U.S. Fighter Pilots on Rumors of ISIS Having MiG Jets

(Photo: wikicommons/ Alexey Goral)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Alexey Goral)

Recently there have been rumors (and even online video) that the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terrorist group has gotten its hands on Russian-built MiG fighter aircraft. The Daily Beast has spoken with American fighter pilots who say that if these reports are true, these ISIS jets will not stay in the skies for long:

The ISIS terrorist group may have acquired a few old Soviet-built MiG fighters, according to a Syrian opposition group. But even if ISIS does have jet fighters, there is little chance that the group can do any real damage with those antiques beyond their value as propaganda tools, U.S. military pilots say.

“If ISIS is flying, or is thinking about flying, it will not be doing so for very long,” one Air Force official said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights—an opposition group based in London—ISIS has managed to acquire three Soviet-built Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbed and MiG-23 Flogger fighters. The aircraft are allegedly being flown by former Iraqi air force pilots, who are also training wannabe ISIS aviators to fly the jets.

Additionally, ISIS appears to have a number of Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross aircraft, traditionally used for advanced training and light attack. The terrorist group has produced at least one propaganda video purported to show the Czech-built jets in the air. But even if ISIS does have a rudimentary air force, it is basically useless in any true military sense, according to U.S. officials and American military pilots.

“I’d sell my first born to engage all three… by myself,” one highly experienced U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot joked. Another Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle pilot said, “Send me in, coach! There’s no way they get those airborne!”

Though both the MiG-21 and MiG-23 are supersonic fighters, they are dated and would likely be easy prey to any modern American fighter.

Additionally, many U.S. officials questioned how well ISIS’s MiGs work. The jets may not have functional on-board systems like radars and weapons—nor does ISIS have…

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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 4:04 PM  | Stand for Israel

Israelis Helping Christians Who Are Fleeing ISIS

(Photo: flickr/Domenico)

(Photo: flickr/Domenico)

The Fellowship does all it can to show Israelis and needy Jewish people around the world that they have Christian friends who care for them. This partnership between Christians and Jews has also been demonstrated by Israelis who are helping Christians and other refugees fleeing the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terrorists who have taken over large parts of the Middle East:

IsraAID, the Israeli-based humanitarian aid agency, has joined the international community effort in assisting Christian and Yazidi refugees fleeing ISIS with blankets, mattresses and food.

As the battle for the Syrian town of Kobani rages on, 1,000 to 1,500 of its residents are crossing through Turkey into Iraq every day, joining the more than 1.4 million IDPs and 200,000 refugees already in the Kurdish Region of Iraq, according to an IsraAID press statement. “They are coming with absolutely nothing but the clothes on their backs, and with winter approaching -places in this area get up to 1m of snow and temperatures that drop to -15C – the situation is increasingly desperate,” the statement reads.

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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 3:22 PM  | Stand for Israel

Faith in the White City

(Photo: Brooklyn Museum Archives)

(Photo: Brooklyn Museum Archives)

On October 21, 1892, the opening ceremony for the World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago. The year-long fair – which ran through 1893 and was recently made popular by Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City – ushered in many firsts. The first Ferris Wheel allowed fair-goers magnificent views of the entire spectacle and city. The first Hershey’s chocolate, Shredded Wheat, and Cracker Jack were tasted. Countless mouths chewed the first Juicy Fruit gum. Awe-struck visitors witnessed the first zipper and the first electric dishwasher.

One of the firsts that the Columbian Exposition also witnessed was a meeting of global faiths, called the World’s Parliament of Religions. Over 4,000 delegates from many faiths and religions convened. Speakers included the renowned African-American Bishop Benjamin Arnett, the scholar Rabbi Alexander Kohut, and an American professor visiting from Constantinople, Reverend George Washburn.

We’ll share a few choice quotes from some of the conference’s many speakers, and pray that God will continue the cooperation, friendship, and dialogue that still goes on between today’s Christians and Jews.

Rev. Washburn: “We can work together for the many ends which we have in common”

Rev. E.L. Rexford: “There in the distance–is it so great?–is the mountain of the Lord, rising before us into the serene and the cloudless heavens.”

Rabbi Kohut: “Faith is a spark of God’s own flame and nowhere did it burn with more persistence and vehemence than in the ample folds of Israel’s devotion.”

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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 2:14 PM  | Stand for Israel

The Clear Lines of Good and Evil

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Hamas is a ruthless terror organization whose brutality is matched only by its hypocrisy. Its leaders encourage Palestinian mothers to send their kids on suicide missions, while their own children are neatly tucked away in bed or studying in universities abroad. They invite war and destruction on Gaza, extolling the virtues of war against Israel while hiding in their bunkers, as the rest of their fellow Gazans remain vulnerable to Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes.

Hamas receives billions of dollars in foreign aid. But instead of using it to build schools, hospitals, shopping malls, and residential buildings, they use it to fund their terrorist activities. And with the leftover change, Hamas’ leaders pocket millions, living in the kind of luxury their people will never know.

And when they need the best doctor to treat a family member or a loved one, where do they turn? Israel, of course!

This week, Tel-Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital confirmed that it had treated the daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who was hospitalized in Israel “for a number of days,” before being sent back to Gaza after her condition stabilized. It turns out that Haniyeh’s daughter was not the only family member to be treated in Israel this year; the former Hamas premier sent his aging mother-in-law and one-year-old granddaughter to Israel for medical treatment as well.

The contrast between Israeli and Palestinian society is as stark during wartime as it is in times of relative quiet. Israel does everything to protect its citizens from attack, while Hamas places Palestinian civilians in harm’s way; Israel does everything it can to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties, while Hamas tries to kill and maim as many Israeli civilians as possible. And in the intermediate periods of quiet, Israel treats Palestinians – even terrorists – in its hospitals, while an Israeli cannot set foot in Palestinian territory for fear of being killed.

The lines of good and evil are so clearly drawn in the Arab-Israeli conflict, yet so many, even in the west, fail to support the just side….

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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 8:34 AM  | Stand for Israel

The West Bank Without Israel?

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

At last week’s conference in Cairo, Palestinian Authority (P.A.) head Mahmoud Abbas called for Israel to leave the West Bank. Now the P.A. is headed to the United Nations Security Council to demand the same. The Times of Israel’s Elhanan Miller wonders if the Palestinians’ demand is sincere, and if it is in the best interests of anyone – Israelis and Palestinians alike – involved:

The Palestinian leadership is bound for the UN Security Council, where it will demand a deadline for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. But, given the risk of a swift Hamas takeover of the West Bank, a former Israeli security official questioned the sincerity of the Palestinian demand, speculating that it may be acting against its own self-interest just to spite Israel.

Addressing donor states in a conference for the rehabilitation of Gaza last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not cite November 2016 as the final date by which Israeli troops are to leave the West Bank (as indicated in a draft resolution). He did, however, stress the need to set a time frame for Israeli withdrawal …

But Yaakov Amidror, who was national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu until November 2013 and is currently a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, said that “the end of the occupation” would soon become the end of the PA and its leader, Abbas.

“Without Israel, Abu Mazen (Abbas) and Fatah cannot survive for even 10 minutes,” Amidror told The Times of Israel. “The problem is, they can’t say it. Their overt behavior — driven more by emotion than by logic — would lead to the end of their regime if Israel were to withdraw, which it won’t do because of its own interests.”

Whether the Israeli withdrawal be quick or slow, Amidror asserted that without Israeli boots on the ground, Abbas had no realistic way of overcoming a Palestinian Islamic movement bent on his destruction.

“Abu Mazen and his people will have to…

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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 8:20 AM  | Stand for Israel

Iran Not Cooperating with U.N. Nuclear Probe

(Photo: flickr/IAEA)

(Photo: flickr/IAEA)

Even while Israel has come under attack from closer enemies, we have kept you updated on the nuclear threat posed by Iran. And as the deadline for a nuclear deal with the Iranians nears, Yediot Achronot now reports that the United Nations has realized Iran has not been transparent with its nuclear investigators:

Iran has still not implemented all the nuclear transparency measures it had agreed to carry out by late August, the head of the UN atomic energy agency said on Monday, suggesting little headway in an inquiry into suspected bomb research.

Western officials say Iran must cooperate more with United Nations nuclear sleuths if it wants to settle a protracted dispute with six world powers over its nuclear program and be rid of crippling financial sanctions.

Nearly two months after an Aug. 25 deadline for answering questions about alleged activity that might be used to develop atomic arms, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) made clear that Iran had not yet fully done so.

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Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 2:48 PM  | Stand for Israel

Hezbollah Renews Hostitilies Against Israel As IDF Fires on Infiltrators

(Photo: flickr/ theisraelproject)

(Photo: flickr/ theisraelproject)

We’ve been keeping you updated on the recent rising hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah. Today, The Algemeiner reports that not only has the Lebanon-based terror group announced its intention to attack Israel, the IDF has fired on infiltrators on Israel’s northern border:

As another shooting incident heated up Israel’s border with Lebanon on Monday, a Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper, al-Akhbar, has reported that the Shi’ite terror group has resolved to renew overt military operations against Israel.

According to initial reports, IDF soldiers from the Horev infantry battalion opened fire on what the Israeli 0404 news site referred to as “three suspicious figures” that had entered a “no-go” area adjacent to an army outpost at Har Dov, along the northern side of Mt. Hermon.

Troops reportedly opened fire in order to frighten off the intruders, when they spotted what they believed to be roadside explosive charges carried by the individuals. There was no report of injury to either side in the confrontation.

The trio fled back within Lebanese territory, and the army is searching the area, according to the report.

The incident comes in the wake of a series of hostile encounters between the IDF and Hezbollah in recent weeks …

Hezbollah is prepared to “storm the Zionist regime by its high-precision missiles,” Lt. General Hossein Salami of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ said.

“Today, all the residents in the occupied territories feel insecure and the security of the occupied territories is in an equation that on one side the powerful Hezbollah exists which is ready to storm the occupied territories and everyone knows the destruction power and preciseness of its weapons…”

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Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 12:43 PM  | Stand for Israel

Israel Not to Blame for the Rise of Islamic Extremism

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of Defense)

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of Defense)

Even as the United States continues to battle the spread of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), it has once again shown that it does not understand the dynamics of the Middle East. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blamed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the rise of ISIS. Khaled Abu Toameh refutes Kerry’s claim, writing that the two situations have nothing to do with one another:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim that the lack of a “two-state solution” has fueled the rise of the Islamic State [IS] terrorist group reinforces how clueless the U.S. Administration is about what is happening in the Arab and Islamic countries.

Speaking at a State Department ceremony marking the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, Kerry said that the resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians was vital in the fight against Islamic extremism, including Islamic State …

The Islamic State is one of the by-products of the “Arab Spring,” which began as a secular revolt against Arab dictatorships and degenerated into anarchy, lawlessness, terrorism and massacres that have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs and Muslims.

The “Arab Spring” did not erupt as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was the natural and inevitable outcome of decades of tyranny and corruption in the Arab world.

The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis who removed their dictators from power did not do so because of the lack of a “two-state solution.”

Nor did the Arabs revolt because of the failure of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. This is the last thing these Arabs had in mind when they took to the streets to protest against decades of dictatorship and bad government.

It is this “Arab Spring,” and not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt. And it is the same “Arab Spring” that saw the emergence of Islamic terror groups such as the Al-Nusra Front, the Islamic Front, the Army of…

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Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 8:30 AM  | Stand for Israel

Iran Remains the Great Threat in the Middle East

(Photo: flickr/Casey Hugelfink)

(Photo: flickr/Casey Hugelfink)

As the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) and other brutal terrorist organizations make the headlines, Iran is still a powerful threat to Israel, the United States, and the free world. Professor Efraim Inbar writes that while the smaller groups are a threat, the danger they pose remains small compared to Iran:

The emergence of the Islamic State (IS) on the battlefields of the civil war in Syria, and its subsequent spectacular successes in conquering parts of Syria and Iraq, have grabbed international attention. The gruesome pictures of IS’s barbaric beheadings supplied to the international media has only added to IS’s notoriety …

This organization is a reflection of the rise of radical political Islam in the Middle East over the last decades. Islam has always been a central component in the identity of the peoples of the Middle East. While Egypt, Iran and Turkey succeeded in maintaining a strong ethno-statist parallel identity, most of the Arab states have failed to instill statist identities through their education system …

Therefore, the Islamic State of today, which displays religious extremism and transnational tendencies, is the result of historic dynamics in the fledgling Arab civilization. Any long term look at the performance of the Arab states could reach the gloomy conclusion that their societies are doomed to poverty and political instability for a long while yet.

While the military and political successes of the Islamic State seem remarkable, its achievements are taking place in a political limbo with no real power to oppose it. The Islamic State has not faced yet any real test in state building and in overcoming violent opposition. Therefore, it is probably much too early to conclude that the Islamic State is able to govern and impose law and order in the swaths of land it has conquered.

Will it be spared the typical processes of fragmentation taking place among radical groups? Can the Islamic State take on Turkey or Iran – the rising powers in the Muslim Middle East? Can this organization be…

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Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 8:19 AM  | Stand for Israel

British Parliament Votes to Recognize “Palestine” in Symbolic Vote

iitnThe British House of Commons voted in a landslide to formally recognize the state of Palestine in hopes that it will encourage a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel, however, has maintained that such a move “actually undermines the chances to reach a real peace.”

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• While the international community has pledged billions to rebuild Gaza, Israel remains wary of how the money will ultimately be used.
• The U.S. and other nations are refusing to acknowledge any independence referendum by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
• The U.S. and its coalition partners continue the airstrike campaign against ISIS, yet the terrorist group continues its advances in Syria and Turkey.
• While President Obama says that the airstrikes are working, others are calling for more action on the part of the U.S. against ISIS.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Ami Farkas with reflections on Simchat Torah, a celebration of the gift of God’s Word to His people.

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Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 5:00 PM  | Stand for Israel

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

Rabbi's Commentary
Rejoicing in God’s Word

The festive Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah ends and begins the annual cycle of Torah readings in synagogue. It is God’s Word that offers comfort and hope to Jews and Christians alike, reminding us of His permanent presence in our constantly changing world.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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