Friday, April 18, 2008

Kentucky Legislature Honors Ami Ortiz

You can find this on the Kentucky Legislature site here.

A RESOLUTION adjourning the 2008 Session of the Kentucky House of Representatives in honor of Ami Ortiz, a world-class example of how one teen and his family have demonstrated God's love and forgiveness in the face of murderous religious persecution.

WHEREAS, at 2:30 p.m. On Thursday, March 20, 2008, a 15 year-old Ami Ortiz, the son of a well-known pastor in Ariel, Israel, miraculously escaped death when he opened a traditional "Happy Purim" gift loaded with explosives and delivered to his home by terrorists intending to frighten members of the tiny Messianic community into fleeing their homes, city, and nation; and

WHEREAS, a March 23 Jerusalem Post article reported that Ami's "neck had an eight-inch gash like someone slit his throat. He has a ruptured lung. Doctors had to operate on his tongue. He has second-degree burns to his chest and arms, and there is no flesh on the thighs." The article further disclosed that doctors amputated two of Ami's toes and are working to prevent the loss of his arms and legs and to remove fragments of nails, bolts, screws, and metal shards from his entire body, including his right eye; and

WHEREAS, prior to the murderous bombing of his home, Ami Ortiz, the youngest of David and Leah Ortiz's six children, had also endured, along with other family members, years of harassment and intimidation associated with anti-missionary efforts to frighten the family by throwing a Molotov cocktail at the family's car, vandalizing their property, demonstrations, threats, and distribution of hurtful flyers and "wanted" posters plastered around their town with the personal information about the Ortiz family; and

WHEREAS, Pastor Ortiz's ministry to both Arab and Jewish believers resulted in death threats from the Hamas terrorist organization in the mid-1990's for preaching the Gospel to Palestinian Muslims; and

WHEREAS, the Ortiz family has also received similar threats from certain ultra-Orthodox Jews, some of whom have been involved in anti-missionary efforts to outlaw the free expression of Messianic faith in Israel; and

WHEREAS, the latest attempt to murder the Ortiz family marks an escalation of physical attacks on Messianic Jews in Israel, following the fire-bombing of a Messianic house of prayer in Jerusalem several months ago, and the ongoing attacks in Arad; and

WHEREAS, prior to the bombing of the Ortiz home, the Messianic community complained that Israel's media have often under-reported, downplayed, or reframed the significance of deadly attacks on Jewish believers; and

WHEREAS, the evening following the attack on the Ortiz family, Israel's Channel 10 news unwittingly justified such attacks with the statement, "Where there are missionaries there will be anti-missionaries;" and

WHEREAS, a recent article on Ami Ortiz in the March 25 issue of The Jerusalem Post quotes Howard Bass, head of a Messianic congregation in Beersheba as saying there has been "very little sympathy for our plight. We get the feeling that nobody in Israel is willing to take a strong stand against violent, anti-missionary activity;" and

WHEREAS, just before Christmas in 2005, Bass' congregation was attacked by hundreds of demonstrators who received the backing of the local rabbinic leadership, the Post said. Another Messianic believer, Edwin Beckford, is under house arrest. Last Fall, arsonists set fire to Jerusalem's Narkis Street Baptist Church, which sustained minor damage; and

WHEREAS, the government of Israel's history of reluctance to aggressively prosecute anti-missionary terrorists who have attacked Messianic Jews and their congregations in Beersheba and Arad with the same zeal that Israel prosecutes other terrorists dehumanizes a religious minority and emboldens terrorists to believe that Messianic Jews are fair game; and

WHEREAS, the police and courts in Israel may soon face pressure by certain ultra-orthodox religious politicians in Israel's Knesset and government ministries to "go easy" on the perpetrators of this attempted murder of the Ortiz family because some of these politicians believe missionaries to be at fault for being a "severe provocation;" and

WHEREAS, in the face of death, Ami Ortiz called upon the Messiah Yeshua, and has continued to set the right example for all believers by embracing the words of Yeshua: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;"

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:
Section 1. The House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky hereby adjourns the 2008 Session of the Kentucky House of Representatives in honor of Ami Ortiz and his family for demonstrating the love and forgiveness of God in the face of murderous religious persecution.
Section 2. The Clerk of the House of Representatives shall send copies of this Resolution to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, 3 Kaplan Street, Hakirya, Jerusalem 91950; Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, Knesset, Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem 91950; Mayor Ron Nachman, Ariel Municipality, Ariel City Hall, Ariel, Israel 40700; and Ambasador Sallai Meridor, 3514 International Drive N.W., Washington, DC 20008.

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