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In this issue:
Persecution Against Israeli Believers Turns Lethal  |  From Jaffa to Gilgal - a Modern Miracle  

                                                              
            Persecution Against Israeli Believers Turns Lethal

 

 

Monthly Report: June 2008
Iyar - Sivan  5768

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David and Ami Ortiz in the hospital

David and Ami Ortiz in the hospital pictured in a four-page article in weekend magazine of Hebrew daily newspaper, Maariv.
The article was very sympathetic to Israel’s Messianic Jews.
 


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By Shira Sorko-Ram

On March 20, an individual dressed in an Israeli army uniform, with head lowered, entered an apartment  building in the West Bank town of Ariel. He walked up three floors to the apartment of David and Leah Ortiz, leader of a Messianic  congregation. Security cameras watched him set a package at the door of the apartment, and leave.

The cleaning lady, Marina, came to the door and saw a lovely Purim  present wrapped in red cellophane with chocolates just underneath the transparent wrapping and a card that said, “Purim Sameach!” (Happy Purim). It is the custom in Israel to exchange gifts during this happy holiday, commemorating Queen Esther’s intervention, thereby saving the Jewish nation from Haman, a hater of the Jewish people.

Marina brought the package into the
dining room and called Ami, one of five children, and the only one of the family at home. She showed him the package. Ami called his mother who was on her way to Jerusalem and she responded that the present must be from one of the neighbors.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
   
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

 

 

 

 

Ami sat down at the table and pulled the ribbon off the package, and flew backwards, his body ripped to shreds. He was found on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood. An ambulance came and he heard the words “Don’t move! Don’t move!” The thoughts going through his mind, as he told Boaz Gaon, journalist from the daily Hebrew paper Maariv was, “What is this? What is this? Why me? Who can do a thing like this? Someone tried to hurt us…to hurt my father….”

Fifteen year-old Ami is already 6’2” and captain of his high school basketball team. Before the terrorist attack, he was a thin 142 pounds. After six weeks in the hospital he now weighs 120 pounds. But he is alive! In the first hours after the attack, there was no certainty he would survive. The call went out for prayer. As Ami hung on to life, the doctors were considering amputating his legs. But God intervened! His doctor, who according to Gaon has been caring for
terror victims for 15 years, said Ami was injured by hundreds of pieces of shrapnel from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. He lost parts of two toes on his right foot, and ultimately will have scores of operations. Large pieces of shrapnel are lodged in his lungs.

The doctors worked furiously to save both of his eyes by extracting shrapnel - and they succeeded. His parents know it is a tremendous miracle and an answer to the thousands of people who are praying. His hearing is impaired but again the doctors believe it will continue to improve. (Maariv 18Apr08)

 

Ami Ortiz

Ami Ortiz, severely injured in bomb attack alledgedly by ultra-Orthodox extremists because of his faith as a Messianic Jew.

 

An incredibly cynical and even absurd report was published in the English section of Haaretz newspaper on March 25. I quote:

“Police are investigating the possibility that the explosion occurred while the boy was opening a Purim gift basket. Police reportedly believe the blast was caused by some sort of firecracker used during Purim celebrations.

“The parents of the victim are members of the Messianic Jews movement, which the police classify as a cult…

“The police emphasized that there was no proof to support the theory that the explosion was deliberate and malicious.” (Haaretz 25Mar08)

There are some puzzling questions concerning the Haaretz report:

1. A firecracker?? A firecracker with hundreds of pieces of shrapnel?

2. Are the police authorized to create classifications of who and what is a cult?

3. The police emphasized they have “no proof” that the explosion was deliberate. Why would they say that? Police leave all options open until they make arrests.

In response to this article, there were a number of talkback entries on the internet. I quote three of them:

1. You call this “journalism”?? I just returned from the hospital, where this 15-year-old kid is FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE. He was brought in COVERED with shrapnel, severe burns and in CRITICAL condition!

The surgery will take all night. The “Purim gift” was a large bomb packed with metal shards, designed to kill, and the kid was hit in vital organs and arteries... and both eyes. It was built by someone who obviously knew what he was doing. The police and Shabak [Israel Security Agency] have been with the family for hours gathering evidence.

Hey - I’m no reporter, I’m just a neighbor, and I was able to put the story together in 10 minutes.

Jonathan Lis [journalist], be ashamed. Haaretz, be VERY ashamed.

2. It is interesting to note the Israeli police have labeled Messianic Jews as a “cult.” Such prejudice appears to give legitimacy to violence against followers of certain religions in Israel.

3. I am writing from outside Israel and I am shocked by your irresponsibility. I am not sure what your bias is but it is amazing how you can take such a serious story and make a joke of it. (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/966623.html)

 

Four-page article in weekend magazine of Hebrew daily newspaper, Maariv. The article was very sympathetic to Israel’s Messianic Jews.

 

Persecution in Ariel began two years ago

It started two years ago when posters began appearing around Ariel with the faces of David and other Messianic believers and with the warning of “Beware! These people are Christian missionaries who are impersonating Jews and who belong to the cult of Messianic Jews.”

There is an organization in Israel called “Yad L’achim” which has one purpose for its existence - to persecute and destroy the Messianic movement and Christian organizations in Israel. It has deep connections within all governmental institutions. When Gaon from Maariv asked the head of Yad L’achim, Rabbi Shalom Dov Lipsheitz, why they persecute the Messianic Jews, he answered, “Ortiz and his friends are soul-murderers. Destroyers of Jews. Offspring of Crusaders.

“They flooded the streets of Jerusalem with blood. They are smiling monsters with pockets full of cash that streams in from America. Their goal is to convert to Christianity the Israeli nation and not to leave out a single pure soul.”

He continued his ranting: “They want all Israel to convert to Christianity. Every Jew that does not convert is blocking the coming of redemption. Hamas, what do they want? Land. They [Messianics] want something else: our souls. Every Jew they grab is a huge gain for them. Every Jew is prey.”

When Gaon asked the Rabbi what happened to Ami Ortiz, he answered, “According to what I heard, the box that exploded had in it a few toy gun caps.” (Ibid.)

Persecution on the rise

Persecution of the believers has steadily increased over the last few years. In Arad, there are several thousand Gur ultra-Orthodox young men attending a yeshiva there. These men do not work nor serve in the army, and they have little with which to entertain themselves outside of their rabbinical studies. And so they head over to the homes of the believers, yell and scream obscenities, harass the children and make life difficult for them day after day.

 

The police do nothing. In fact, the police recently detained Debbie Figueras, the gentle and quiet wife of the leader of the Arad congregation. When Avraham Milshtein, a known serial Gur provocateur against believers came on their property at night shouting and disturbing their children, she went outside to take his picture. He started walking up the street and put some bags in front of his face. Debbie tried to pull the bag away with one hand and take his picture with the other.

Half an hour later the police came to their house to detain Debbie for assault! They made her sign a document saying she will not make contact with Milshtein for 30 days or she will have to pay a fine of ₪2,000 (NIS). She said she told the police, however, that it was impossible
not to be in contact because Milshtein stands outside their congregation every Shabbat to harass the congregation as they gather for worship.

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.

 

 

 

Also the readers of the MaozIsrael Report know that Israel and Pnina Comforti have been harassed for several years by Yad L’achim and the local rabbinate in Ashdod. They have done everything in their power to close down the Comforti’s bakery, “Pnina Pie,” by illegal means and by standing in front of their bakery and passing out flyers to keep customers at bay. Again, the police do nothing.

Because of the contributions of believers through Maoz and other Messianic organizations
in Israel, Pnina Pie is still operating. But the Comforti’s have faced debilitating persecution.

When the Maariv journalist Boaz Gaon visited Howard Bass, leader of the Beer Sheva congregation, the local head of Yad L’achim appeared and stood face to face with Bass,  shouting obscenities in English that you can’t even imagine (they printed them verbatim in the
article) for 30 minutes - until the journalist finally let him know who he was. When Gaon asked the rabbi why he was doing this, he said of the Messianics, “They are killers of innocent souls. They are like Hamas, only worse.”

It is difficult to internalize the hatred these people have for the followers of Yeshua. It is true that Christendom persecuted the Jewish people for many centuries. That is why it is so important to differentiate any kind of institutional religion from those individual believers, Jewish or Christian, who have had a born-again experience and who are proven believers because of their love one for another.

Hatred comes from same spirits world-wide

When the Crusaders or whoever else murdered Jews, they were unmitigated, hell-bound sinners. When Muslims live for the day they can kill and be killed for the sake of destroying the Jewish people, they have been conquered by the same satanic hordes of spirits that the Crusaders possessed. And when ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel rail and blaspheme folowers of Yeshua, burn down the believers’ places of worship and ministry, and now attempt to kill believers, then they too have been possessed by these evil spirits.

If these Jewish rabbis, some of whom are survivors of the Holocaust, only understood that
they are acting in the same violent way to a minority group in Israel as did the German people
to the Jews in the 1930’s, paving the road for Hitler and his demonized followers.

If Yad L’achim is found guilty (a very very big “if”) of planting this bomb at the Ortiz’ home, then it would be a great victory for justice and democracy if this violent group were classified as a terrorist organization in the U.S., thus preventing them from soliciting tax deductible funds. Drying up their stream of money from America of course would restrict much of their activities.

Police have made no arrests

 

It is puzzling why the police have not come up with any suspects after six weeks, being that they have the video of the person who planted the bomb. In fact, they have pictures of people who were casing the Ortiz home before the bomb was planted. Could it be that pressure is being
brought upon the police not to find the suspects? If so, who is initiating this pressure? If a highly placed religious ruler (who initiated the act or at least gave his blessing) is implicated, what will the police do?

The Ortiz family is convinced they must do all in their power to keep such terrorist activities against Israel’s Messianic Jews from happening again. This is the first time in the history of modern Israel, that ultra-Orthodox extremists have allegedly tried to kill a Messianic believer, although they have been ratcheting up the level of violence, especially in Arad where they set fire and did heavy damage to a believing club for elderly people a couple of years ago. If the Orthodox terrorists who planted the bomb are not apprehended, or if they are able to plea-bargain themselves to a short jail sentence, it is the Ortiz’ conviction that they will be emboldened to attack other believers.

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.

 

Therefore David has hired a criminal lawyer to push for apprehending the perpetrators of this terrible crime. The challenge of the believers of Israel is how to handle such attacks with wisdom and love. Because of who we are - people of love and forgiveness - we do not react violently.
Above all, we must show the character of Yeshua.

But we must also let our voice be heard. The Book of Acts records the incident when Paul’s sister’s son heard of a plan to kill his uncle. Paul told his nephew to give that information to the commander, so that he, Paul, would not be murdered. Paul also used the legal institutions that were available to him.

Persecution of Messianic Jews will in the end bring trouble to Israel. God has never looked lightly on persecutors of his people.

For now, David Ortiz will have a guard at his congregation when they meet, and he has beefed up the security around his home. Obviously, the intent of the bomber was to kill David and Leah.

The Ortiz family asks for your prayers - one of the most important being that Ami’s life not be traumatized by this event, and that he will grow up to be a healthy young man - spirit, soul and body. That Ami will be an example of God’s grace through his character and God’s power through a miraculous healing of his body and emotions.

Ami Ortiz has always been a child that had a close relationship with his Messiah. For whatever reason, God has allowed Ami to be in the frontline of the war declared by ultra-Orthodox extremists on the Messianic believers in Israel. How grateful we are that God did not allow his life to be taken. In fact, Ami’s life has already been greatly used by God in that this attack against him has united the Messianic Jews and Christian believers across the country as nothing else ever has. And unity with love is the ultimate weapon against Israel’s enemy, Satan. 

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Trumpet of Salvation to Israel Presents 
From Jaffa to Gilgal - a Modern Miracle
 

My name is Yacov Damkani, founder and director of Trumpet of Salvation to Israel. I was 25 years of age when God showered me with His love, grace and salvation; today I am 56 years old. From day one, I have come to the realization that success is not measured by our activities or achievements but by our willingness to suffer for the glory of God. After recognizing Israel’s utterly desperate spiritual condition and need of salvation, I was determined to run a good race and fight a good fight, no matter what the cost.

I first began printing tracts out of my parent’s home in Holon, and mobilize a few willing believers into the streets of Israel. In 1984, with one wondeful miracle, the Lord provided me with a house in Jaffa - the city which God used as a gateway for Jonah, King Solomon and Peter. Now He used it to bring the Gospel back to the Jewish people. Jaffa became the base of operation for Trumpet of Salvation to Israel, a community and center for evangelism in Israel. People came to faith, and we saw the body of our Lord growing.

 

Meeting hundreds of soldiers, who are on an exercise in the Golan Heights in order to prepare for war, Yacov Damkani, one of Israel’s most effective evangelists is encouraging them with the Word of their God.

 

Then in 1996, a single telephone call from Germany led to another miracle - 35 German Bible students came for 21 days to learn how to relate the Jewish Gospel to the Jewish people in a Jewish way. After five days of intensive teaching, we traveled the entire land, presenting the Gospel to the Jewish people who are so open and who need to distinguish between rabbinical Judaism and Biblical truth.

What God started with a group of Germans, turned into a wave of individual believers over the last 12 years from over 20 different nations, aged from 18 to 80, coming to Trumpet’s Jaffa base. We hosted four or five groups during each summer, with up to 50 people in each group, for
campaigns of two or three weeks. All the teaching, sleeping and meals were in our “1000 star” hotel, under the canopy of heaven, with three showers and three toilets! Everyone who participated in a Trumpet of Salvation campaign “to the Jew first” received a life-changing experience.

Then on the 10th of Nisan, (15th of April, 2008) God made another precious miracle. He has moved us to the very heart of Tel Aviv, the most strategic location in all of Israel, a couple of
minute’s walk from the sea shore, to a brand new hotel which we have just finished, called Gilgal. This is the name Joshua gave the place where the children of Israel crossed the Jordan
when they first entered the Promised Land.

We extend to you our hands and our thankful hearts; we reach out to you with God’s love in the knowledge that the Lord has need of you at this hour of Israel’s history. Will you respond and come to Gilgal?

Trumpet of Salvation options for you at Gilgal:

 

- Teaching seminars
- Two by Two Outreach
- Summer Outreach “to the Jew first”
- Becoming a member of the Trumpet team
- Vacations and tours in Israel
- Fellowship with believers

You may join us on the first Sunday of each month to take part in evangelism. You will receive sound teaching for the first five days, and then go to the streets of Israel with another member of the group to meet the people. Do you want to learn more about the Hebrew roots of our faith? Gifted teachers and expert tour guides will reveal the Bible to you through Jewish eyes and provide geographical and historical insights as you travel the length and breadth of this tiny Promised Land.

If you are leading a tour, why not combine it with a teaching seminar? We can connect you with excellent tour guides and will assist you however we can. If you want to visit Israel independently and “do your own thing,” you may also stay in Gilgal. But we believe the most memorable and rewarding thing you can do is to join one of the Summer Outreaches “to the Jew first.” The dates for 2008 are June 1-15; July 6-20; August 3-17; and September 7-21.

Come and take an active part in His work in Israel! We welcome you to join us for three months, six months, even a year or more! Experience living in community and help us build the kingdom of God here in the Land.

Our Almighty God built Gilgal for you! We will do our utmost to ensure you have a special, memorable and totally blessed time. We would love to host you! Now is the time to select any one or more of these options and make use of God’s precious miracle for you.

The New Hotel Gilgal built for believers, has five
floors of hotel rooms and an auditorium seating
150 people.

 

Contact Trumpet of Salvation to Israel for further information and for application forms. Please note that to join either a Summer Outreach or a Two by Two Outreach, you need to apply at the latest two weeks in advance.

If you wish to stay in Hotel Gilgal, without joining one of the outreach programs, please contact Gilgal reception for further information and reservations:

 

Trumpet of Salvation
P.O. Box 8355,
Jaffa 61082, Israel,
office@trumpetofsalvation.org
http://www.trumpetofsalvation.org/
Tel: +972-3-5111000,
Fax: +972-3-5167526

 

  

Accommodation in Hotel Gilgal

You will be accommodated with another individual in a room with twin beds, which has a private
bathroom, unless you request a room alone.

Twin room rates:
Full board (3 meals inclusive)                     $85 per person per night
Half board (breakfast & dinner or lunch)       $78 per person per night
Bed & Breakfast                                       $70 per person per night
Reservation for 1 week or longer                 $465 concession rate (full board)

Children with parents in room: 0 - 2 no charge; 2 - 12 half rate.

 

 

Single room rates:

Full board                                     $132 per person per night
Half board                                     $124 per person per night
Bed & Breakfast                           $116 per person per night
Reservation for 1 week or longer     $775 concession rate (full board)

May the Lord bless you from Zion!

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you here in Gilgal soon!

Yacov and Elisheva Damkani & the Trumpet Team. 

 

Hotel Gilgal’s new facilities. A group of Tiferet Yeshua’s members joined other believers to celebrate Pessach (Passover) in Gilgal’s brand new dining room. Yacov and Elisheva are active members of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua.

 

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June 2008

 Dear Maoz partner,

Every Independence Day in Israel a national Bible Quiz is broadcast live on state television. The Prime Minister always attends, along with many rabbinical dignitaries and several thousand spectators. It's a big deal in Israel!

This year, a week before the contest, the Bible event was on the front pages of the Israeli newspapers. You'll never guess why! Because one of the four Israeli finalists taking part in the national quiz was an Israeli Messianic Jew!

When the anti-Messianic organization, Yad L'achimm, discovered that 17 year-old Bat-El Levi is a Messianic Jew, they were more than outraged.

The two Chief Rabbis of Israel demanded that Levi be disqualified or the contest be cancelled. But the Ministry of Education and the Israeli army, in charge of the event, refused to disqualify the Messianic Jewish contestant and refused to cancel the event. Bat-El Levi did not win, but this is probably the most public event ever in Israel's 60 years in which a Messianic Jew publicly participated.

The Messianic Jews of Israel are gaining ground. Our numbers are constantly increasing and Israel is coming face to face with the fact that more and more of its citizens are believing that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah.

The purpose of our istandwithisrael.com fund is to help the Messianic movement grow through very practical ways by helping to raise the standard of living of the Messianic Jews in Israel, many of whom are clearly disadvantaged.

  • To help the very poor with dental and medical bills

  • To help single parents with the education of their children (Israeli parents who have the financial ability spend a lot of extra funds on their children to give them a decent chance in life. This leaves a very large gap in education between the wealthy and the poor.)

  • To finance vocational training

  • To enable Messianic Jews to go to college

  • To help with a small down payment on an apartment or a vehicle

  • To start small businesses

Anything that can help Messianic believers overcome difficulties and enable them to be more productive for their family, their country and their God.

Another goal of istandwithisrael.com is to help fight Israel's spiritual enemies - those who think they are serving God, but are fighting the born-again Jewish followers of the God of Israel. When a Messianic believer is attacked physically or through the courts or other means of harassment or terrorism, we want to stand with these heroes of the faith.

For that reason, we desire to help the Ortiz family with their legal fees, to help bring to justice those who perpetrated this unthinkable crime. And we will continue to help others who are standing up to these enemies of the faith.

We are still helping the Comforti family, owners of Pnina Pie Bakery, with their legal fees and to keep their business stay open. And we say, "Thank You, Lord!" Their business is still open although Yad L'achimm has used every tactic to close them down. Their court case is proceeding positively.

istandwithisrael.com continues monthly support to a congregation under heavy persecution. And we send $1000 per month to Yosef and Ibtissam Haddad, our beloved Arab brother and sister, and their congregation in the north of Israel, so they can continue their work among the Lebanese.

istandwithisrael.com is at work building up the Body of Messiah in Israel - in wonderfully practical ways.

Of course, istandwithisrael.com is you!

We at Maoz are the hands that take your gifts, your love, and your compassion, and with the assistance of our board, we distribute these gifts to those most in need across the land.

May the God of Israel stand with you because of your love for His land and his people.

         With love and thanks,

A&S signature

          Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram

P.S. Helping Israel as a nation is Biblical. But helping the Messianic Jewis community will determine the destiny of Israel and ultimately affect the whole world.

Give your special gift to Israel today
by donating to one of our projects:

Maoz Israel Ministries  |  istandwithisrael  |  Hebrew Book of the Month
Congregation Tiferet Yeshua  |  Coffee House Outreach  |  Burkina Faso 
Arab Congregations  |  Persecuted Believers    

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