Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Confused about the Syrian Situation? Read this.

Eddie Santoro, the pastor of Ahavat Yeshua in Jerusalem, has had a great track record over the years for dissecting current events with a clear spiritual eye – one that even those in secular positions of governing power would have respect toward.  The spiritual view of critical news stories is not the one that smacks of fantastic visions, but the one that cuts to the bone of reality dividing asunder what sounds right from what is right. 

If you have been confused by the free flowing commentary as the United States and the international powers debate what must be done in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, then this commentary from an Israeli Messianic ministry leader is just what you need.  Not only does this commentary give insight to what a diplomatically closed-lip Israeli government is really thinking, it also gives us the benefit of news facts filtered through penetraiting spiritual eyes.  Don't give up on understanding what's what until you read this!

JERUSALEM:  These are incredible times and it is truly an honor to be chosen by God to be alive in these days. It is our prayer for you that in the coming year, no matter how daunting the challenges before you may be, that as you look to Yeshua his presence will keep you in peace and that his exceedingly great power and grace will propel you to a place of victory in everything you do.

The Fall Feasts are a prophetic picture of the return of Yeshua and the establishment of his Kingdom. We know that before he returns there will be great shakings in the world, the center of which will be in Israel. So we are not surprised by the intensity of the times that we are living through. None of us can even begin to imagine what the coming year will bring. We only know that the shakings in this part of the world are at an unprecedented level and that there is no doubt in our hearts that all of this is as “birth pains” for the coming Kingdom.

The historic theological split in Islam between the Sunnis and the Shias is underlying most of the civil war conflict in the different Arab nations.  We are watching the fracturing of their world into smaller and smaller segments. Each part is fanatically convinced that they represent the true “way” of Allah and are committed in utter hatred to kill and maim their Muslim brothers. The fight is unto death and there can be no compromise.
The Middle East is in a state of general “melt down”. As much as the Islamic world may declare that all Muslims are brothers and part of the same nation, the reality is very different. The historic theological split in Islam between the Sunnis and the Shias is underlying most of the civil war conflict in the different Arab nations.  We are watching the fracturing of their world into smaller and smaller segments. Each part is fanatically convinced that they represent the true “way” of Allah and are committed in utter hatred to kill and maim their Muslim brothers. The fight is unto death and there can be no compromise. As we see daily, there is no limit to the horror they are willing to release on each other and the rest of the “infidel” world in the name of Allah.

All of this hatred is the antithesis of the teachings of Yeshua. Please join us in praying that as this Islamic wave of darkness breaks across this part of the world that the love, truth and goodness of Yeshua would shine forth. Pray that Muslims would be disillusioned with their faith and that they would be drawn to the pure love of Yeshua. Pray that the believers in these nations would be a bright light in the increasing darkness. Truly Yeshua has a far better way!

Egypt  |  We were all taken by surprise as the unpredictable happened and within a few short weeks, the great democratic experiment in Egypt ended. The "Arab spring" which had quickly turned into the "Arab winter" has begun to thaw out! The Muslim Brotherhood was uprooted suddenly and is now reeling under a wave of popular anger and government oppression. The ruling power in Egypt is once again the military. Simply put, democracies do not function where Radical Islam is a dominant force. Former President Morsi used the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the polls to try and turn Egypt into an Islamic state. He trampled on the rights and freedoms of vast portions of Egypt's population and in an amazing reversal, he and most of his leaders are now in prison and the military appears to be once again firmly in control.

A radical Islamic Egypt in partnership with Iran and Hamas was a nightmare for Israel. Although not commenting publicly, the Israeli government is experiencing a strong sense of relief as the realignment of power has been a positive one.
A radical Islamic Egypt in partnership with Iran and Hamas was a nightmare for Israel. Although not commenting publicly, the Israeli government is experiencing a strong sense of relief as the realignment of power has been a positive one. The warming of relations between Iran and Egypt under Morsi have come to a complete halt and their ancient hatred and distrust of each other are keeping them far apart. Hamas has been a big loser as it strongly supported the Muslim Brotherhood's takeover of Egypt and are thus viewed as an enemy of the present military government. Egypt, under its new military rule, is accomplishing what Israel has wanted and yet was prevented from doing by the international community. In a few short months, they have all but closed down the smuggling tunnels that served as a conduit of anti Israel weapons into Gaza. They are also demolishing all of the homes close to the Gaza - Egyptian border in order to create a security zone and to further prevent smuggling.

Please keep praying for the success of the present Egyptian government. It is not perfect by any sense but it understands its enemy; radical jihad Islam and knows how to use its power to prevent eighty million Egyptians from falling under the domination of this dark force. Please also pray for the Christians in Egypt. They suffered terribly under the Muslim Brotherhood's rule and have been the target of their anger during the recent anti government demonstrations, with many Christians murdered and a large number of churches destroyed.

Israel has not publicly taken sides in the internal battle between the different streams of Islam.  For Israel the old axiom is probably true: “Better the enemy you know than the enemy you do not know.”
Syria  |  The other “hot spot” for Israel at this time is Syria. Again, Israel has not publicly taken sides in the internal battle between the different streams of Islam.  For Israel the old axiom is probably true: “Better the enemy you know than the enemy you do not know.”  For forty years since the end of the Yom Kippur War, the Syrian- Israeli border has been quiet. Assad and his father before him, although haters of Israel, thought it best not to enter into confrontation with Israel. A Jihad takeover of Syria (the rebel forces) could  transform Syria into another active battle front for Israel. As the civil war has continued in the north, there have already been numerous instances of the jihad rebel forces which are fighting Assad using their proximity to Israel to fire rockets and mortars across the border into Israel.

Of course, all of Israel is anxiously awaiting the final outworking of America's threat to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons against its own citizens. Israel has called up reserves and hastened the distribution of gas masks and has prepared itself for any eventuality. Both Assad and Iran have threatened that an American attack on Syria would result in Israel being attacked and Jerusalem has made it known that any attack against this nation would be responded to in a most vigorous way.

Lebanon is also starting to come apart
Lebanon  |  Israel's other neighbor, Lebanon is also starting to come apart as this deeply divided nation is being drawn into the Syrian conflict. Hezbollah, the main power in Lebanon has entered the battle against the rebels, siding with Assad. This has led to a major rupture between the Sunni and Shia populations within that nation and they have been murdering each other with repeated car bombs and terrorist attacks. The entire nation is in danger of crumbling as it is being drawn into the Syrian conflict which threatens to deteriorate into a wider regional war between the different streams of Islam.
Pray that the western democracies would understand the very complex underlying forces in the battle that is raging in the Middle East.
Please keep all of this in fervent prayer. Pray that the western democracies would understand the very complex underlying forces in the battle that is raging in the Middle East. Pray that their ideal of democracy as being the highest expression of good (no matter who wins) would be broken in the light of the harsh reality that is present in this part of the world. Pray for the Israeli government as they endeavor to negotiate the treacherous waters that are swirling around them and that Israel would not be drawn into a war.

On this Rosh Hashana, 5774, the world looks differently than it did last year this time. The reality on the ground is being transformed rapidly as the world is unknowingly being prepared for the arrival of the coming King. Yeshua said that nation would rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. He promised that in the midst of such shakings as the world has never known, the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached throughout the whole world and then the end would come. May we stand strong, united in love and purpose as this day draws near.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Price Tag and Hamas

The following is a report by a trusted friend in Israel, Martin Sarvis,
who enlightens us about issues that require prayers of understanding:
Dormition Abbey, Jerusalem


"Price Tag" is a form of lawlessness behavior which began amongst Jews living in Judea and Samaria a couple of years ago, and is now spreading within recognized borders of Israel itself. It originally described attacks by extremist Jewish settlers upon their Palestinian neighbors in retribution for governmental decisions with which they disagreed. These might include settlement freezes, demolition of illegally built outposts, etc. At issue here isn't just that the settlers feel they have been wronged or slighted by the Israeli government, it is the fact that they are 'taking it out' on innocent Palestinian Arabs, who have had nothing to do with the Government's decisions. The attacks involve burning and desecrating mosques, torching automobiles, slashing tires, uprooting or burning olive trees, and defacing walls of private property with inflammatory and often racist graffiti. Generally, the graffiti will somewhere include the Hebrew words tag machir-"price tag", a parting shot to the Israeli Government, as if to say, "this violation of innocent Palestinian's rights is the 'price' you pay for your policies against us." These attacks are increasing against Arabs in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem and Jaffa.

More recently, attacks have crossed over to attacking Christian churches. Last week the Dormition Abbey (above) in Jerusalem and cars parked outside it were vandalized. "Christians are Apes" and other insults were spray painted in Hebrew on its walls, On one of the cars was the name of a settler who was stabbed to death in a terrorist attack last month, with the word "price tag" alongside. On another car was scrawled the name of an unlicensed Jewish outpost near Hebron torn down by Israeli soldiers earlier in the week. In February a Baptist-owned building housing several congregations in the center of Jerusalem was defaced with "price tag" and derogatory remarks about Jesus. Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke out against the racism and lawlessness behind such attacks and vowed to bring into implementation stronger measures to put a stop to them. It is thought that one such measure might be to classify such actions as "acts of terror".

With most of the world constantly attacking the legitimacy of their existence and calling for the dissolution of their communities, with a gloomy resignation by many in the government to an eventual necessity of that dissolution taking place, with hostile neighbors on every side-one may sympathize with the Settlers' feelings of bewilderment, alienation and abandonment. Yet rebellion against the governmental authority is not the answer. Nor will the venting of their anger by the perpetration of violence against their innocent neighbors ever bring about the "righteousness of God" (James 1:20), even they consider themselves to be His zealous followers. Such actions give legitimacy to the accusations of their enemies in the nations. Indeed, they appear dangerously akin to the actions by Simeon and Levi at Shechem, which Jacob cursed before he died: "Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty (Hebrew: hamas-See below) are in their dwelling place.Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel!" (Genesis 49:5,7).


*Against the spirit of anger, lawlessness and violence which is behind the "price tag" attacks by religious Jews in Judea, Samaria and within present-day Israel.

*For an effective strategy by the Israeli government to apprehend those individuals who are committing these acts and to bring them to justice.

*For the 'veil' to be lifted from the hearts of the religious Jews in the "Territories"-for revelation of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-and of His Son and Messiah Yeshua, who has paid the "price" for their sin. He is the only Way to a future life of righteousness and prosperity for them and their families in their covenant land.


The Hebrew word hamas (the 'h' pronounced with a slight rasp in the throat) appears at least 38 times in the Hebrew Bible, from which it is most often translated 'violence' or "cruel violence." As we have pointed out in the past, it is by an interesting coincidence that the Arabic acronym for the radical "Islamic Resistance Movement" Hamas is pronounced and may be spelled in exactly the same way. This violence may be manifest as cruelty to one's fellow-man; and it may also refer to the violation and outrage of moral and civil law. What it does not mean is "use of force", which may be required in the administration of legitimate law and order in a society. (Yeshua himself used a whip to drive out merchants who were violating the spirit of His Father's Law in the courts of the Temple [John 2:13-15], yet Isaiah 53:9 makes clear that at His death, "He had done no violence--hamas".) Psalm 11:5 (NASB) informs us that "the LORD tests the righteous and the wicked and the one who loves violence (hamas) His soul hates." And Joel 3:19 speaks judgment upon Egypt and Edom (present-day southern Jordan) "because of hamas against the people of Judah."

The word first appears in the Bible in Genesis 6:11, 13, "The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.And Elohim said to Noah, 'The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth." As we know, Yeshua taught that during the age preceding his return, conditions over the earth (Luke 17:26, 28) would be "as it was in the days of Noah" and "as it was in the days of Lot" -both characterized by the utmost in lawlessness and cruel violence.

It is hardly necessary to mention that the spirit fueling this condition is presently spreading rapidly over the earth, and nowhere more intensely so than in the Middle-East. A remarkably insightful analysis of one aspect of this was published Saturday in The New York Times (which may be accessed by 'googling' "As Syrians Fight, Sectarian Strife Infects Mideast"). The article points towards a wave of violence arising across the Middle East, spawned initially by the bloody war in Syria, which has left already more than 80,000 dead. Yet the author finds that

The killing is no longer just about supporting or opposing the government, or even about Syria.the Syrian civil war is setting off a contagious sectarian conflict beyond the country's borders, reigniting long-simmering tensions between Sunnis and Shi'ites, and, experts fear, shaking the foundations of countries cobbled together after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire [i.e. following the close of WWI] ("As Syrians Fight, Sectarian Strife Infects Mideast": The New York Times [Online], 1 June 3013).

Thus, Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraqi and Iranian Shi'ite forces are coming to the aid of the embattled President Assad (of the Shi'ite derivative Alawite sect), while Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are seeing this as a clear case of Shi'ites accosting their Sunni brothers in Syria, and preparing measures with which to go to their assistance. Meanwhile, all of this is serving to awaken Sunni-Shi'ite violence throughout the Middle-East, each seeing their faith as being attacked by the other.

Then, in Turkey during the past week and a half a major uprising seemed to erupt out of nowhere. It has already resulted in more violence than has been seen there in years, and of a different kind. According to one Christian source, over 240,000 people have taken to the streets.most of them young and opposed to what they see as growing religious coercion in the government. As in Syria, the demonstrations began peacefully, but soon turned violent. The protests have already spread to 61 of Turkey's 84 provinces, some 3000 have now been injured by government forces, and some have died. President Erdogan, promoted until now by western governments as "a democratic Islamist model that could be copied elsewhere in the Middle East after the fall of authoritarian leaders (while at the same time being adulated by much of the region's Muslim Arab community for his harsh stand against Israel), may be finding his own foundation shaking ("Second Turkish protester killed in anti gov't demonstration": REUTERS, 06/0-4/2013 10:43).

We are not attributing all societal upheaval to hamas, nor implying that there are not situations in which taking part in civil resistance to social injustice may be justified. But given the fallen nature of humankind, it takes a stronger, Holy Wind to resist the lawless winds of power, pride, the 'anger of man', and the desire for revenge which are generally blowing to steer it into violence.

Yet in the midst of the swirl of hamas-violence arising in the world, there is HOPE and a way of Life!

*Psalm 72:12-14 tells us that when the needy cry to God, He will rescue their souls, "He will redeem their life from oppression and violence (hamas)!" Indeed, David calls on the LORD to

*"Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred (hamas hatred). Guard my soul, and deliver me; Do not let me be put to shame, for I have placed my trust in You!" (Psalm 25:19-20). And in another place,

*"Teach me Your way, LORD, and lead me in a smooth path because of my enemies. Don't deliver me to the soul of my adversaries, for lying witnesses have arisen against me who breathe out violence (hamas). Oh.had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in a land of Life! (Psalm 27:11-13).


*The Scriptures above over Messianic Jews and Christian Arabs in Israel.

*That as violence continues to rise, Believers throughout the Middle East will entrust themselves to the One who guards their souls-that with the Shield of Faith, the fiery darts of violence and lawlessness will be quenched-that they will be strengthened and encouraged to move forward in the Love of God, shod in the Good News of the Shalom which comes in Messiah.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Willful Ignorance is a Betrayal to the Body of Messiah

As a rule, I try to stay as much as possible on the good news of what God is doing among the believer-citizens of Israel, but I become aware of things going on that are absolutely mind-blowing. Yesterday one of those things came to my attention and it is just something that must be addressed.

I received a ministry email from one of the Christian organizations headquartered in Israel gushing about meeting with the mayor of Arad, a lady by the name of Tali Ploskov, who this Christian organization said was “visibly moved” when they told her that Christians all over the world were donating so they could help feed 150 needy families in Arad.

Now this Christian organization is not ignorant of all the persecution that has been going on against the Jewish believers in Arad. Somehow they are willing to turn a blind eye to what the Arad mayor and the ultra-Orthodox are doing to daily harass the believers in Arad. That is called WILLFUL IGNORANCE. 

Why would the Christian organization ignore what is being done to persecute the Jewish believers in Arad, and not only that, why would they deny helping the needy believers in Arad and go straight to the seat of power in Arad to curry favor by donating to feeding program? 

Now I believe they will say that they believe they are supposed to make Israel jealous by their faith and good works in the name of Jesus, but what a deception it is!

To take a position of willful ignorance about how the Arad city authorities are persecuting Jewish believers in Yeshua/Jesus in their city, speaks louder than the donations that those authorities are more than willing to relieve the Christian orgs of. 

Only those walking in self-deception could convince themselves that it will make unsaved Jews jealous of the Christian faith by making donations to the persecutors while ignoring the persecuted of that city who share the faith of Messiah Yeshua. How crazy is it to think those unsaved Jews aren’t looking at the complete DISREGARD of Arad’s Jewish believers in Jesus. Does the Christian organization honestly believe that the Jews will value the food over the treatment of Jewish believers? 

If you want to make unsaved Jews jealous, then you will lavish care on the saved Jews! But those who remain in this deluded state of willful ignorance will continue to be exploited by Mayor Ploskov and others, who see the donations as coming from suckers who naively think it is persuading them how great the Christian faith is. 

As long as Christian organizations place their “special” relationships with Israeli authorities and religious heads who are not of the faith of Jesus in such an extreme priority over the household of faith among the Jewish Israelis, they will continue to work AGAINST the heart of God for the salvation of Israel. It is arrogance, because these organizations cannot claim ignorance. They are well aware and have been told many times. 

The LORD is longsuffering because He gives people plenty of time to repent and change their ways. But finally He brings judgment on willful ignorance and working against His will.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

“By God’s grace, we received a little bit of justice”

“By God’s grace,
we received a little bit of justice”

What you don’t know behind the scenes
of the recent Israeli court victory
 against the bomber of Messianic Ami Ortiz.

By Donna Diorio
April 14, 2013

Ami, Leah and David Ortiz several months ago in New York City.

Leah Ortiz says that from the very beginning God told her to pray for the man who tried to kill her son.  “I didn’t know who Jack Teitel was but He gave me the love of God and told me to pray for the person that did this, and to pray for his salvation.”

Chris Mitchell in a CBN interview asks Leah, “Have you and David and Ami and the family forgiven Jack?”  Leah answers, “All of us had to from the very beginning otherwise we would have been prisoners along with him. We would have been destroyed and we wouldn’t have been able to receive any kind of healing in our lives whatsoever.”

Leah answering questions from the press after Teitel's sentencing
 David giving CBN an interview after Teitel's sentencing

David Ortiz said that Ami is doing better than most people because he had forgiven Teitel from the beginning adding that Ami, “didn’t want to be a victim twice.”

Outside the courtroom after the final sentencing, David said in the Maoz interview, “By God’s grace, we received a little bit of justice.  We’re not in heaven yet, but by God’s grace what has been on our minds, besides the justice, we’ve been thinking we wouldn’t want this to happen to somebody else. And this is why we continued going forward.”

Howard Bass, who leads a Messianic congregation in Beer Sheva that has also been targeted for violent religious mob attacks in the past several years, was also at the courthouse to lend moral support to David and Leah.  

 Howard Bass doing an interview with Maoz after Teitel's sentencing

Howard said, “He (Teitel) has no regret for what he did. He said he’s proud of what he did and would do it again. So I’m happy that the judges gave him all that they could.”

Bass made a very important observation in this interview.  He said, “I think the Ortiz’ were exemplary in bringing this to the fore.  I don’t think without them Teitel would even have been caught.”

For those who do not know, the investigators did not want to aggressively pursue this religious bombing of a Messianic Jewish family wherever it led, because early on, it led directly to religious Jewish accomplices.  

The Ortiz family, like many Messianic ministers in Israel, is equipped with security systems because of the threat to their personal security by religious opposition.  So the family had security tapes that actually captured the street view when Jack Teitel was dropped off and then picked up again after he had placed the booby-trapped gift basket on the Ortiz family doorstep.

What many Christian onlookers do not realize is what a disappointing roller coaster ride the Ortiz family has endured seeking accountability for the bombing of their son in their home because of their faith in Yeshua. 

It is wonderful to see Jack Teitel finally being brought to some measure of accountability but the accountability falls short of exposing the religious persecution against their faith that drove the bombing.  Therefore the threat remains in play for the entire Israeli Messianic community from religious zealots like Jack Teitel.  Even the Israeli public is not aware of all the damning evidence that was buttoned down and not allowed to emerge in a trial.

All along there has been reluctance by Israeli officials to allow the facts specifically of the Ortiz bombing to be aired in open court.  Even the Israeli public has not seen the hard evidence that Jack Teitel did not act alone.  There is the security tape and Teitel’s own admission to police investigators that he worked with Yad L’Achim (Hand to Brothers), a religious activist group that works relentlessly against Messianic Jews in Israel. 

Decmber 2005 an angry religious mob surrounds and invades
the Beer Sheva Messianic congregation

Yad L’Achim is also the group that was behind stirring up the two mob actions (1998 and 2005) against the Beer Sheva congregation, and although the Israeli courts called the 2005 mob action an "extremely serious event," ultimately they failed to find the religious leaders accountable for directing the mob.  This was a civil trial brought by the Beer Sheva congregation in order to discourage similar religious actions against other congregation or individuals in the Body of Messiah in Israel.

So the backdrop to Jack Teitel’s bombing of the Ortiz family in 2008 is that Israeli police investigations have never been aggressive in pursuing arrests – even in various fire bombings of Messianic congregations and facilities, much less other acts of intimidation and vandalism. 

After Jack Teitel also set a bomb at a Leftist Israeli peace activist’s doorstep in September 2008 the investigation into Teitel picked up. At the same time the Israeli LGBT community began to receive threats similar to fliers that had been circulated against professor Sternhell and the Messianic Ortiz family before they were bombed.  

In May of 2009, a little over a year after the bombing of Ami Ortiz, two FBI agents visited Israel with information on Jack Teitel, including the fact that Teitel had a police record in the U.S.  So it is clear that Israel already had focused eyes on Teitel months before arresting him.  Tietel was finally arrested in September 2009 but due to a gag order placed on the case, no one could report it until November 1, 2009. 

Throughout the investigation, the Ortiz family was kept in the dark about the status of the investigation.  What little they knew, might have come from the U.S. investigations of the case because the FBI became involved early and directly with the Ortiz family because of their dual US-Israeli citizenship. 

According to de-classified documents from the State Department obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the U.S. government has for years kept track of religious persecution incidents reported to Israeli police, as well as any incidents involving American citizens either as victims or perpetrators.

Although the Israeli Shin Bet were supposed to notify the FBI that American citizens had been involved in an attack, they failed to make the FBI notifications for almost a year after the bombing.  Once Teitel was arrested Israel officials were still not eager to bring the facts about the bombing of the Ortiz family into the courts and after Teitel’s arrest the information lock out of the family did not change. 

The State Prosecutor tried to keep the Ortiz family – and their lawyer – out of hearings and other court proceedings by failing to notify them of hearing cancellations and rescheduling. For most of the hearings, the family was not even allowed to be in the courtroom.  They still made great effort to be in attendance for proceedings, if only in the waiting areas outside the courtroom.

Three years passed as the case was delayed from coming to trial as Teitel’s defense attorneys were allowed repeatedly to get new mental health assessments for their client.  Time after time court appointed psychiatrists concluded that Teitel was mentally stable to stand trial, but the defense was allowed to try, try again for someone who would say Teitel was mentally not accountable for his actions. If the security tape evidence that investigators had from the beginning had ever seen the light of day in court, mental fitness is an idea would have been put down completely.  It is pretty hard to make a case for mental incapacity when a conspiracy to commit a crime is in play.

Is it any wonder that the Ortiz family were on an emotional roller coaster for several years not knowing if the man who tried to kill their family and who represented a distinct existential threat to the Israeli Messianic community might walk free after serving only a few years in a mental facility?  Three years is an excessively long time for any court to kick around a mental assessment of a confessed murderer and attempted murdered.

Then in May of 2012, Israeli newspapers noted that judges had accepted an “unusual plea bargain” between the State Prosecutor in the case and Teitel’s defense team which would allow Teitel to admit to the cold blooded murders of two Palestinians conditioned upon the State dropping the indictments against him in the attempted murders – including the bombing of Ami Ortiz. 

As it was framed in the media explanations the attempted murder indictments were to be dropped because the authorities had foiled the attempts.  Certainly that was not the case in the indictment against Teitel for bombing Ami Ortiz.

According to the Jerusalem Post on May 29, 2012:  “The amended indictment includes 10 of the original 14 charges against Teitel, including two murders and two attempted murders, after the prosecution agreed to remove charges relating to attempted attacks that the authorities had foiled.

Finally in a surprising turn of events in January 2013, the judges did a turnaround on the plea agreement and convicted him not only of the murders of two Palestinians in cold blood, but also for the attempted murders of Ami Ortiz and Professor Zeev Sternhell. In the words of the Ortiz family at that time,

“For three years the hearings revolved only around Teitel's mental state and when all those attempts were exhausted, a guilty plea was given, preventing a trial and the witnesses who could have testified and revealed who he worked for, and who helped him plan, prepare for and carry out his crimes.  There has been so much in this case that has been hidden in darkness and obscured.  Only the Lord can now uncover what needs to be brought into the light.”

After the sentencing was finally passed and after more defense delays, on April 9th the Ortiz family was finally able to talk about the fact that the Israeli government has not recognized the bombing as a terrorist act.  That means that financial medical and legal assistance normally given to terrorism victims was denied to Ami. 

The state of Israel declared the bombing a “criminal” act not a “terrorist” act, in the thinking that a Jew cannot commit an act of terrorism against another Jew.  So the families of the two Palestinians that Teitel shot dead have received Israeli government financial assistance for legal expenses stemming from a terrorist act, but Messianic Jewish Ami who was packaged bombed is considered only to be a criminal case.   

Even the ruling of the judges specifically calling the bombing of Ami “terrorism” has not changed the government recognition of Ami as a victim of terror.  However, the judge calling it terrorism does open a case for the Ortiz family to appeal for the government to begin extending benefits to their son who is still in need of surgical procedures. 

Just last month another piece of shrapnel surfaced in Ami’s eye while away at college in the U.S. and had to be removed. His body still has pieces of shrapnel and there is also extensive scarring that Ami hopes to have surgically removed later this year by a technique developed for wounded warriors returning from Afghanistan.

The Ortiz family wrote a few days ago, “Throughout these five years we have been financially drained because of legal expenses for the uphill battle we have waged to protect our civil and human rights, and our right to be heard and respected as Jewish believers in Yeshua the Messiah, and the extra medical procedures Ami has needed.

“Many individual believers and believing organizations have greatly helped us, and we are very grateful. But because this has dragged on for five years, it has been very difficult to catch up to and maintain the costs of fighting this battle on all fronts.”

Others have said it more plainly: even with the help of believers worldwide this family has been devastated financially.  

Ami immediately after the bomb blasted in his hands

Ami has many more surgical procedures in front of him even though he is a walking miracle to the grace and power of God.  Just surviving the arrival of the ambulance after the bombing was a miracle of God’s grace toward the family.

From someone who has followed this case from the first news of the bombing by every report from the family and the believers in Israel, I can say without any reservation that the Ortiz family walked out this devastating event with the clear grace of God upon them.  That is why this morning it made me smile as I thought about David and Leah standing before the cameras and press outside the courtroom after sentencing on Teitel was passed. 

Then I had a sobering thought.  This family is like the witness to Israel that Stephen was in Acts 7. 

Stephen prayed for the religious zealots even while they were stoning him to death.  Thank God that Ami Ortiz did not die and it was a miracle of God that he did not, but that does not lessen the impact of the powerful witness by the Ortiz family throughout their ordeal, and even toward Jack Teitel who continued in unrepentant gloating even at his final sentencing.

The Ortiz family admits that it is their desire that someday God will soften Jack Teitel’s heart enough for them to go visit him in prison.  It is not out of the question that such a thing should occur, after all, a young man who was present at the stoning of Stephen – an ardent anti-Messianic Jew named Saul – eventually was given a revelation of Yeshua the Messiah. He then repented, changed directions and became the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul.

As David said in the interview with Maoz, “I really feel bad for him, I really do.  We’ve been praying for him.”  

David said they pray for a time when Teitel is a little more sober in his mind that they can go to jail and speak to him.  “We would like that,” David said, “and we think that day is going to come.”  “He is bound by sin,” David said, “and we pray that he will be redeemed.”

Christians need to know the fuller picture behind this case and to understand what David Ortiz meant when he said after the sentencing that the family had “received a little bit of justice” but “we’re not in heaven yet.”  Full justice has not been delivered in this case – not for Ami, not for the family, and not for the whole Messianic community in Israel.

Still, as David notes that because of their personal ordeal in the bombing, with the press, “The name of Yeshua is mentioned all the time. There has not been a time with the journalists that that the name of Yeshua has not come up.”

“The LORD has in His mercy,” David said, “chosen us to suffer for His Name’s sake that His Name should be lifted up. That’s the only thing we take with us. Only Jesus.”

Please pray for the Ortiz family to be granted favor in their appeal of the terror victim benefits before the Israeli government.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to the family or toward the legal expenses, here’s how:

Donations to the family ministry: Regular dollar check or international money order to PO Box 1903 | Ariel | 40700 | Israel  

Or by wire transfer:  Bank Leumi | Branch  943 | 7 Habanim Street | Hod Hasharon Israel | Account: 66169/34 | Swift #:  L U M I I L I T T L V  

Donations for Ami's Medical Expenses by credit card
via The Brooklyn Tabernacle

 Donations to Legal Expenses:  HATE CRIME PREVENTION FUND (HCPF) at

Arrows from Zion
is a Weekly Summary of Prayer Requests from the Israeli Ministries.
Compiled from actual ministry prayer letters received each week from both Messianic Jewish and Arab Christian pastors,
this summary will put strategic arrows into the hands of intercessors
who desire to pray God's will and vision for the salvation of Israel.
Romans 9-11 is the starting place for understanding
 the mystery of the plan of God for Israel and the Church in our days.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Messianic Minister Defends Israel Against "Apartheid" Accusations

Urges: Please pass this information on so that the truth may be proclaimed and this strategy of the enemy defeated.

Article by Eddie Santoro
Ahavat Yeshua Congregation (Love of Yeshua) in Jerusalem

This past week the "American Muslims for Palestine", a rapidly growing anti-Israel organization launched an aggressive national ad campaign beginning in New York City's public transportation system, "informing" the general public of Israel's "apartheid" policy against the Palestinians who live in that country. As is always the case, the accusers are using lies to criminalize and de-legitimatize the existence of the state of Israel.

This is not surprising as Israel's primary enemy is the "father of lies" and  "When he lies, he speaks his native language".  (John 8:44)
The definition of the word apartheid according to the Farlex dictionary is "the policy of strict racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against a specific people group because of their skin color or race." Most people who will read the poster have never lived in Israel and have no understanding of the true meaning of the word or the actual condition of life in Israel. But the effect of the poster will undoubtedly warp the understanding of many.

Israel is not an apartheid nation 
and the Israeli government has no policy of strict racial separation.

Anyone who has ever visited Israel is keenly aware that the opposite is true. No matter where you go in Israel; the train station, the doctor's office, the emergency room in the hospital or any of Israel's government offices, malls or restaurants, life in this nation is integrated. Muslims wearing head scarves, ultra orthodox Jews in black, secular Israelis wearing very little and every other type of person you can imagine are jammed together into Israel's frenetic, closely packed life style. There is simply no policy of segregation in Israel. There are Arab neighborhoods and Jewish neighborhoods but even these are generally inhabited by people of all races.

In Israel, any Jew or Arab citizen can buy any house in any neighborhood and is free to frequent whatever establishments they might desire. How different this is from the Islamic nations that surround Israel and even all the areas within Israel that are under Palestinian control. It is illegal for a Jew to even enter these places, much less buy a residence or live there.

Another important mis-information to appreciate in the campaign's poster is the picture of the adult and child "victims" standing on ground that is hued to match the colors of the Palestinian flag between two oppressive walls.

Before the start of the two Palestinian intifadas (uprising), there were no walls!

Between the years 1987-2005, nearly one thousand Israeli civilians were blown up in restaurants, on buses, at bus stops, at parties, and at almost any other place where Jews gathered. The Palestinian terrorists were free to walk into Israel from their towns and carry out their terrorist campaign. The Palestinian Authority did nothing to prevent it and even encouraged these many acts of terror. After suffering many years of indescribable horrors and hundreds of deaths, the Israeli government built the separation walls to keep the terrorists out.

The walls are there as a result of a Palestinian policy of terror and murder. Would any other nation on the earth have done any less to protect their citizens?

And finally, not surprisingly, the poster contains one final misrepresentation that is also based on a lie. The land that the “victims” are standing on bears the colors of the Palestinian flag thus implying that somehow justice demands that it is the legitimate possession of the Palestinian people and must be "returned" to them.

There has never been a nation called Palestine in the history of the earth and the land itself has only been a part of one sovereign state throughout all history and that state is Israel. In recent times, this territory was promised to Israel in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, taken away in the White Paper of 1939, illegally occupied by the Jordanian government from 1948 until its legitimate return to Israel in the Six Day War of 1967.

But beyond all of this political manuvering is the undeniable truth that God himself gave the land as an eternal inheritance to Abraham and his descendants forever when he said to Abraham; "Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever." (Genesis 13:14) God gave the land to Israel as an eternal inheritance and any other interpretation is contrary to the clearly stated promises of God.

In the last days as the battle rages between darkness and light, one of the victims will be truth. It is not surprising that this Muslim Inspired campaign from beginning to end is just that; a misrepresentation of the truth. In the coming months, this campaign will be continuing in many of the major cities throughout the United States.

Please pass this information on so that the truth may be proclaimed and this strategy of the enemy defeated.

We thank you for standing with us. The best is yet to come!

This ministry can be contacted here Zion's Glory
at Tikkun Ministries International

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

President Obama's Visit to Israel

By Martin Sarvis

Perspective from a brother in JerusalemMarch 25, 2013

We pray that as you read, the Lord will grant you added and unique insights in how best to pray His Kingdom Come. 

It has been an unusual week in Israel. On Wednesday United States President Barak Obama arrived for a 2 1/2 -day visit to the land, his first in the office of President, and his first visit abroad since beginning his second term. In retrospect, there are aspects of his visit and his message for which we are grateful, others which we found troubling.

Israel went 'all out' to make the President feel as welcome as possible, lining the streets with signs about his coming (see above). To be honest, something about the message on these signs made us a bit uneasy. Visits by dignitaries to Israel are usually heralded with flags of his or her nation lining our streets, the focus being our desire to express friendship with that nation, whose leader or representative we are hosting. 

Yet here, apart from the dual-flag design above the message, no English-speaker (including the President) would see any allusion to a nation at all; the flag appeared to focus solely upon an "unbreakable alliance" and a person - "President Obama." The Hebrew, however, does use the words "Covenant of Nations" instead of "Unbreakable Alliance".

Might this reflect a feeling of longing for approval by this person from whom Israel has, for four years, sensed consistent dis-approval, perhaps even dislike? Should not celebrations of alliances focus upon the nations involved, rather than their representatives? But this time Israeli attention was being called to focused on one thing, "Obama in Israel".

"He had us at the word 'Shalom.'"

From the first the President appeared determined to change the negative image he released four years ago in Cairo. His speech upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport was extremely promising. He began his speech with "Shalom!", included a Hebrew phrase to declare his pleasure at being back in the land, and ended with, "I'm confident in declaring that our alliance is eternal, it is forever - lanetzach!"

Israelis love it when visiting leaders choose to drop a few Hebrew words into their speeches For years after President Clinton said, "Shalom, Ha'ver! Goodbye, Friend!" at the funeral of Yitzak Rabin, bumper stickers could be seen all over the country bearing those words. 

As Jerusalem Post analyst Herb Kainon put it, "We so want to be accepted, so want to be understood.He had us at the word 'Shalom.'"

And then the President said some truly remarkable things:
"I know that in stepping foot on this land, I walk with you on the historic homeland of the Jewish people. More than 3,000 years ago, the Jewish people lived here, tended the land here, prayed to God here. And after centuries of exile and persecution, unparalleled in the history of man, the founding of the Jewish State of Israel was a rebirth, a redemption unlike any in history. Today, the sons of Abraham and the daughters of Sarah are fulfilling the dream of the ages."
"Historic homeland of the Jewish people", "Jewish people lived here (more than 3,000 years ago)", "Jewish State of Israel"- it was surprising and touching to hear Mr. Obama saying such things; not many national leaders would be willing publically to make such statements today.

But the next morning, during a speech before Palestinian leaders in Ramallah just north of Jerusalem, certain limitations within which those statements were meant to be understood began to become clear.

The "historic homeland of the Jewish people" was there, but not here. They had "tended the land" there, "prayed to God" there - but not "here." Here-"the Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it."

By "occupation" Mr. Obama is assumed to have meant any citizens of the "Jewish State of Israel" which belongs there - but not here, in this very different territory where "the United States is deeply committed to the creation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine." 

Ironically, a little more than two miles away from where the President was speaking lies Bethel above which the Lord and God whom Mr. Obama himself claims to worship stood at the top of a heavenly ladder and proclaimed over Jacob, "I AM YHVH God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; The land on which you lie, I will give to you and your seed" (Genesis 28:13).

And the land specifically promised to Abraham and Sarah mentioned by Mr. Obama in his airport speech? It lies not between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but between Shechem which is modern-day Nablus, and Hebron - all within the bounds of the proposed Palestinian (Islamic) state.

Lastly, we would point out that in his airport speech, the President had said, "We stand together [Israel and America] because peace must come to the Holy Land."

The only place in the Bible where any place in Israel is referred to as "the Holy Land" is in Zechariah 2:12, "And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem." These areas would both lie within the borders of the proposed Palestine.

Later in the day, the President returned to Jerusalem to give his main speech to the Israeli people. Before leaving the US, he had drawn criticism from Republicans in Congress for his decision against addressing the Israeli Knesset.

Within Israel, former Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin expressed the concern of many here: "Three American presidents have spoken on the Knesset stage, as well as [former Egyptian president Anwar] Sadat and leaders from Europe. President Obama should speak to the people of Israel through its elected representatives" (Rivlin slams Obama for not visiting Knesset, Jerusalem Post  20 Mar 2013).

Instead, the President chose to deliver his speech to the nation in a downtown auditorium before a carefully chosen audience consisting primarily of some 600 university students plus reporters. 

A large part of the speech consisted of a lecture on Mr. Obama's rationale for a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, although he did not this time, as in the past, make specific demands from Israel, nor did he mention Jerusalem.

After conceding that "of course, Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with anyone who is dedicated to its destruction", Mr. Obama continued, "Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land."

Earlier in the day Hamas operatives in Gaza made their presence known by launching five Qassam rockets into the Israeli border-town of Sderot. Reflecting the change in makeup of the new government, Economy and Trade minister Naphtali Bennett (who is also a member of Netanyahu's Political-Security Cabinet) was the first senior politician to respond to the speech.

Addressing the President's call to "end the occupation", he responded, "Generally there is no 'occupation' within one's own land.The results of our latest withdrawal [i.e. from Gaza] were felt this morning in Sderot." (Bennett on Obama's speech: No occupation in our own land. ynet, 21 Mar 2013)

The first significant physical "accomplishment" of the President's visit came just before he departed, when Prime Minister Netanyahu made a personal telephone call to the Prime Minister of Turkey.
The Background
In 2010 a flotilla of activists led by the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara sought to break Israel's blockade of Gaza, which had been taken over by the rogue terrorist organization Hamas. After warning the ships, Israel sent commandos to commandeer them before they entered the forbidden waters. As the soldiers slid down the rope from the helicopters onto the deck, they were met by hostile militants who began beating them with pipes, sticks, and wielding knives and slings.

Fighting for their lives, the Israelis were forced to drop their weapons bearing harmless "paint gun" pellets, and draw their real guns. In the fight, nine Turkish militants were killed. It was later discovered that several of the militants had planned to "fight to the death" and had left suicide films in Turkey before their 'martyrdom'. 
In 2011 a United Nations enquiry determined that although there were procedures in which Israel had erred, she had nevertheless been within her rights in defending the blockade and stopping the vessels which were bent on breaking it.

This report infuriated Turkish Prime Minister Erdogen (pronounced "Erdo-wan"), who withdrew diplomatic relations with Israel, demanded an official apology for her actions, vowed to bring the responsible Israeli generals to an international court as war criminals, and fueled production of a number of fictitious films shown throughout Turkey depicting Israeli soldiers brutalizing helpless Gazan Palestinian Arabs.

Last month Erdogen awakened international condemnation when he equated "Zionism" with "crimes against humanity"- a statement he subsequently withdrew.
Although expressing "regret" for the loss of life on the Mavi Marmara, Israel has persistently refused to formally "apologize". With the worsening crisis in Syria, including the danger of chemical weapons falling into the hands of different factions, the United States has been anxious that the two countries which used to be fast friends would resolve their differences. This was evidently a strong priority for President Obama in coming to Israel at this time. 
Friday, after a long conference with the President, Mr. Netanyahu finally telephoned his Turkish counterpart. The American President was reportedly on the line for the first minutes of the conversation. According to an official statement from Netanyahu's office, "In light of Israel's investigation into the incident which pointed to a number of operational mistakes, the prime minister expressed Israel's apology to the Turkish people for any mistakes that might have led to the loss of life or injury." 

Prime Minister Erdogen accepted the apology, the two Prime Ministers also addressed compensation for the families of those killed and the dropping of charges against Israeli soldiers, and the two agreed to normalize relation between the two countries. Just before leaving Israel, President Obama announced that the phone call had been made, and that "The United States deeply values our close partnership with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security."

We are not certain about the wisdom of the Israeli "apology" to Turkey or how effective it may prove. Of course, we long for a return of the friendship which existed between the two nations for so many years. We believe there to be a redemptive blessing which has existed on this friendship from long ago, when in the early 16th Century Turkey was one of the few countries to welcome Jews into their society after they had been expelled from Spain.

But Mr. Erdogen is the first strongly Islamic Prime Minister to lead Turkey since the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920's. He was almost certainly cognizant of the violence which would ensue aboard the Marmara in 2010, nor, since that time, does his zeal on behalf of the militant Islamists in Gaza appear to have in any way lessened.

There are spiritual factors in the enmity which has arisen. Recovery of what has been lost will certainly involve spiritual battle on behalf of God's purposes for both countries. 

In the end, it was good to see President Obama's courtesy to our Prime Minister and to hear his words of encouragement, support and admiration on behalf of Israel. He called his visit "an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our nations." He proclaimed to Israel that "You are not alone!" as he reaffirmed America's commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and said that the United States would not tolerate the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

We believe him to be sincere in his desire for hope and a future for Israelis and for Palestinians. He is the leader and spokesperson for a great nation which we deeply admire and whose friendship is a mighty strength to us. So how do we sort out the good from the bad? that for which to give thanks from that which must fall to the floor? that which we know to be in error and which must be taken before our Lord for His counsel?

"As for mortal man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him and His righteousness to children's children." (Psalm 103: 15-17). 
"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes" (Psalm 118:8-9).
Something very strange attended President Obama's last afternoon in Israel. He was supposed to fly by helicopter to Bethlehem to view the traditional birthplace of Jesus with the Palestinian leader Abbas, followed by a flight back, and then to the airport for a lavish departure ceremony. But late in the morning a high wind began sweeping through Israel, a wind filled with dust. 

Such dust-storms come often in the Middle East, especially around the changing of the seasons. Called hamsin, such a wind may bring in huge volumes of dust from deserts far away in Africa. They generally arrive and sit for two days or so-then move on.

This one roared into Jerusalem just before the President's scheduled trip to Bethlehem. In less than thirty minutes the Mount of Olives, less than ¼ mile distance from the writer's balcony, was indiscernible. We've since spoken with a friend in other part of Jerusalem who had difficulty seeing their hand in front of his face! 

It was decided that the helicopter flight would be too dangerous in such conditions, so the President went by motorcade, throwing off the schedule. The dust intensified so the large closing ceremony had to be cancelled, replaced by a short one near the airplane.

Then the President was gone and within the hour the dust simply blew away!

This writer has lived in Israel for more than 17 years, and never seen a hamsin come, sit, then blow away in the space of three hours. Saturday the skies which should have been red were blue and filled with clouds.

In Hebrew, the word for "wind" and that for "spirit" are the same, ruach. Sometimes wind can signify a "winnowing" of that which is good from chaff. Sometimes it signifies spiritual warfare and angelic activity Psalm 35:5-in fact, Psalm 104.4 pointedly says that "He makes His angels winds".

We do not know all the significance of that strange storm, but we know its appearance at such a time to have been no mere happenstance. 


*That the Spirit of God, Holy Wind of Truth will "clear the air" driving away confusion or deception which may have sought occasion through the President's recent visit.

*That what was good and true in the President's warm and friendly manner towards Israel and our Prime Minister would remain and be strengthened.

*That President Obama will attend to the voice of the Holy Spirit in seeking divine counsel regarding his decisions related to Israel.

*That the relation between Israel and the United States will be blessed and strengthened.

*That Prime Minister Netanyahu, exhausted after six weeks of attempting to form a coalition, and then an unbelievably intense and draining week entertaining the American President, will be restored and granted a renewed spirit to move forward in leading his new government. Pray that he will personally seek the sustaining strength of God.

*That the tiny but growing presence of Believers in Turkey will be encouraged and begin strongly to multiply. That the growing houses of prayer there will experience the power and revelation of the Holy Spirit!

*That friendship between Turkey and Israel will be restored. That Prime Minister Erdogen will have an encounter with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-who is the God over all the Earth. That he will desist from dragging his country into a position of being under a curse for cursing Israel.