Obama and Netanyahu Meet at White House

(Photo: ASHERNET/Amos Ben Gershom)

(Photo: ASHERNET/Amos Ben Gershom)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House today and met with President Obama. The Times of Israel reports on what the two leaders discussed during this, their first meeting since Operation Protective Edge:

Referring to Netanyahu by his nickname “Bibi,” the president said their talks would focus on rebuilding Gaza and paths to Israeli-Palestinian peace. It would also cover the struggle against ISIS, and the Iranian nuclear program.

“It’s challenging, I think, for an Israeli prime minister to have to work so hard during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur,” Obama said. “But I know that the prime minister’s utmost priority is making sure that his country is safe during these difficult times, and we’re glad that the United States can be a partner in that process.”

Netanyahu struck a conciliatory tone before the gaggle of cameras and reporters, thanking Obama for his “unflinching support” of Israel, praising the “strong” US-Israel relationship, and saying he is committed to a two-state solution. That would require, he stressed, however, “mutual recognition” and “rock solid security arrangements on the ground.”

He praised Obama for approving new funding for Iron Dome — “which has saved so many lives” — at the height of the conflict. He also highlighted the “continuous bond of friendship.”

He also repeated his call for Arab involvement in the peace process.

Something was “changing in the Middle East” offering a new “commonality of interest between Israel and leading Arab states, and I think that we should work very hard together to seize on those common interests and build a positive program to advance a more secure, a more prosperous and a more peaceful Middle East. I remain committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples based on mutual recognition and rock solid security arrangements on the ground,” he said. The US and Israel should “think outside the box” and “see how we can recruit the Arab countries to advance this very hopeful agenda.”

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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 2:01 PM  | Stand for Israel

10 Dead When Ukrainian School and Bus Are Shelled

(Photo: youtube)

(Photo: youtube)

While the recent ceasefire in Ukraine has provided something of a respite for the nation’s Jewish communities and all others whose lives have been devastated by war, a tragic incident today shows that there is no real peace in the embattled region. Vice News reports that fighting in the city of Donetsk has resulted in the shelling of a school and bus, leaving 10 people dead:

At least 10 people were killed on Wednesday as fighting around Donetsk airport spilled into a nearby residential area, with shells hitting a local bus and a school playground in the north of the city.

The shells hit the playground in the Kyivskiy district on the first day of the school year in Donetsk, where the start of term had already been delayed by a month due to safety concerns over fighting in and around the city. No children were killed, but a parent, biology teacher, and rebel wearing military fatigues were among the dead, Reuters reported. Six bodies from the bus, which took a direct hit, were visible in the street, two inside the bus and four more on the sidewalk where emergency services battled to save the lives of the seriously wounded …

Wednesday’s violence comes more than three weeks into a supposed ceasefire that has long only existed on paper. Although officially the peace deal agreed by the warring parties on September 5 in Minsk is still holding, in practice it has been violated near daily ever since it was signed.

Violence is now escalating with heavy fights being reported in several flashpoint areas across the region including districts near Donetsk airport, as well as Debaltseve, Shchastya and Popasna.

On Monday alone heavy fighting in the vicinity of the airport killed seven Ukrainian soldiers and three civilians. A further 28 people were wounded.

The United Nations estimates that more than 3,000 people have been killed in fighting in east Ukraine since the conflict broke out in mid-April and up to 1 million people have been displaced.

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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 1:11 PM  | Stand for Israel

Watch: Rioters Attack Jerusalem Day Care Center on Mount of Olives

(Photo: Flickr/ IDF)

(Photo: Flickr/ IDF)

While the rocket attacks on Israel have ceased – for now – the Jewish state and its people are still experiencing many violent attacks. Arutz Sheva provides a disturbing video showing Arab rioters throwing rocks at Jewish children on the Mount of Olives:

Arab rioters hurling rocks, fireworks and molotov cocktails at a Jewish infant day care center on Ma’ale Hazeitim, the Jewish neighborhood on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, were caught on film on Tuesday in further testimony to the ongoing “silent intifada” in the capital.

The video, which was posted by Jerusalem Council Arieh King to his Facebook on Tuesday, shows four Arab criminals throwing various of projectiles with impunity for many long minutes from a protected nook on one of the rooftops, forcing infants to be rushed inside to bomb shelters.

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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 10:57 AM  | Stand for Israel

Human Shields Aren’t Rethinking Hamas

(Photo: IDF blog)

(Photo: IDF blog)

Yesterday Stand for Israel reported on a new poll that showed 80% of Palestinians support resumed rocket attacks against Israel. Writing at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin explains why these people – used by Hamas as human shields – still support the terror group:

In the aftermath of its disastrous 50-day war against Israel this past summer Hamas saw its popularity skyrocket with huge majorities in both Gaza and the West Bank telling pollsters that the Islamists “won” and that they supported their conduct. A month later, Palestinians have sobered up a bit. But the latest numbers paint a picture of a population that is still not ready for peace or anything that looks like it …

Palestinians continue to support Hamas firing more rockets at Israel if the blockade of Gaza is not lifted with 80 percent overall endorsing this position and 72 percent of Gazans also backing the proposition. Given that the only reason the blockade was imposed on Gaza to begin with was the Hamas coup with which the group seized power in 2007, this position sets up a circular argument. But far more shocking than that is the response to the question posed about whether they support Hamas firing rockets from populated areas.

While Hamas generally denies doing this, it is not exactly a secret that it does it so as to use civilians as human shields against possible Israeli counter-attacks aimed at silencing the rocket launchers. Nor are Palestinians unaware of the fact that this practice deliberately exposes them to death and destruction, a cynical tactic whose purpose is to get as many civilians killed as possible.

Yet the survey showed that a solid majority of Palestinians—57 percent—supported this slaughter …

Though enthusiasm for Hamas is not unanimous, it remains more popular than its Fatah rivals. Why? Because the unchanging dynamic of Palestinian politics is that whichever party spills the most Jewish blood will always have the upper hand. Since its inception a century ago, Palestinian Arab…

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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 8:49 AM  | Stand for Israel

Islamic State Using Human Shields

(Photo: flickr/ News Feed)

(Photo: flickr/ News Feed)

During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas once again resorted to its tactic of using Gaza’s civilians as human shields. They are not the only terrorist organization to do this, though. Writing at World Affairs Journal, Michael J. Totten says that the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) is using human shields in its fight against the U.S.-led coalition:

The Pentagon says Islamic State fighters in Syria are using human shields to protect themselves from American airstrikes. I can’t verify that claim, but it’s a little like saying the Islamists breathe oxygen. Of course they’re using human shields. It’s what terrorist armies in the Middle East do when facing a civilized enemy.

It wouldn’t accomplish squat against a war criminal like Bashar al-Assad. His regime would happily take out a thousand Sunni civilians to kill a single Islamist fighter. He’d see the thousand civilians as bonus points. But the West doesn’t fight like that and the Islamic State knows it …

The US cares more about the welfare of Sunni Muslims in Syria and Iraq than the Islamic State does—which is not likely to help the medieval head-choppers and crucifixion enthusiasts much in the hearts-and-minds department.

Hamas gets an almost-free pass for this gruesome behavior in Gaza, but that’s only because no one but Israelis and Palestinians fear Hamas might one day come after them. Dozens of countries are involved in the war against the Islamic State, including Arab countries, and the Islamic State is clearly at war with the entire human race, beginning with the very civilians it’s hiding behind.

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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 8:41 AM  | Stand for Israel

Poll: 80% of Palestinians Support Resumption of Rocket Fire Against Israel

(Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

(Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

After Operation Protective Edge, one would imagine Palestinians might think twice about launching rockets into Israel. However, The Algemeiner reports that a new report published this week instead shows that 80% of the Palestinians polled support resuming terrorist attacks against the Jewish state:

The poll, conducted in recent days among 1,200 respondents aged 18 and over, at 120 locations throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, presents a different picture than that obtained from a similar survey conducted immediately after Operation Protective Edge about a month ago

Eighty percent of respondents made ​​it clear they would support firing rockets and mortars at Israeli communities if Israel does not allow unfettered access to the coastal enclave. 57 percent of respondents also claimed that they supported launching rockets from populated areas in the Gaza Strip. However, the breakdown of this figure shows that most Gaza residents – 52 percent – oppose such a course of action, while in the West Bank that step has a clear majority: 62 percent …

Meanwhile, Hamas may be returning to self-production of rockets in Gaza, and has been testing out new models, by firing them out to sea, according to Israel Defense News.

A rocket was recently fired from the ruins of the former Jewish community of Netzerim, according to Monday’s report, the fifth such test since the end of Protective Edge on Aug. 26th.

As well, Hamas is seeking to restore hundreds of lathes used to construct rockets, according to the IDF; some 50 percent of them were destroyed during the fight, the army believes.

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 11:58 AM  | Stand For Israel

Netanyahu: Sounding the Alarm While Sounding Optimistic

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the U.N. General Assembly had a number of key points, two of which I will mention here. First, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and Iran – all Israel’s enemies – are born from the same ideology that drives ISIS and other al-Qaeda offshoots currently being fought by the West. Second, the 20-year-old template of peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) must be retired for now, since the P.A. has left no doubt that they are unready, uninterested, and unwilling to achieve peace with Israel.

The prime minister took an optimistic tone after ruling out peace talks with the Palestinians, however. In the face of radical forces threatening not only Israel but other Arab countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, the Jewish state, Netanyahu explained, should aim to foster relationships with these relatively moderate regimes. This, he argued, would serve as the necessary prerequisite for future peace talks with the Palestinians by creating an environment conducive to peace.

This formula of recognition as the first step towards Arab-Israeli peace goes in the opposite direction of all the peace proposals in the past twenty years, which have offered recognition of Israel by its Arab neighbors as a reward to Israel once a Palestinian state is achieved.

In fact, it’s Palestinian rejectionism that has blocked Palestinian statehood. So it makes perfect sense that Arab recognition of Israel would only help moderate the P.A., which has always used Israel’s pariah status to get everything they want without making the necessary concessions for peace. This new formula sounds reasonable – Arab recognition of Israel could have a moderating effect on Palestinian positions.

However, the elephant in the room is still Iran, which Netanyahu emphatically tried to expose and shed light on in his address. If Iran’s nuclear program is not thoroughly destroyed, any chance of peace between Israel and its neighbors will be extinguished.

Addressing the threat of radical Islam, Netanyahu warned the West that defeating ISIS while leaving Iran’s nuclear program intact would be tantamount to…

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 9:05 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Fellowship Makes Substantial Donation to Aid Ukraine Jewish Refugees for High Holy Days

(Photo: FJC)

(Photo: FJC)

With the High Holy Days underway, The Fellowship has increased the aid it is providing for needy and desperate Jewish people around the world. JSpace News reports on the  emergency assistance being provided to Ukraine’s Jewish refugees for Rosh Hashanah and beyond:

In light of the unstable ceasefire in Ukraine, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has decided to provide the thousands of Jewish refugees in the country – who cannot return home due to the ongoing security situation in the east – $550,000 in emergency humanitarian assistance for Rosh Hashanah and the upcoming Jewish festivals.

Each family will receive large food packages and vouchers to purchase clothes. The distribution will take place in a number of locations across Ukraine in which the Jewish refugees have congregated. The assistance is being distributed in partnership with the Jewish communities of Ukraine …

The Fellowship said in a statement, “The situation for the refugees is extremely difficult. Many were sure they would return home within a month but now, after three months, they are without a regular place to live and without money for food or clothes. When a person becomes a refugee they lose everything, they have nowhere to return to and they cannot withdraw money from the bank, even if before the crisis they were financially successful. Thousands of people have become needy overnight in Ukraine and we are ensuring they are not forgotten.”

According to the estimates there are around 5,000 Jewish refugees in the Ukraine today. They have mostly fled from Donestsk and Lugansk where members of the Jewish community were killed in the fighting. As part of the ceasefire which was signed in the past few days between the separatists and the government in Kiev, the separatists continue to control areas of eastern Ukraine and as such thousands of refugees have been unable to return to their homes. Since the fighting began The Fellowship has been operating a refugee camp for around 1000 Jews in western Ukraine who fled…

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 8:54 AM  | Stand For Israel

Watch: Prime Minister Netanyahu Addresses U.N. General Assembly

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touched on many of the issues faced by Israel and the rest of the world. He equated the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) – the Islamist terror group the U.S. and other nations are now fighting – with Hamas – the Islamist terror group Israel battled all summer. He warned that doing this while also allowing Iran – with its “global terror campaign” – to develop nuclear weapons “is to win the battle and lose the war.” And Prime Minister Netanyahu sent a clear message to the U.N. – whose Human Rights Council he called “an oxymoron” – a message of hope, truth, and justice.

Read the full transcript of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech here.

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Monday, September 29th, 2014 at 3:06 PM  | SFI

Watch Now: Bibi to Address U.N.

(Photo: instagram/ israelipm)

(Photo: instagram/ israelipm)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be addressing the United Nations shortly. To watch live, go here.

Comments (4) »

Monday, September 29th, 2014 at 11:17 AM  | Stand For Israel

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

Rabbi's Commentary
To a Blessed and Sweet New Year

At Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), we look back on the past year and ahead to the year to come. I am grateful for and humbled by the generosity and kindness shown by The Fellowship’s friends, and ask that God will bless each of you in the coming days.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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