The American Consulate in Jerusalem notified the Ortiz family of the arrest two weeks after the fact. The Ortiz' were in the dark due to a gag order that has been placed on the Israeli media. Obviously, the Israeli officials are not excited about making this news public. Understandable considering the strained relations Israel already has with the U.S., but attempting to hide this is not going to make it any better. Christians can be made to understand that the actions of religious extremists do not reflect the policies of the Israeli people or government - but will not understand an attempt to cover up the facts of the case.
These right wing activists have also made threats against gays and Palestinians in the West Bank. This is the problem of religious extremists who become a law unto themselves. Currently the worry is about violent incidents in the settlements during the Palestinian's olive harvest.
This group of right-wing, religious settler extremists seems to have a long "enemies list" they are actively working.
On October 13th, Haaretz reported Shin Bet hunting for Rightists who threatened to bomb gays saying:
The Shin Bet security service is investigating who has distributed leaflets containing instructions on how to make bombs and weapons; the flyers were circulated in various illegal outposts a year ago.
The article noted that a similar was passed our in November 2006 titled "Death to Sodomites" and included instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails. Some readers may remember the deadly attack in August of this year on an Israeli Youth Gay club in Tel Aviv.
Now I don't condone homosexuality, but this is exactly the slippery slope that Germans found themselves on according to the proverbial poem of Pastor Nienoller from post Nazi-Germany:
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.
There was also the attempt to murder an Israeli Leftist professor Zeev Sternhell at his home with a pipe bomb in September 2008.
Some readers may be inclined to overlook right wing settler actions against gays or Palestinians, but I hope you will understand that the indigenous Body of Messiah are also included on their "enemies list". Police were reported to say that a "Jewish underground may be emerging".
At that time Israeli police officials were trying to dodge the link that had been acknowledged in the first reports to come out of bombing of Professor Sternhell. The Jerusalem Post sought to tamp down the earlier linkage to the bombing of Ami Ortiz writing:
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."
Now 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."
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.
Obviously, because of the government sensitivities of Christian support of Israel, and also the desire to keep a lid on the truth of Israeli Jewish violence against the Israeli Messianic Jewish, the Israeli government has had a gag order placed on the Israeli media.
There may be an attempt to obfuscate the connection of these extremists to the attempted murder of Ami Ortiz, something that would be a tragedy on many levels.
It is not heartening to see that the three right wing, ultra_Orthodox settler extremists appear to have been released from jail already and only "banned" from entering the West Bank for six months.
Haaretz reported two weeks ago that the "IDF Spokesman's Office said the orders were issued 'in light of information about the two settlers' involvement in violent and illegal acts, and in light of the real danger posed by them to security and public order.'
Already the Haredi web sites and blogs are buzzing with indignation at police actions against Gruner and Hacohen.