Certain segments of the Christian press, as well as members of the Christian messianic community are expressing frustration and disappointment at the delay in the trial of Yaacov Teitel, a man accused of a spate of violent crimes – including the bombing at the home of messianic Christian pastor David Ortiz which severely wounded his son.
According to Israeli press reports, Teitel is reportedly in a psychotic state and may not be fit to stand trial. But Ortiz believes Teitel is lying about his mental condition. A Ynet article reports Ortiz as saying, "Teitel is a very intelligent guy who carried out his crimes intelligently. It is a test for the judges and the State of Israel not to allow this murderer to get away."
A report on CBN (the Christian Broadcasting Network) has David Ortiz asking, "Does an intelligent man suddenly become insane for the trial?"
A messianic blogger has this to say: This is pure malarkey and we have seen it used before as a tactic to keep justice from being served when the perpetrator is ultra-orthodox.
Please pray for the Israeli courts to recognize that this cynical maneuver will cause serious damage to Israeli credibility. Pray for the judges to demand the proverbial second opinion assessment from a less compromised set of psychiatric experts.
Implying that a person is intelligent and cannot, therefore, be mentally ill is…well.. an insane assumption. The history of the world is full of mad geniuses who committed criminal acts motivated by political nationalism, religious theology, cultural ideology, love, hate, or utter confusion.
While we can understand the frustration of the families of both victims and survivors, and their demand that justice be served, the messianic and evangelical community in Israel is surely no stranger to criminal cases requiring thorough psychiatric assessments. Some of the "intelligent" perpetrators end up behind bars and others in psychiatric facilities.
Back in 1969, Dennis Michael Rohan an Australian evangelical belonging to a sect known as "the Church of God "tried to burn down Al Aqsa Mosque.
According to court transcripts, after reading a passage in Zachariah, Rohan believed he was "the branch" and chosen to build the Temple. And American Psychiatrist who had treated Rohan previously was brought to Israel to testify. Below is an excerpt from an ABC news interview with the psychiatrist:
Lorraine Livingstone: They felt that if he had a depressive illness, that that meant possibly he could be held responsible for his actions. But in the fact that he had a psychotic illness like schizophrenia, it made a difference to the judgment. The prosecutor who kept pushing me to say that he thought he was depressed, but I wasn't very keen on going that far.
Stan Correy: When he was at Bloomfield, you were treating him and I think it was your conclusion that you said to the court, that he was schizophrenic, therefore in terms of what he had done, that obviously impacted on his actions.
Lorraine Livingstone: Yes, and Israeli law had some very complex and very complicated ways of looking at this, and this is what a lot of the argument was after I left, as to how they'd interpret the evidence, and how they'd actually make their decision.
Stan Correy: Dr Lorraine Livingstone, who was Denis Rohan's psychiatrist when he was at Bloomfield in Orange, and appeared as a witness.
Man: The judgment in the case of the State of Israel against Denis Michael Rohan this day, the 30th December, ...
Stan Correy: On 30th December, 1969, the three judges gave their decision.
Translator: In view of the evidence, we have no doubt that the accused is still mentally ill. We order therefore that the accused be hospitalised.
In May of 1990 two "messianic Jews" were involved in the desecration of 300 graves in a Jewish cemetery in Haifa.
Police said, "the vandalism was motivated by a hope that the desecration would unify Jews to fight perceived Arab threats against Israel's existence. Police described both Israelis as intelligent and highly educated men who joined a messianic sect several years ago."
One suspect was found guilty and sentenced to 3 years in prison, whereas the other suspect was –at the time of the report – "undergoing psychiatric observation"
In January of 1999 Israel deported several members of an American Christian doomsday cult, who were accused of plotting attacks on sacred sites in Jerusalem.
The January 4th 1999 Jerusalem Post reported that the "Israel Psychiatric Society's Jerusalem branch and the Israel Medical Association's scientific council ...had the prescience to hold a six-hour symposium on "Tourism and Psychopathology, Jerusalem Toward the Year 2000…"
[Note: Prof. Richard Landes, who is currently serves on our board as an academic advisor, was a participant in that meeting in his capacity as an expert in medieval history at Boston University and director of its Center for Millennial Studies.]
YouTube has a 2008 report on Jerusalem Syndrome , which seems to effect Protestant Pilgrims far more than Jews or Catholics. The report is rather benign and humorous - save for the part about David Koresh and his Jerusalem connection.
Jewish Israel has just posted excerpts of a 2010 video by missionary Jacob Damkani in which he asks crowds on the streets to hit him and then proceeds to profess his love and understanding for those who oppose him because he understands that he is bringing them idolatrous beliefs which are proscribed by the Torah. Now that's provocative, insane, and dangerous thinking.
Hey Israel, how about a little sane legislation to help get the Mr. Damkanis of this world off the streets?
Jewish Israel recommends that frustrated and impatient members of the evangelical and messianic community acquire some Xanax or whatever it takes to relieve you of your persecution complex, and allow you to wait for the judges to decide whether or not Mr. Teitel is fit for trial.