Joel Rosenberg.
Ortiz son, Elad (20) is standing to the left behind David.
View full video testimony
“We ran for the hospital,” David told a gathering of Christians at Joel Rosenberg’s Epicenter 2008 conference in Israel just a few weeks following the attack on Ami.
“After we got there they operated on him for eight hours. Afterwards the doctor came over to me and said, ‘We don’t know if he is going to make it. Even if he makes it we may have to amputate his legs and his arms because he has been badly wounded.’ There were so many horrible things that they were describing.
“At two o’clock in the morning they gave us a place to lie down and I said to the Lord, ‘Lord, You are my best friend. But I can’t see. I feel like I’m in a tunnel. I can’t see up; I can’t see down. I have no light whatsoever. I need you, Lord. I don’t even know what to pray. I can’t afford anything less than a miracle. Lord, give me a miracle.’
“And right there – I’m not into visions or anything like this – but God spoke to me directly. And He showed me the death angel come into my home and He said to the death angel, ‘angel you can’t pass this line. You can’t take him.’ I saw the enemy pleaded for my son but God said ‘You can touch him, but you can’t take him.’
“In an instant I received light. I knew God was on the throne. I knew He wanted to glorify Himself.
“I told my wife, ‘The Lord just spoke to me. Ami is going to make it. God is going to glorify Himself. He has chosen us at this particular point and God is going to do something that we don’t understand. There is something taking place in heaven that we’re not aware of. God wants to glorify Himself and God is going to do a miracle.
That was at 2 o’clock in the morning. At 9 o’clock in the morning the doctor came over to us and said, ‘I don’t know how to say this; I want to be careful.’ I didn’t know where he was coming from. He said, ‘I don’t know how to explain this in medical terms because your son has just received a miracle. In hours things have completely changed. We see that we can save his arms. We can save his legs.’
He described from top to bottom – he said, ‘He is full of shrapnel. He has big pieces of metal in his right eye but it did not hit the nerve. You son’s neck was severed but it did not touch the artery; we’re putting him back together. He has holes all over him. He has in his lungs pieces of bolts and screws –and his legs, he’s missing chunks of flesh but we’re going to put him back together. He’s missing two toes. The lung expanded so much from the blast but now we have hope that everything is going to be okay with his lungs.’
“By God’s grace,” David cried, “God gave us a miracle.”
Ami is the youngest of five brothers and one sister. One of his brothers, Ariel, who was 24 at the time and working in Tel Aviv, rushed to the hospital after getting a call from his dad, David.
Leah with sons, the eldest Ariel (25) on the left and on the right is Natan (23).
Both sons served in elite units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
When Ariel was told it had been a bomb, he assumed his brother had been caught up in a terrorist attack and expected the hospital to be a flurry of ambulances and paramedics. At first he was confused never suspecting that his family had been singled out as targets of a terrorist attack. He had expected many victims from a terror attack in a public place.
In an interview with Ma’ariv newspaper an impassioned Ariel spoke of how he never anticipated that the threats or harassment his family had experienced for their faith would reach such a stage of violence.
"They all write about us as part of a cult. What's a cult?” Ariel asked. “Do we hold rituals and burn cats? Do we sacrifice virgins at the stake? We've never done anything bad to anyone.
“We're Jews. We've served in the army like everyone else. I was circumcised and had a bar mitzvah. This is our faith, our way of life, and at most it's a bit different - so what?”
“They say about my parents that they're missionaries. Nu - really - like in every other religion, they also believe very deeply, and believe that this is the way. But they've never forced it on anyone else, not even us,” he said, referring to his siblings.
“This thing that's been done to us stems from cowardice” Ariel Ortiz declared. “It's terror. What's the difference between the person who did this to us and Hamas? In my wildest dreams,” Ariel said, “I never thought that they would hurt us physically.” 22
What's the difference
between the person
who did this to us
– Ariel Ortiz
The bombing sends shock waves through the Israeli Messianic community. Despite continuous reports of persecution, among the indigenous believer community there is a strong sense of alarm. Some are in denial but most understand that the attack was the inevitable consequence of the hate speech that is leveled against them for their faith.
Howard Bass, a Beer Sheva Messianic pastor whose congregation was overrun
by an angry religious mob in 2005, holds vigil with David Ortiz in the hospital waiting room.
Some of the believers are also very reluctant to believe that the attack was an act of Jewish terrorism, asserting that it was “premature” to be reporting the bombing as such. Some preferred to believe that the Ortiz family had been targeted by Islamists because of their ministry among Palestinians – though even the police did not think so and there was little evidence to support the theory. And as terribly as they feel for Ami, some believers just do not want to face the truth that their own countrymen can feed on hatred so deeply that eventually they are turned into murderous zealots.
There is also a fear within the Messianic community that if the attack turns out to have been perpetrated by religious Jews, that anti-Semitic fires will flare. This same fear infects the authorities and leaves the door wide open for persecutors of Messianic Jews in Israel to continue without fear of exposure or restraint.
Yaacov Teitel and
These fears are almost identical to the fears in the U.S. of a violent public backlash against Muslims if media and authorities identify acts of terror as terror, such as in the recent attack of soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas. In truth, the denials and fear of dealing honestly with the facts only leaves the public vulnerable to escalating incidents. In trying to distance an attacker from the group or mindset that gave birth to the act of terror, no one is protected except the terrorists.
To try to disconnect a “lone wolf” type act from a radical group mindset, or to press a lone wolf theory when there are clear indications that others knew or even participated in the plan, is a form of societal suicide. We have so much more to lose by denial than we do by honestly facing the truth. As believers we are to speak the truth in love, not let love keep us from speaking the truth.
From the beginning, there has been reluctance to speak of the persecution angle of the terror attack on Ami. On the day of the attack the Jerusalem Post identified the victim as the “son of a prominent Christian pastor.” The same article reported that the police spokesman for Judea and Samaria “have not ruled out the possibility that the explosion was terror related.”23 The spokesman’s hesitance to make the T-word call comes off as just slightly right of the new American euphemism for terrorism: “a man-made disaster.”
Later reports would get more real about what took place, but by the day after the blast a court-imposed media blackout would be in force at the request of investigators. The anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim made its usual distancing comments to the press even though it is at the center of stirring up hatred and persecution of Israeli Messianic believers from Arad to Haifa. 24 Such groups have the political savvy to use “plausible deniability” for the sake of public opinion.
“If we put aside the bombing story, which is hard and painful, which we are disclaiming, but if we look at those and won’t hesitate, and won’t look at this story, through this horrible bombing, but we will look at this family’s deeds, we will see that this family is actually the dangerous one, which causes the worse sabotage.”
– Asher Medina, Jewish anti-missionary interviewed in the Uvda Channel 2 News special on Ami.
After the arrest of Yaakov Teitel and his confession to the bombings, Knesset Minister Avi Dichter released a statement on the multiple charges against Teitel for murder and attempted murder. Dichter had served as the Israeli Public Security Minister in March 2008 when the attack on Ami occurred. The statement read:
“Someone who does not hesitate to carry out a terror attack against one in opposition to political or social ideology starts off with a dummy bomb, moves to a real bomb and finishes off shooting to kill." 25
Dichter has put his finger on the truth that hate-crimes escalate from hate speech and verbal threats, to intimidation and finally to earnest attempts to murder.
Murders begin with verbal murder - the hate speech that creates an environment where individuals are willing to progress from hostile acts to deadly ones. Whether terrorism comes by ‘lone wolf’ attempts or by an organized conspiracy of several individuals, it is the mindset and hate speech that are the jet propulsion of all terrorist acts and hate crimes.
||Anti-missionary ultra-Orthodox with bullhorns stationed outside the home of Eddie and Lura Beckford’s home in Arad, summer 2008.
The protest from a neighbor's property who had given permission for anti-missionaries to get closer to the Beckford's home, was a backlash to this positive Jerusalem Post article – “Watch out, missionaries”
Residential protests are legal in Israel for even non-public figures.
This is an uncomfortable reality, even for the police who have been called into countless hostile acts over the past decade against Israel’s Messianic Jews. These incidents have occurred in multiple towns of Israel and even in a single police jurisdiction, hostilities are repeatedly directed at the same victims. It appears to be a systemic failure of police who do not seem concerned enough for Messianic Jews – not by the number or incidents nor the serious nature of aggression police are called to intervene in.
|The Ortiz family attorney, Yossi Graiver is asked in early 2009 in the UvdaTV report – after the journalist has seen the total area covered by the Ortiz’ motion sensor security camera system, “There aren’t any suspects. How do you explain this?”
The attorney who also represents the Samir Balbisi family in a civil suit against Yaakov Teitel and is an Orthodox Jew answers, “This is a question we should be asking the police.”
Not much has changed in how the police respond to incidents against the Messianic Jews, even after the terror bombing of Ami Ortiz. 26
Often police deny that there are any connections between the incidents occurring against Messianic Jews. In July of 2008, police also told the Ortiz family that there was no connection between the bombing of Ami and the bombing of Sternhell and other bombings that were yet unsolved.
“We told them,” Leah wrote, “there are many connections, one of them being that because these kind of people are having their way, using violence and arson in other places such as Arad, Beer Sheva and Jerusalem, against Messianic Jews with the police doing nothing about it. The people that tried to kill our son had confidence that they could do what they did and the police would also do nothing.” 27
In March 2009, an 11-year old girl, the daughter of a Messianic pastor in Beit She’an, Israel, was taken from her classroom by the principal to be questioned by three known “anti-missionary” activists. They asked her questions about worship meeting times and location, and asked her to name members of the congregation. They asked her to give them her family home address. When the school principal returned to his office, the little 6th grader was told not to tell her parents. About two weeks later, the family car was firebombed in the night – just inches away from the bedroom window of the little girl.
A second fire-bombing of the family car took place on December 1, 2009. A week following ultra-Orthodox activists driving through the streets with loud speakers calling to “kick the ‘evil missionaries’ out of town.” This year, the family has had to vacate two apartments due to threats to their landlords.
Left, Pnina Konforty of Pnina's Pies; Right, Lura and Eddie Beckford, The King's Men
In another current case of persecution where a Messianic Jewish believer’s business has been targeted, Pnina Konforty lost one of her bakeries and struggles to maintain another after rabbis pull her kashrut certification. Kashrut means it is according to Mosaic dietary laws and even if her clientele is non-religious it means a loss of business to not have the certification because even secular Jews buy from kashrut certified sources.
Even though the Israeli courts ruled in favor of Pnina’s Pies, it refuses to hold rabbis in contempt with not complying in returning her certification. In what has turned out to be a stalling game, the court has just ruled in mid-December that Pnina must re-apply for her certification before the court steps in again. Meanwhile her business loses business. 28
It is like the legal game being played in Arad with the many court cases that the ultra-Orthodox have filed against many believers there. In the case of Eddie and Lura Beckford, the court has ordered Eddie to be under house arrest pending the completion of the trial proceedings. So far, he has been under house arrest since March of 2008. 29
Persecution of Messianic believers is not just a police problem but also a political problem. It is an inconvenient truth for the Israeli government which must face a hostile international political environment in order to acknowledge that extremist religious-nationalists would be able to commit acts of terror against fellow Jews over issues of faith or ideology.
Ultra-Orthodox disruptions of the lives of believers in Arad has gone on almost daily since 2004. Here is one such occasion in 2005 when they hurled abuses against Arad believers.
|Fire-bombed several times, one 20-yr old ultra-Orthodox in 2006 poured gasoline around the King’s Men in Arad while people were inside! He was found “mentally unstable” and put in a facility for a few months where he got day passes out-daily!
Persecution of Jewish believers in Yeshua/Jesus in Israel is the proverbial fly in the ointment – a public relations nightmare – as Israel has few friends in the world backing Jewish settlements in the disputed territories. Christians are the main supporters of Israel and since the change in the U.S. presidency Christians are nearly the only supporters of Israeli presence in the West Bank.
Huckabee Hobnobs with Hilltop Youth
at Moskowitz’ Shepherd Hotel
Aug 17, 2009
Richard Silverstein is an American peace activist
– but he makes a good point:
Silverstein: “His trip is sponsored by a settler wingnut outfit called the Jewish Reclamation Project, which is a front group for Ateret Hacohanim, a U.S. registered non-profit which raises an average of $2 million each year used to displace Arab residents of Jerusalem and replace them with pro-settler Jewish fanatics.
“What I find extraordinary is that Huckabee is spending almost all his time visiting settlements.
“And not just any settlements, he’s going into the heart of the most extreme of the settler extremists meeting with the Gush Katif dissidents and Hebron settlers … “
Israelprayer Notes: Mike Huckabee is a wonderful man and rightfully is a strong supporter of Israel. He is but one of many prominent examples of Christian clergy and political leaders who could benefit from better counsel as to the groups he aligns himself with in Israel.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a playbook so all Christians could understand who they were getting in league with?
Too many staunch Israel supporters within the Christian community are supporters of even the most radical of “outpost” settlements. A parade of prominent Christian church and government leaders showing support for some of the more radical elements within the settlements is not exactly an encouragement for Israel to openly discuss or aggressively pursue the most likely suspects responsible for nearly killing Ami. It could alienate Christians who have been Israel’s most stalwart supporters.
Clear Message Behind the Scenes:
“Do NOT Trust the Christians”
Features from Jewish Israel
& religious media
It is more convenient for the Israeli government to downplay the persecution of Messianic Jews and also the emergence of a new extremist radical minority within the settlements to their Christian friends. This is understandable on their part, but on the part of Christians and Messianic Jews worldwide, it is unacceptable to remain uninformed.
Inside Israel in the aftermath of the Purim bombing of Ami, most understood immediately that religious-nationalist activists and/or anti-missionaries were the most likely perpetrators. Outside Israel, Christians generally support the view that all Israel belongs to Jews but they also do not have a good understanding of political or religious factions within Israel. Most don’t really understand how religious-nationalist extremes are becoming a serious problem for the duly elected government representatives in Israel.
Religious soldiers told by Yeshiva rabbi to disobey orders;
Settler rabbis tell Barak: Don’t out extremist yeshivas
These groups are a danger to the general population, and believers outside of Israel should not become involved in things they don’t begin to understand. Most Christian supporters of extremist religious-nationalist groups do not even seem to notice these are groups who are also behind the scenes persecuting Jewish believers in Jesus.
The Israeli government is in no rush to clarify the situation for Christian Israel-supporters, the few but mighty supporters Israel has. Hence, there has not been a rush to expose the ugly truth of religious intolerance that is involved in the Ortiz case. Even many Israeli Messianic believers are cautious, fearing that the facts of the case might feed anti-Semitism even within Christianity.
Insanity? or just the Flip Wilson Defense: “The Devil Made Me Do It”
Instead of stating the obvious religious hatred motives behind Yaakov Teitel’s murderous actions, many alternative theories have been offered. Teitel’s twelve year murder spree of Arabs, Leftists and Messianic Jews was immediately explained by the ever popular, “He has mental problems,” canard.
If that is allowed to stand as an excuse, it represents something far worse than just a disingenuous legal defense strategy. It represents the same kind of Leftist reasoning that exists in the United States among those who would like to dismiss Muslim acts of terror by the counter-charge that it was caused by American oppression or other mental distresses provoking the terrorist.
Attorneys for Teitell and Hasan Take Same Defense
– with plenty of officials
willing to allow
religious hate crimes be excused as “mental instability”
“What should be clear to any person is that my client is, in the best case, mentally unstable, and he believes he has been sent by God,” Teitel’s attorney Adi Keidar said.
“He saw signs, he had dreams, and became motivated to act. He told his interrogators [he] could not refrain from doing it.”
Hasan's Attorney: Major Nidal Hasan’s attorney told interviewers in December: “ The unit commander has concluded that there’s adequate grounds to believe the accused may have lacked mental responsibility and capacity to such a point where [he is requesting] a formal inquiry.”
The attorney added, “It corroborates what I’ve been saying all along, and that is that this case would invariably present issues of mental responsibility.”
21 3-21-08 Howard Bass Update
22 Caspari Center Media Review, for March 28, 2008
23 Son of Ariel pastor injured in blast By Rebecca Anna Stoil Jerusalem Post Mar 20, 2008
24 Anti-missionaries suspected in attack By Yaakov Lappin Jerusalem Post Mar 23, 2008
25 MK Dichter condemns political violence in statement after Teitel arrest By Jpost staff Nov 1, 2009
26 ‘Haredim torched messianic Jew’s car' By Ben Hartman Jerusalem Post Dec 3, 2009
27 7-23-08 Ami Update
28 Death Threats Calls to Penina, re-enactment video
29 Arad Prayer Update 3-11-2008
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.”