Exploding the myths and exposing the lawyer:

Those who dismissed the Arab claim of responsibility for the Ariel Purim bombing of March 20, 2008 and opted instead to perpetuate a wild conspiracy theory that, “rabbis in Israel are attempting to engage in a serious cover-up of the true situation”, should look again at the original report and timing of the explosion.

FIRST REPORTS: reactions from the police and Arab terrorists:

At 5:40pm on the day of the blast both Haaretz and Jerusalem Post headline stories were still claiming that, “Police reportedly believe the blast was caused by some sort of firecracker used during Purim celebrations. “ and that “the explosion was caused either by illegal Purim firecrackers or a malicious Purim gift basket.” (JPost)

But Ma’an News Agency out of Bethlehem had issued an earlier 5:27pm report with Fatah’s al Aqsa Brigades claiming to have detonated “a new kind of explosive device” in a parcel sent to the Ariel settlement near Nablus.

There was a motive too, with the terrorists stating, “that the explosion came in retaliation for the assassination of Hizbullah's military leader Imad Mughniyya and the ongoing Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “

Indeed, if you compare the headlines within days of the bombing you will find repercussions of the mid-February Mughniyah assassination and vows of revenge still making headlines - with the Ariel bombing sharing the same news pages:
Haaretz, March 23, 2008:
Headline: Shi'ite mourners hail Mughniyah as martyr at Beirut gravesite
More headlines: 04:22 Loving Jesus, fearing the neighbors in Ariel

Plastic explosives – a Jewish thing?

In addition to the burying the strong possibility of an Arab terror connection – which police never ruled out as a possibility, a number of reports surfaced in the international press in June which claimed that the Ortiz “family initially suspected Palestinians… But police immediately told him the bomb was more sophisticated than those made by Palestinians since it contained plastic explosives.--- USA Today June 22, 2008

So far, police have failed to make any arrests in the Ortiz bombing. But whoever assembled the bomb knew what he was doing and had access to plastic explosives--- Time Magazine June 6, 2008

According to Myers [messianic attorney Calev Myers], Israeli investigators believe the bomb was not of Arab terrorist origin, because it had a sophistication and composition that suggested otherwise. It may have been the act of a zealous ultra-Orthodox individual, rather than an Arab terrorist organization. ----The MJAA Restoration Report covering the late June 2008 conference

Hold Everything! Arabs do plastic, too

Remember that Immediately after the explosion the Arab press claimed new explosives – while the Israeli police were still playing with firecracker theories. And if police “immediately told him [Ortiz] the bomb was more sophisticated than those made by Palestinians since it contained plastic explosives”, then why did Ortiz wait until June to say anything? Why not say something before the court-ordered gag was imposed the day after the bombing?

And with all due respect (and I don’t have much) for messianic attorney extraordinaire, Calev Myers of the Jerusalem Insititute of Justice (sic!). The use of plastic explosives by Arabs may not be the weapon of choice but they sure do have access to them:

Plastic explosives were on board the Karin A ship (originating from Iran), Plastics were used in the Mahane Yehuda 2002 terror attack, the terror attack on Mike’s Place in 2003, and the Ashdod attack of 2004.

In 2006 Eleven people - seven of whom are active in the IDF Druze Battalion were indicted for allegedly stealing weapons – including plastic explosives - from an army base in the Western Galilee. And extensive reports have been written on arms smuggling from Israeli army weapons depots via the criminal world to Palestinian terror groups.

Camera lenses and lies?

Several reports on the explosion made mention that, “due to concerns about the family's security, cameras were installed at the [Ortiz] apartment.” This was usually attributed to concerns the family had over counter-missionary flyers – with pictures of missionaries residing in Ariel - which had been distributed “warning residents that the people portrayed were engaged in missionary activities directed at the town's Jews.”

The cameras allegedly play a major role in the investigation - with the Ortiz family claiming that the police have footage of the assailant, but have done nothing. Various evangelical groups are implying that powerful rabbis, and religious Knesset members are involved in some type of cover-up (usually it involves a conspiracy theory linking three unrelated incidents together - the explosion in Ariel, vandalism to a Jerusalem church, and the collection and incineration of missionary materials in Or Yehuda).

Ilana Dayan’s investigative program, Uvda ,ran a 30 minute show – bereft of facts - where we were treated to some high school basketball footage, hospital footage, prayer footage, and a lot of footage of surveillance cameras (the actual cameras - not what they surveyed on the day of the incident).

Yet, "the Ortiz family is asking itself, how can there be no arrests, in light of the very clear evidence held by police?"

But those close to family, who were at the hospital and members of the Ortiz messianic congregation, shared information in blog postings shortly after the explosion. One such posting reads, "The guy who left the bomb was caught on a security camera but unfortunately the sun was shining towards it so the picture is not clear. " . Others reported that the guy who dropped off the package was photographed in uniform but had a hat on and his head was down, and therefore he could not be identified.

It’s hard to believe that the fancy surveillance system at the modest Ortiz apartment was set-up to keep watch on a few counter-missionary volunteers from Yad L’achim or other such organizations.

What’s more likely is that Ortiz - who had been violently assaulted ,was issued death threats from Arabs, and was told to lay low by the US Embassy, had those cameras installed because he was running clandestine operations, where he would secretly extract Palestinian Christians from the PA territories and transplant them in Ariel or find refuge for them elsewhere in conjunction with the Religious Freedom Coalition of Washington D.C.

Ariel under the direction of Ron Nachman, and in cooperation with Pastor David Ortiz, was officially recognized by the RFC as “a center for Christian evangelism among Palestinians”. However, holding that title was both lucrative and dangerous

One almost gets the feeling that a discovery of Arab terror in this case would greatly disappoint the evangelical and messianic community, as it would throw a wrench into the evangelizing enterprise, and expose a very real and dangerous by-product of the Israel-evangelical relationship.

Next segment: The Ariel Money Trail

Previous segments:
Anti-Semitism, a Blood Libel, or Gross Opportunism?
Who Really Threatened Pastor Ortiz?

UPDATE: an arrest has been made

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