Update via Jerusalem Institute of Justice:
Exactly almost one year ago, on March 20, 2008, 15-year-old Ami Ortiz stayed home from school. It was Purim – a Jewish festival in which holiday baskets are sent to friends and acquaintances to commemorate the Jews’ thwarting of Haman’s evil plot as recorded in the book of Esther in the Bible. To Ami’s delight, someone left a holiday package on the Ortiz family’s doorstep. When young Ami opened the package, it exploded in his face, filled his body with hundreds of pieces of shrapnel and left him in critical condition. Ami’s father, David, is a pastor of a Messianic community in the town of Ariel. Apparently, this was not an attempt to injure a fifteen year old boy, but rather an attempt to murder a minister of the gospel in Israel.
A police investigation was opened after the bombing. However, the Israeli police have been extremely indifferent and apparently negligent in conducting the inquiry. The surveillance cameras which had been installed by the Ortiz family actually managed to film the person who delivered the package. They handed this recording over to the authorities; but to their dismay, no arrests have been made and the police have refused to return the tape to the Ortiz family. A year after the tape was confiscated by the police and after repeated refusals by the police to release their property, the family brought the matter to court. With Ami and his parents present, the judge ruled to return the tape to the Ortiz family.
Last May, a day after a revealing expose on the issue was aired on Israeli television (Channel 1, "Yoman Shishi"), police contacted the Ortiz family asking them to resend many important documents pertaining to the investigation – the original copies had been lost. This proves that nothing had been done until the issue was brought to the media, two months after the actual event. Distinguished lawyers and representatives of pro-Israeli organizations have tried to bring this case before government officials. Promises have been made, but with no satisfactory results. It is suspected that a number of high-ranking officials and fundamentalist Rabbis in Israel are attempting to engage in a serious cover-up of the true situation.
We are concerned that if this type of violence against Messianic believers in Israel goes unchecked by the prosecuting authorities, it can create a slippery slope of violence towards the community. Fliers, showing pictures of Messianic leaders and congregational members have been have been circulated in every major city and many smaller settlements in Israel. These fliers contain a message to the public to be aware of these missionaries who are trying to steal the souls of Jews, and who masquerade as Jews but are not Jews. Names and addresses have been published under the pictures, which is against the law. In Ariel, the fliers were posted in every bus stop from Tel Aviv to Ariel, a distance of 45 kilometers. We do not know if the perpetrators of the bombing in the Ortiz home were the ones who published these fliers, but at the very least, the fliers incited and helped them to identify the family and their address.
It has been said that the test of a true democracy is the way it treats its smallest minority. We believe that legal status of the Messianic Jewish community is just a micro-cosmos of a much broader issue; namely, the treatment of non-orthodox Jewish citizens by the government of Israel. All citizens of Israel should be entitled to full and equal protection by law. When this is not the case, the very legitimacy of our state as the only democracy in the Middle East could be called into question. This would not be beneficial for the State of Israel, especially with the current winds of anti-Semitism blowing across the international arena.