Photo Friday: With Praise and Thanksgiving

(Photo: wikicommons/אוטו גיל)

(Photo: wikicommons/אוטו גיל)

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD:
    “He is good;
        his love toward Israel endures forever.”
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
(Ezra 3:11)

In this photo from 1940s on a kibbutz, farmers rejoice at the bountiful land God has provided. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, November 28th, 2014 at 7:00 AM  | Stand For Israel

EU Vote to Recognize Palestinian Statehood Postponed

iitnA vote in the European Union to recognize Palestinian statehood has been postponed — thanks, in part, to the hard work by Israeli delegates who fought for more time to change minds. The vote will now take place in mid-December. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called recognition of a Palestinian state “a grave mistake.”

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• The deadline to reach an agreement between Western nations and Iran over its nuclear program was extended after talks broke down this week. The new deadline is set for the end of June 2015.
• The U.S. continues to pressure Russia to honor its side of the peace agreement it struck with Ukraine this fall by adhering to the ceasefire and removing military forces.
• With tensions mounting in the West Bank region, Hamas has reportedly test-fired rockets into the Mediterranean Sea — a move that some in Israel see as a show of force.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, with a message of thanksgiving for Christian support for Israel.

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Thursday, November 27th, 2014 at 5:00 PM  | Stand for Israel

Happy Thanksgiving

(Photo: wikicommons/ פנחס קריסטל)

(Photo: wikicommons/ פנחס קריסטל)

“The LORD will surely comfort Zion
   and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
   her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
   thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
(Isaiah 51:3)

To celebrate Thanksgiving, Stand for Israel is suspending activity Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28. We’ll be back on Monday, December 1 — and rest assured, if any critically important developments related to Israel come up over the weekend, we’ll be here to let you know about them. We wish each and every one of you a happy Thanksgiving, and thank you all for always standing for Israel!

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Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 2:59 PM  | Stand For Israel

Majority of Americans Oppose a Nuclear Iran

(Photo: wikicommons/ Fastfission)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Fastfission)

As the deadline for an agreement between the United States and other world powers on Iran’s nuclear program was extended, we’ve been keeping an eye on global reactions to the situation – American, Israeli, and otherwise. The Times of Israel’s David Horovitz reports that 69% of Americans oppose a deal that would allow Iran – which they consider the greatest threat to the U.S. – to obtain nuclear capabilities:

More than two-thirds of Americans oppose a deal with Iran that would allow it to maintain nuclear weapons capabilities, according to a new survey by American political strategist Frank Luntz. Americans are also overwhelmingly mistrustful of Iran, and consider it to be the country that poses the greatest threat to the United States …

… an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the Iranians are stalling rather than negotiating in good faith, and that the regime in Tehran cannot be relied upon to honor any accord it may reach.

More broadly, Americans overwhelmingly feel the world to be less safe today than 10 years ago, and believe America is weaker today than it was 10 years ago …

The survey also showed 62% of Americans consider that Iran is an enemy of the US, while 37% consider it neutral, and 1% consider it an ally. It found that 73% of Americans consider that Iran is an enemy of Israel, while 25% consider it neutral, and 1% consider it an ally.

A staggering 81% of respondents do not believe the current government in Iran can be trusted to keep agreements, compared to 5% who think it can be trusted. And an even more overwhelming 85% do not believe the Iranians’ assertions that their nuclear program is peaceful, as compared to 8% who do.

“When it comes to Iran, the Israeli prime minister is closer to the American people than the US president,” Luntz said of the findings. This was a reference to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for any deal with Iran to provide for the dismantling of Iran’s entire nuclear…

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Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 8:36 AM  | Stand For Israel

Why UNRWA Perpetuates the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

(Photo: UNRWA)

(Photo: UNRWA)

Throughout Operation Protective Edge, Stand for Israel reported the disturbing trend of terrorist rockets being kept in United Nations-run schools. As of late, explanations have arisen for this trend. Commentary’s Seth Mandel looks at why it’s not surprising that the U.N.’s UNRWA agency would be aligned with Hamas:

Over the course of last summer’s war between Hamas in Gaza and the Israel Defense Forces, this meant propagating the idea that it was in any way shocking when the terrorist organization’s weapons–stockpiled for the express purpose of killing Jews in a maniacal, genocidal campaign–turned up, repeatedly, at schools run by UNRWA: the UN agency dedicated to keeping Palestinians living like refugees in perpetuity. So now it’s unclear precisely how to react to a raft of stories demonstrating the reason it wasn’t surprising to find Hamas weapons in UNRWA schools: because UNRWA teachers and principles share Hamas’s violently anti-Semitic ideology …

The organization keeps Palestinians mired in desperation because they agree with the Hamas struggle to eliminate Israel. And the UNRWA schools are where they can exert the utmost control over Palestinian minds, shaping them to abhor the Jewish people and to value bigotry and terrorism over education and productive job training.

Promoting hate is not incidental to UNRWA’s mission. It is UNRWA’s mission. This suggests it values neither Jewish life nor Palestinian life, and it certainly doesn’t believe Palestinians are entitled to a dignified existence. Why would Hamas weapons show up at an UNRWA school? Why wouldn’t they show up there? Where else would be more appropriate?

In such a case, it’s clear that UNRWA’s noxious participation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is itself an impediment to peace. And not a minor one, either.

As long as UNRWA is treated as a legitimate participant this process–and loads of American cash says they indeed are–then the perspective they impart on young Palestinian minds will also be seen as legitimate. And that means terror and anti-Semitism will be subsidized and promoted as an acceptable path to a resolution. Which means they will…

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Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 8:22 AM  | Stand For Israel

Life Is Not Cheap: A Holocaust Survivor Speaks

(Photo: German Federal Archives)

(Photo: German Federal Archives)

As those who survived the Holocaust age, their stories threaten to be lost forever. Yet we vow not to forget the Holocaust, that most horrible chapter in human history. Kevin Cummings of The Plano Star Courier brings the story of a woman who survived the Holocaust and who tells her own story, so that all will remember that “Life has value,” and that we will never forget:

Anneliese Nossbaum carried a picture of her father with her always. During showers, she would hide the photograph in her mouth to keep it from being confiscated, until one day the photo faded. That was the last time she ever saw her father.

It was also the last time she saw her then 29-year-old aunt, and many of the other people she knew and loved who passed away from the atrocities wrought upon them in Nazi concentration camps.

“Normally if I have a death in the family … that’s just the cycle of life; not this one. This one was done too intentionally to wipe us out for really no reason,” Nossbaum said. “There was such hatred toward us that it was frightening, and it still is frightening today.”

In 1944, 15-year-old Nossbaum was taken in a railcar along with her mother and many others to Auschwitz. Lying about her age, she was sent to work in an airplane part factory in Freiberg, Germany. Her aunt, a teacher, was sent to the gas chambers because of a hip deformity.

After celebrating her 16th birthday in Freiberg with a few slices of bread her mother was able to collect and save, Nossbaum was sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp. On May 4, 1945 she was sent to the gas chambers. However, due to bombing by Allied forces in the nearby city, there was a shortage of Zyklon B – a pesticide used by the Nazis in the camps. Nossbaum was sent back to the camp, until it was resupplied. It never was. On May 5, Allied…

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 2:13 PM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas Must Be Defeated, Says Son of Terrorist Chief

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

Operation Protective Edge, this summer’s action by Israel to defeat Hamas, ended with a ceasefire between the Jewish state and the Gaza-based terror organization. But Israel should not stop until it has defeated Hamas, says the son of one of the terrorist group’s leaders, in this fascinating interview with The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff:

“To get to peace with the Palestinians, Israel needs to go to war against Hamas in Gaza, and fast.” That’s the view of Mosab Hasan Yousef, better known as the “Green Prince,” the son of West Bank Hamas chief Sheikh Hasan Yousef.

Mosab Yousef, who was a Shin Bet agent from 1997 to 2007, at the same time as he ran his father’s office, is well aware of the significance of what he is saying. “I know that this will sound to some people like dangerous rhetoric, a push for war, but my motivation is precisely the opposite. I’m speaking out because you can’t deal with reality by running away from it. You can’t take refuge in temporary solutions. Hamas has to be tackled at its roots, uprooted once and for all, and now is the perfect moment  to deal with Hamas militarily in Gaza. The longer Israel waits,” he warned, “the more dangerous an enemy Hamas will become and the harder the battle. This is the time to initiate a war against Hamas.”

Now based in the US, Mosab Yusef is currently on a visit to Israel, and I met with him in Tel Aviv. It was five years ago that I first revealed that he was an agent assisting the Shin Bet — Israel’s most reliable source in Hamas, central to the prevention of numerous suicide bombings and attacks, and to the exposure of Hamas terror cells — and the identity of his handler, “Captain Loai,” Gonen Ben Itzhak. As we sat together near the Tel Aviv beach, his criticisms of Israeli government policy were clear and fierce.

“Don’t wait for the summer for Hamas…

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 8:44 AM  | Stand For Israel

Appeasing Iran

(Photo: Presidential Press and Information Office)

(Photo: Presidential Press and Information Office)

In yesterday’s Daily Dispatch, we noted that the deadline for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program was extended until July, with meetings expected to resume next month. Writing at Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum says that while world powers declare that we are closer to world safety, Iran is openly stating that it is closer to something much different and more sinister:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ‎gave a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.‎

‎”Today we are closer to a deal that will make our partners like Israel and the Gulf states ‎safer,” he said. “We now see a path for solving issues that until now were intractable.”‎

Responding to this turn of events at a forum in Tehran on the same day, Iran’s Islamic ‎Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari ‎expressed satisfaction.‎

‎”The Americans have very clearly surrendered to Iran’s might,” he said. “[Which] is ‎obvious in their behavior in the region and in the negotiations.”‎

Indeed.‎

He then pointed to the fact that Iran is arming Hezbollah and Hamas with heavy ‎weaponry for the purpose of defeating Israel and attaining a “final victory” over the ‎West.‎

Jafari was referring to hundreds of Fateh missiles — with 160- to 220-mile ranges and the ‎ability to carry 1,100-pound warheads — whose transfer was announced over the weekend ‎by Revolutionary Guard Aerospace Force Brig. Gen. Seyed Majid Moussavi.‎

‎”Our strategic guiding principle is … to allow the resistance groups to deal with the ‎bloodthirsty Zionist regime,” Moussavi told Iran’s Fars news agency.‎

This is in keeping with the nine-point plan for Israel’s destruction tweeted ‎earlier this month by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It also jibes with Khamenei’s anti-‎Israel and anti-American speeches surrounding the celebration of the Nov. 4, 1979, ‎takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by Islamic revolutionaries who had ousted Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and ushered…

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 8:30 AM  | Stand For Israel

Presbyterians Bet on Iranian Good Will

(Photo: wikicommons/ Fastfission)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Fastfission)

Last week we reported on some members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) who had the sense to take a stand against their congregation’s divestment from Israel. But now the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness is alerting church members to stand with Iran. At The Algemeiner, Dexter Van Zile reports on the PC(USA)’s belief that there is nothing questionable about Iran’s nuclear aspirations:

So-called peace activists within the Presbyterian Church (USA) have decided that they know better than the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IAEA has stated that Iran is blocking efforts to determine whether or not its nuclear program is being used for military purposes. On Nov. 7, 2014, Reuters reported that the “International Atomic Energy Agency said Tehran had still not provided information it was due to produce more than two months ago to help advance a long-running IAEA inquiry into suspected nuclear weapons research.” According to Reuters, the IAEA report stated that “Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures …”

Nevertheless, the geniuses at the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness have a different message for us: Don’t worry, be happy.

They make this case in an “action alert” that calls on Presbyterians to contact their lawmakers and “Speak Out for Diplomacy With Iran.” The alert states that negotiations with Iran “have resulted in the most extensive verification program in history.”

Never mind that the IAEA has said that Iran is blocking efforts to determine if it is attempting to use its program for military purposes …

In sum, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has irresponsibly pushed a pro-Iranian line that encourages people to ignore real concerns over its nuclear program.

Sadly, such naked propagandizing is what we should expect from staffers and peace activists in the PC(USA).

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Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 12:16 PM  | Stand For Israel

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Resign

(Photo: Dept. of Defense/ Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)

(Photo: Dept. of Defense/ Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)

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…

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Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 10:40 AM  | Stand For Israel

"informing, equipping and mobilizing individuals and churches to support the
State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
What a Blessing

One of the things I give thanks for every day is the continued and faithful support for Israel and the Jewish people shown by you, The Fellowship’s friends and supporters. I want to share with you just a few words of thanks from those you have helped, so you can see what a blessing you are for each one of them.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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