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ex po sé

The Terror Bombing of
Israeli Messianic
Teen Ami Ortiz

by Donna Diorio

Part 4 Meanwhile in the Real World

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

Part 4 Meanwhile in the Real World

Like the hesitance of U.S. officials to call Major Nidal Hasan’s attack at Fort Hood a terror attack
, at first the media and other officials were tripping all over themselves to identify the reason for Teitel’s murder spree to be a mental illness.  This is the problem with politically correct responses to hate crimes and terror acts – it serves no one but the group and individuals who are radicalized to perpetrate violence against innocents. 30

Hilltop Youth protest 2006 Prime Minister Olmert’s visit to Washington, D.C.
Studies suggest that
a quest for identity
and the bonding process
among small groups
often drive militants more than
personal hardship does

Yaakov Teitel’s attorney has claimed his client is “mentally unstable” from the beginning.  It is a claim that has been echoed by many in Israel’s political right, especially among religious-nationalists.  Adi Kedar is the attorney hired to represent Teitel by a group called Honenu, an organization that provides legal representation to radical right activists.  For example, it raised funds for the legal representation of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin.31 Honenu is also connected with a couple of leaders,32 of the radical Hilltop Youth,33 a group Teitel connected with when he first came to Israel in the late 1990’s.34

Counter-terrorism experts who are focused on fighting terrorism rather than embroiled in the political considerations have less cluttered views of ideological terrorists.  According to an LA Times report, “Studies suggest that a quest for identity and the bonding process among small groups often drive militants more than personal hardship does,” the article reports. 

Matthew Levitt, a former anti-terrorism official for the Treasury Department now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is quoted in the report: "We don't do enough about fostering a counter-narrative. Competing for space with the radicalizers and challenging their radical ideologies is the key." 35

"We don't do enough about fostering a counter-narrative. Competing for space with the radicalizers and challenging
their radical ideologies is the key."

- Counter Terrorism expert Matthew Levitt

As long as the U.S. or Israel denies it has a problem with radical ideologies producing terrorists, neither will take the constructive, productive steps to actually counter terrorism that CT experts propose. We are all less safe when the authorities would rather approach the problems with a wishful-thinking aversion to the facts and a heavy application of politically correct newspeak.

From the first day of the bombing, police investigators knew what they were up against and indicated to the Ortiz family that they suspected religious Jews had committed the attack. 

PoliceKnew When police asked David and Leah who they thought had done it, the Ortiz’s answered “Arabs, no?  Do Jews build bombs with screws and bolts?” 

The police responded, ‘There are all kinds of Jews.'

Even though some Palestinian terror groups claimed responsibility, the claims were dismissed by investigators.  They knew how difficult, if not impossible, it would have been for a Palestinian terror group to enter the gates in a car with a Purim basket.  Few seriously entertained the attack coming from Palestinians past the initial reaction of shock.36

On the day the arrest gag order was lifted the officer in charge of interrogations reported that Yaakov Teitel had revealed that David Ortiz had been the primary target of the bomb attack.  Teitel confessed that he wanted to kill Ortiz because he was ‘stealing the souls’ of Jews, a common accusation against Messianic Jews in Israel.37

Some of the ministries who have been targets of ongoing persecution in Beer Sheva and Arad have been interviewed by Israeli news media following the attack of Ami.  Howard Bass, the leader of a congregation in Beer Sheva was interviewed by Israeli Channel 2 because of an incident in 2005. 

Religious mob stirred up by false accusations do a hostile takeover of a Messianic worship service in Beer Sheva Dec. 24, 2005
Chief Rabbi Deri arrives fashionably late but just in time to lead police investigators with the help of finger-pointing invaders of where to lay the “real” blame.

On December 24 of that year, an angry religious mob disrupted services and took over the building. A false accusation had been circulated that they were going to illegally baptize busloads of underage kids. 

Damage to the Yeshua’s Inheritance facility included tossing Bass into the baptismal and intimidation of the congregants.38

The mob had been stirred up by false accusations by Yad L’Achim and the Chief Rabbi of Beer Sheva who said illegal baptisms of underage children were to take place during the services. 

The legal case, which is still pending in the Israeli court system four years after it was filed, had received little Israeli media notice until after the murder attempt on the Ortiz family.  Now Israeli news journalists were taking a fresh look at the outcry they had been hearing for quite some time from the Messianic Jewish community. 

HowardsArticle Howard Bass is given an Op-Ed in the Jerusalem Post in June 2009 prior to the start of the trial.

Bass takes the opportunity to ask, “A nation under law? Have we returned to the land of our forefathers just to turn it over to a band of jihadists?

... and he isn't referring to Arabs.

After the Ortiz bombing, Yediot Aharonot newspaper carried a prominent story of persecution against Messianics that featured a photograph of Howard Bass alongside Eddie and Lura Beckford. The couple from nearby Arad have been relentlessly targeted at their King’s Men Chess Club and Bible Shop.  The photo, under the banner headline “We Hope That We Will Not Be Next in Line” is given in quotes, even though neither Howard Bass nor the Beckford’s said any such thing.39  Overall, the press coverage is in a surprisingly positive tone. 

In August 2008 had to go to court twice to overcome police requests of the court to stop the broadcast of their news report. The court ordered removal of the police gag order.

Click here for the video with English translation subtitles.


Most of the media investigations have led to press coverage that recognizes the Messianic community to be good solid citizens of Israel and undeserving of the tactics being used against them by religious opposition.  But there is still a lot of misgivings, misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Messianic Jews in the press including labeling them as “Christians” or “Jews for Jesus,” or identifying them as a cult. 

Many in the Israeli public are troubled by the news reports of the attack on the Ortiz family, including the religious public.  The mayor of Ariel, Ron Nachman, came to the hospital within the first three days to show support and his open determination to defend the rights of believers in Israel.   Nachman was the only government or political leader to show the family support. 

The Ortiz family is quick to point out how much public support they have received from Israelis who heard of the bombing and were horrified that the attacker might be a religious Jew.  After every major news article or television report featuring their story, Israelis from all walks of life would approach Ami, David and Leah in public to say how sorry they were that the attack had happened, and how they did not agree that such a thing should be done. 

Uvda reporterjoins the Ortiz family enjoying Ami playing basketball
Ami’s basketball coach Shalom is credited in the Uvda special
as being a mighty encourager to the young man

After the popular Israeli TV news program “Uvda” (Fact) did a half-hour program at the beginning of 2009, Leah reported,   “From the moment that the story was over, our phone began ringing off the hook.  Israelis from all over the country, from the north to the south, began to call. 

The message from everyone was the same:  They all said that the story was shocking and heart wrenching, and that it was shameful that such a thing had happened in the land of Israel.  They all said that they supported us and ‘Send Ami warm hugs, and that he should go forward in life and only succeed in whatever he wants to do in life."  One man who called from the Tel Aviv area was in tears, and he said he couldn't stop crying."40

David also reported a dramatic turnaround in a local man: "We were in a restaurant in town, Ami, myself and Leah.”   A man who had previously been terribly opposed to them said, 'When this thing happened to Ami, I said to myself, how could this tragedy happen?'  “In his understanding,” David explains,  “God allows these things only when He punishes people.”

'But then when I saw your son on TV, and I saw the story and saw him playing basketball, I came to the conclusion that I was wrong,’ the man continued, “because what happened with your son, proves that God is with you.  He has been resurrected from the dead. Look at your son!  He's alive and going forward.' 

“He then invited us to come to his home for a visit and he reaffirmed his friendship with us. He grabbed my hand to tell me that he is one of the people that are with us at this time."

It is important to share these testimonies of good will toward the Ortiz family among the Israeli people, and also of the fair, balanced and even sympathetic media coverage of the Messianic community since this horrible attack took place.  Everyone should understand that the radicalized persecutors are in the smallest minority among Israelis. 

The purpose of this honest accounting of the situation for believers in Israel is not to leave readers with animosities towards Jews. That would miss the point entirely.   But there is still this “Fact” – 

“The police are not arresting suspects,” Leah wrote in the 3-6-09 update, “and haven’t even interrogated one suspect for unknown reasons. This means that our family and the whole community of Messianic Jews are still in danger.

UvdaInterview In February of 2009, as the “Uvda” TV news segment was being produced and almost one year after the bombing, the Ortiz family was forced to take the police department to court. 

They were seeking copies of the hard disk from security cameras, which had been given to police after the bombing. It was footage that showed the person planting the bomb, having circled the block as a passenger in a car before entering their building.  The footage also showed the Jews who had cased the residence in the weeks before the bombing. [Download the complete Uvda segment transcript on]

During the hearing, the police head of the investigation presented secret letters to the judge from their division and from the security services detailing why they believed the material should not be given to the Ortiz family.  When pressed further, the police representative told the judge they did not want the footage released to the family so the information could not be passed on to the media.  He then admitted to the judge in open court that the Ortiz case was part of a wider investigation that included three incidents of bombs being planted before and one after the Ortiz bombing. 

When the judge gave ruling several days later, it was that the hard disk could be given back to the family, but that the images could not be shown to anyone outside the family.  Six weeks after Teitel’s arrest police had still not admitted that footage exists of Teitel’s accomplices. 42

Clip from the Uvda special demonstrates the street view coverage of the Ortiz’
motion sensor security system.
It is similar to the kind many Israeli ministries have had to employ for personal safety considerations.

In the first days after the bombing when the mayor of Ariel visited the family, he was able to inform them that the investigation of the attack had been moved to a higher-level department in Jerusalem. As the family understood it, the move was to avoid any local conflicts of interest that may exist locally.43

Local police jurisdictions have a poor track record for dealing with incidents of violence, threat or persecution to the Messianic community.  From past experience with incidents, few believed the investigation would be aggressively pursued – not at the local police level or at a centralized national level.

A couple of weeks after the bombing, the Israeli ministries organization, the Messianic Action Committee (MAC) issued a report to believers worldwide asking for the Church to register alarm for the bombing and to press the Israeli authorities to give the case due diligence.  The MAC wrote: 

“To date, police efforts have been minimal at best in protecting the rights and safety of believers, once again because they are perceived as “missionaries” who are assumed to ‘prey upon the poor, young, and ignorant, using every underhanded trick (including bribery) in order to steal their souls from the Jewish people via conversion to Christianity.’  Unfortunately, even the public media in the country promote this prejudice and unwittingly justify the attacks with statements such as, “where there are missionaries there will be anti-missionaries” (Channel 10 television news on the evening following the attack on the Ortiz family).” 44

Another ministry report we received on the same day sought to enlist believers – Christians and Messianic Jews worldwide – to press the Israeli government and police to aggressively pursue the terrorists who planted the bomb.  “Even the police and security forces have expressed their concern [to David] that ‘interested parties’ will attempt to interfere with the apprehension of the perpetrators and/or their being charged with the serious crimes of which they are guilty.45

Those concerns appear to have been valid.  The long delay in identifying and arresting Yaakov Teitel has been greatly criticized in the Israeli press. His arrest came nineteen long months after the attack on Ami, but twelve long years after the first murder of a Palestinian in 1997, to which Teitel has confessed.   


Major Nidal Hasan had an enabler by Mark Steyne Macleans 11-26-09

31 Settler suspected of multiple hate crimes Ynet reporters 11-1-09

32 Radical Settlers Take On Israel By Isabel Kershner NY Times September 26, 2008

33 Shin Bet hunting for Rightists who threatened to bomb gays By Chaim Levinson and Anshel Pfeffer Haaretz  10-13-09

34 The Two Faces Of Accused Terrorist Jack Teitel by Joshua Mitnick Israel Correspondent  The Jewish Week 11-4-09

35 U.S. sees homegrown Muslim extremism as rising threat By Sebastian Rotella LA Times December 7, 2009

36 11- 28-09 personal response to a question to David & Leah Ortiz

37 11- 3-09 Ami Update

38 12-24-05 Howard Bass Update

39 3-24-08 Howard Bass Update

3-6-09 Ami Update

5-15-09 Ami Update

42 2-24-09 Ami Update

3-24-08 Howard Bass Update

44 The Messianic Action Committee (MAC) Report 82--March 2008 via email

4-1-08 Charles Kopp 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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