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Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein: “During these difficult days, not only are we increasing our support for the citizens of southern Israel through mobile bomb shelters and emergency packages, we are equally committed to supporting and protecting Jewish communities around the world – we go where we are needed.”
As the crisis in Israel continues, there has been a sharp rise in the targeted threats and anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish communities around the world. In light of these escalated security concerns, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his organization The Fellowship are reinforcing and upgrading security services at Jewish centers worldwide. Rabbi Nechemia Wilhelm of Chabad in Bangkok said, “There is already security around Chabad Houses in Thailand but our fear is that the terrorist organizations will seek to open new fronts against Israel, including targets abroad. The aim is to increase the current security and upgrade it so that Chabad Houses can continue to serve as a warm and safe place for every Israeli.”
The Chabad House in Bangkok, as well as four other Chabad Houses located in popular Israeli tourist destinations in Thailand, are a few of the centers that will receive enhanced security through The Fellowship. Chabad Houses serve as a welcoming and warm environment for thousands of Jewish tourists, and every week they host classes, lectures, kosher meals, and prayer services for their visitors. The open and welcoming nature of Chabad, along with the large Muslim community in Thailand, has turned the Chabad Houses into a potential target for terrorist organizations. The upgrades and reinforcements will include adding more security personnel and additional CCTV cameras, and improving the physical security of the Chabad Houses.
The recent protest at the Israeli embassy in Bangkok included posters declaring “Jews are terrorists.” The crowd also burned Israeli flags. Chabad in Thailand has noted that during previous IDF operations, Chabad Houses were targeted by protesters. Earlier this month, Rabbi Moshe Ohayaon was attacked in Casablanca by a gang of youths, and a synagogue was firebombed in Paris. Last week more synagogues…Read More » Comments (0) »
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 11:01 AM | Stand For Israel
As the toll of Israeli soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge rises, the IDF continues to uncover Hamas’ tunnels and weapons and thwart its planned terrorist attacks. Rabbi Eckstein laments the loss of these brave defenders of Israel, but finds hope in the strength, resilience, and unity shown by Israel’s people and their Christian friends around the world:
In the past few weeks, we have felt that much of the world is against us – the United Nations, certainly, and the Arab world. There are western governments (not to mention the press) that have joined in this chorus of harsh criticism. And around the world we’re seeing a drastic rise in anti-Semitism. In Paris and Belgium, in London and Berlin, Morocco and Turkey, there are violent anti-Israel demonstrations. Synagogues have been attacked, and Jews attacked on the street.
Despite the sobering realities, I have been heartened and touched by our strength and resilience in the face of terror. The people of Israel have really come together, more so than I’ve seen in any other war. Perhaps this is because everyone knows that this war was forced on us, and that we need to defend ourselves against missiles being directed at our civilian population and against the terrorists who enter our country to kidnap and kill. No nation concerned for the welfare of its people would shirk its duty by simply sitting back and letting those cowardly attacks happen.
One moment stays in my mind: Last week, as I came back from my visit to towns along the Gaza border that have taken the brunt of Hamas’ ruthless terrorist war, I passed an IDF patrol that checks on people and cars coming in and out of Israel. There was a soldier passing out flowers to each passenger car, thanking us for our solidarity with the soldiers. People are coming out of the woodwork, bringing everything – food, candy, flowers, chocolates, toiletries – to help the soldiers who are out in the field.
It’s a somber…Read More » Comments (0) »
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 10:52 AM | Stand For Israel
Stand for Israel has been reporting on the recent frequency of terrorist rockets being found in United Nations-operated schools. And as we noted in today’s Daily Dispatch, rockets were again found in a UNRWA-run school in Gaza on Tuesday. The Times of Israel reports that this is the third such occurrence since the onset of Operation Protective Edge:
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In its press release, UNRWA’s spokesperson said that the discovery was made during a routine inspection of the school, “which was closed for the summer and not being used as a shelter.”
“All the relevant parties have been notified,” UNRWA said, without elaborating which parties. Hamas, the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, has launched over 2,000 of rockets at Israel in the past month …
Despite announcing the discovery, UNRWA could not send a UN munitions expert to disarm and remove the weapons “because of fighting in the vicinity,” it said in a statement. “But we hope to do as soon as the security conditions allow.”
It was not clear from the statement where the school was, how many rockets Hamas or one of the other Palestinian terror groups stored at the UN facility, or where the weapons are now.
Tuesday’s incident was the third instance in which Palestinian armaments were found in UN facilities in the Gaza Strip …
In Jerusalem, officials charged that the weaponry was returned to Hamas. “The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas. In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 9:37 AM | Stand For Israel
After Israel unanimously rejected John Kerry and the Obama administration’s weekend ceasefire proposal, Operation Protective Edge continues to be waged. Writing at Israel Hayom, Dr. Haim Shine says that this unity among Israelis shows a people who have chosen to live:
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However, once Israelis realize they are fighting a true war for their home, there is no Left or Right, no rich or poor, and no divide between residents of Tel Aviv and residents of the rest of the country. The various strands of Israeli society, usually loose, come together as a deadly fist to strike those who rise up against us.
Israeli citizens are grateful for the generous support American governments have provided during both times of peace and times of war. This support allowed for the development of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system. The U.S. has also helped Israel stay on its feet in the international diplomatic arena against a hostile world, which, instead of being anti-Israel, has become anti-Semitic. But given the choice between protecting our right to live and showing gratitude, Israel must choose life. Choosing life is the ultimate Jewish commandment.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 8:28 AM | Stand For Israel
Writing at the Huffington Post, The Fellowship’s senior vice president Yael Eckstein says that Israel, the place that she calls home, is a nation of people fighting and praying for not only their own freedom, but the freedom of the whole world:
I can tell you that my people are more than the jihad targets and defenders of our land that we are currently being made out to be.
My country is more than a political topic. My people are more than a statistic. And although we are known exclusively as this to many people, we are more than just a nation that is spoken about in the Bible.
The population of Israel is almost 8 million, but we are even more than that.
We are people. We are individuals. We are children, parents, and elderly.
Behind the images of tanks and soldiers lined up at the Gaza border that you see on your television screens are my brothers and sisters in bomb shelters singing songs of hope and peace.
“Bring peace upon us already; to us and to everyone. Peace! For us and the world, that is what we want, peace.”
Israel is unique and a minority in the tumultuous Middle East. Israel cherishes life; not only the life of Israelis and Jews, but the life of our enemies as well. Yet we are stuck between a rock and a hard place …
Israel is doing everything it can to protect her citizens; Hamas is doing everything it can to harm its citizens. Because when it comes down to it, the international arena sees this conflict as a war of numbers. The media seems to present the conflict as “May the side with the highest casualty rate win!” But that doesn’t identify right from wrong or distinguish terrorism from self-defense.
Israel uses her technology and weapons to protect her citizens, while Hamas uses Palestinian citizens to protect its weapons and technology. Israel builds bomb shelters to keep the children safe, and Hamas builds tunnels underneath kindergartens and…Read More » Comments (0) »
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 8:14 AM | Stand For Israel
Israeli politicians on the left rarely agree with their political opponents on the right; the chasm between their respective ideas makes finding common ground an unusual occurrence. This is not the case in Israel today, where the military operation in Gaza is supported by close to 90 percent of the population, and where the only disagreement is whether Operation Protective Edge should continue until Hamas is completely destroyed, or whether it should end once the terror tunnels have been obliterated.
There is one area in Israeli society where the ideological gap between the left and right is even more boisterous than the Knesset during election season, and that’s in the media. So this week’s unanimous rejection of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal by both the security cabinet and the media signaled an almost unprecedented moment in the Jewish state’s history.
The Kerry proposal, handed to the Israeli security cabinet for approval, agreed to all of Hamas’ demands – lifting the siege on Gaza, releasing Hamas prisoners, and continuing the flow of goods, including more cement, into the Strip. Israel’s security needs were vaguely mentioned, almost as an afterthought.
What made Kerry’s ceasefire offer so shocking is that it undercut Egypt’s earlier ceasefire proposal, which Israel has already agreed to, while at the same time rewarding Hamas for a war which it started. Israeli officials were understandably dismayed that instead of placing pressure on Hamas to accept the Egypt’s peace proposal, which calls for the demilitarization of Gaza, the U.S. backed a ceasefire agreement formulated by Qatar and Turkey, two countries that openly support Hamas both financially and diplomatically.
Editorials found in newspapers on both the left and right of Israel’s political spectrum illustrate Israel’s near-unanimous disappointment with Obama and Kerry’s handling of this crisis. The general attitude in Israel is that the U.S. administration has prioritized Hamas’ interests ahead of Israel’s security needs. Israelis understand that this doesn’t represent the general pro-Israel sentiment felt across…Read More » Comments (11) »
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 12:45 PM | Stand For Israel
As Operation Protective Edge continues, Israel Hayom reports that yesterday was the deadliest day the IDF has experienced since the beginning of the campaign against Hamas, with 10 Israeli soldiers killed:
On Monday night, a group of Hamas terrorists infiltrated into Israel through a tunnel under the border near Nahal Oz. The terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF position, killing five soldiers. In an ensuing exchange of fire, one of the terrorists was killed, while the rest escaped back to Gaza …
Earlier on Monday, a mortar shell fired from Gaza struck an IDF staging area near the border in the Eshkol region. Four soldiers, all from the Armored Corps, were killed …
Also on Monday, Staff Sgt. Moshe Davino, 20, was killed in southern Gaza when terrorists fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a D9 bulldozer. The terrorists subsequently entered a nearby house. An IDF bulldozer then toppled the house, killing eight of the terrorists. Two other terrorists were arrested by Givati Brigade soldiers.
In both Gaza and the West Bank on Monday evening, Palestinians held joyous demonstrations after learning of the Israeli deaths.
We pray for the families and friends of these 10 brave soldiers who gave their lives protecting their nation and people. May God comfort them.Comments (28) »
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 11:50 AM | Stand For Israel
The Iron Dome defense system has proved its worth, helping defeat many of the terrorist rockets launched on Israel over the past weeks. But Hamas’ extensive system of attack tunnels that are still being uncovered by the IDF, writes Jeffrey Goldberg, illustrates the terrorist group’s true, murderous goals and shows how Israel must continue to respond:
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But there is no Iron Dome for tunnels. The tunnels give me real pause. It’s hard enough to imagine a situation in which your neighbors are quite intentionally trying to blow up your house and kill your children with rockets. But Hamas’s well-developed kidnapping strategy represents a whole other category of depravity. The handcuffs and tranquilizers are mere baroque, Pulp Fictionish details. The core depravity of Hamas is its longstanding policy of treating every Jew as a target for elimination.
So I would ask this question: What would you want your government to do if your enemy was digging tunnels under your village, in order to pop out at night to kill or kidnap you? Could you imagine taking the risk that members of your family might be seized, dragged underground, handcuffed and tranquilized, and then held in the dark, perhaps for years, perhaps never to come home? Hamas terrorists have recently emerged from these tunnels inside Israel multiple times. This is not a theoretical threat …
The tactical goals are to terrorize Israelis and bring about the international delegitimization of Israel. The strategic goal — the theological goal, in fact — is to bring about the end of their country.
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 8:44 AM | Stand For Israel
Even as millions of Americans stand for Israel during these trying times, the movement preaching the message to “Free Palestine” can often be seen on college campuses and street corners. While those like the group Students for Justice in Palestine might think they are standing up for the oppressed, Chloe Valdary – a Christian, a Zionist, and a consultant for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America – says that such a movement does not align with the ideals of justice, equality, and freedom:
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• You do not get to champion regimes that murder, torture, and persecute their own people, deliberately keep them impoverished, and embezzle billions of dollar from them—and claim you are “pro-Arab.” You are not.
• You do not get to champion a system wherein Jews are barred from purchasing land, traveling in certain areas, and living out such an existence merely because they are Jews—and claim that you are promoting equality for all. You do not get to enable that system by pushing a boycott of Jewish owned businesses, shops, and entities—and then claim that you are “against apartheid.” That is evil.
• You do not get to justify the calculated and deliberate bombings, beatings, and lynchings of Jewish men, women, and children by referring to such heinous occurrences as part of a noble “uprising” of the oppressed—that is racism. It is evil.
• You do not get to pretend as though you and Rosa Parks would have been great buddies in the 1960s. Rosa Parks was a real Freedom Fighter. Rosa Parks was a Zionist.
Coretta Scott King was a Zionist.
A. Phillip Randolph was a Zionist.
Bayard Rustin was a Zionist.
Count Basie was a Zionist.
Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. was a Zionist …
You see, my people have always been Zionists because my people have always stood for the freedom of the oppressed.
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 8:32 AM | Stand For Israel
As terrorist rockets continue to target Israel – especially the southern part of the country – The Jerusalem Post details The Fellowship’s latest effort to help those in the line of fire:
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The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) is set to open a complex in the Jerusalem Forest on Tuesday for thousands of children from the South to engage fun filled activities.
The camp, Friendship Village, developed in collaboration with the production company Promarket, will host groups of children daily, in an attempt to salvage what’s left of their summer, mired by the barrage of rocket fire.
“The efforts of the Fellowship stem in two directions, one is addressing security needs and the second toward helping the most vulnerable segments of society – the elderly and the children,” Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the IFCJ told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday …
This massive undertaking is the latest endeavor by the IFCJ that since the start of Operation Protective Edge has dedicated substantial resources to help the residents of the South – primarily children and the elderly population.
“Unfortunately we have a lot of experience in terms of the wars in Israel, we were on the ground in the second Lebanon war, in the first war in Gaza and now here,” Eckstein said. “The situation has changed dramatically in each of the wars and so we adjusted to what each of the needs was.”
Monday, July 28th, 2014 at 4:49 PM | Stand For Israel