Photo Friday: Dance and Be Glad

(Photo: Olivier Fitoussi)

(Photo: Olivier Fitoussi)

Then young women will dance and be glad,
    young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
    I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. (Jeremiah 31:13)

Earlier this year, The Fellowship sponsored an event bringing together IDF lone soldiers and some of Israel’s elderly. It still brings us joy to see the gladness felt by these two groups we so cherish. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, October 31st, 2014 at 2:00 PM  | Stand For Israel

Standing Up to Intimidation

(Photo: flickr/ synnetonidas)

(Photo: flickr/ synnetonidas)

This week, amidst the East Jerusalem riots centered around the Temple Mount, a Jerusalem resident affiliated with the Islamic Jihad terrorist group tried to assassinate Rabbi Yehudah Glick in a horrific act of violence, singling out Glick for his religious and political beliefs and escalating the situation further. The Jerusalem Post writes that when violence is used to terrorize and bully a group into abdicating basic human rights, it becomes a threat to the foundations of democracy:

What makes this crime all the more tragic was the fact that Glick, who is a vocal activist for the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, is also a strong defender of Muslims’ right to freedom of religious expression on what they call Haram a-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary. Unlike some proponents of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount who call to destroy Muslim houses of prayer and replace them with a rebuilt Jewish Temple, Glick advocates joint Jewish-Muslim prayers on the site that is so sacred to both religions. …

The socioeconomic plight of Jerusalem’s Arabs is sometimes cited as the cause of violence, as is the “incitement” of Jews such as Glick who dare to demand to visit the Temple Mount, the holiest place on the earth for Jewish believers.

We must disabuse ourselves of the idea that innocuous acts such as Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount are the trigger for Muslim rioting, stone-throwing, destruction and murder. Rather the Arabs who commit these offenses choose to lash out against Jews in order to intimidate them into ceding their rights. And this violent behavior does nothing to improve the socioeconomic situation of Jerusalem’s Arabs, it only deepens the rift between Jews and Arabs.

Permitting Jews – or members of any other religion for that matter – to visit the Temple Mount and even pray there should be a religious freedom that is carefully protected by a democracy. Many brave men and women have given their lives for this freedom and others, which we often take for granted. Caving in to the demands of militant Muslims out of a desire…

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Friday, October 31st, 2014 at 8:48 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Twisted Appeal of ISIS

(Photo: wikicommons/ Monotheist)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Monotheist)

Last week, we brought you Lee Smith’s look at the Islamic State (IS or ISIS)’s draw for Europe’s young people. As evil and crazy and anarchic as these impulses may seem (and he doesn’t excuse them in the least), Michael J. Totten writes about why youth – and people in general – might make such twisted decisions:

Human beings are wired for struggle and strife. There will always be those who get bored with the tranquil and easy lives most of us have in advanced Western nations. I can relate to this a little bit myself. I had a dull office job before I ran off to places like Beirut and Baghdad. I certainly didn’t go there to fight or to kill anyone, but the sense of adventure was a massive antidote to feelings of ennui.

A French anarchist brilliantly articulated the most extreme version of this sentiment with a can of spray paint in Paris in 1968: “In a society that has abolished all adventure, the only adventure left is to abolish that society.”

Then there’s Anthony Loyd who moved from Britain to Bosnia during the Yugoslav war to resolve his emotional and substance abuse problems. “I had come to Bosnia partially as an adventure,” he wrote in his book My War Gone By, I Miss it So. “But after a while I got into the infinite death trip. I was not unhappy. Quite the opposite. I was delighted with most of what the war had offered me: chicks, kicks, cash and chaos; teenage punk dreams turned real and wreathed in gunsmoke.”

Don’t discount this sort of impulse. You may not be able to relate to it at all, but it’s real. War is hell–that’s for damn sure–but it’s also an incredible antitode to alienation and boredom.

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Friday, October 31st, 2014 at 8:17 AM  | Stand For Israel

U.S.-Israel Relations Called a “Crisis That Must Be Fixed”

iitnWhile the U.S. has historically been Israel’s closest ally, the Israeli press is reporting that the relationship has soured in recent weeks — enough so that Israel’s finance minister is calling it a “crisis that must be fixed.” The rift is growing wider as U.S. officials are denouncing Israel’s plans to expand construction in East Jerusalem.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• After recent attacks in Canada and the U.S., there is a growing concern among both governments of “lone wolf terrorists” who already live in their countries.
• Pro-Russian rebels plan their own elections after Ukrainian citizens elected a pro-Western parliament.
• An Israeli citizen was killed fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Ami Farkas on the Palestinian Authority’s recent law banning sale and rental of property to its enemies.

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Thursday, October 30th, 2014 at 5:00 PM  | Stand for Israel

Hezbollah Facing Attacks in Syria and at Home

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Operation Protective Edge saw the IDF put a dent in Hamas’ terrorist capabilities. But Israel is all too aware that it has other enemies who wish to do her harm. One of these threats is the terrorist group Hezbollah, though The Washington Post’s Hugh Naylor reports that the Lebanese terror group is not as mighty as it once was:

Hezbollah has won grudging respect, even from some foes, for its tenacious guerrilla campaigns against Israel. But now Lebanon’s most powerful military organization is losing its aura of invincibility.

Tactics that the Shiite group has used against Israeli soldiers are being inflicted on its own forces­ by militants from the Islamic State and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, which have carved out footholds in Lebanon along the porous Syria border.

The growing number of attacks and kidnappings by the Sunni militants represent the opening of yet another military front for Hezbollah. It already has thousands of troops deployed in Syria to bolster President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, while still more are facing Israel in southern Lebanon.

“Hezbollah is spread thin. They are waging so many battles and are positioned on so many fronts,” said Imad Salamey, associate professor of political science at the Beirut-based Lebanese American University.

Classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union, Hezbollah was created in the turmoil following Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The militant group forced Israel to end its occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000 and inflicted a heavy blow on Israel during a 34-day war in 2006. Hezbollah’s forces­ are better armed than Lebanon’s army, which plays a subordinate role.

Hezbollah also developed expansive charitable networks and a political movement that exerts considerable influence over the country’s parliament.

The group owes its power, in part, to an ample supply of weapons from the Iranian and Syrian governments, which form an anti-Western axis that allows Tehran to project influence to the Mediterranean and Israel’s borders. The weapons are largely funneled through Syria.

So when Assad’s forces­ started sustaining serious defeats…

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Thursday, October 30th, 2014 at 3:14 PM  | Stand For Israel

Fatah Calls for “Day of Rage” in Jerusalem on Friday

(Photo: flickr/ synnetonidas)

(Photo: flickr/ synnetonidas)

In today’s Daily Dispatch, we noted that Mahmoud Abbas declared that the closing of the Temple Mount – due to heavy Palestinian rioting in Jerusalem – was a “declaration of war.” Now The Times of Israel reports that Abbas’ Fatah party has called for a “day of rage” on Friday:

Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called for a “day of rage” Friday in the defense of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, after Israel closed the site Thursday amid continuing East Jerusalem riots and after the attempted assassination of a right-wing activist.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported the call to action on Thursday.

“Fatah calls to its fighters and to the masses of the Palestinian people to aid the Al-Aqsa Mosque and occupied Jerusalem,” Fatah said in an announcement that was translated into English by Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch.

Israel has since announced it would reopen the site for Friday prayers.

WAFA also reported that the Fatah Mobilization and Organization Commission had “called to set tomorrow as a day of rage throughout the homeland and in countries which are home to refugees, to express the Palestinian people’s opposition to any attack on the holy places and foremost among them the Al-Aqsa Mosque… And to consider desecration of Al-Aqsa as a declaration of a religious war against the Palestinian people and the Arab Islamic nations.”

The declaration came after Israeli police closed the compound early Thursday out of fear of clashes in the wake of the shooting the night before of Yehudah Glick, a right-wing activist who campaigns for Jewish access to the site, and as Israeli right-wing groups vowed to march on the Temple Mount.

Glick was left in serious but stable condition at Shaare Zedek Medical Center after being shot by an assailant on a motorcycle Wednesday night as he left a conference entitled “Israel returns to the…

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Thursday, October 30th, 2014 at 2:21 PM  | Stand For Israel

Stop the Children’s Intifada!

(Photo: flickr/ rustystewart)

(Photo: flickr/ rustystewart)

Not only has the international media focused on blaming Israel for human-rights abuses, but they have ignored the actual and blatant violations acted out by Palestinians. Khaled Abu Toameh writes that what’s even worse, it is Palestinian children who are forced to carry out this violence against Israel:

Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian groups are using children from east Jerusalem and the West Bank in what appears to be a new intifada against Israel.

Nearly half of the Palestinians arrested by Jerusalem Police over the past few months are minors. Some of them are as young as nine.

These children are being sent to throw stones and firebombs, and launch fireworks at policemen and IDF soldiers, as well as at Israeli civilians and vehicles, including buses and the light rail in Jerusalem.

The exploitation of children in the fight against Israel has attracted little attention from the international community and media. Human rights groups and United Nations institutions have chosen to turn a blind eye to these human rights abuses.

Instead of condemning those who exploit the children and dispatch them to confront policemen and soldiers, these groups and institutions are busy denouncing Israel for targeting minors …

This is not the first time that Palestinian groups use children in the struggle against Israel. During the first intifada, which erupted in 1987, children and women were often at the forefront in clashes with Israeli security personnel.

This strategy works out well for Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Fatah. At the end of the day, they can always blame Israel for “deliberately” targeting Palestinian children and women — an allegation that the mainstream media in the West often endorses without asking questions.

Moreover, the Palestinian groups know that the children who are being sent to confront Israeli soldiers and policemen will not be held accountable …

Hamas and Fatah had long discovered that children are one of the most effective tools in the fight against Israel — especially because of the damage Israel sustains in the court of…

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Thursday, October 30th, 2014 at 8:09 AM  | Stand For Israel

Liberty and the Palestinian Authority

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

When it comes to human-rights violations, much of the attention of those of us who stand for and with Israel is on those blatant and horrific abuses at the hands of Hamas, or those of other, very visible terrorist groups like the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) or al-Qaeda. But former U.S. National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams reminds us that the Palestinian Authority are also quite proficient at curbing the lives and liberties of the people it supposedly represents:

Palestinian Authority officials have given thousands of speeches  over the years about removing the Israeli occupation, freeing Palestinians, self-government, and the like. But today –as in the days of Arafat– the PA itself is a threat to the liberty of the Palestinians it rules …

Even Human Rights Watch, whose bias against Israel is notorious, had to acknowledge basic facts about the PA:

Complaints of torture and ill-treatment by West Bank PA security services persisted….PA security services and men in civilian clothes identified as security employees violently dispersed peaceful protests and arbitrarily detained protesters and journalists….Palestinian courts did not find any West Bank security officers responsible for torture, arbitrary detention, or prior cases of unlawful deaths in custody.

Donors to the PA do not like to acknowledge and discuss these violation of human rights by the PA, because they do not fit into the usual narrative: Palestinians want and deserve self-government, but are denied it by Israel; the only problem for the cause of liberty is the Israeli occupation. Simple, but wrong: the PA itself is an increasingly repressive entity, with President Abbas abusing the powers of his office to fight political enemies (and protect corruption). This is not exactly news, but until it is recognized and fought by donors it will continue and expand. It’s ironic that all those groups, especially in Europe, who consider themselves champions of Palestinian rights wish only to condemn Israel– while they continue to ignore the threat to Palestinians that emerges from their own officials…

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Thursday, October 30th, 2014 at 8:09 AM  | Stand For Israel

Why Chloe Valdary Wants to Ignite a Zionist Renaissance

(Photo: Twitter)

(Photo: Twitter)

Several times in the past year, Stand for Israel has featured Chloe Valdary, a rising young voice in the world of pro-Israel advocacy. Now Tablet’s Isabel Fattal provides this great profile of the young Christian woman who’s standing for the Jewish state and the Jewish people:

When I asked the man next to me in a crowd of several hundred pro-Israel demonstrators outside the Time-Warner Center in New York if Chloe Valdary had spoken yet, I was met with immediate enthusiasm at the very mention of her name. “Chloe is amazing … so determined. We need more like her,” the man said. An hour later, Valdary headed to the platform dressed, as any 21-year-old might be, in jeans, gold hoop earrings, and pink-rimmed sunglasses. As soon as Valdary’s name was called, protesters turned to each other and murmured in excitement.

“Judea!” she shouted in greeting. Speaking in a slow, lyrical rhythm, Valdary emitted a type of love letter to the Jewish people. “You are the sons and daughters of former slaves in Egypt, of warrior poets, and kings who slayed giants, and queens filled with courage, and prophets and dreamers,” she proclaimed. “Rise, Zion, rise,” she declared in closing, and the crowd immediately began to chant her name.

While some of the enthusiasm surrounding Valdary’s activism might stem from her large and precocious talent as a public speaker and provocateur, it is often accompanied by a sense of bewilderment as to how an African-American Christian from New Orleans became a self-appointed defender of the Jewish people. Yet her journey is more organic than many realize, she explained to me, when we spent a day together recently in New York. After her father came to the conclusion that the New Testament could not exist without the Old Testament, she told me, her family left their Baptist church and began to incorporate the laws of the Old Testament into their religious outlook, finding fellow believers in this form of Christianity…

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Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 at 11:55 AM  | Stand For Israel

Anti-Semitism on the Temple Mount

(Photo: he.wikipedia/ אסף.צ)

(Photo: he.wikipedia/ אסף.צ)

In today’s Daily Dispatch we reported on a visit to the Temple Mount paid by P.A. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. During this time when tensions in the area are particularly high, Hamdallah said that “there will not be a Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital.” Writing at Israel Hayom, Zalman Shoval points out that, as opposed to how Israel has handled Jerusalem, Palestinians have been exclusionary and anti-Semitic when it comes to the Holy City and the Temple Mount:

Since 1967, all Israeli governments have employed balanced, carefully thought out policies on the Temple Mount in order to avoid any major conflicts with the Muslim world …

Israel agreed, despite the heart-breaking pain, to prohibit Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, and it granted, with certain limitations, autonomy to the Waqf to manage the area. Alongside that, it was promised that Jews, and people of other religions, had full rights to visit any part of the Temple Mount

However, while Israel has maintained its side of these agreements, the Palestinians have violated them almost since day one, both in their words and in their actions: From throwing stones and physically harassing groups of visitors, to using the front portion of the Temple Mount to attack Jews praying at the Western Wall below.

If in the beginning, these were thought to be sporadic actions, it later became more and more clear that the Palestinian political and religious leadership was behind the riots (with the help of Islamists among the Israeli Arab population, and yes, Arab MKs as well). The Palestinians, time has revealed, are not only against the agreement made in 1967, but are essentially against the right of the Jewish people to be in the place that has been most holy — both nationally and religiously — to them for all of history.

A clear expression of this sentiment can be found in the recent words of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who in his…

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Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 at 8:08 AM  | Stand For Israel

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

Rabbi's Commentary
Together in Hope, Courage, and Faith

Recent terror attacks against nations founded on principles of peace, democracy, and the value of human life have been carried out by those who find these godly principles troubling and threatening. But despite the constant threat, these biblical ideals assure us Who will win this war.


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