Israeli Christian Boy Receives a Deadly Gift

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Last week, 15-year-old Ami Ortiz, the son of an Israeli pastor opened a holiday package during the Jewish celebration of Purim. He thought it was a gift. Instead it was a bomb.

Bomb Heard Around the Globe

News of this terror attack has reverberated throughout Israel and around the world.

The bombing took place in the Israeli town of Ariel in Samaria. It destroyed the family apartment of David Ortiz, a Messianic pastor. The force of the blast was so strong it shattered car windows three stories below.

His son, Ami, suffered major injuries including second and third degree burns, shrapnel in one lung, and wounds from head to toe.

Despite the life-threatening injuries, Ami survived - an outcome doctors called a miracle.

Police are investigating the bombing and attempted murder. A family source told CBN News police suspect either Palestinian terrorists or ultra-religious Jews.

Messianic Believers Under Fire

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.

The bombing highlights the harassment Messianic Jews have been suffering. In the city of Arad, an ultra orthodox sect has harassed the Messianic community there for years. In Jerusalem last year, a building used by three Messianic congregations as a house of worship was firebombed.

However, many have condemned the most recent bombing, including Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman.

"I know that if that event is based on religious reasons or something like that I condemn it because you cannot disturb anybody from doing what they want in their own private home," Nachman said. "And I will defend this idea as much as I can. And as the mayor of Ariel, I will do everything to help the family. The child is only 15 years old and it's terrible."

Ortiz Family: We Won't Give Up

In the meantime, Ami is still fighting an uphill battle to recovery.

The Ortiz family is asking believers around the world to pray for Ami's complete physical healing as well as forgiveness for those who committed this crime and that God himself would turn this situation meant for evil around for good.

They say it won't stop them.

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."

*Original broadcast March 26, 2008.

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Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

CBN News Mideast Bureau Chief

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