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The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit. (Jonah 2:5-6)
IDF soldier Avi Ohayun looks out over the Holy Land he has sworn to protect.
Read how Avi went from being a troubled teen to a member of one of the IDF’s elite units, along with other miraculous stories.
And reflect this weekend on how God loves each one of us, despite our flaws and imperfections, and plans to use us — as He used Jonah — to do His good. Shabbat shalom, friends.Comments (0) »
Friday, December 6th, 2013 at 1:12 PM | Stand For Israel
Israeli politician, physician, and retired IDF general Ephraim Sneh writes in The Christian Science Monitor about the nuclear agreement with Iran and the harmful implications it will have on the Israel-Palestinian peace process:
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Without the Geneva deal in place, the U.S. administration might have been able to give the Israelis and Palestinians a bridging offer in early 2014. But now that this deal is signed, the U.S. may not have the moral authority to exert pressure on any Israeli government regarding an agreement with Palestinians.
Friday, December 6th, 2013 at 9:12 AM | Stand For Israel
While we are deeply saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela, we recognize that human beings are frail and not meant to live forever and we feel grateful that our world was able to benefit from 95 years of this great man’s presence.
The world will spend the next several days retelling Mandela’s story: one of a tiny number of black African lawyers educated in South Africa in the 1940s (he met and befriended future anti-Apartheid allies Harry Schwartz and Ruth First, both Jewish, during his time in law school), activist in the anti-Apartheid African National Congress, sent to prison in 1962 on Robben Island where he worked in the quarries for 20 years, released from prison in 1990, elected President of South Africa in the first open election in 1994, oversaw the reconciliation process between the races in his country. His story is extraordinary and, if you haven’t read his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, you should. He is among the greatest and most beloved world leaders of the 20th century.
There is much for us to learn from Mandela. This was a man jailed for 27 years – much of that time spent performing hard labor – for the crime of peacefully attempting to organize his people to demand equality under the law. He had every right to be embittered. He had every right to want revenge. He had every right to hate his persecutors. Yet Nelson Mandela wasn’t bitter or vengeful or hateful.
His example led South Africa out of the long nightmare of Apartheid and into a better future. Anyone who has followed South Africa over the past twenty years knows that things are hardly perfect; but the example of national reconciliation between the races – an example largely due to the policies and persona of Mandela – is a true wonder from which other peoples in conflict can learn.
Mandela decided that building was…Read More » Comments (4) »
Friday, December 6th, 2013 at 8:57 AM | Stand For Israel
A team of European negotiators are visiting Israel to discuss with officials there the recently brokered deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program. Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has told his country that they’ll never stop their enrichment program that they say is used for peaceful purposes.
Also this week in Israel in the News:
• Israeli officials continue to question the Iranian deal, pushing for clearer goals and enforcing the remaining sanctions against Iran.
• Israel has developed a new flight simulator that will bolster their resolve to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
• As the civil war continues in Syria, many children of Syrian refugees are forced to become their displaced families’ primary breadwinners.
• In Egypt, 21 women, supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, were recently sentenced to 11 years in prison for protesting.
This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Ami Farkas on Israel’s acceptance into a regional group of the United Nations.
Thursday, December 5th, 2013 at 5:00 PM | firstname.lastname@example.org
We mentioned earlier this week that although individual relationships between American and Israeli leaders have sometimes been strained, the U.S.-Israel bond runs deep.
Looking back at history, as we love to do here, we learn that America and its leaders displayed a love for and connection with the Jewish people, even during our country’s early years.
December 5th is the birthday of Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States. The first president who wasn’t of British descent (he grew up speaking Dutch, the only president whose first language wasn’t English) and also a man of small stature, Van Buren learned throughout his life to favor the underdog.
This desire to defend the downtrodden — and to do what was right — was exhibited during the Damascus Affair of 1840. The folks at Jewish Treats tell the story of how multiple Jews were wrongly accused of murdering a Christian clergyman in Damascus, Jewish children were seized in retaliation, and Jewish leaders worldwide took action. Petitioning the White House, these leaders were informed by the Secretary of State that Van Buren had already sent the following message:
“The President has directed me to instruct you to do everything in your power with … the Sultan … to prevent and mitigate these horrors…. The President is of the opinion that from no one can such generous endeavors proceed with so much propriety and effect, as from the Representative of a friendly power, whose institutions, political and civil, place on the same footing, the worshipers of God, of every faith and form, acknowledging no distinction between the Mahomedan, the Jew and the Christian.”
Let’s not only remember an oft-forgotten president’s birthday, but also be thankful for leaders who have stood by those in need and stood for what was right.Comments (2) »
Thursday, December 5th, 2013 at 10:35 AM | Stand For Israel
Former Israeli Foreign Ministry official and Hebrew University professor Shlomo Avineri writes that the recent agreement on Iran’s nuclear program must be seen in the context of an American presence on the international stage that appears to be in a self-imposed retreat and suffering from strategic myopia and a resurgent Russia:
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So, while the interim agreement may not be a replay of the Munich Agreement in 1938, as many critics contend, it may have set the stage for an even more combustible future. U.S. President Barack Obama may not be in office when the fire ignites, but if things do go terribly wrong, he may be remembered as another statesman who, like Neville Chamberlain, was blind to the consequences of his peaceful intentions.
Thursday, December 5th, 2013 at 9:10 AM | Stand For Israel
Mordechai Nisan, writing for The Middle East Quarterly, says in devastatingly clear language what we’ve printed many times — there is no peace process and, in all likelihood, never was one due to Palestinian rejection of the basic right of Jews to have a homeland of their own in their ancient land:
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Twenty years on, the two parties find themselves further apart despite years of diplomatic wrangling. It is thus past time to examine and invalidate the paradigm that has taken hold in the hope that a new and less sanguinary one will take root.
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 at 9:31 AM | Stand For Israel
With all of the news about Iran, we haven’t carried much news of the ongoing catastrophe in Syria. Fred Hiatt, the editor of the Washington Post Editorial Page, has put together a timeline that shows the conflict from spring of 2011 to the present – a conflict that has worsened and deepened and, recent U.N.-sanctioned peace talks notwithstanding, only shows signs of accelerating:
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Last Friday: The number of refugees has more than doubled again, to 2,272,722. Given their relative populations, this would be the equivalent of 32 million Americans having fled to Mexico and Canada.
About half of the refugees are children.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Stand For Israel