They Cry in Silence Jul/Aug 2008

Ami Ortiz, 15-year-old son of Israeli Pastor David Ortiz, arrived home in March to find an impeccably wrapped package on his front porch. Since it was the season of Purim, when Israelis often exchange gifts, Ami felt it was from friends and carried it inside the Ortiz home in Ariel. Excited to find out what the package contained, he placed it on the kitchen table and began to unwrap it. Suddenly, a tremendous explosion hit Ami with terrible force. The blast was so strong it shattered car windows three stories below the Ortiz apartment.

At the hospital, parents David and Leah were told their son’s injuries were so severe that doctors could not be sure Ami would even live through the night. In addition to being seriously burned, Ami has shrapnel lodged in his chest and multiple injuries over his entire body.

Pastor Ortiz is a popular, well-known believer in the Ariel community of about 20,000. Ariel is located in the heart of Israel, about 37 miles north of Jerusalem. As a matter of fact, David is a good friend of Ariel’s mayor, Ron Nachman. Leah Ortiz is a Jewish believer, so the six Ortiz children are considered Jewish by law.

Suspicion for the attack immediately turned in two directions. Because of his ministry among Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, David had received death threats from militant Islamic groups via an Islamic religious edict issued against him. In addition, several radical religious Jewish elements had also threatened both him and other believers in town.

At the time of this writing, there have been no arrests in the case or positive identification of the primary suspects. Authorities do know the Palestinian Authority has beaten and jailed a number of Palestinian Christians to whom David ministered on the West Bank.

Ami was initially put into a medically induced coma, where he remained for several weeks. Despite extensive surgery, doctors were unable to remove all of the metal bolts that had torn into both lungs. The latest reports we obtained say the youth is recovering well and is able to walk around in his room. However, doctors estimate it will take about 18 months before he will be able to resume normal activities.

Friends of the family have urged fellow believers around the world to pray for Ami’s full recovery, as well as comfort for his parents and the arrest of those responsible for this atrocity.

Ami’s plight is but one more example of the stress Jewish believers face in other countries. That this tragedy took place in Israel is especially disconcerting. But it also serves as a reminder that prayer for those who are being persecuted for their faith should always be high on our list of priorities. It is not enough to know what is happening to our brothers and sisters abroad; we must also understand that when their persecution is no longer being reported, their suffering still continues.

What can we do? Be informed, be involved, and keep a strong heart-link to the many thousands counting on you to care.

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