The following report is gleaned from open U.S. and Israeli news sources and from nationalist-religious settlers blogs – a source I don’t usually look to but these are the only sources leaking information in an arrest that Israeli Security Forces have placed a 21-day gag order on.
Since the right-wing religious activists are ramping up to pressure Israeli officials in this matter, I thought it wise to pass along those details for believers to begin to pray over. The arrest earlier this month of a religious-nationalist has been linked to the 2008 bombing of Ami Ortiz.
Here are the details we have been able to glean from sources readily available on the web – if one knows where to look. - Donna Diorio, October 25, 2009
On Wednesday October 7th, the Israeli Security Services arrested a Jewish American Israeli citizen in an apartment in the religious Har Nof community located on the western-most hill of Jerusalem.
When security forces broke down the barricaded apartment door to arrest “Y.T.” - (whose name we will keep out of this report for the sake of the on-going Israeli investigation) - officers found several explosives which they later detonated according to a report on israeljustice.com.
In his family home apartment in Shvut Rahel, police found 4 M16 rifles which undoubtedly will have undergone ballistics testing to shots fired in the August shooting spree on the Tel Aviv gay youth club attack.
The man who is described by nationalistic-religious sites as a 36-year old former marine with dual U.S. - Israeli citizenship, is a father of 4 who lives in the Shvut Rahel settlement in Samaria/West Bank some 28 miles north of Jerusalem.
The fact of “Y.T.’s” dual citizenship may be the reason the American Consulate in Jerusalem obtained information of the arrest and why they were able to make first notification to the Ortiz family of an arrest linked to their son’s case. The Ortiz family of Ariel also holds dual Israel-U.S. citizenship.
Ami pre-bomb photo
Israeli officials did not notify the Ortiz family of a break in the case, but it is a locked tight conclusion that if both the victim and the perpetrator hold dual citizenship, the American Consulate would be informed at least of the fact of the arrest.
“Y.T.’s” defense attorney Adi Kedar is reported in an Israeljustice.com article dated 10/14/09 as saying, “Everything is classified. I don’t know anything. The case has even been to the Supreme Court. The judges know but I don’t know anything” – apparently in reference to the evidence and charges against his client.
Early Israeli media reports indicated Security Services had a confession from “Y.T.” according to Shmuel Meidad, who is the head of the Honenu Legal Aid Organization which defends the religious nationalist settlers against charges.
According to reports on a Hareidi website, Hadrei Hareidim, (a source we take with a grain of salt), the judge in the first remand hearing in Petah Tikva told defense lawyer Adi Kedar,
“Don’t try to appeal because until now there hasn’t been a case with so much clear evidence that links the suspect to the serious acts that he committed.”
The early press reports that appeared online were redacted when a gag order was swiftly placed by authorities on details of the arrest. However, israeljustice.com reports that news correspondents had linked “Y.T.” to the pipe bomb that lightly wounded Professor Zeev Sternhell in September 2008, and to the shooting attack on a Tel Aviv gay youth bar that left 2 dead and 10 injured in August 2009.
One linkage the religious news sites have not mentioned is the attempted murder of the Ortiz family during the 2008 Purim season when 15-year old Ami Ortiz was gravely wounded by a bomb planted in a gift basket.
Ami lay dying on the family kitchen floor
Honenu head Meidad, however, is claiming, “They have accused him of every murder from Arlosorov (a murder in 1933) to the murder in the gay bar.”
The attempted murder of the Ortiz family is the ‘Most Likely to Be Suppressed’ charge against the religious activist, “Y.T.” This is something that must be monitored carefully as the charges against “Y.T.” and his co-conspirators are made public. The gag order is due to be lifted on Wednesday, October 28th.
One thing is for certain, if “Y.T.” is the person who actually carried out placing the bomb-laden Purim gift basket at the door of the Ortiz family home, Israeli officials have video security surveillance footage that shows the religious-garbed man placing it there. If “Y.T.” has confessed his involvement in these cases, the confession may have rested on the strength of the security tape from the Ortiz home and ministry.
“Y.T.’s” wife was reportedly arrested on October 21st two weeks after her husband’s arrest although it is not clear why she was arrested. The wife was en route to a hearing in Petah Tikvah where her husband was being held. Her temporary arrest is being painted as a political arrest and a “kidnapping” by the religious-nationalist settlers activists including Women in Green spokesperson Nadia Matar.
A Picture Emerging of Religious Right Wing Violence
The investigation of potential co-conspirators in the case is likely related to recent Israeli news reports on several right-wing activists who have been recently barred from reentering the West Bank for six months.
One report noted that the IDF Spokesman’s Office said “in light of information about the two settlers’ involvement in violent and illegal acts” – (Akiva HaCohen and Ariel Groner) – “and in light of the real danger posed by them to security and public order,” the two are banned from the territories for security reasons.
Both HaCohen and Groner, are young family men – aged 25 and 24 respectively. The fathers of four are also well known to security forces and judges as religious activists in the territories.
Fellow right wing advocates are stirring up protests on behalf of the men whose family homes are located in West Bank settlements near the family home of the arrested “Y.T.” Those areas are where the Shin Bet security service have been investigating the distribution of fliers a year ago on how to make bombs and weapons.
Women in Green, Land of Israel Faithful and other advocates of HaCohen and Groner have attempted to accuse authorities of a pre-emptive expulsion of their leaders before eviction and demolition of outposts, but news reports indicate the investigation really revolves around Jew on Jew violence by the activists.
This is an important point for believers outside of Israel to take note of.
Leaflets instructing in explosive and weapons making were found in the Adi Ad outpost near the home of “Y.T” in Shvut Rachel. A similar flier was distributed in 2006 prior to the Gay Pride Parade, according to a report in Haaretz.
The “Death to Sodomites” flier became big news in Israel, as it instructed how to make Molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons that could be used against lesbians and homosexuals. There was particular public outrage over a two-page pamphlet that offered a reward of 20,000 shekels to anyone who caused the death of “one of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Haaretz is asking "Will arrest of key rightist further inflame settler extremism?"
Reporter Chaim Levinson notes that Ariel Gruner - a key activist in Honenu - is a familiar person to the Shin Bet security service agents who deal with suspected right-wing extremists, and to the judges and lawyers involved in their cases:
"Anytime someone is brought to court for right-wing activity, Gruner is there too - to counsel the detainees on their rights, arrange money for bail, or find host families for those put under house arrest."
What do Israeli Jews who believe in Jesus have in common with gays, Leftist professors and the Palestinians? They are all targeted by hate crimes from the religious right wing nationalist zealots.
Some readers may be inclined to overlook right wing settler actions against gays or Palestinians because of empathy for religious Jewish groups or Zionist advocacy of settlement activism groups. Israelprayer hopes our readers will understand that the indigenous Israeli Body of Messiah are also included on the "enemies list" of these groups.
Even Israeli police and security are concerned with the threat of Jew on Jew crime according to this report: "Jewish underground may be emerging".
Officials have repeatedly attempted to dismiss media reports that the bombing of Ami Ortiz was tied to the violent acts against other groups targeted by religious threats. Israeli police officials have been trying to dodge that linkage that had been acknowledged in first reports to coming out of the bombing of Professor Sternhell.
A Jerusalem Post article sought to tamp down an earlier linkage to the bombing of Ami Ortiz at the time of the Sternhell bombing, reporting:
“According to the security officials, the investigation has also explored possibility that those who perpetuated the attack were also responsible for a series of bombings over the past two years, including one against a Messianic Jewish family in Ariel earlier this year, in which a boy was seriously wounded.
“However, Judea and Samaria police spokesman Danny Poleg on Sunday denied reports that a possible link existed between the Sternhell attack and the Ariel bombing. ‘I have no comment about it, except that as far as I know, it's not true,’ Poleg said.”
Professor Sternhell was reported in a Haaretz article to blame the attack on his life to apathy to settler violence. "Society does not respond," he said during the radio interview, adding that when someone does in fact respond it is "positively or with a wink."
I certainly believe it will pan out that these same key figures were intricately involved with the 2008 bomb-laden Purim basket that was left for the Messianic Jewish Ortiz family in Ariel.
But for the grace of God who orchestrated miracles of immediate medical intervention from a skilled medic who happened to be passing the residence, Ami Ortiz would have died on the floor of the ministry family home. His case deserves justice and for the facts to be made public.
Hopefully, believers around the world will not be guilty of the same thing Professor Sternhell accused Israeli society of – apathy, and a willingness to turn a blind eye to evil done by the religious-nationalist settlers.
Please keep these events in prayer. That the attempted murder of Ami Ortiz will not be buried or under-reported in light of the potential that one group has participated in violent acts against not only Jews who believe in Jesus, but also against gays, Peace Now activists and Palestinians. Pray for justice to prevail in the case of Ami Ortiz – as well as justice for all the other victims of religious violence.
This is a case that will try the wisdom of the soul of Israel, as a similar test tried the soul of the church in Nazi Germany. May Israelis remember and take to heart the poem made famous in post-Holocaust Germany by Pastor Niemoller:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out
—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out
—because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out
—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out
—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me
—and there was no one left to speak out for me.