2 Israeli Soldiers Killed, 7 Wounded in Hezbollah Border Attack

iitnThe Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah fired a missile at an Israeli military convoy patrolling Israel’s northern border earlier this week, killing two soldiers and wounding seven others. The attack from within Lebanon was reportedly in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike in Syria earlier in the month that killed six Hezbollah members.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• On Tuesday, visitors gather at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
• House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress is getting a mixed reaction from U.S. elected officials.
• The Jewish community in Ukraine is on edge as the city of Mariupol was hit earlier this week by a massive rocket attack. The Fellowship is providing funding to help Jews in the area.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s founder and president Yechiel Eckstein on the U.N.’s hollow effort to commemorate the Holocaust.

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Thursday, January 29th, 2015 at 5:00 PM  | Stand for Israel

What the Jewish State Is All About

(Photo: twitter/IsraeliPM)

(Photo: twitter/IsraeliPM)

On Tuesday, we remembered the millions who died during the Holocaust. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his International Holocaust Remembrance Day address at Yad Vashem – Israel’s memorial to the Holocaust victims – stating that the Jewish state will continue to ensure the safety of the Jewish people:

My responsibility as Prime Minister of Israel is to ensure that the State of Israel will never again be threatened with destruction. My responsibility is to see to it that there will not be a reason to build additional memorial sites such as Yad Vashem.

The pending agreement with Iran is an agreement that endangers the State of Israel. It leaves Iran with the capabilities that will allow it to arm itself with nuclear weapons, one bomb at first and afterwards many atomic bombs. We cannot live with such an agreement; therefore, we oppose it. Even those who try to challenge us within our borders will discover that we are ready to respond with force. Israel views with utmost gravity the attack against it from Syrian territory. Those who play with fire will get burned.

Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is more important today than ever before.

We live in an age of resurgent and violent anti-Semitism, and commemorations like this ceremony remind us where humanity’s oldest and most enduring hatred can lead.

Many thought that after the horrors of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism would finally contract and disappear.

That has not happened.

Hatred of the Jews appeared to take a brief respite after World War II for a few decades.

It has now returned in full force.

Once again in Europe and elsewhere, Jews are being slandered, vilified and targeted just for being Jews.

This is taking place in the intolerant Middle East and in the very heart of the liberal and tolerant West.

It’s taking place in Tehran and Paris, in Gaza and Brussels. Around the world, Jewish communities are increasingly living in fear.

But it’s not just the Jewish people that is being slandered, vilified and targeted. It’s the Jewish state as well.

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Thursday, January 29th, 2015 at 10:46 AM  | Stand For Israel

A Disturbing New Reality in Northern Israel

(Photo: flickr/Will De Freitas)

(Photo: flickr/Will De Freitas)

As the dust settles after Hezbollah’s attack on the Israeli-Lebanon border killed two IDF soldiers and wounded seven, the Lebanese terrorist organization claims to be seeking calm. However, Israel Hayom’s Yoav Limor writes that Hezbollah will act again, and that Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon are now theaters of war:

Even if the flare-up in the north has been extinguished, it sent a disturbing message: The northern front is awakening, both on the Syrian and Lebanese borders, and it is doubtful that Hezbollah is deterred from acting again.

The Israel Defense Forces has yet to officially declare a return to normalcy, but the messages Israel received from Hezbollah, via UNIFIL, indicated that Hezbollah was seeking calm. Despite the heavy price paid, Israel’s defense establishment can move on from the recent events in the north …

It will take time to determine if the message was received and Hezbollah will be deterred from operating again in the Golan Heights. Most official Israeli entities believe the answer is no and that the renewal of Hezbollah’s activities in the Har Dov area indicates a significant change in the security reality in the north. This is bad news, because the consequences of this change are far-reaching and problematic. The concern is that we are now on a downward slope to another war in the north, sooner or later.

Even if both sides do not want such a war to take place, the IDF must take advantage of the upcoming time period to boost its readiness (mostly in the operational realm) for such a scenario. Lessons must be learned from both Operation Protective Edge and the recent events in the north …

Both the borders with Syria and Lebanon are now not just hostile ones, but also theaters of war, requiring a change of operational behavior and thinking. Given the current frenzy in the Middle East, it will not be…

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Thursday, January 29th, 2015 at 8:59 AM  | Stand For Israel

Neither Side Wants War, But That Was True Last Time

(Photo: twitter/IDF)

(Photo: twitter/IDF)

As we report in today’s Daily Dispatch, the two IDF soldiers killed in yesterday’s Hezbollah attack on the Lebanon border will be laid to rest today in Israel. Now all of Israel and the world wait to see what the next developments will be. The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff looks at the perilous situation and says that neither side wants an all-out war, though the same was true in 2006:

The latest developments along the northern border can be summed up in a single word: escalation. The rocket fire on Tuesday toward the Golan Heights and Wednesday’s anti-tank missile attack against an IDF convoy in the Mount Dov area, in which two soldiers were killed, show that Hezbollah seeks to convey to Israel that it is not afraid of full-fledged war.

The Shiite group may even actively seek to draw Israel into a ground incursion in the Syrian Golan …

Despite the indications that a further deterioration may be lurking just around the corner, we can safely say that Hezbollah is not running headstrong to all-out war with Israel. There has been no action as of this writing that indicated a true desire for war, or that we could witness rocket fire against the center of the country and against major cities like Haifa and Tiberias. As of yet, this is not the story.

Thing is, once Hezbollah decides to play a game of “catch me if you can” by targeting IDF soldiers, it is hard to tell how far things will spiral. It can begin with “only” anti-tank missiles, escalate to an Israeli response hitting Hezbollah targets, which will be answered by the Shiite group, and so on and so forth, until both sides find themselves at war without having wished for it. Hezbollah was not looking for war when it abducted Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev on July 12, 2006 …

And there is another question to ponder: How will Hamas act in case of an escalation in the north? The last war against Hezbollah started when the organization decided…

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Thursday, January 29th, 2015 at 8:42 AM  | Stand For Israel

2 IDF Soldiers Killed, 7 Wounded in Attack on Lebanon Border

(Photo: Flash90)

(Photo: Flash90)

In an attack on an IDF patrol on the Israeli-Lebanon border today, two IDF soldiers were killed and seven more were wounded:

Two soldiers were killed Wednesday when an Israeli army patrol came under anti-tank fire from Hezbollah operatives in the northern Mount Dov region along the border with Lebanon.

The IDF confirmed that at least seven soldiers were wounded in the attack and ruled out the possibility that a soldier had been kidnapped.

The two soldiers were not immediately named. They were identified as a company commander and a combat soldier.

The incident took place in an area of the border that doesn’t have a fence. At the same time, and for over an hour after the attack, IDF positions in the area, as well as on nearby Mount Hermon, were hit with mortar shells.

Israel responded to the attack with artillery strikes in southern Lebanon.

Stand for Israel will keep you updated on these events, and we ask you to join us in praying for the injured soldiers, as well as the families of those who were killed.

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 8:44 AM  | Stand for Israel

How Iran Is Encircling Israel

(Photo: wikicommons/ Alborzagros)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Alborzagros)

While the Iranian threat against Israel has come to the international forefront as of late – with Iranian operatives killed in an airstrike on Hezbollah in Syria and the U.S. debating further sanctions on Iran – the threat is not new to Israel. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Khaled Abu Toameh says that Iran is working hard to achieve its goal of encircling Israel:

As U.S. President Barack Obama continues to seek a negotiated deal on Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranians have been working hard in recent weeks to infiltrate the Palestinian arena and re-establish ties with their erstwhile ally, Hamas.

Emboldened by Obama’s obsession with the nuclear negotiations, which are set to resume next month, Iran’s leaders apparently trust that the Obama Administration is prepared to turn a blind eye to whatever they do.

So the Iranians are apparently feeling free to meddle once again in the internal affairs of the Palestinians, to strengthen their hand still further in the Middle East.

With bases in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, Iran has surrounded Saudi Arabia and all the oil fields of the Persian Gulf. This encirclement can be comfortably backed with Iran’s ongoing nuclear weapons program.

Tehran’s main goal is to regain control over the Palestinian Islamist movement so that it can turn itself into a player in the Israeli-Arab conflict.

The Iranians already have Hezbollah sitting on Israel’s northern border. All they need now is another terror group in Gaza to the south, in order to create a similar encirclement. And they are working hard to achieve this goal …

Iran and Hamas need each other badly. Iran wants Hamas because it does not have many Sunni allies left in the region. An alliance with Hamas would enable Iran to rid itself of charges that it is leading a Shiite camp fighting against the Sunnis.

Hamas, for its part, is desperate for any outside support, especially in wake of its increased isolation in the Palestinian and international arenas.

Hamas is also beginning to feel the heat at home…

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 8:35 AM  | Stand for Israel

Rocket Attack in Ukraine Leaves Jewish Community on Edge

(Photo: City of Mariupol)

(Photo: City of Mariupol)

In Monday’s Daily Dispatch, we reported on the rocket attacks that occurred in Mariupol, Ukraine, over the weekend, killing 30. Now Chabad, one of The Fellowship’s major partners in Ukraine and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, tells how the attack has left the country’s Jewish community in even greater danger:

Shabbat-morning prayers were about to start at the synagogue in Mariupol, Ukraine, when the rocket barrage came.

“The whole synagogue was shaking; we knew right away this was very serious,” says Rabbi Mendel Cohen, the seaside city’s rabbi and Chabad-Lubavitch emissary.

Moments after it ended, the synagogue’s security guard, Vlad, came running in with the news: Mariupol had been hit by a massive and sustained rocket attack in the Vastochni neighborhood of the city. When the dust had settled, the attack left 30 civilians dead and more than 100 wounded, marking Mariupol’s bloodiest day since last May and a significant escalation in the war in eastern Ukraine.

Fired from multiple-rocket launchers, the Grad rockets landed on a large neighborhood that includes a bazaar and marketplace, schools, apartment blocks and a bus station, located only some three kilometers away from the synagogue …

“Many people in synagogue on Shabbat were from that neighborhood,” states Cohen. “You can imagine what it sounded like here; there were screams, we had to calm people down…”

“Right away, there were a lot of people who wanted to leave, and we began making plans to help them do that,” says Kaganovsky by phone from Mariupol. “If you saw pictures of the attack, you would understand; it was awful, and people were scared.”

Through funds allocated by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, one bus of Jewish community members left Mariupol on Monday night, arriving early on Tuesday in Zhitomer in western Ukraine.

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 8:24 AM  | Stand for Israel

Lost Violin of Auschwitz Plays Again

(Photo: Yad Vashem/BPK)

(Photo: Yad Vashem/BPK)

On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the death camp’s remaining survivors tell their stories. Yet The Jewish Daily Forward reports that the voice of an inanimate object – a violin – will also be heard as the Holocaust is remembered:

A violin thrown some seventy years ago from a train transporting French Jews to the Nazi Auschwitz death camp will sound in the concert hall of the Berlin Philharmonic on Tuesday night, along with other instruments once played by victims of the Holocaust.

A French railwayman caught that unknown passenger’s violin and gave it to his daughter to play.

Years later it found its way into the hands of Israeli violin-maker and restorer Amnon Weinstein, whose extraordinary collection comprises violins embodying their former owners’ tragic histories and stories of survival.

Tuesday marks 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. Around 1.5 million people, mainly European Jews, were gassed, shot, hanged and burned at the camp in southern Poland during World War Two.

Tuesday’s concert will also feature one of Weinstein’s violins that had belonged to a member of Auschwitz’s prisoner orchestra.

The orchestra played while inmates were marched to work and to entertain guards. The ability to play often saved lives.

Like his violin-maker father Moshe, who was born in Vilnius but emigrated to Palestine, Amnon initially wanted to let his family history rest. Every relative that had remained in eastern Europe died in the Holocaust.

Then in the 1980s, a man walked into Amnon’s workshop who told him he had played his violin in Auschwitz. He hadn’t touched the instrument since, but wanted to pass it down to his grandson in good condition and gave it to Weinstein to restore …

Some of the violins which will also be played on Tuesday followed their former owners half away around the world through decades of homelessness and exile. The collection is known as the “Violins of Hope.”

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 at 1:57 PM  | Stand For Israel

The Need to Stand Firm on Iran

(Photo: Soren Kohse)

(Photo: Soren Kohse)

As further sanctions on Iran – due to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear aspirations – are debated and considered, the world must remember what’s at stake: the terrifying reality of a nuclear Iran. Writing at The Times of Israel, attorney and former delegate to the U.N. Jeff Robbins stresses how important it is that the U.S. stand firm against Iran:

This calls to mind President Obama’s most recent threat to veto a U.S. Senate bill with bipartisan support aimed at incentivizing Iran to end diplomatically the international threat posed by its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The bill, introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), provides for further sanctions if, after yet another six months of negotiations, Iran still refuses to reverse its nuclear program, as it has steadfastly refused to do over the course of the last year. It enables the president to waive these sanctions, as long as he certifies that continuing the talks “is likely to result in achieving a long-term comprehensive solution with Iran.”

Over the past year, the Obama administration has eased sanctions on Iran and repeatedly threatened to veto legislation that would reinstitute the sanctions if Iran continues to refuse a nuclear deal, at times accusing the bill’s supporters of wanting a war. While giving the president a full year of the “space” he said he needed to negotiate has produced no agreement, the easing of sanctions has handed Iran significant improvements in its economy, thereby reducing any pressure Iran may have felt to make a deal.

It was Obama who derided the idea of sanctions on Iran as “Bush-Lite” during the 2008 presidential campaign, and who sought to block Congress from enacting sanctions after he was elected. He now acknowledges that it was the very sanctions he opposed that are responsible for persuading Iran to negotiate — but he makes the head-scratching argument that if Iran knows the sanctions will be strengthened if it continues to dither, it will break off negotiations …

With the specter of…

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 at 11:22 AM  | Stand for Israel

The Voices of Auschwitz

(Photo: wikicommons/ C.Puisney)

(Photo: wikicommons/ C.Puisney)

Today, January 27, marks Holocaust Remembrance Day around the world, as well as the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps. With each anniversary, fewer and fewer survivors remain to remind the world of the Holocaust. In a compelling piece, The Washington Post gives some of these remaining survivors a voice, two of which we share below:

There are fewer and fewer of those who still remember.

The Soviet army entered Auschwitz — the network of extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland — on Jan. 27, 1945, liberating the most notorious site of the Holocaust. In the decades since, groups of survivors have gathered to honor that day — including an annual remembrance at Auschwitz itself. This year, they mark the 70th anniversary of liberation on Tuesday — a day that, for a significant portion of remaining survivors, may be the last major remembrance of their lifetimes. The numbers themselves tell the story.

A decade ago, 1,500 survivors traveled to Auschwitz in southern Poland to mark the 60th anniversary. This year, organizers are expecting 300 or so. “This is the last big one for many of the survivors … By the time we reach the 75th anniversary, there may be almost no survivors left. But they are coming now, because they want to bear witness, to stand there and say, ‘we outlasted Hitler. We made it.’”

The survivors partly carry a legacy of horror, memories of the brutality of a labor prison that, by September of 1941, became an assembly line of death where more than 1 million would perish at the hands of the Third Reich …

The survivors carry another legacy as well, one even more relevant: The power of human will to persevere …

There are few people alive today who can recall the ominous grin of the notorious “Angel of Death,” Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Marta Wise is one of them. (more…)

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 at 8:47 AM  | Stand for Israel

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

Rabbi’s Commentary
Terror Returns to the Holy Land — Again

Recently our attention has been focused on brutal terrorist attacks around the world. But with Wednesday’s attack on Israelis aboard a Tel Aviv bus, our focus returns to Israel, where we must continue to defend the society and the values we have taken so long to develop and build.

Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »


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