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