Son of Ariel pastor injured in blast

Police suspect boy opened booby-trapped Purim gift basket; "father received death threats from Muslims."

explosion 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
explosion 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
The 16-year-old son of a prominent Christian pastor, David Ortiz, was seriously wounded in Ariel on Thursday by a powerful explosion in his home. The youth was alone at the time and suffered shrapnel injures and burns to his neck and chest. The bomb, which was apparently in a Purim gift basket, also caused extensive damage to the family's apartment. Judea and Samaria Police spokesman Ch.-Supt. Dani Poleg said police had not ruled out any motive - including that radical Jews or Muslims may have targeted the family. The boy was rushed to the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva in serious condition. Before he was sedated, one paramedic said, he managed to say that the explosion took place when he tried to open a package that had arrived at the apartment. The initial police investigation indicated that the family's maid had found the package outside and brought it in. The boy's parents, David and Leah Ortiz, are well-known in Ariel, where they have been living for more than a decade. David Ortiz works mainly with Palestinians in the West Bank, encouraging them to convert to Christianity. Ortiz, said one acquaintance, had received death threats from Muslims angered by his missionary efforts. A number of his followers have been beaten up and jailed by Palestinian Authority officials. Ortiz has a close relationship with Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman, who has actively pursued strengthening the town's connections with overseas Christian groups. David and his wife, Leah, described by a neighbor as a Jewish believer in Jesus, also lead a congregation of a few dozen Christians in Ariel. Neighbors said that around a year-and-a-half ago, flyers were circulated in the family's neighborhood, with pictures of a number of Ariel residents, including David Ortiz, warning residents that the people portrayed were engaged in missionary activities directed at the town's Jews. Due to concerns about the family's security, cameras were installed at the apartment, and were in place at the time of the explosion.