At approximately 2:30 pm on Thursday March 20, during the biblical Feast of Purim (see the Book of Esther 9:26-32), 15 year old Ami Ortiz (the youngest of six children) opened what appeared to be a box of holiday chocolates. The box, gaily decorated and with the chocolates visible through the plastic wrapping, had been left in front of the Ortiz family door. At Purim it is a tradition to send packages of baked goods or candies to one’s neighbors; the practice is called “mishlo’ach manot” in Hebrew or “shalach mones” in Yiddish.
The package was seen by the Ortiz’ housekeeper, who brought it into the third flood apartment thinking that some friendly neighbor had left it there for the family. David and Leah Ortiz are Israeli believers in Yeshua who have had an active ministry to Arabs, Jews and Samaritans over the years. They pastor a small congregation of approximately 30 people. They have seen some good fruit in their various outreaches. The Ortiz family has a good relationship with the Mayor of Ariel Ron Nachman, and have helped foster good relations between the town and various Christian business investors.
Over the years anti-Messianic organizations have attempted to make life bitter for the Ortiz family. Demonstrations, threats, flyers and “ “wanted” posters plastered around their town with fear-producing warnings and personal information given, vandalism of cars and property – all of these tactics have been used – to no avail. The Ortiz family has continued from strength to strength.
David’s ministry among Arab believers has lead to death threats from the Hamas organization, as well as similar threats from some Orthodox Jews.
Ami had no idea that these threats were about to suddenly become murderous reality as he tore open the wrapping of the box of candies. The explosion ripped through the apartment, breaking windows in parked cars three floors below. Shrapnel wrecked the kitchen and living room, creating a box-sized hole on the kitchen table. Broken concrete was scattered around the room.
Ami was severely wounded, with shrapnel in his chest and his right eye, ten steel bolts in his lungs (the bomber added bolts and nails to increase the murderous efficiency of the bomb), broken arms, second and third degree burns over his upper body, and heavy bleeding from his neck. His mother was outside at the time of the explosion and rushed upstairs to find him lying on the floor, groaning in pain. She applied pressure to slow the bleeding from the neck, while neighbors called the ambulance service. Ami was rushed to Rabin Medical Center at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah just north of Tel Aviv.
He has been operated on many times over the past few days, and the doctors tending to him have called his survival and condition ‘a miracle’. He has had a few toes amputated, but right now needs prayer for the full restoration of his internal organs and lungs; the proper functioning of his right eye; the healing of severe wound on his thighs; the healing of severe damage to tendons on his hands.
The police were originally considering this a terror attack from an Islamist group but, as the investigation proceeds, they are focusing on Orthodox anti-Messianic terrorism.
Caleb Meyers, a Messianic lawyer in Israel, says: “There is a campaign of harassment against the Messianic Jewish community by radical religious organizations that are trying to create dehumanization – especially in religious newspapers.”
This is the first time that an attack of this severity against believers has happened in modern Israel. Riots, firebombing of congregational buildings, physical attacks against individuals – all of these have happened in the past, though Israel’s media have often refused to report on these instances, or have downplayed any significance to these events. In Ami’s case, all the major newspapers and TV stations are reporting in greater detail on these events, with a much greater degree of sympathy.
One of our neighbors called us up this morning and expressed her sympathies, her appreciation for Messianic Jews, and her horror at the possibility that Jews could do such things to fellow Jews.
This bombing has resulted in an outpouring of love from Messianic believers from all over the country who have been rallying to stand with the Ortiz family.
- Pray that the perpetrators will be found and arrested.
- Pray that Ami and his whole family will be encouraged and strengthened in the Lord.
- Pray for the Messianic community in the city of Ariel to be strengthened and emboldened at this very challenging time.
- Pray that the testimony of Yeshua will appear clearly on a local, national and international level as a result of this attack.
In Messiah’s bonds,
FINAL FRONTIER MINISTRIES
BOX 121971 NASHVILLE TN 37212-1971 USA