On March 20th, 2008, 15-year-old Ami Ortiz stayed home from school. It was Purim – a Jewish festival in which holiday baskets are sent to friends and acquaintances to commemorate the Jews’ thwarting of Haman’s evil plot as recorded in the book of Esther in the Bible. To Ami’s delight, someone left a holiday package on the Ortiz family’s doorstep. When young Ami opened the package, it exploded in his face, filled his body with hundreds of pieces of shrapnel and left him in extreme critical condition. Since the incident, no government official has visited Ami, nor publically condemned the attack.
I thank God for all of the prayers and support that the Ortiz family did get after the event. His recovery after only a little over one year is nothing short of a miracle. However, it seems to me that not enough was done. Until today, those who have perpetrated this attack are free and very little effort has been done to catch these criminals.
This past week, a gunman shot dead two youth and wounded at least 15 others in an attack at a central Tel Aviv youth gay and lesbian center Saturday night before fleeing the scene. This indeed was a heinous crime, perpetrated by cowardly people. Within one day the Israeli government publically condemned the attack, government officials— including the Israeli prime minister— visited the crime scene, as well the wounded. Worldwide condemnations were sent, and in Israel and around the world there were demonstrations against the attack.
I entitled this blog entry “They do care …”, since my heart hurts over the fact that nothing was done when Ami was wounded. Until today, the lack of action on behalf of the Israeli government as well as the police show that they do not care … However, a great deal has already been done in less than a week, as a response at the attack on the gay and lesbian center.
Why is it? Well, we understand from a Spiritual point of view that there is obviously much more at work here than what meets the human eye. However, I also believe that anyone who calls himself a follower of the Messiah could and still can do something about it. The leaders of the gay community have gone out to condemn the attack, while the leaders of the Body of Messiah (in most parts) have said or done nothing against the attack. Indeed, many Christian and/or Messianic leaders refuse to “jeopardize” their good relationship with the Israeli government by even bringing up the incident.
The gay and lesbian people along with others who cared for the matter have gone out to the streets to demonstrate against the attack while the Body of Messiah has been relatively quite over what happened to Ami in March of last year. We cannot be quiet when we witness injustices occurring to our own brothers and sisters!
Let me close with saying that I don’t mean for this blog to be used in any form against Israel, its government or its people. The purpose of this blog is simply to ask all of us who are followers of the Messiah, “DO WE CARE?” If, you answered “yes”, then I challenge you to do something about it.
So what can be done?
1. Support the Believers in Israel.
2. Stand for the rights of believers to live in freedom in Israel and be treated like equal citizens.
3. Share about the persecution of believers in Israel with your community.
4. Write your government official to put pressure on those who are involved with the case to bring the perpetrators to justice.
5. Arrange a peaceful demonstration to protest against the persecution of believers in Israel as well as the need to find Ami’s attackers.
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