Passover Food Secured for Needy Israelis

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

Jewish people around the world will begin to observe Passover at sundown this Friday. Yet so many poor families and elderly Jews in Israel (and elsewhere) cannot afford the foods needed to celebrate this important holiday. The Jewish Press reports on The Fellowship’s efforts to help provide these neediest of Israelis with food this Passover:

Children in tens of thousands of Israeli families will not have to ask the question “Why is our seder table different from that at my friend’s house?” because of a mammoth Jewish group that ensures it doesn’t happen.

Intricate linkages with the Israeli government and other groups, including an especially positive bond with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFJC) run by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, have provided the essential funding needed to make sure the food is available.

This year the organization was charged by the Israeli government to implement the Food Security Project, making sure that Israelis struggling with poverty will have what they need to eat and feed their families for Passover.

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Monday, March 30th, 2015 at 8:51 AM  | Stand For Israel

Iranian Vulnerability

(Photo: flickr/ Times Asi)

(Photo: flickr/ Times Asi)

Tomorrow, March 31st, marks the deadline for a framework for the Iranian nuclear agreement – a deal which many worry will be a bad one for Israel, the United States, and the free world. Writing at The Weekly Standard, Lee Smith says that Iran is vulnerable and it is not yet too late to stop its nuclear progress:

…once a nuclear program reaches a certain stage, you can’t undo the know-how that has already been acquired. That is, you can’t bomb knowledge.

Even proponents of a military strike concede there’s something to that argument. “The longer we go without doing something, the bigger Iran’s edge becomes,” says Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “For instance, the closer they get to perfecting advanced centrifuges, the efficacy of any military strike goes down. More people will have the necessary knowledge to continue.”

During his speech to Congress earlier this month, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed this very issue, noting the argument that “Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable.” But as Netanyahu then suggested, “nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much.”

Here “infrastructure” is perhaps best understood to mean not only the facilities, equipment, and personnel necessary to run a nuclear weapons program, but also any given nation’s industrial and technological culture, its economy, and perhaps most important the society that produces them. The Islamic Republic of Iran comes up short in all these vital areas. And that’s why it has taken Tehran 25 years to buy, steal, and smuggle a nuclear weapons program from the outside world. The notion that it would take Iran only two to three years to restore a program it has taken more than two decades and tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars to build does not add up…

What’s really difficult is building and maintaining the…

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Monday, March 30th, 2015 at 8:48 AM  | Stand For Israel

Why Yemen Matters

(Photo: flickr/ ibrahimqasim)

(Photo: flickr/ ibrahimqasim)

As we note in today’s Daily Dispatch, fighting continues to rage in Yemen, with no end in sight. With this latest conflict in the Middle East pitting various nations against one another, Dr. Daniel Pipes looks at exactly why Yemen matters to Israel and the rest of the world:

The Middle East cold war becoming hot: The Iranian and Saudi regimes have been heading dueling blocs for about a decade. They did combat, much like the U.S. and Soviet governments once did, via contending ideologies, espionage, aid, trade, and covert action. On March 26, that cold war went hot, where it is likely to remain…

Islamists dominate: The leaders of both blocs have a lot in common. Both aspire universally to apply the sacred law of Islam (the Shariah), both despise infidels, and both turned faith into ideology. Their falling out confirms Islamism as the Middle East’s only game, permitting its proponents the luxury of fighting each other…

Sidelining the Arab-Israeli conflict: While the Obama administration and European leaders remain obsessed with Palestinians, seeing them as key to the region, regional players have far more urgent priorities. Not only does Israel hardly concern them but the Jewish state serves as a tacit auxiliary of the Saudi-led bloc. Does this indicate a long-term shift in Arab attitudes toward Israel? Probably not. When the Iran crisis fades, expect the focus to return to the Palestinians and Israel, as it always does.

American policy in disarray: Middle East hands rightly scoffed in 2009 when U.S. President Barack Obama and his fellow naïfs expected that by leaving Iraq, smiling at Tehran, and trying harder at Arab-Israeli negotiations, they would fix the region, permitting a “pivot” to East Asia. Instead, the incompetents squatting atop the U.S. government cannot keep up with fast-moving, adverse events, many of them of its own creation (anarchy in Libya, tensions with traditional allies, a more bellicose Iran).

Impact on a deal with Iran: Although…

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Monday, March 30th, 2015 at 8:35 AM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: A Good and Spacious Land

(Photo: Eva Geller)

(Photo: Eva Geller)

“…bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:8)

A young Jewish girl from Ukraine looks out at her new and historic homeland, Israel. This week’s Freedom Flight carrying 110 new olim to the Holy Land would not have been possible without our many faithful supporters. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, March 27th, 2015 at 1:07 PM  | Stand For Israel

Welcoming a Flight to Freedom

(Photo: Baz Ratner)

(Photo: Baz Ratner)

Israel is the historic and spiritual home of the Jewish people, which makes possible the aliyah (immigration) of 110 Ukrainian Jews on a Fellowship Freedom Flight this week. Writing at The Jerusalem Post, Fellowship Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein tells how each one of these new olim makes Israel more complete:

I arrived at the airport half an hour before the first group of 110 immigrants on the latest Fellowship Freedom Flight from Ukraine was supposed to come out of processing as Israeli citizens. There were already dozens of people holding signs, singing songs and waving Israeli flags, waiting to greet these immigrants to the Holy Land.

It amazed me how total strangers came to the airport in the middle of the day, simply to show their support and appreciation for these newest Israeli citizens. From the time I was young I have heard the beautiful quotation from the Talmud that says “The people are all responsible for one another,” and here I was at Ben-Gurion Airport, watching those words come alive …

I am lucky to live in these historic times, when Jews have a homeland to go to when persecution and war strike. As we celebrate the Seder meal on Passover next week, remember the Jews in Ukraine who are praying for freedom. They are yearning to come home – and it’s time for all of us to unite, and to make that dream a reality.

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Friday, March 27th, 2015 at 11:11 AM  | Stand For Israel

Remembering the Park Hotel Passover Bombing

(Photo: wikicommons/Avi1111)

(Photo: wikicommons/Avi1111)

Today marks the 13th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack of the Second Intifada. On March 27, 2002, Jews around the world were celebrating Passover. The Park Hotel in the coastal city of Netanya, Israel, was hosting its annual Passover seder, with 250 guests observing the Jewish holiday. Many of the seder guests were elderly Jews without family or relatives, and many of these were Holocaust survivors.

As the seder was going on, a terrorist disguised as a woman sneaked into the hotel’s dining room with a suitcase full of explosives. At 7:30 pm, the suicide bomber detonated the bomb, killing 28 and injuring 140. Two victims later died from their wounds. A number of the dead were married couples, and the deceased included a father and his daughter.

The Hamas terrorists who planned the attack were arrested, with four of them receiving 29 life sentences and one being given 20 years in prison.

We remember the victims of this horrific moment in Israeli history, carried out as the Jewish people celebrated what should have been a joyous time. May their memories be a blessing.

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Friday, March 27th, 2015 at 10:36 AM  | Stand For Israel

In Ukraine, War Only Minutes Away

(Photo: JDC/Rachel Calman)

(Photo: JDC/Rachel Calman)

This week’s Fellowship Freedom Flight allowed 110 Ukrainian Jews to escape their war-torn country and find a new life in the Holy Land. But so many Jews remain in Ukraine, caught in the chaos and conflict. Writing from the devastated city of Mariupol, Ukraine, The Jerusalem Post’s Sam Sokol tells of that city’s Jewish community, a community being helped by The Fellowship and our supporters and partners:

I want to see the war with my own eyes.

In front sit two soldiers of the Dnepr Battalion, a privately funded pro-government militia, a loaded Kalashnikov and two shoulder-fired rockets on the floor between them. We pass several checkpoints with heavy weapons and concrete bunkers hidden behind mounds of dirt and sandbags. Antitank obstacles bracket the road and checkpoints.

Only around 40 percent of the 3,000 or so pre-war inhabitants remain in the village, with the rest having been forced out by rockets fired from across the river …

During the winter when the river froze there were several raids here, one soldier tells me as we pull up to a house with a shattered roof.

A dog barks and pulls at his chain as we get out of the pickup and an old woman pulls her door open a crack to see who we are. She slams the door shut and a minute later reemerges with an elderly man.

They introduce themselves as Volodya and Olga, pensioners and farmers who are living in an outbuilding next to their farmhouse, whose roof is being rebuilt after being hit by a separatist rocket two weeks ago.

Asked if they are scared, they reply that they live in fear and that every day they listen to the sounds of rocket fire, and “if it sounds too loud we go down to the basement.”

They would like to go elsewhere but cannot afford it, they tell me …

Unlike in rebel held areas like Donetsk or Luhansk, refugees from Mariupol frequently come back to the government-controlled city and the Jewish community here, along with the financial…

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Friday, March 27th, 2015 at 8:29 AM  | Stand For Israel

Yemen’s Jews Seek to Escape Deteriorating Conflict

(Photo: flickr/Tribes of the World)

(Photo: flickr/Tribes of the World)

This week we’ve been keeping you up-to-date on the escalating conflict in Yemen, where Iran-backed rebels are trying to wrest control of the country, while Saudi Arabia and other Arab forces try to stop them. Israel Hayom reports that the situation has led to the Yemeni Jewish community to look for an escape:

Saudi Arabia on Thursday launched airstrikes targeting military installations in Yemen held by Shiite rebels storming the country’s south. Some of the strikes are hitting positions in the capital, Sanaa.

In a statement, Iran’s foreign ministry called the airstrikes a “dangerous step” that would worsen the crisis in the country.

The statement did not name Saudi Arabia but called the airstrikes an “invasion.” Iran is believed to be supporting the Houthi insurgency.

In the meantime, with the country on the brink of violent collapse, Yemen’s Jewish population was also feeling the effects of the deteriorating security situation.

“We know that you in Israel are worried about us and are thinking of us. Our country is being taken over and there isn’t much we can do. We want to move to Israel but we have matters to finish tending to and everything here is very difficult,” said Yehiye, 35, a father of six from Sanaa.

Avraham, 40, a father of five from the city of Rayda, said: “The situation is very bad here. Every day — there is danger. We want to sell the house, but can’t. No one wants to buy. The [non-Jews] want us to leave without getting money. We want to get out of here as quickly as possible. The moment I can get paid for the house I’m gone. I barely let my kids out of the house. I am worried about them; there is a lot of hatred and racism. If we need something, I jump out, buy it and return immediately.”

Moshe, a 50-year-old father of three also from Rayda, said that…

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Friday, March 27th, 2015 at 8:17 AM  | Stand For Israel

Fellowship Freedom Flight Brings 110 Ukrainian Jews to Israel

iitn Earlier this week, 110 Jewish refugees from war-torn Ukraine arrived in Tel Aviv on a Freedom Flight sponsored by The Fellowship.These flights are part of an ongoing program to bring Jews wanting to flee the situation in Ukraine to their spiritual and historical homeland in Israel.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• The rift between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu widened this week because of remarks Netanyahu made about a Palestinian state prior to his re-election.
• Rebels in Yemen promise revenge for “Zionist” Saudi attacks as the U.N. predicts a full-blown civil war.
• Seven Orthodox Jewish children, killed earlier this week in a house fire in Brooklyn, were laid to rest in Jerusalem as hundreds of mourners came to pay their respects.
• A drunken mob of 20 stormed a synagogue in London this week, shattering windows and assaulting one worshiper.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Yonit Rothchild on the one constant in Israeli life.

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Thursday, March 26th, 2015 at 5:00 PM  | Stand for Israel

Welcoming the Newest Israelis Home

Earlier this week, Fellowship Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein was at Ben Gurion Airport – along with many others – to welcome the newest Israelis to the Holy Land. Watch Yael explain the emotions she feels when welcoming olim (immigrants) to their spiritual and historical homeland.

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Thursday, March 26th, 2015 at 3:18 PM  | Stand For Israel

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State of Israel"

Rabbi’s Commentary
A Beacon of Freedom in a Sea of Oppression

Last week, a United Nations’ commission singled out Israel as the world’s worst violator of women’s rights – ignoring the Jewish state’s offering of full freedom to women…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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