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So far, the fighting near the Israeli-Syrian border has been between Syria’s military and the al-Nusra terror forces. But now The Times of Israel’s Elhanan Miller reports that the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) is creeping into the Golan Heights near Israel’s border:
The Islamic State terror group is operating sleeper cells in southern Syria near the border with Israel, a spokesman for the opposition’s Free Syrian Army charged Sunday.
The spokesman, speaking to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to communicate with Israeli media, said that some of the 6,000 Islamist fighters who fled southward toward the borders with Israel and Jordan in July actually belong to the Islamic State, not to the less extreme Nusra Front as previously believed …
“There are sleeper cells in the south, which are hidden. They don’t do anything [military] at all,” the spokesman said of IS. “Many people [in the moderate Syrian opposition] are following them and will strike at them before they organize.”
According to the intelligence agency of the Free Syrian Army, Islamic State activists would approach individuals in the area, offering them basic food staples or financial aid.
“They say: ‘Stay at home, no one will know about you. The moment we need you, we’ll call.’” The spokesman said that many locals refused the IS overtures, but that could change given the region’s grave poverty.
Prices have skyrocketed recently, he added, with a liter of diesel fuel costing $15, for example.
Two villages where IS representatives made such proposals are Hayt and Sahem Al-Jawlan, near the Syrian-Jordanian border, the spokesman said.
“They were sent by the Islamic State to control the largest portion of land possible,” he said. “We are against them wholeheartedly. They have nothing to do with Islam, which they merely use as a cover.”
Eyal Zisser, an expert on Syria at Tel Aviv University, said he was unaware of the IS presence in southern Syria, but was not surprised by…Read More » Comments (1) »
Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 10:28 AM | Stand for Israel
We here at Stand for Israel make it a point not to let the tragedy of the Holocaust be forgotten. One of the voices that has raised the world’s awareness of this horrific chapter in history is that of the teenage diarist, Anne Frank. The Times of Israel’s Matt Lebovic provides this sobering account of Anne’s short life after her family was discovered, detained, and deported to concentration camps – a sad account of one of millions who perished, but who helped others until the end, and whose voice lives on:
Though documented by many witnesses, Anne Frank’s last months are rarely probed by teachers, filmmakers or others seeking to make the diarist’s voice relevant …
Seventy years ago this month, Frank and her Secret Annex co-fugitives arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau in a sealed cattle car. Theirs had been the last deportation train from the Netherlands’ Westerbork transit camp, after two years of weekly “transports” brought 100,000 Dutch Jews to the death factories.
For decades, the public knew almost nothing about Frank’s post-capture experience, except that she died with her sister Margot at a place called Bergen-Belsen …
“When [Anne] was in hiding, which was a very unhealthy situation, her mother was someone against whom she rebelled,” Evers-Emden said in her interview. “But in the camp, all of that actually completely fell away. By giving each other mutual support, they were able to keep each other alive – although no one can fight typhus,” she added.
As the Russian army advanced into Poland during October, many of the camp’s 39,000 women prisoners – Anne and Margot among them – were transported west to Germany. Having been forced to stay behind, Edith Frank died of exhaustion and grief in early 1945 …
Earlier that winter, with just weeks to live, the Frank sisters helped Brandes-Brilleslijper and other women take care of a large group of Dutch “mixed race” children placed in the camp. With Allied victory a near certainty, authorities found it…Read More » Comments (0) »
Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 10:08 AM | Stand for Israel
The world is now focused on stopping the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), and the media – as it so often does – has forgotten the war against terrorists, Operation Protective Edge, that only just finished. Now, the Associated Press is reporting that Hamas has admitted to war crimes during that conflict – war crimes that those who stand for Israel knew about all along – and Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin worries that the world won’t take notice:
But perhaps some of those who pooh-poohed Israel’s claims that Hamas was firing rockets at Israeli cities from civilian areas and thereby using the people of Gaza as human shields will pay a smidgeon of attention to the news that, as the Associated Press reported today, Hamas operatives admit that they did exactly what the Israelis said they did.
According to the AP, contrary to the claims of its defenders, Hamas operatives have admitted firing rockets from civilian areas in Gaza …
Hamas figures quoted by the AP contend that it was impossible for them to fire missiles without being in the vicinity of civilians because the strip is so congested. There are two answers to this argument.
One is to point out that, despite the contentions about Gaza being the most congested place on earth, that there are, plenty of vacant areas in the strip. Parts of Gaza are crowded but it is not one continuous urban jungle. If Hamas really wanted to avoid Israeli fire being brought down on areas where civilians lived they could have used such places. But, firing from beaches or open fields doesn’t provide the cover that hospitals, mosques or school courtyards give the terrorists.
More to the point, if the only places they shoot missiles that are deliberately aimed to cause the maximum civilian casualties for the Israelis are an urban area, and then a group that was not a pack of bloodthirsty terrorists would have held its fire. Hamas did not.
These admissions prove again, as if much more…Read More » Comments (5) »
Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 8:32 AM | Stand for Israel
As the United States and other nations battle the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), it isn’t the only group threatening to terrorize the free world. While many ignore Hamas, and others champion them, it is heartening to know that some leaders still realize the terrorist threat that they are. In a speech on Thursday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not only called them what they are – a terrorist organization as bad as the one the U.S. is currently fighting – but pledged American support in Israel’s ongoing fight against Hamas:
But there is another evil organization in the world today that, like ISIS, has zero regard for humanity; they are kidnappers and executioners; they are violent extremists who murder innocent civilians; they are terrorists who cower behind women and children, using them as human shields; they are saboteurs of peace and provocateurs of bloody conflict who will not stop until their enemies are annihilated.
Once again, I’m not talking about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. I’m talking about Hamas. Hamas and ISIS are both vicious, corrupt, hateful, evil groups. And both are extreme. Yet, for some reason, Hamas’ brutality doesn’t elicit the same horror from the international community as ISIS. How can that be?
One of the few differences between these two terrorist organizations is that Hamas has a narrow, ghastly focus — the destruction of Israel. Consider its actions over the past several months:
Hamas raided its own limited supplies for housing and general infrastructure, intended to repair the destruction that occurred during the last conflict they initiated. But Hamas instead used the stolen materials to build tunnels to hide and infiltrate Israel — infiltrating to kill, maim, kidnap and murder the innocent. These depraved agitators launched thousands of rockets into Israel, hoping to inflict death and destruction. Their rockets had no aiming capabilities — they fired indiscriminately, not caring whether they hit a child,…Read More » Comments (9) »
Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 8:21 AM | Stand for Israel
While rocket-fire and terror attacks from Gaza have quieted for now, violence in Jerusalem continues to occur. Yediot Achronot reports that on Thursday evening, a Jewish family traveling to the Western Wall to attend an IDF ceremony was attacked by rioters:
A family from Ramat Gan narrowly escaped a lynch attempt on Thursday evening when they made a wrong turn and entered the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, where rioters threw a volley of rocks and bricks at the vehicle they were travelling in.
The family had been on their way to a swearing-in ceremony of the Golani Brigade at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Fortunately, the father was the only one to sustain injuries, which were minor. This past week, riots have been taking place in the Arab neighborhood after residents heard that a local youth had died of wounds suffered in a clash with Israeli police last week.
“I’m still in shock from the experience we just had, we were almost lynched,” Eti, the mother of the Cohen family said in tears on Friday, speaking with Ynet.
“We were miraculously saved. I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was cry hysterically, not believing that we’re home and that we’re fine. I saw the pictures and couldn’t believe we were there and that it happened to us,” she added.
We are thankful for God’s protection over this family, and pray for His peace over Jerusalem, the rest of Israel, and the world.Comments (11) »
Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 2:41 PM | Stand for Israel
I have seen something else under the sun (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
An IDF soldier and his partner, Herman, watch the sun set over the Holy Land they serve and protect. Shabbat shalom, friends.Comments (3) »
Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 1:22 PM | Stand for Israel
The Islamic State (IS or ISIS) uses military equipment it has seized during its spread across Iraq and Syria, much of it leftover American materiel. To pay for its “organization,” however, The Jerusalem Post reports that IS has many sources to fund its terrorist activities:
Comments (10) »
Months before they took control of the Iraqi city of Mosul in June, Islamic State militants were already busy collecting money to finance their campaign of setting up a 7th century-style caliphate …
“The tax system was well-organized. They took money from small merchants, petrol station owners, generator owners, small factories, big companies, even pharmacists and doctors,” said the shop owner who, out of frustration and fear, closed his store and is now trying to make a living as a taxi driver.
Learning from their previous incarnation as the Islamic State of Iraq, when they received money from foreign fighters, Islamic State has almost weaned itself off private funds from sympathetic individual donors in the Gulf. Such money flows have come under increased scrutiny from the US Treasury.
Instead the group has formalized a system of internal financing that includes an Islamic form of taxation, looting and most significantly, oil sales, to run their ‘state’ effectively.
This suggests it will be harder to cut the group’s access to the local funding that is fueling its control of territory and strengthening its threat to the Middle East and the West.
Nevertheless, financing from Gulf donors may prove more critical in months to come, if US President Barack Obama’s mission to “degrade and destroy” the group succeeds and the group loses territory and finds itself looking abroad for funds …
In the end, squeezing the group’s finances will involve a mixture of intelligence and force. Ending the group’s control of a given area using military might would remove its ability to raise local taxes, for example. Tracking smuggling routes or Gulf donors, in contrast, would involve local informants.
Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 8:46 AM | Stand for Israel
Yesterday we remembered the 2,977 victims of the September 11 attacks thirteen years ago. Yet we also must realize that threats remain, and that terrorist groups still wish to do harm to those who stand for good and for freedom. Veteran newsman Izzy Lemberg writes at the Times of Israel’s blog that the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), Hamas, and their ilk are part of a cult of death that only wishes to wage war:
When 29 year-old Medhi Nemmouche shot and killed four Jews in the Jewish Museum in Brussels last May 24th, we were horrified. But now we know that he had much worse in store. Nemmouche was about to become the next Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 masterminds. A member of the Islamic State, Nemmouche was planning a much larger attack on the Champs Elysees in Paris, on Bastille Day. The attack could have been a devastating version of 9/11 for the French.
The horrifying video footage of the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff (both carried out by a masked man dubbed “Jihadi John” by the British press, who speaks with a distinctive, clipped London accent) makes clear that the Islamic State and their Jihadi ideals are a cult of death. As are their Jihadi brethren, Hamas.
While journalists and Western public opinion were not yet over being outraged by the alleged civilian death toll in the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Hamas lived it up, with wild victory celebrations in which children were given candy and posed with guns. For the press, the Islamic State and Hamas are in different categories, but in practice they are the same. The celebrations in Gaza revealed the mindset of Hamas, who do not mourn as much as they glorify death. Much like the Islamic State.
Despite their collective fantasy, Hamas clearly did not win the war in Gaza. Their real victory, however, was unleashing an international anti-Semitic tsunami, fueled…Read More » Comments (7) »
Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Stand for Israel
On Wednesday, President Obama presented his plans on forming a broad coalition with U.S. allies to dismantle the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL). Israel is not part of the coalition yet, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to meet with the President in Washington after the High Holy Days.
Also this week in Israel in the News:
· U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has traveled to the Middle East to discuss the threat from ISIS with leaders there.
· A hostage who was held with Steven Sotloff, the American-Israeli journalist killed last week by ISIS, has identified one of his captors as Mehdi Nemmouche, the man accused of killing four in the Brussels Jewish museum shooting last May.
· In Ukraine, the ceasefire is holding as Russia removes troops from the country. Ukraine’s president is optimistic that the country can move forward.
· Thursday marked the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Israel was among the many nations honoring the victims killed in those multiple attacks.
This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Yael Eckstein on the lingering scars of the recent war with Hamas.
Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 8:14 AM | Stand for Israel
Thirteen years ago, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 claimed 2,977 victims. But the first victim on September 11, 2001, was an ex-IDF soldier who was a passenger aboard Flight 11. Tablet’s Liel Leibovitz provides this look at Danny Lewin, whose fascinating life ended with him acting as so many did that tragic day – heroically:
By most accounts, Danny Lewin was the first victim of 9/11. Seated in seat 9B aboard American Airlines flight 11, he saw Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari, sitting just in front of him, rise and make their way to the cockpit. According to calls from flight attendants to air traffic officials, later documented in the 9/11 Commission’s report, Lewin wasted no time in acting. Having served as an officer in Sayeret Matkal, the Israel Defense Forces’ top unit, he moved to tackle the terrorists. The man in 10B, Satam al-Suqami, moved, too, producing a knife and slitting Lewin’s throat. Less than 30 minutes later, at 8:46 a.m., the plane crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower.
Elsewhere, in America and all over the world, people desperate for accurate information turned to the Internet for news. Straining under the overwhelming demand of tens of millions of simultaneous requests, the web’s biggest news sites threatened to collapse. Very few did, thanks in large part to the technology that Lewin himself had developed years earlier: Although only 31 at the time of his murder, he was the co-founder of Akamai, a pioneering technology company whose content routing solutions enable the seamless flow of nearly 20 percent of the web’s traffic.
As a terrific new biography of Lewin—No Better Time, by Molly Knight Raskin, released this week—demonstrates, the tenacity that the young entrepreneur displayed in his last moments was the same intense force that propelled him to tech titanhood. Born in Denver, he moved to Israel with his parents at 14 and quickly found high school insufficiently stimulating. Frequently keeping just one step ahead of the truancy officer, he skipped classes to…Read More » Comments (7) »
Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Stand for Israel