'State must make an example of Teitel'

This intolerance will l

November 1, 2009 18:31
3 minute read.

The Ortiz family of Ariel in Samaria on Sunday urged law-enforcement authorities to "make an example" of Ya'acov Teitel, the Jewish extremist arrested on Sunday for allegedly sending the messianic Jewish (Christian) family a booby-trapped package in March 2008 that left their son Ami critically wounded. Teitel is accused of sending a booby-trapped mishloach manot Purim gift basket to the family. When Ami, then 15, opened the basket, it exploded and he was severely wounded. He has undergone a long and difficult recuperation. Teitel also allegedly murdered two Palestinians in Hebron in 1997 and planted a pipe bomb in the house of Hebrew University professor Ze'ev Sternhell in September 2008. Sternhell, a longtime Peace Now activist, was lightly wounded in the leg. He said shortly after the news of Teitel's arrest was made public that Sunday was "a great day for democracy." Sternhell said he hoped law-enforcement authorities "would treat this terrorist as they would treat any terrorist, Jewish or Arab." The eldest son of Issa Musa'af, one of two Palestinians allegedly killed by Teitel in Hebron 12 years ago, expressed the hope that he would receive a stiff prison sentence. "The arrest does not really console us, but we do get the sense that justice will be served to this dog," Ayeed Musa'af told Ynet. "My father was an innocent farmer and shepherd who never had a beef with anyone. Everyone loved him. And this settler murderer killed him within minutes." Isaa Musa'af was killed while looking after his sheep. Ami's father, David Ortiz, originally from New York, said the state "must make example out of the suspect," and that the attack on his son was the first time in the state's history that a Jew had placed a bomb outside the home of a fellow Jew with the intent of causing serious bodily harm. "We must understand that there are people out there who will take these sorts of actions, and they must be stopped," Ortiz told reporters at a press conference on Sunday. The Ortiz family said that they do not hold the Orthodox community to blame for the bombing, and that they understand it is only a very small minority in the community who would carry out such an attack. When the family found out that the alleged attacker was a Jew, "it really hurt," Ami said, "because it's like your own brother has done something like this to you." The 17-year-old added that following the attack and the trauma it caused, he has become suspicious, always checking his surroundings in case there is someone nearby who could harm him. "The attack changed my entire lifestyle, I became a person who goes to the hospital all the time," Ami said, alluding to the 14 surgical procedures he had undergone since the explosion. His father, David, said that the attack had changed Ami "from A to Z, it made him grow up overnight." His son "no longer believes that tomorrow is guaranteed," he said. Since they learned the identity of the suspected bomber, the family said they have had difficulty coming to grips with the fact that not only was he a Jew, but someone who lived in the Shvut Rachel settlement, close to the Ortiz family home in Ariel. The family said that most of the shopping facilities closest to Shvut Rachel are in Ariel, leading them to believe there is a good possibility that the family crossed paths with the suspect on a number of occasions. David said that while many in the messianic community have been frightened by the attack and are definitely more alert now, they will not be cowed nor hide their religious beliefs. The family also said that they have received support from everyone in Ariel, including religious leaders and city hall. Ami said he is not sure if he will be able to serve in the IDF, because the battery of operations he has undergone may render his physical profile too low. If given the choice, the youth said he would volunteer for combat service, just like his father did. Ami had difficulty thinking of what he would say to his attacker if he faced him, saying it's too hard to say. However, his mother, Leah, said, "I would tell him, you didn't get what you wanted, we won, in the end we won."

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