Israel Prayer Teams
PO Box 111302
Carrollton, Texas 75006




ex po sé

The Terror Bombing of
Israeli Messianic
Teen Ami Ortiz

by Donna Diorio

Part 5 Israeli Justice on Trial

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

Part 5 Israeli Justice on Trial

It was in 1997 that Teitel first appeared on the radar of Israeli authorities when he was picked up on suspicion of the murder of a young Israeli Arab student/taxi driver. That same year he shot a Palestinian shepherd at point blank range in a premeditated and carefully planned scheme to murder a ‘target of opportunity’ on a countryside road. Had the crimes been prosecuted of the murdered Palestinians, the attacks on Jewish targets might have been prevented.


Teitel has also now confessed to the murder of Samir Balbisi, a young technology student attending Jerusalem College when he was murdered in his cab by Teitel. He also confessed to the cold blooded murder of the shepherd and of planting bombs targeting Arabs in 2006, a monastery in 2007 and of hurling explosives at a police car in 2007.


Israeli news reports have revealed that after the general security service (Shin Bet) had questioned Teitel as a suspect in the two 1997 Palestinian murders, they had attempted to recruit him as an informer.46 The “extreme right-wing elements” he was associating with have been reported to be Hilltop Youth, a radicalized religious-settler movement. After several unfruitful months of meetings with Teitel, the security services gave up on using him as an informer.

It was only after two higher profile targets – victims that generated more public sympathy - were struck that it seems investigators began a more diligent search. Israel Prize Laureate Professor Ze’ev Sternhell was injured by a pipe bomb rigged to the door of his house five months after Ami was bombed. Teitel has confessed to planting the pipe bomb, but he may not have acted alone in this bombing either.

The tipping point in public outrage came when a year later, in August 2009, a shooter attacked a Tel Aviv youth club for gay and lesbian teens killing 2 and injuring 15. Teitel confessed to the shooting attack, but authorities say they know he did not commit that crime, probably because he was already under active surveillance when the Tel Aviv attack occurred. It may be that Teitel has confessed to the gay club attack – or even other attacks that he has inside knowledge of – in order to protect comrades who would be free to continue targeting those considered enemies.

It was only after two higher profile targets – victims that generated more public sympathy - were struck that it seems investigators began a more diligent search.

Regardless of not having direct involvement in the youth club attack, investigators began to close in on Yaakov Teitel after that date leading some in Israeli media and Op-Ed commentaries to question why authorities had not been able to identify him after twelve years of his first murders of Palestinians in 1997. Some speculate that if Teitel had just stuck with murdering Arabs he would not have ever been caught.

From the outside looking in, we could ask the same question about a seeming lackluster motivation to solve the Ortiz case before the attempts on Professor Sternhell and the gay youth club. All of these victims have fallen into the profile category of groups which a religious-nationalist might target (including Teitel’s Palestinian victims).

“The police handled our case as if we were the suspects and even questioned our witnesses about us.”

- Leah Ortiz

In the nineteen months between the Purim bomb and the arrest of Yaakov Teitel, the Ortiz family would meet with police investigators only five times. Leah writes that the police “would always assure us in word” that they saw the crime as very serious and the case was given “100%” of their attention. “But in practice and deed, we didn't see anything move until Sternhell and the gay club."47

“The police handled our case as if we were the suspects,” Leah added, “and even questioned our witnesses about us and tried to drive a wedge between us. It's been a battle all the way. " 48

In November, David Ortiz told an interview for Maoz Ministries, “The American FBI has come in to help us....You see, when the bomb blast took place the state of Israel did not help us."

In the words of a government official, he said, 'You don't have too many fans in this country. If you are Messianic Jews, you are not going to have too many friends. The law protects you, but you don't have too many people behind that law giving you favor.”

Anyone else struck by the uncanny resemblance this surveillance video bears
to the famous scene of the girl in the red coat in Schlindler’s List ?

In August of 2008, almost a month to the day before Professor Sternhell was attacked at his home in Tel Aviv, a police investigation unit arrived at the Ortiz home to conduct an additional investigation involving civilian photographic and computer experts that who crime scenes.

The police official accompanying the civilian team said that in the beginning of investigations they use conventional methods to find suspects, but when they need to sift through those who are suspects and refine the list, then they call in outside experts. The team was on-site to study the crime scene and pictures of the suspect in order to construct the unique physical parameters of the suspect. 49

The science behind
this investigative tool should provide
some of the
strongest evidence
Israeli authorities
have in possession
for any
of the cases
Yaakov Teitel.

The science behind this investigative tool should provide some of the strongest evidence Israeli authorities have in possession for any of the cases against Yaakov Teitel. It should also guarantee that prosecutors will not set aside or attempt to exclude the attempted murder charges in Ami’s case as unnecessary to make their case against Teitel.

In the United States, it is often a prosecutorial strategy to drop some charges in order “to streamline” a strong trial presentation that is heavy on evidence and witnesses. Or, to not prosecute all the cases against a defendant, where not all victims of the perpetrator actually get their day in court depending on what the prosecutor assesses. If the same holds true in Israeli courts, excluding the presentation of the case against Teitel in Ami’s attempted murder, should not be allowed under any circumstance. It would amount to suppression of the case.

The State of Israel The Judicial Authority
"Zion will be redeemed with justice"


Whether or not the investigation was being aggressively investigated before the Sternhell attack, the Messianic Jewish community was never reassured by police, security or government officials that the attempted murder of Ami Ortiz was being seriously pursued. Government leaders did not speak out against the crime and perhaps the worst indication of apathy – other incidents against believers continued unabated without mitigating police intervention. Did they care? It looks like not.

Leah Ortiz wrote a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on October 1, 2008 following the pipe bombing of Professor Sternhell:

An excerpt from Leah’s letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu

“My son Ami doesn't understand why the incident that nearly took his life and has scarred him for life hasn't been acknowledged by the government, as the Prime Minister and every other minister has publicly decried the attack against Prof. Sternhell, and this is right. We, however, did not receive one phone call or visit from a government official. Is the professor's life more valuable than the life of our son? I would like to say that Ron Nachman (mayor of Ariel) did visit us in the hospital, called us, and is accessible if we want to talk to him.

“Our case has been treated, I can only say it this way, in an unprofessional manner. My heart breaks as a mother for my son whose life has been violated by people who believe they are doing God a favor to murder those whose philosophies, ideologies, or faith doesn't conform to their twisted version of right and wrong.

“….The fact that Israel is publicly trying to ignore our case is not wise, and could cause trouble in relations between supporters of Israel and the government of Israel. Neither we nor Ami want this to happen.”

But, as Leah noted in an update recently, “Never before in Israel's history have Messianic Jews been covered with so much sympathy and support in the Israeli media.”

Much of this she says is the work of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, because they are quick to take up media misrepresentations, or unfair labeling, such as calling the Messianic faith a cult. JIJ is a legal team dedicated to the civil and religious freedoms of Messianic Jews in Israel, and they also are Messianic Jewish attorneys.

One of the more puzzling reports to emerge after the gag order was lifted (11/3) on the arrest (10/7) of Yaacov Teitel came in the form of cell phone video purportedly shot by a neighbor of Teitel in Shvut Rachel of police sappers blowing up the bomb cache he kept in a field behind his house. A caption accompanying the video which appeared on stated the video was shot “on Thursday morning two weeks ago, a day before the first arrest of Teitel” indicating the date of 10/22.50 Official reports put the date of Teitel’s arrest at October 7th and there are no indications that he was ever released from police custody after that date.

Another puzzling set of facts appeared in an Oct 13th article on Haaretz newspaper– three weeks before the gag order was lifted in the Teitel arrest and one week prior to the controlled detonation of Teitel’s bomb cache. In an article titled Shin Bet hunting for Rightists who threatened to bomb gays, Chaim Levinson and Anshel Pfeffer reported the first allusion to the security investigation going on surrounding the Teitel arrest.

The reporters wrote that the Security Service “is investigating who has distributed leaflets containing instructions on how to make bombs and weapons” that were “circulated in various illegal outposts a year ago.”

The article also noted that a similar flier was passed out in 2006 ahead of the Gay Pride Parade titled “Death to Sodomites.” Another pamphlet offered a reward for anyone who caused the death of "one of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah." It was signed by "The Red Hand for Redemption." After the bomb attempt on professor Sternhell’s house the park nearby was blanketed with a similar flier offering a similar reward in the murder of any Peace Now activists. 51

In the same article it was reported that security services imposed a 6-month exile on three “right-wing activists” from the West Bank. Two of the three – Akiva HaCohen and Ariel Groner – have been identified as leaders in the Hilltop Youth and considered the “architects” of the “price tag” doctrine which calls on “settlers to avenge Palestinian acts of violence by taking the law into their own hands.” 52

After the arrest gag order was lifted police officials insist that Yaakov Teitel is a “lone wolf” terrorist with no connections to any others. Protests in the right wing settler ranks over the banning of Groner and HaCohen from their homes in the Yitzhar settlement fall silent within a week as news of the Teitel arrest is becomes big news on the religious blogs in Israel.

Is there a connection between Yaakov Teitel and these right-wing settler extremists? If there is, no one in Israel is reporting the potential – at least not in English.

Yaakov Teitel has been unrepentant in all his court appearances

Yaakov Teitel has been unrepentant in all his court appearances, according to the Israeli press. In a report by Chaim Levinson in Haaretz, the ‘Jewish terrorist’ who showed “no remorse in court” has admitted that “he found out online that the messianic Jewish family was proselytizing, and began collecting information. He contacted them through a false name from an Internet cafe, and said he wanted to pray with the community." 53

“The legal process is different in Israel,” Leah wrote recently, “we have no jury system. [The system is] Based on the Mosaic law and model, cases are heard by only one judge or a panel of judges.”

The decisions, Leah explains, “are made only by judges. There is a law for victims’ rights and so we have the right to appeal every decision made by the court.”

“The reason we have to use those rights in this case,” she explained, “is because this is the first time in Israel's history that a Jewish person brought a bomb into another Jewish person's home with intent to murder because of ideological differences. It is a precedent setting case and an example has to be set.”

CBN interviewing David Ortiz at Teitel hearing in December. Akram Balbisi, the father of a 1997 murder victim Teitel has confessed to killing, is pictured on the right. The families are also filing what amounts to a 'wrongful death' civil case against Teitel. CBNDavidO

For that reason, we're also filing a civil suit against Teitel together with the Balbisi family from East Jerusalem,” Leah wrote, explaining that young Samir Balbisi was Teitel’s first victim and was murdered simply for being Arab.

“The civil suit is being done in conjunction with the State's prosecution, as we want any future Teitels to know that their crimes will not pay in any form.” 54

In the first public court appearance both families were in attendance for the hearing to give Teitel’s response to the indictments. The attorney representing both the Ortiz and Balbisi families is an Orthodox man, Yossi Gravier. Teitel’s attorney, Adi Keidar, was a no-show, as Leah reported the following day.

“The word was that he was doing army reserve duty, but neither he nor his organization made a formal announcement to the court and therefore they had to find a State appointed defense attorney to represent Teitel. This caused a two hour delay.”

“Teitel entered with what has become his trademark,” she continued, “cynically smiling and holding up his hands in the V for victory sign. It is true that his eyes are frightening but I could see from all of his bravado, it was an act. He averted his eyes from us even though we tried to make eye contact with him.”

TeitelVSign The next court date
for Teitel’s response
to the indictments
is set for January 11, 2010.

Leah wrote of the emotional intensity of facing the man for the first time who tried to murder their family and inflicted so much damage to her young son. “Thank the Lord that yesterday has passed. We want you to know that the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit was with us, and your prayer was tangibly felt,” she wrote also thanking all the believers who came to be with them in court.

“We felt that the Spirit of the Lord was not at all hindered in the court,” she said, and added, ”the believers were relaxed and honored Yeshua in deed and word. We were proud to introduce them to everyone as our brothers and sisters.”

“I personally was surprised when I saw our interviews on TV and heard them on radio. We appeared joyful and full of grace! The strange thing was, I didn't feel that way within, so I realized it was a supernatural impartation from the Lord, ordered by prayer.”

Outside the courtroom David would say of the confessed terrorist who almost murdered his son, “We pray that he will seek repentance, and that this Saul will become a Paul.”

“We pray that he will seek repentance, and that this Saul will become a Paul.”
- David Ortiz

There is no telling how long it will take for the court case of Yaakov Teitel to run its course.
Justice grinds slowly in the Israeli courts and in this case, there are over 100 witnesses for the prosecution case alone. Likely as in U.S. cases not every witness will be called to testify, but only those that the prosecution needs to make its case.

It is important for the entire story to be brought out by prosecutors in the Israeli judicial courts and also in the court of public opinion by the media coverage. This case represents a powerful opportunity in Israel for a display of the contrast between darkness and light to be made evident in the faces of two opposing spiritual belief systems.

On trial is a religious view that believes it has the right to exact the vengeance of God upon what it believes are God’s enemies. Being represented by the State of Israel are the victims targeted by misguided religious hatred and zealotry. It is a proverbial valley of decision as Israelis watch the case and let their hearts choose on which side they will stand.

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.”

An angel doll was perched on the apt stairwell watching over the area where the bomb blast occurred.

Ami is a living miracle but the time for prayer for this case is not past. Please pray not only for the proceedings, but also for the heated spiritual climate surrounding all the Messianic Jews because of it. This is an important spiritual showdown on so many levels.

There is a line drawn in the sand, and each of us must take our stance on one side or the other. Will we begin to really see the plight of the indigenous believers in Israel, or will we continue to look the other way? This is a challenge not only to the Body in Israel, but to the Body of Christ worldwide.

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34



46 Teitel operated by Shin Bet in past Ynet News 11-6-09

47 Personal correspondence on 12-1-09

48 11-28-09 Ami Update

49 8-21-08 Ami Update

50 Police Sappers Outside Home of Yaakov Teitel video upload at

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

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

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

54 11-28-09 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.”


top of page

Back to Article Index