In an attack on an IDF patrol on the Israeli-Lebanon border today, two IDF soldiers were killed and seven more were wounded:
Two soldiers were killed Wednesday when an Israeli army patrol came under anti-tank fire from Hezbollah operatives in the northern Mount Dov region along the border with Lebanon.
The IDF confirmed that at least seven soldiers were wounded in the attack and ruled out the possibility that a soldier had been kidnapped.
The two soldiers were not immediately named. They were identified as a company commander and a combat soldier.
The incident took place in an area of the border that doesn’t have a fence. At the same time, and for over an hour after the attack, IDF positions in the area, as well as on nearby Mount Hermon, were hit with mortar shells.
Israel responded to the attack with artillery strikes in southern Lebanon.
Stand for Israel will keep you updated on these events, and we ask you to join us in praying for the injured soldiers, as well as the families of those who were killed.
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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 8:44 AM | Stand for Israel
(Photo: wikicommons/ Alborzagros)
While the Iranian threat against Israel has come to the international forefront as of late – with Iranian operatives killed in an airstrike on Hezbollah in Syria and the U.S. debating further sanctions on Iran – the threat is not new to Israel. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Khaled Abu Toameh says that Iran is working hard to achieve its goal of encircling Israel:
As U.S. President Barack Obama continues to seek a negotiated deal on Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranians have been working hard in recent weeks to infiltrate the Palestinian arena and re-establish ties with their erstwhile ally, Hamas.
Emboldened by Obama’s obsession with the nuclear negotiations, which are set to resume next month, Iran’s leaders apparently trust that the Obama Administration is prepared to turn a blind eye to whatever they do.
So the Iranians are apparently feeling free to meddle once again in the internal affairs of the Palestinians, to strengthen their hand still further in the Middle East.
With bases in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, Iran has surrounded Saudi Arabia and all the oil fields of the Persian Gulf. This encirclement can be comfortably backed with Iran’s ongoing nuclear weapons program.
Tehran’s main goal is to regain control over the Palestinian Islamist movement so that it can turn itself into a player in the Israeli-Arab conflict.
The Iranians already have Hezbollah sitting on Israel’s northern border. All they need now is another terror group in Gaza to the south, in order to create a similar encirclement. And they are working hard to achieve this goal …
Iran and Hamas need each other badly. Iran wants Hamas because it does not have many Sunni allies left in the region. An alliance with Hamas would enable Iran to rid itself of charges that it is leading a Shiite camp fighting against the Sunnis.
Hamas, for its part, is desperate for any outside support, especially in wake of its increased isolation in the Palestinian and international arenas.
Hamas is also beginning to feel the heat at home…
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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 8:35 AM | Stand for Israel
(Photo: City of Mariupol)
In Monday’s Daily Dispatch, we reported on the rocket attacks that occurred in Mariupol, Ukraine, over the weekend, killing 30. Now Chabad, one of The Fellowship’s major partners in Ukraine and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, tells how the attack has left the country’s Jewish community in even greater danger:
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Shabbat-morning prayers were about to start at the synagogue in Mariupol, Ukraine, when the rocket barrage came.
“The whole synagogue was shaking; we knew right away this was very serious,” says Rabbi Mendel Cohen, the seaside city’s rabbi and Chabad-Lubavitch emissary.
Moments after it ended, the synagogue’s security guard, Vlad, came running in with the news: Mariupol had been hit by a massive and sustained rocket attack in the Vastochni neighborhood of the city. When the dust had settled, the attack left 30 civilians dead and more than 100 wounded, marking Mariupol’s bloodiest day since last May and a significant escalation in the war in eastern Ukraine.
Fired from multiple-rocket launchers, the Grad rockets landed on a large neighborhood that includes a bazaar and marketplace, schools, apartment blocks and a bus station, located only some three kilometers away from the synagogue …
“Many people in synagogue on Shabbat were from that neighborhood,” states Cohen. “You can imagine what it sounded like here; there were screams, we had to calm people down…”
“Right away, there were a lot of people who wanted to leave, and we began making plans to help them do that,” says Kaganovsky by phone from Mariupol. “If you saw pictures of the attack, you would understand; it was awful, and people were scared.”
Through funds allocated by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, one bus of Jewish community members left Mariupol on Monday night, arriving early on Tuesday in Zhitomer in western Ukraine.
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 8:24 AM | Stand for Israel
(Photo: Yad Vashem/BPK)
On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the death camp’s remaining survivors tell their stories. Yet The Jewish Daily Forward reports that the voice of an inanimate object – a violin – will also be heard as the Holocaust is remembered:
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A violin thrown some seventy years ago from a train transporting French Jews to the Nazi Auschwitz death camp will sound in the concert hall of the Berlin Philharmonic on Tuesday night, along with other instruments once played by victims of the Holocaust.
A French railwayman caught that unknown passenger’s violin and gave it to his daughter to play.
Years later it found its way into the hands of Israeli violin-maker and restorer Amnon Weinstein, whose extraordinary collection comprises violins embodying their former owners’ tragic histories and stories of survival.
Tuesday marks 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. Around 1.5 million people, mainly European Jews, were gassed, shot, hanged and burned at the camp in southern Poland during World War Two.
Tuesday’s concert will also feature one of Weinstein’s violins that had belonged to a member of Auschwitz’s prisoner orchestra.
The orchestra played while inmates were marched to work and to entertain guards. The ability to play often saved lives.
Like his violin-maker father Moshe, who was born in Vilnius but emigrated to Palestine, Amnon initially wanted to let his family history rest. Every relative that had remained in eastern Europe died in the Holocaust.
Then in the 1980s, a man walked into Amnon’s workshop who told him he had played his violin in Auschwitz. He hadn’t touched the instrument since, but wanted to pass it down to his grandson in good condition and gave it to Weinstein to restore …
Some of the violins which will also be played on Tuesday followed their former owners half away around the world through decades of homelessness and exile. The collection is known as the “Violins of Hope.”
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 at 1:57 PM | Stand For Israel
(Photo: Soren Kohse)
As further sanctions on Iran – due to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear aspirations – are debated and considered, the world must remember what’s at stake: the terrifying reality of a nuclear Iran. Writing at The Times of Israel, attorney and former delegate to the U.N. Jeff Robbins stresses how important it is that the U.S. stand firm against Iran:
This calls to mind President Obama’s most recent threat to veto a U.S. Senate bill with bipartisan support aimed at incentivizing Iran to end diplomatically the international threat posed by its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The bill, introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), provides for further sanctions if, after yet another six months of negotiations, Iran still refuses to reverse its nuclear program, as it has steadfastly refused to do over the course of the last year. It enables the president to waive these sanctions, as long as he certifies that continuing the talks “is likely to result in achieving a long-term comprehensive solution with Iran.”
Over the past year, the Obama administration has eased sanctions on Iran and repeatedly threatened to veto legislation that would reinstitute the sanctions if Iran continues to refuse a nuclear deal, at times accusing the bill’s supporters of wanting a war. While giving the president a full year of the “space” he said he needed to negotiate has produced no agreement, the easing of sanctions has handed Iran significant improvements in its economy, thereby reducing any pressure Iran may have felt to make a deal.
It was Obama who derided the idea of sanctions on Iran as “Bush-Lite” during the 2008 presidential campaign, and who sought to block Congress from enacting sanctions after he was elected. He now acknowledges that it was the very sanctions he opposed that are responsible for persuading Iran to negotiate — but he makes the head-scratching argument that if Iran knows the sanctions will be strengthened if it continues to dither, it will break off negotiations …
With the specter of…
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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 at 11:22 AM | Stand for Israel
(Photo: wikicommons/ C.Puisney)
Today, January 27, marks Holocaust Remembrance Day around the world, as well as the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps. With each anniversary, fewer and fewer survivors remain to remind the world of the Holocaust. In a compelling piece, The Washington Post gives some of these remaining survivors a voice, two of which we share below:
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There are fewer and fewer of those who still remember.
The Soviet army entered Auschwitz — the network of extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland — on Jan. 27, 1945, liberating the most notorious site of the Holocaust. In the decades since, groups of survivors have gathered to honor that day — including an annual remembrance at Auschwitz itself. This year, they mark the 70th anniversary of liberation on Tuesday — a day that, for a significant portion of remaining survivors, may be the last major remembrance of their lifetimes. The numbers themselves tell the story.
A decade ago, 1,500 survivors traveled to Auschwitz in southern Poland to mark the 60th anniversary. This year, organizers are expecting 300 or so. “This is the last big one for many of the survivors … By the time we reach the 75th anniversary, there may be almost no survivors left. But they are coming now, because they want to bear witness, to stand there and say, ‘we outlasted Hitler. We made it.’”
The survivors partly carry a legacy of horror, memories of the brutality of a labor prison that, by September of 1941, became an assembly line of death where more than 1 million would perish at the hands of the Third Reich …
The survivors carry another legacy as well, one even more relevant: The power of human will to persevere …
There are few people alive today who can recall the ominous grin of the notorious “Angel of Death,” Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Marta Wise is one of them. (more…)
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 at 8:47 AM | Stand for Israel
Since an airstrike that targeted Hezbollah terrorists and Iranian operatives over a week ago, Israel’s enemies have been vowing to attack the Jewish state. The Jerusalem Post reports that two rockets were fired into the Golan Heights from Syria today, and that the IDF directed artillery fire at the source of the attacks:
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Two projectiles fired from Syria landed in the Golan Heights on Tuesday. The IDF returned artillery fire toward the source of the projectiles. The army said that it scored a direct strike against the source of enemy fire.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the attack.
Rocket alert sirens were sounded in the area prior to the attack. The rockets fell in the Mount Hermon area and in Merom Golan.
The IDF was clearing the Mount Hermon ski resort area of visitors in the aftermath of the attack.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but it comes just nine days after a strike on a Hezbollah convoy in Syria which has been widely attributed to Israel.
Six Hezbollah operatives were killed in the strike, along with six Iranians, including a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards general. Among the Hezbollah operatives killed in the strike was Jihad Mougniyeh, the son of Hezbollah’s former military leader, Imad Moughniyeh.
Iran and Hezbollah have both vowed to retaliate for the strike.
Since the alleged Israeli air strike, the IDF has increased its presence in northern communities as part of a measure to boost defenses around civilian areas ahead of a potential Hezbollah attack.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 at 8:31 AM | Stand for Israel
As the world commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day today, the stories of the few remaining survivors of this – the darkest chapter in history – need to be remembered, need to be told. Yediot Achronot brings us one such story – of two men, one a prisoner of Dachau concentration camp and the other the American soldier who liberated him, who were reunited seven decades after their first encounter:
Nearly 70 years after Holocaust survivor Joshua Kaufman was reunited with Daniel Gillepsie, the US soldier who rescued him from the hell he endured at the hands of the Nazis.
The men had no idea they lived within an hour’s drive of each other until a German documentary crew arranged their meeting …
Gillepsie entered the Dachau concentration camp in Germany on April 29, 1945. The first human being he saw was Kaufman, a Hungarian Jew. Kaufman was hiding in the camp latrines with other prisoners, unsure of whether they were about to be liberated by the Allies or murdered by retreating Nazis.
“When the Americans smashed in the door my heart did somersaults,” Kaufman recalled. Gillepsie helped the skeletal man outside before they parted, assuming they would never see each other again.
Kaufman moved to Israel and fought in the Six Day War and Yom Kippur War, later moving to the United States, where he married and had three daughters. He worked as a self-employed plumber. Gillepsie returned to the US and had eight children, working as a salesman.
When the pair met again after so many decades, Kaufman, now 87, saluted his savior, kissed his hands, and fell to his feet, exclaiming: ‘I have wanted to do this for 70 years. I love you, I love you so much…’.
Accompanied by his youngest daughter Alexandra, 34, to the meeting, he said:”I came out of hell into the light. For that, and to him, I am eternally grateful.”
Gillespie asked Kaufman: ‘How did you survive? What kept you alive?’
Kaufman replied: ‘Dying would have been easier. In Dachau…
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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 at 8:19 AM | Stand for Israel
(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)
Canada has given the Palestinian Authority over 700 million dollars in aid over the past ten years. So how was Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird welcomed during his visit to the West Bank last week? By Palestinians pelting his vehicle with eggs and shoes, holding signs reading “You are not welcome in Palestine,” and shouting insults at the Canadian diplomat.
The Palestinians are angry at Canada for having the common sense and moral integrity to vote down last month’s unilateral attempt to gain statehood through the U.N. Security Council. And when the Palestinian Authority joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) two weeks ago – where they are currently submitting charges against Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity – Canada was one of the first nations to condemn the move.
Over the years – and especially under Stephen Harper’s leadership – Canada has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies. Yet they have gone to great measures not to turn their backs on the Palestinians or the prospect for peace.
While other democratic countries, especially those in Europe, have taken up the Palestinian cause to try and win favor with Arab countries, Canada has stood firmly on the side of truth, on the side of morality, and on the side of genuine peace – the side on which Israel stands and has always stood.
To win favor with Palestinians, it is not enough to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into projects aimed at improving their lives… their leadership’s attempts to strip Israel of its legitimacy and right to self-defense must be supported, as well. Canada – which supports a two-state solution, but demands the Palestinians offer peace in return for land, and not more intensified violence – is seen as the enemy.
After twenty years of “peace talks,” tens of billions of dollars in foreign aid, countless Israeli concessions and unilateral land withdrawals, the Palestinian public is even more radicalized and opposed to peace than they were before the whole peace process began.
- Ami Farkas
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Monday, January 26th, 2015 at 1:21 PM | Stand for Israel
Last week’s stabbing attack aboard a Tel Aviv bus brought terror back to Israel. But the attack also showed the Jewish state and her people’s resilience and strength even during the hardest of times. A fine example of this is found in The Times of Israel - a volunteer paramedic’s account of the attack:
7:00 am, first call of the morning: mass casualties on ____, near the ____ bridge. We arrive at a chaotic scene, suffused with blood and terror, reverberating with the screams of horrified bystanders and moans of the afflicted.The instructors at Magen David Adom tell you that this is a possibility, that working on an ambulance is potentially dangerous, and despite your best efforts, nothing can prepare you for the inevitable confrontation with tragedy.
We are instructed by the highest ranking paramedic on the scene that we are immediately needed to assist a woman suffering from a hemothorax (sucking-bloody chest wound) lying on the pavement in the parking area located in the rear — an apparent stab wound to the chest.
Although she is bleeding profusely, she is conscious and able to communicate. I am surprisingly calm, my mind somehow putting the situation into context, which allows me not to panic. Oxygen is administered and we get her into an Advanced Life Support vehicle (נ׳׳תן), sirens blazing as it speeds away. As we return to our ambulance, a Basic Life Support vehicle (לבן), we discover another person, critically injured, waiting for us inside. I am instructed to get in the back of the vehicle with the victim as the driver starts the car. Today is only my fourth shift on the job …
“Where is she injured?!” The driver asks in Hebrew. She too is conscious but bleeding at an alarming rate, half the ambulance floor is now covered in blood, yet I don’t see any wounds.
Now I panic. My heart is beating so fast I can taste its tissue on my tongue. I am alone with a critically injured patient and I don’t…
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Monday, January 26th, 2015 at 8:51 AM | Stand for Israel