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News from Washington, D.C., this morning is that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is resigning his position under pressure. The Times of Israel reports sources have said the resignation is due to Hagel’s handling of the fight with the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria:
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is to resign under pressure on Monday, The New York Times reported.
Senior administration officials who spoke with The New York Times said the decision to replace Hagel stems from the belief that he lacks the necessary skills to manage the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.“The next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” an official told The New York Times.
Hagel, a former Republican senator, has served as Pentagon chief since early 2013. Obama is expected to announce the resignation Monday …
Before he assumed office in the Pentagon, Hagel was known as a critic of Israel and of American policy toward the Jewish state. He criticized the Bush administration in 2002 for refusing to meet with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and rebuked Israel for not engaging in negotiations with an Arafat-led Palestinian Authority.
“Israel must take steps to show its commitment to peace,” he wrote in the Washington Post at the time. “This does not mean giving up or limiting its right to self-defense against terrorism. But Palestinian reformers cannot promote a democratic agenda for change while both the Israeli military occupation and settlement activity continue.”
During the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hagel broke party ranks by calling for an immediate unilateral ceasefire by both Israel and Hezbollah.
“The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now,” the then-senator from Nebraska said. “President Bush must call for an immediate cease-fire. This madness must stop.”
Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, was also an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Iraq, and rebuked his party’s approval…Read More » Comments (0) »
Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 10:40 AM | Stand For Israel
How do you think students on a college campus would react to someone waving an ISIS flag and proclaiming the glory of the Islamic State? How would they react to someone waving an Israeli flag? You might be surprised at the results captured in this short film by filmmaker Ami Horowitz.Comments (0) »
Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 9:43 AM | Stand For Israel
A border into Gaza has been closed. You would think that there would be international outrage and anti-Israel sentiment. But former national security adviser Elliott Abrams says that this is not the case because it wasn’t Israel that closed the border:
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Front page news? “Israel Turns Gaza Into Prison.” UN Security Council resolution? “Urgently demands that the Government of Israel open the passage and permit those needing medical attention to reach doctors and hospitals.” The U.S. State Department? Perhaps it says “We are deeply troubled by the humanitarian dimension and believe the passage should be opened immediately….” Marches and demonstrations in European capitals? “This is Genocide!” signs say.
Nope. Because the crossing in question is Rafah crossing, between Gaza and Egypt not Israel, and the country keeping it closed is Egypt. The Palestinians are “resentful,” in that story, about the government of Egypt. The health conditions of the people who are “suffering from medical problems” are suffering because of Egypt.
The Egyptian official explanation is that security requires the closing. Recently the Egyptian terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged loyalty to the Islamic State. In October, 33 Egyptian security personnel were killed by terrorists; last week, 5 more. Why these events require that people in need of medical treatment may not use Rafah, and how that closure enhances Egyptian security, may be debated.
My point is a different one: were it Israel keeping the key passage closed and simply saying security requires it, this would be a very big deal. The condemnations would be constant. Instead, near silence. Double standard? The usual uninterest in how Arabs treat other Arabs? The desire not to criticize General Sisi’s government in Cairo? So it seems. A Palestinian would be justified in concluding that the world hasn’t the slightest interest in the fate of Palestinians, other than as a battering ram to use against Israel.
Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Stand For Israel
Yesterday was Sigd, the Ethiopian Jews’ celebration of receiving God’s Word, as well as the return of the Babylonian exiles under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. In this photo, Ethiopian Jews who The Fellowship helped make aliyah (immigrate to Israel), celebrate with traditional, colorful umbrellas. These umbrellas symbolize the trek they once took to the celebration – a sweltering journey that took many days. Shabbat shalom, friends.Comments (1) »
Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 1:19 PM | Stand For Israel
Stand for Israel has kept a close look on the Presbyterian Church (USA), its recent anti-Israel bias, and its move this summer to divest from corporations that do business with Israel. Now we’ve come across the reassuring news that a group of pro-Israel Presbyterians have taken out a full-page ad in The New York Times in opposition to divestment:
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A Presbyterian group took out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling on fellow church members to oppose divestment from Israel.
“Presbyterians: We can do better than divestment,” read the headline on the ad signed by scores of Presbyterian clergy and laypeople under the rubric of the group Presbyterians for a Just and Peaceful Future in the Middle East.
Last June, after a contentious debate at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), members voted 310-303 to approve divestment from the stock of three U.S. companies that do business with Israeli security services in the West Bank: Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard.
The authors of the ad wrote, “We are among the many Presbyterians all over the country who have worked against this action, believing that divestment would strengthen the extreme positions on both sides of this conflict without alleviating the suffering of Palestinians — and further divide and discourage the vast center of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) that longs for justice with love for both peoples.”
The ad called on fellow Presbyterians to reclaim the church’s role as a “repairer of the breach” among Christians, Muslims and Jews; reaffirm the church’s commitment to a two-state solution; and seek opportunities to strengthen joint Israeli-Palestinian ventures.
Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 11:35 AM | Stand For Israel
After the horrifying terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue this week, my seven-year-old daughter asked me if terrorists are going to attack us in our synagogue. Apparently, our attempts to shield our children from news about the attack hadn’t worked. Kids in her school caught wind of the story, and that caused her imagination to run wild with scenarios no child should have to imagine.
I wish I could’ve told my daughter that this could never happen in our synagogue, or in our neighborhood, or that most of our Palestinian neighbors don’t wish us harm.
But following the attack, Palestinians danced in the streets of Gaza when they heard the news. Palestinian Authority (P.A.) President Abbas, coerced by John Kerry to issue a condemnation of the attack, didn’t miss a chance to throw more fuel on the fire.
“We condemn the incident that took place at a synagogue in Jerusalem and which resulted in the killing of a number of Israelis,” said Abbas. “And while we condemn this act, we also condemn the assault on the Noble Sanctuary [Temple Mount] and all holy sites and the torching of mosques and churches.”
According to Abbas, it’s too bad that Jews were butchered during morning prayers, but it was their own fault. Even as he “condemned” the attack, Abbas fabricated an “assault on the Noble Sanctuary [Temple Mount] … and the torching of mosques and churches.”
In his pathetic statement, Abbas managed to lie about Jews assaulting the Temple Mount – the holiest place in Judaism, but also a place where Jewish prayer is forbidden by Israeli law due to Islamic insecurities – while also claiming that Israelis are torching churches in the Holy Land.
Abbas not only sees himself as the defender of the Palestinian people, but also as a champion of Christian rights in Israel – in truth the only place in the Middle East where Christians actually have rights.
Instead, Abbas’ incitement has caused weeks of bloody attacks against Jews. The Palestinians have been raised on vitriolic hatred…Read More » Comments (1) »
Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 11:23 AM | Stand For Israel
This week, a normal morning in Israel was shattered with news of a horrific terrorist attack. Yael Eckstein writes that while our enemies are evil and have no regard for human life, our response must be one of prayer, love, kindness, and joy:
It was a typical morning. My alarm sounded at 6:30 and my family’s daily morning rush hour began.
Clothes were thrown around as my kids tried to find exactly what they wanted to wear, while I washed my face to try and wake up. The cereal spilled, the children laughed, and I quickly made lunches and placed them in their backpacks. My two older kids ran to the car dancing and singing, as my baby held her beloved bottle tight between her lips, sipping the last drop of milk.
We had a morning with no breakdowns, no crises, and no fights. I sat in the driver’s seat, took a deep breath of relief, said a small prayer of thanksgiving to God. Then I turned on the car.
It was then that everything changed.
“Four dead, many wounded in another terror attack in Jerusalem,” the loudspeakers shouted, leaving me numb and shaking. I turned off the radio, shielding my precious children from the terror in their midst, terror that they are all too familiar with, yet can never get used to.
In an act all too familiar during times like these, I pushed my tears aside, painted on a smile, dropped my kids off at school, and headed to work.
Sitting at my desk, I went over the morning activities in my head and began to feel sick.
As I was stumbling out of bed and thanking God for another wondrous day with my kids, terrorists were entering a synagogue and brutally murdering worshippers. While I was pouring milk in bowls of cornflakes, two Israeli Arabs, whose children are afforded the same luxuries of free education, healthcare, and opportunity as my children, viciously took the lives of four of my countrymen, leaving 26 Jewish…Read More » Comments (4) »
Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 9:44 AM | Stand For Israel
This week’s synagogue massacre in Jerusalem was only the latest in the rising number of terrorist attacks against Israelis. So many of these attacks have not been the result of coordinated actions by terror groups – though those organizations do work toward the destruction of the Jewish state, and do applaud violence against the Jewish people – but have been the result of “lone wolf” terrorists acting alone. Bloomberg News’ Alisa Odenheimer looks at how Israel is dealing with this latest threat against its people and its existence:
Palestinians’ new weapons of choice can be found in every kitchen and parked outside their doors, presenting Israeli security forces with what may be their toughest challenge yet.
Nine people, including five killed yesterday at a Jerusalem synagogue, have been attacked in the past month by Palestinians who deliberately plowed cars into pedestrians or wielded knives and cleavers. Israeli Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino says assailants have acted on their own. This combination of readily accessible weapons and rogue attackers makes it impossible to foretell who will act, or where.
“It’s the lone-wolf syndrome,” Jonathan Fine, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter– Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, said last week. “It’s the worst kind of terrorism you can think of because it’s unpredictable …
“I pay attention when I cross the street: I look 20 times before I cross,” she said in an interview. “When I wait for the bus, I stand as far back from the street as I can.”
One of the victims of a previous attack was a three-month-old baby killed by a driver who rammed into a group of people waiting at a tram station.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, of inciting the violence. Last week, Abbas lauded Palestinian protesters for trying to keep Jews from “defiling” a contested Jerusalem shrine that’s holy to Muslims as the al-Aqsa mosque complex and…Read More » Comments (5) »
Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 9:01 AM | Stand For Israel
It seems that the world – especially Europe – condemns Israel. But this young man, George Deek, is an Israeli Christian who is also the deputy to Israel’s ambassador to Norway. In this wonderful speech, George tells his family’s story as Christians in Israel, and challenges everyone – Christians and Jews – to work together for a better future:
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… the Nakba in [the Palestinians'] eyes is the creation of Israel.
They are saddened less by the humanitarian catastrophe that befell on Palestinians, and more by the revival of the Jewish state.
In other words: they do not mourn the fact that my cousins are Jordanians, they mourn the fact that I am an Israeli.
By doing so, The Palestinians have become slaves to the past, held captive by the chains of resentment, prisoners in the world of frustration and hate.
But friends, the evident yet simple truth is – that in order not to be reduced to sorrow and bitterness, we must look forward.
To put it more clearly: To mend the past, first you have to secure the future.
Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 8:56 AM | Stand For Israel