by George Whitten
Ariel, Israel (Worthy News) -- It has been nearly eight months since 15-year-old Ami Ortiz was almost killed by an explosion while opening an innocent looking Purim basket on March 20th, however no arrests have been made despite the fact that the Ariel police have months of surveillance tapes and a considerable amount of evidence in their possession. (Photo to right: Area in the Ortiz family home where bomb filled with metal shards exploded forward into the dining room table and backward, ripping into the full length of Ami's body. He was found on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood.)
The Ortiz family continues to seek justice in view of the massive injuries they've sustained, but also in the hope of preventing tragedies like this in the future. Pursuing every avenue, the Ortiz family, along with believers from around the world have written numerous letters and contacted some of the highest ranking officials in the Israeli government seeking help, yet while having received acknowledgment of their letters, no action has been taken.
The Ortiz' criminal lawyer, Yossi Graiver, when asked by Worthy News to update the case, responded saying, "There's nothing happening yet." Questioned about the strategy the legal team is pursuing, he said, "We will continue to cooperate with the police, and different ministries involved, trying to create more pressure" in order to see a breakthrough in the case.
Last June, the family's story was broadcast on Israeli Channel 1 during Prime Time on a show called Yoman Shishi. Prior to the program date, Channel 1 battled two separate police injunctions in Israeli courts aimed at preventing the broadcast from being aired.
In addition, a television program called "Uvda" ("Fact" in Hebrew), similar to America's "60 Minutes", is preparing to run an episode covering the case within the next few months. As investigators continue to gather evidence, it is apparent to those involved that this was no ordinary bomb -- but rather a device created by an explosives expert. This carefully designed explosive package has been designated a "stable bomb", meaning that it had to be detonated in a precise manner, and it's construction required components which are not available on the open market.
As investigators continue to pursue leads in the case, there is some evidence that may connect the Ortiz bombing to another bombing that targeted left wing activist, Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell, which took place in October. In both of these acts of terror, no arrests have been made, and many in Israel are wondering why, especially in light of Israeli expertise in discovering and ferreting out Arab terror cells.
Meanwhile, Ami has been recovering steadily. Worthy News, having reviewed the photos and the physical evidence of destruction, concluded that Ami's recovery is not simply amazing -- it is unquestionably miraculous! Shortly after the horrendous event took place, Ami described his pain level on a scale of 1 to 10, as, consistently between 8 and 9. Now eight months later, having undergone multiple operations, the level of consistent pain has considerably lowered to around 3 or 4.
Ami continues to struggle daily, as his mother Leah commented, "Everything for him is a procedure, from taking a shower, to getting out and having to put special creams on his scars, to the pressure suit, and just getting dressed is painful for him. He has longer and longer periods of being able to joke his way through all the procedures, but sometimes it gets him down, which is understandable." Although recently, Ami has begun to practice and play basketball again! He's even played in a few games. There's still a long road ahead of him, including several operations and some skin grafts, yet each and every day those closest to him notice the real progress this brave young man is making. (Photo to left: Ortiz Family)
As you may imagine, for any young man whose life has been radically changed by circumstances beyond his control, Ami struggles from time to time. But when asked by Worthy News, whether or not he feels resentment or anger toward those who tried to kill him, he showed no trace of bitterness or anger -- an amazing testimony of the faith and grace in this young believer. His father David commented further, stating that Ami's response of complete forgiveness toward those who succeeded to drastically harm him has, and continues to be an amazing testimony to the television crews, and the program staffers reporting on his case.
Since this tragedy, the Ortiz family has received thousands of letters of encouragement from people from all over the world as they continue their work in the city of Ariel. And while many expected the family to abandon the city, they have not only stayed, but continue to press forward, despite the many obstacles which continually besiege them. The family's faith and perseverance has been a powerful example to the Body. (Photo to right: Posters warning Ariel's citizens to beware of the Messianic Jewish cult which is intent on converting all Jews to Christianity. The posters incite ultra-Orthodox Jews to violence.)
A few weeks after the bombing, New York Times best selling author Joel Rosenberg hosted his Epicenter 08 conference in Jerusalem, and he invited David Ortiz to share about his family's ordeal. To this day, it is the most frequently viewed video on the Epicenter 08 website.
One blessing clearly emerging from this tragedy is how the body of Messiah has unified in support, embracing Ami and the entire Ortiz family. Many believers have commented that this single event has worked to unify the body in Israel like none other. And again, the invincible faith and commitment of the Ortiz family are a shining example of how we must all face persecution whenever it may come.
Please consider sending a letter expressing your concern in this matter. You can direct your emails to:
Avi Dicter, Minister of Public Security -- adichter [at] gov.co.il
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Office -- pm_eng [at] pmo.gov.il
Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- sar [at] mofa.gov.il