Photo Friday: Precious in the Sight of the Lord

(Photo: flickr/ healinglight)

(Photo: flickr/ healinglight)

Precious in the sight of the LORD
    is the death of his faithful servants. (Psalm 116:15)

As brave IDF soldiers have laid down their lives this week in the service of Israel and her people, many now join the fallen warriors laid to rest at the military cemetery at Mount Herzl. They are all precious in His sight. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 2:19 PM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas Attack on Rosh Hashanah Planned Through Gaza Terror Tunnels

(Photo: ASHERNET/IDF)

(Photo: ASHERNET/IDF)

As we reported in today’s Daily Dispatch, Hamas has spent many years, hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete, and millions of dollars building its extensive system of terror tunnels. Now, Israeli security sources are saying that the IDF’s discovery of some of the tunnels has thwarted a large terror attack Hamas had planned for Rosh Hashanah:

Hamas had apparently been preparing a murderous assault on Israeli civilian targets for the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which begins on September 24, according anonymous sources in the Israeli security services, as reported today by the Israeli daily Maariv.

The Hamas plan consisted of what was to be a surprise attack in which 200 fighters would be dispatched through each of dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel, and seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians.

Israeli soldiers already frustrated a surprise assault by Hamas through one tunnel from Gaza into the Eshkol district of Israel on July 19. The Hamas fighters escaped back into the tunnel, but the clash cost the lives of two Israel Defense Force [IDF] troops.

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Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 9:48 AM  | Stand For Israel

Some Concrete Facts About Hamas

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

As the IDF continues Operation Protective Edge – finding and destroying Hamas’ massive system of tunnels used for smuggling weapons into Gaza and sneaking terrorists into Israel – Liel Leibovitz brings us an informative piece at Tablet that not only puts into perspective how the terrorist organization created these tunnels (using 800,000 tons of concrete) but why they did so:

What else might that much concrete build? Erecting Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, required 110,000 tons of concrete. Hamas, then, could’ve treated itself to seven such monstrosities and still had a few tens of thousands of tons to spare. If it wanted to build kindergartens equipped with bomb shelters, like Israel has built for the besieged citizens of Sderot, for example—after all, noted military strategists like Jon Stewart have spent last week proclaiming that Gaza’s citizens had nowhere to hide from Israel’s artillery—Hamas could have used its leftovers to whip up about two that were each as big as Giants Stadium. And that’s just 18 tunnels. Egypt, on its end, recently claimed to have destroyed an additional 1,370. That’s a lot of concrete …

So, where did Hamas get all that concrete? Most of it came from you and your government. Hamas got its hands on the supplies it needed to build the tunnels after it pleaded with the international community last year to help redeem Gaza from the throes of a humanitarian crisis, caused by the fact that both Israel and Egypt closed their borders to Gaza, because both countries grew tired of having their soldiers and citizens murdered by terrorists. Needless to say, Israel’s concerns about how the concrete would be used were universally derided in the West as inflicting cruel and needless suffering on the people of Gaza—who, needless to say, didn’t receive any of the concrete for their own use. The priorities of Ismail Haniyeh’s government were crystal clear—to use all resources at their disposal to launch another war with Israel …

Hamas isn’t here to talk or build…

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Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 8:54 AM  | Stand For Israel

The U.N. Human Wrongs Council

(Photo: wikipedia)

(Photo: wikipedia)

The United Nations is at it once again. This week we’ve reported on the rockets found in U.N.-operated schools in Gaza, and the U.N.’s giving of said rockets back to Hamas. And yesterday we told you about the U.N. Human Rights Council voting for a resolution to investigate Israel for its actions during the current Operation Protective Edge. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams, always an intelligent voice of reason, writes at Israel Hayom that this is an unfair resolution and that the U.S. – even as it was the one vote for Israel – should not be part of such a council:

This is a biased, one-sided, mendacious resolution. The word “Hamas” is not mentioned. The firing of thousands of rockets into Israel is not mentioned. The massive system of attack tunnels through which Hamas terrorists have entered Israel is not mentioned. The fact that Hamas hides weapons in U.N. schools is not mentioned …

The United States erred in joining up in 2009, and the returns are in. The experiment failed. Until the council stops its biased and one-sided actions, and stops throwing fuel on the flames in the Middle East, we should disengage. Council members such as China, Cuba, and Russia (yes, all three are, amazingly enough, members) will not recognize moral clarity, but very many Americans will.

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Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 8:41 AM  | Stand For Israel

Operation Protective Edge Continues as U.N. Calls for Ceasefire

iitnOperation Protective Edge entered its third week with Hamas continuing to hide military assets in mosques, schools, and homes, causing hundreds of civilian casualties. Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council is considering a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and for Israel to withdraw its forces from Gaza.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

  • Thousands of Israelis gathered this week to honor fallen IDF “Lone Soldiers,” who are among the more than 30 IDF soldiers killed in the conflict so far.
  • The U.N. Human Rights Council is calling for an investigation into alleged human rights violations committed by Israel — a move that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls “a travesty.”
  • Iran has the most to gain from Hamas’ improved weaponry, which is keeping Israel from focusing on its nuclear weapons program.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein, who is currently in the U.S. raising support for Israel. Yael shares her heart in this eyewitness account.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 3:58 PM  | betsy.schmitt@ifcj.org

A Citizen Among Citizens: Shimon Peres’ Farewell Speech

(Photo: wikicommons/ David Shankbone)

(Photo: wikicommons/ David Shankbone)

As Operation Protective Edge continues to take a toll on Israel and her people, it was at a modest ceremony today where Reuven Rivlin took office as the tenth President of Israel. Rivlin called outgoing President Shimon Peres “the shepherd of our hopes, and the poet of a vision,” and Peres delivered a heartfelt farewell speech to the people he has so faithfully served:

It is a great privilege to be a citizen among citizens who know toil and struggle. Who made a supreme effort and carried determined hope until the first dew of our dawn.

We returned. We built. We fought. We prayed. Until we began to see contours that even surprised us. We are an ancient people who are getting older. We are a people, first and foremost, that rebuilds itself time and again.

Israel was born as a precedent and created precedents. Despite being small in number among the nations, our people carried a faith as great as any. The first to rebel against prejudice was Moses.

A nation that rebelled against Pharaoh. That smashed idols. That shattered illusions. A nation that walked through the desert to reach its home, its destiny.

We climbed the mountains and came down with the tablets, with the Ten Commandments which became the foundations upon which our nation was built and which were adopted by Western civilization.

We continue and will continue with this great legacy. There are still idols to be smashed, slaves to free, lives to save and justice to uphold. There is still a world to fix.

Even if we remain the minority among the nations. Even if we serve as a target for evil – we will not deviate from our moral heritage.

We are thankful to President Peres for his loyal service, and ask God to guide President Rivlin during trying times such as these, as well as in times of peace.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 3:30 PM  | Stand For Israel

Why Nobody But the U.S. Voted Against the U.N.’s Anti-Israel Resolution

(Photo: wikicommons/ russavia)

(Photo: wikicommons/ russavia)

Yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution that condemned what it calls “the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations,” and called for an inquiry committee to investigate Israel’s actions during the current Operation Protective Edge. Writing at The Times of Israel, Raphael Ahren looks at the U.N.’s continued bias against the Jewish state, as well as the fact that the United States was the lone nation to stand for Israel:

Only the United States voted against the resolution. Twenty-nine nations voted in favor, among them not only the usual suspects such as Saudi Arabia, Algeria and South Africa, but also some ostensible friends of Israel, including Russia, Kenya, India and Mexico.

Equally hurtful for Israel, if not more so, were the abstentions of the eight European Union member states who had the right to vote: Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom …

The resolution does not mention Hamas once.

For Israel, the vote was another heavy slap in the face. Because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hesitated before launching the Gaza campaign and accepted several ceasefire offers, officials were sure of the international community’s (relative) support for Operation Protective Edge. But statements reiterating Israel’s right to defend itself are apparently no guarantee of supportive votes at the UN.

“It’s a travesty of justice; it’s a travesty of fairness; it’s a travesty of common sense; it’s a travesty of truth,” Netanyahu said Thursday …

Let us be thankful that Israel still has those who stand with them, and pray that God will continue to watch over the Holy Land and its friends.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 1:15 PM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: Ukrainian Prime Minister Resigns

(Photo: wikicommons/ RLuts)

(Photo: wikicommons/ RLuts)

Even as we’ve been working diligently to keep you up-to-date on all that is going on in Israel, the chaos and conflict in Ukraine has continued as well. As the fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists goes on, and as the tragedy of the downed Malaysian airliner over Ukraine is investigated, Fox News now reports that Ukraine’s prime minister is resigning:

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has announced his resignation, Fox News confirms.

Yatsenyuk made the announcement from the dais of Parliament after two parties said they would pull out of the governing coalition.

“I am announcing my resignation in connect with the collapse of the coalition,” Yatsenyuk said. He said Parliament could no longer do its work and pass necessary laws.

As you continue to lift up Israel and her people in your prayers, please also remember Ukraine – especially members of its Jewish community, who are threatened not just by the civil chaos but by rising anti-Semitism – as well.

Help us meet the needs of Ukraine’s Jewish community during this crisis.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 11:12 AM  | Stand For Israel

The International Media’s Sin

(Photo: flickr/ midwest2mideast)

(Photo: flickr/ midwest2mideast)

As Operation Protective Edge continues, much of the world’s media still seems focused on the wrong things. They focus on the casualties in Gaza, without assigning blame to Hamas for using the helpless as human shields and not allowing innocent civilians to flee from airstrikes directed at weapons stashes. They assign blame to Israel, without focusing on what the Jewish state has done to minimize casualties to civilians and to provide for those who have been caught in the conflict’s crossfire. Writing at Israel Hayom, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Dr. Michael Oren warns the international media against becoming partners with terrorists:

While journalists assume that they are helping the Palestinians by broadcasting their suffering and distress, they are really making them worse. They exempt Hamas from any accusation of using the population as a human shield and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for humanitarian aid to use to build bunkers for its leaders and dig tunnels whose only purpose is to murder innocent civilians. At the same time, Israel is expected to apologize for its defense systems and for not having civilian casualties. Rather than painting for the viewer the complicated picture in which both Israelis and Gazans are victims of the Hamas terror group, the media prefers a superficial discussion of East vs. West, colonialists vs. children, David vs. Goliath.

Beyond that, the most important role the foreign media is playing in Hamas’ strategy is to demoralize Israelis. Israel is prepared to pay a high operational price and even endanger Israeli soldiers to keep from harming innocent civilians in Gaza. However, Israel is portrayed by the media as the aggressor, without discrimination.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 8:37 AM  | Stand For Israel

Our Young Heroes

Funeral of Max Steinberg (Photo: ASHERNET)

Funeral of Max Steinberg (Photo: ASHERNET)

Two American warriors serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fell in battle this week as the IDF continued its effort to destroy Hamas’ ability to terrorize the Jewish state. Max Steinberg, 24, was born and raised in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, and served as a sharpshooter in the Golani Brigade. Sean Carmeli, 21, was from South Padre Island, Texas, and also served in the Golani Brigade.

Over the years, thousands of American volunteers have come to Israel to serve in the IDF. These admirable young men and women – unwilling to sit idly by while Israel fights for its survival – leave their tranquil American life to help defend the Jewish state against multiple enemies. My nephew, Noam, who was born and raised in Chicago, was one of these volunteers, and during his time in the IDF he served in the same unit as Max and Sean.

About 20,000 people attended the funeral service of Sean in the northern city of Haifa, while 30,000 paid tribute to Max as his family buried his body in Jerusalem’s military cemetery. These thousands of Israelis – most of whom did not know Max or Sean – paid their respects at these young men’s funerals, funerals that symbolized who the Jewish people are and how we deal with adversity and tragedy as a nation.

Israelis from every sector of society came in droves to show support and solidarity for our young heroes. And they came to say “thank you” to two young men who did not have to serve in the Israeli military, but who chose to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in order to fight side-by-side with their brothers and sisters in Israel.

It is unfortunate that we need such painful reminders of who we are, but in no other nation would tens of thousands of strangers  come together in such unity and love to honor a fallen solider.

More than anything else, God desires us to show such unity and love…

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 8:16 AM  | Stand For Israel
"informing, equipping and mobilizing individuals and churches to support the
State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
The Heartbreaking Reality
in Southern Israel

Yesterday I traveled to southern Israel to stand in solidarity with communities that are getting the brunt of the rocket fire…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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