November 18 – 2009

Caspari Center Media Review – November 18, 2009

During the week covered by this review, we received 8 articles on the subject of Messianic Jews, anti-missionary activity, and anti-Semitism. Of these:
4 dealt with Messianic Jews
3 dealt with anti-missionary activity
1 dealt with anti-Semitism
This week’s Review continued to focus on Ya’akov Teitel’s arrest.
Messianic Jews
Makor Rishon, November 16; Jerusalem Post, November 13; Haaretz, November 13 (Hebrew and English editions), 2009

On November 13, the Jerusalem Post reported that Ya’akov Teitel has been “charged with 2 murders, 3 attempted murders,” the latter including “Attempted murder: On March 20, 2008, Teitel allegedly left a booby-trapped Purim gift at the home of the leader of the messianic Christian community in Ariel, David Ortiz …”
Under the headline, “Indictment describes Teitel as cool, calculated and remorseless terrorist,” Haaretz (November 13; English edition) noted that Teitel’s “deadliest bomb was sent to the Ortiz family in Ariel. In the end [sic] of 2007, he found out online that the messianic Jewish family was proselytizing and began collecting information. He contacted them through a false name from an internet café, and said he wanted to pray with the community.” According to the Hebrew edition, he used the name “Daniel Yivgeny” and, fearing that the electronic address would lead to his capture, looked for the Ortizes’ address in Ariel in the phone book. “He went there and verified the address with the neighbors. But as a precautionary measure, he cut off contact and went back several months later on Purim eve. He prepared a bomb in a Purim gift and put it next to the door. The housekeeper took it inside and when the youth, Ami Ortiz, opened it, it exploded and seriously wounded him.”
In a sidebar entitled “I put the booby-trapped present in the house,” the Hebrew report also noted: “A year and a half have passed since then, but the housekeeper, Marina Griffin, will never forget the moment she picked up the explosive gift which Teitel had left on the Ortiz family’s doorstep and took it inside. Ami, one of the sons, opened it and it exploded in his face … ‘I was the first one to pick it up, and if I’d undone the string I would have been the one blown up,’ Griffin said yesterday. ‘I’m still traumatized from the incident. When it exploded, I wasn’t in the house – I’d gone to take out the trash. Less than a minute later it went off. I saw the glass all over the cars. I looked up and saw that where the Ortizes live there weren’t any windows and smoke was coming out. I said to myself, “All the electrical and gas appliances were off.” I went back inside and it was awful. I saw Ami lying on the floor – you couldn’t tell where he was injured. Everything was covered with blood, burned, destroyed, black. There was a huge piece of glass in his throat.’”
According to Makor Rishon (November 16), Ami Ortiz and the family of one of Teitel’s Arab victims are bringing a civil suit against Teitel in the Jerusalem district court, to the tune of four million shekels (around $1,000,000).
Anti-missionary Activity
Sha’ah Tova beChadashot, November 12; HaMevaser, November 13; HaModia, November 13, 2009

These three pieces carried the same report, which claimed that “The missionaries complained to the American government about Yad L’Achim” – in reference to the recent US State Department’s International Religious Freedoms Report, which asserted that Israel discriminates against Messianic Jews and Christians (see the Reviews earlier this month). Without noting the source of the information – Yad L’Achim’s own 2008 annual report, as quoted in Yom L’Yom – the article stated that the report maintains that Yad L’Achim “saved 174 souls from the clutches of the [Messianic and evangelical] mission” during the year. The organization’s semi-clandestine Counter-Missionary Department, headed by Rabbi Alex Artovski, also claimed to have dozens of informants and infiltrators in the Government and in Christian or Messianic Jewish congregations, enabling the organization to force the closure of 18 religious meeting places and expel 12 ‘top-ranking’ missionaries from the country during 2008.” According to the story, Yad L’Achim director Shalom Dov Lipshitz responded to the report by saying that, “‘It’s amazing to think that the American legal authorities completely adopt the missionary version and utterly identify with them. The attempt – so characteristic of the missionaries – to deceive people at the same time as they are continuing their head-hunting campaign, without letting up for a moment, will not succeed.’”
Haaretz, November 11, 2009

Bishop Richard Williamson has appealed the fine levied on him for denying the Holocaust on German soil, and the case will now go to court. Had Williamson accepted the 12,000 euro fine, it would have served as the equivalent of a conviction. Having rejected the “order of punishment,” however, Williamson must now stand trial.