Anti-Semitism, a Blood Libel, or Gross Opportunism?

A Court-ordered media black-out was issued the day after the March 20, 2008 Pre-Purim explosion in the town of Ariel, which severely injured Ami Ortiz – the son of missionary Pastor David Ortiz who works among Palestinians and leads a messianic-Christian congregation in Ariel. Arab terrorists had claimed responsibility.

The gag order was enforced, with neither the family, the press, nor the family’s lawyers having access to information on the investigation.

It was repeatedly emphasized by Judea and Samaria Police spokesman Ch.-Supt. Dani Poleg, that he “could not comment on the investigation due to a court-imposed media blackout, in force since Friday [March 21].”

But a virtual feeding frenzy ensued among the varying sectors of the evangelical world, as they took advantage of the silence surrounding a serious investigation and screamed bloody murder - fallaciously accusing Orthodox Jews and counter-missionary organizations of being responsible for the bombing and/or for carrying out a campaign of “church persecution”.

Below is just a sampling from the Christian press:

Messianic publication Israel Today

headline news of Friday March 21, 2008

But Caleb Meyers [Calev Myers], the primary legal representative for Israel's Messianic community, explained that "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."

Propaganda that aims to dehumanize Messianic believers could produce in the minds of some radical Orthodox Jews a kind of justification for carrying out the bombing of an innocent family.

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The International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem (ICEJ)

March 25, 2008 news report

Anti-missionaries suspected in bombing of Messianic family
Police have clamped a gag order on their investigation into the bombing incident, but his father, Pastor David Ortiz, said police are leaning towards suspecting Jewish anti-missionary activists. Although Ortiz had received threats from radical Muslims for seeking Palestinian converts in the West Bank, the family had also placed security cameras outside their apartment after Jewish anti-missionary groups began harassing them and the congregation they help lead. If the perpetrators were Jewish, it would mark the first time anti-missionary activists have staged such a malicious attack with intent to kill.

[note: in a June 22, 2008 report in USA Today: Missionaries under threat in Israel, the following quote is attributed to ICEJ spokesman David Parsons "We believe there is a link to a series of incidents here in the land that involve harassment, intimidation and physical violence."]
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Messianic Barry Segal director of The Joseph Project (“a humanitarian aid center”)

March 25, 2008 Jerusalem Prayer Letter:

Judea and Samaria Police admit radical Jews may have targeted the family. Ortiz described a long history of tensions with Yad Le'achim and other Orthodox activists in Ariel: ‘My neighbor said he had been told by religious Jews that if we were the only ones living in this building, they would have bombed it. They put posters all over town warning residents to keep away from us and calling for us to be excommunicated, and there was a demonstration in front of our house,’ said Ortiz…. All too often when Ultra Orthodox Jewish groups are behind such events they are never brought to justice. “

Segal wove together a series of unrelated events in the newsletter accompanied by sensational headlines, which was published in…

Messianic Sid Roth’s Special Edition of ISRAEL UPDATE


PERSECUTION OF JEWISH BELIEVERS IN ISRAEL
YAD LE'ACHIM RABBI SAYS MESSIANIC JEWS ARE THE ENEMY
ATTACK ON BOY ONE OF MANY
PERSECUTION OF MESSIANIC BELIEVERS IN ARAD
CENTRAL JERUSALEM CHURCH TARGET FOR ARSON
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Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry

March 27, 2008 The Jerusalem Prayer List:

On the very day that this nation is celebrating the feast of Purim, the story of Queen Ester and Mordechai the Jew that saved the Jews of the Persian Empire from racial prejudice and the murderous intent of Haman – on this very day – Religious Jews, Orthodox Jews, perpetrate such a heinous crime and put a bomb in a package that is supposed to celebrate Purim. It is clear from the content of this bomb that the intention of this criminal type of a small minority of radical Orthodox Jews was to kill the whole family just because they are preaching that “Jesus” is the Messiah and Savior.
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Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network’s (CBN) report

March 28, 2008

Some see the bombing against the Ortiz family as an unprecedented attack on Messianic believers - Jews who believe Jesus - or Yeshua - is the Jewish Messiah and see no contradiction between being Jewish and believing Jesus was the Son of God.

"One of the most difficult things for the family is that when the press originally brought the story out in Israel in Hebrew, they said that someone from a radical missionary cult was injured," said Calev Meyers of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice.

The Ortiz family asked Meyers to act as a family spokesman.

"The reason the press treated it this way is that the Messianic community in Israel are the victims of ongoing vicious propaganda against the community - especially in the ultra-religious media," Meyers said.

"The ongoing vicious propaganda that comes against families like this and against the Messianic Jewish community lays the basis for radical events or attacks like this against the community and that's what we're really trying to fight," he said...

Meyers said, "One of their messages would be, 'We're not giving up and we're going to continue to build the Kingdom of God in Israel, even in the face of this kind of aggression."

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Stephen Strang’s Report

April 7, 2008
[note: Strang is publisher of Charisma Magazine, John Hagee’s books, and is a CUFI Regional Director]

I am outraged about this attack. Israel is a democracy that guarantees everyone's freedom of religion. However, some of the anti-missionaries have been so vicious that now it has escalated to violence. Israel cannot allow this type of violence. Thankfully some Israelis are speaking up. But usually violence of this type is soon forgotten and no one is brought to justice.

Messianic Judaism, while still a small percentage of the population, is growing rapidly and is considered a threat to some Orthodox Jews. I'm told that harassment of evangelical believers in general is increasing, especially against Messianic Jews….

I've published many articles and several books that blast anti-Semitism. There's a long, sad history of that. But there are also those who are anti-Christian. Many are secularists. Some are radical Muslims. But there are also ultra-Orthodox groups like Yad L'Achim, who are responsible for constantly harassing Christian believers in Israel…
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The Christian Post

June 11,2008

Headlines: Israel's Messianic Jews Draw Ire of Orthodox Jews
In the past few months, Orthodox Jews have been responsible for a malicious bomb attack that severely injured and disfigured a 15-year-old pastor’s son, and the burning of hundreds of copies of the New Testament.
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Messianic publication the Maoz Israel Report

June 2008

Persecution Against Israeli Believers Turns Lethal
And when ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel rail and blaspheme folowers of Yeshua, burn down the believers’ places of worship and ministry, and now attempt to kill believers, then they too have been possessed by these evil spirits.

If these Jewish rabbis, some of whom are survivors of the Holocaust, only understood that they are acting in the same violent way to a minority group in Israel as did the German people to the Jews in the 1930’s, paving the road for Hitler and his demonized followers.

If Yad L’achim is found guilty (a very very big “if”) of planting this bomb at the Ortiz’ home, then it would be a great victory for justice and democracy if this violent group were classified as a terrorist organization in the U.S., thus preventing them from soliciting tax deductible funds. Drying up their stream of money from America of course would restrict much of their activities…

…This is the first time in the history of modern Israel, that ultra-Orthodox extremists have allegedly tried to kill a Messianic believer, although they have been ratcheting up the level of violence...
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Read:
Who Really Threatened Pastor Ortiz?
Exploding the myths and exposing the lawyer

UPDATE: an arrest has been made

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