The father of a Messianic terrorism victim said he welcomes the news that his son’s attacker is demanding to be released from prison because it presents another opportunity for the name of Yeshua to make headlines in Israel.
David Ortiz, a pastor and evangelist in Ariel, said that every time the prisoner does something that makes headlines, reporters flock to interview victims of his prior attacks, one of which is the Ortiz family – targeted by the Jewish terrorist for their beliefs. Basically, “he’s opening up the door to share the gospel,” Ortiz said.
“It was interesting he wanted to do the hunger strike now because what he actually did was put the spotlight on Jews who believe in Yeshua,” Ortiz told KNI. “The main thing is that the name of Yeshua, and Jews believing in Yeshua, is always being projected to the public.”
Yaakov (Jack) Teitel, who planted the bomb that nearly killed Amiel Ortiz, a Messianic teenager, is one of two Israeli prisoners currently on a hunger strike demanding to be released from jail, Israeli news reported.
Teitel was convicted in 2013 of murdering two Palestinians and perpetrating several terror attacks against other Jews. He is serving two life sentences. Teitel planted a pipe bomb, disguised as a Purim gift, at the Ortiz home in Ariel in 2008. Amiel was 15. The bomb exploded in his hands severing two of his toes, damaging his hearing and left him fighting for his life. He underwent multiple operations over the last 10 years. The bomb was intended for David and Leah Ortiz, Amiel’s parents and prominent Messianic leaders in Israel.
Teitel has been on a hunger strike since Wednesday last week. Another Jewish prisoner, who kidnapped and murdered a Palestinian boy in 2014, has also been on a hunger strike. The Israel Prison Service claims that the two are unrelated.
The Ortiz family is known for their direct approach to sharing their beliefs. When they moved into a new apartment recently, they invited their neighbors to a hanukah bayit (housewarming party).
“Up front, we told our neighbors we believe in Yeshua,” Ortiz said. “Some of them are now coming to our meetings.”
Some time after the bomb that injured Amiel, another bomb was found in front of the Ortiz home. Police evacuated Ortiz, his wife and a guest and brought a robot to destroy the package only to find it was filled with food – a fake bomb likely placed by associates of Teitel to cause fear, Ortiz said.
“After that all the major Israeli media outlets came to our house for interviews,” Ortiz said. “So what they meant for wrong God used for good.”
Ortiz stays up to date on the agenda of the anti-missionary organization Yad L’achim so he can understand what they think about believers. One woman once wrote a letter to the organization’s magazine pleading with antagonists to “please stop bothering this family.”
“Every time we do something, it ends up in their favor and they publicize Christianity,” Ortiz said she wrote.
Ortiz said when he hears things like this he praises God.
“They’re not against us, they’re against Yeshua himself,” Ortiz said. “I feel it is God’s responsibility to honor his name and to protect us. When the time comes it comes, but the main thing is that the name of Yeshua be lifted up in this country.”
Originally from Florida, Teitel is an Orthodox Jew who moved to Israel in 1999. In the past several years, Teitel has been allowed to leave prison to attend the brit (circumcision) of two of his sons, both born while he was imprisoned.
Amiel has graduated university in the United States and works as a psychologist helping war veterans and troubled youth.