The Youngest Holocaust Survivor from Schindler’s List

(Photo: IDF blog)

(Photo: IDF blog)

Because of Steven Spielberg’s moving Holocaust film, most of us know the story of Oskar Schindler, the German who was able to save more than a thousand Jews from certain death in Nazi concentration camps.

As Holocaust Remembrance Day nears, here is the story of the youngest person rescued by Schindler’s lists of Jewish prisoners to be saved. Eva Lavi – now 75 and a grandmother living in Israel – tells the IDF (one of her granddaughters is an IDF soldier) of her life before, during, and after the Holocaust:

One day, all the people on Schindler’s list were collected. A Nazi officer began to read the names and when he called me and saw that I was just a little girl, he turned to Schindler and shouted: “Are you crazy! Does she look like a weapons professional? She’s just a girl!” Oscar replied that it was not a problem: he had taught me to handle a very specific job that only my fingers could accomplish on the weapons. This scene also appears in the movie “Schindler’s List.” So we managed to be transferred Czechoslovakia. There, it was different and easier because Schindler was responsible for us and not the Germans.

Ms. Lavi’s entire story touched us. We hope it touches you, too, and that we can all remember those who survived the Holocaust to live long lives, as well as the millions whose lives were taken.

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Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 1:57 PM  | Stand For Israel

Holocaust Memorial Vandalized in Crimea

(Photo: http://antisemitism.org.il)

(Photo: antisemitism.org.il)

As we reported yesterday, anti-Semitic violence is still rampant in Ukraine. Today we learn that more incidents have occurred in the troubled Crimean region. A Holocaust memorial and the grave of a renowned rabbi’s brother were both vandalized with graffiti:

The Holocaust Memorial in Sevastopol in the Crimean Peninsula was spray painted in red with a hammer and sickle and the letters USSR, and with what appeared to be other pro-Russian graffiti, according to the Sevastopolskaya Gazeta.

The memorial was erected in Sevastopol in 2003 at the site where 4,200 Jews were murdered by the Nazis on July 12, 1942.

The monument has been vandalized by neo-Nazis in the past.

Also on Tuesday it was reported that, in Dnepropetrovsk, swastikas were sprayed on the tomb of Dov Ber Schneerson, brother of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menahem Mendel Schneerson …

Again, we pray for safety and security for the Jewish community of this region. May God grant them His peace.

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Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 9:52 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas Wins, Abbas Loses

(Photo: wikicommons/ Kimdime)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Kimdime)

Yesterday, we predicted that unity talks between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah would, at best, amount to a framework agreement. That happened yesterday. The deal now gives the parties five weeks to put together a unity government and a timeframe for elections. Ron Ben-Yishai, writing at Yediot Achronot, says Hamas is the big winner:

Hamas is the agreement’s biggest winner. The radical Islamist group controlling Gaza is currently facing a severe economic and political crisis, and is unable to meet the needs of the Strip’s 1.5 million residents. After it turned its back on Syria and Iran, Hamas also lost Egyptian support following the ascent of the current regime there …

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Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 8:32 AM  | Stand For Israel

Abbas’ Fictional State

(Photo: White House)

(Photo: White House)

Dr. Reuven Berko, writing at Israel Hayom, illustrates why the Palestinians had no interest in the latest round of peace talks actually succeeding and why Israel’s strategy of engaging in the negotiations eventually made evident the emptiness of Palestinian demands for statehood:

The inception of a Palestinian state alongside Israel is a recipe for internal Palestinian disaster. The objective limitations of security and space would force Palestinian leaders to refuse the descendents of the refugees’ demand for a right of return. The Palestinians would be forced to conduct transparent fiscal policies, devoid of the assistance of the Arab world and the West; they would have to put an end to corruption and take actual responsibility for their citizens, as they would have no “occupation” to blame for their failures.

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Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 8:26 AM  | Stand For Israel

American Journalist Reportedly Kidnapped in Ukraine

The United States is “deeply concerned” that an American journalist has been kidnapped by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. Simon Ostrovsky, a Jewish American reporting on the situation in Ukraine for Vice News, has gone missing. While the local pro-Russian leader claims otherwise, the U.S. State Department is calling for the release of Ostrovsky and another journalist being held captive:

“We call on Russia to use its influence with these groups to secure the immediate and safe release of all hostages in eastern Ukraine,” [State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki] said.

Pro-Moscow insurgents in Slavyansk — an eastern Ukrainian town which has become a tense flashpoint in recent days — are holding two journalists, an American working for Vice News, Simon Ostrovsky, and a Ukrainian working for a pro-Kiev outlet, Irma Krat.

Slavyansk’s local rebel leader Vyatcheslav Ponomarev told reporters that the American “is not being detained, was not abducted, has not been arrested” and claimed he was “working” in one of the rebel-occupied buildings.

However, the Twitter feed of the normally prolific journalist has been inactive for a day.

Here is Mr. Ostrovsky’s last dispatch (he has been reporting in the region throughout this crisis). In it he interviews soldiers and civilians and shows the disarmament of Ukrainian troops by pro-Russian forces, the very side which kidnapped him.

We pray for the safe release of these hostages, and for peace and safety for the Jewish community of Ukraine and all of the Ukrainian people.

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 12:08 PM  | Stand For Israel

Ukrainian Synagogue Firebombed

Nikolayev Synagogue (Photo: wikicommons/ Messir Yunus)

Nikolayev Synagogue (Photo: wikicommons/ Messir Yunus)

The Jerusalem Post reports that a Ukrainian synagogue was firebombed over the weekend. The synagogue, located in the southeastern Black Sea city of Nikolayev, was targeted on Saturday:

Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the door and window, the report said, citing Yisroel Gotlieb, son of the city’s chief rabbi, Sholom Gotlieb.

A passer-by put out the fires with a fire extinguisher, according to the report.

The attack was recorded by the synagogue’s closed circuit television security camera and uploaded to YouTube.

The article also mentions the fliers passed out last week in Donetsk, calling on that city’s Jews to register. Pro-Russian separatists have denied responsibility for the leaflets. The Times of Israel reports that while responsibility is still unclear, the U.S. has denounced the fliers, its ambassador to Kiev stating they are:

“clearly part of a general effort to sow fear among Ukrainian Jews.”

Whoever distributed them, that act, along with this latest firebombing, shows that not only are Ukraine’s Jews still facing anti-Semitism and violence, but also are being used as pawns in the region’s chaotic and unstable political situation.

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 10:14 AM  | Stand For Israel

Dismantle the Palestinian Authority? Not Likely.

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

Avi Issacharoff, writing at The Times of Israel, notes that the probability of the P.A. being disbanded is extremely low because what would follow would be the total societal meltdown of what remains of Palestinian civil society and the Palestinian economy. The saying in Israel is that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity – but Issacharoff thinks they won’t make this mistake this time:

A scenario in which the Palestinian Authority is dissolved is possible, but its probability is low, very low. The discussion in recent days over the possibility of the P.A. being dismantled has been held mainly in the Israeli media, with little to no presence in the discourse of the Palestinian media and among P.A. leaders.

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 8:22 AM  | Stand For Israel

Same Old Song and Dance

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

It is proverbial that familiarity breeds contempt. So, in the past week, one could be forgiven for harboring a sense of contempt for the familiar machinations of the Palestinian Authority.

Having never taken peace talks with Israel seriously – but having used those negotiations to win concessions from Israel totaling hundreds of freed terrorists while giving nothing in return – the gravy train finally stopped when Israel refused to continue the charade by releasing another round of prisoners.

Immediately after, the Palestinians sought recognition of Palestine – a nation that does not exist – by a host of United Nations agencies. They have threatened to apply for membership in the International Criminal Court, where they would almost certainly pursue charges against Israel and her leaders. And, most recently, they have returned to the familiar tropes of threatening to disband the Palestinian Authority and engaging in unity talks with Hamas.

The Palestinian National Authority (P.A.) was created as part of the Oslo Accords in 1994. The P.A. was established to administer areas of the West Bank and Gaza as a preliminary step to independence and a Palestinian state.  The P.A. was ruled by Fatah, Yasser Arafat’s political party, until the 2006 elections, which were won by the Hamas terrorist organization. Those were the last elections held for P.A. positions. In 2002, in response to a massive wave of suicide terror against Israeli civilians, the Israel Defense Forces took control over most of the population centers that the P.A. administered. While the P.A. still ran the civilian government, the IDF was responsible for security with the exception of some policing authority still allowed to P.A. police. The P.A. performs some rudimentary governmental functions, but very little. Its benefit is purely symbolic and, like much else in the Middle East, that symbolism is largely a relic of a time not currently reflected by the facts on the ground. Disbanding the P.A. is a meaningless gesture by a group of people who spend all their time…

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 8:17 AM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: What Does This Ceremony Mean to You?

(Photo: flickr/GPO)

(Photo: flickr/GPO)

When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, “What does this ceremony mean to you?” then tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD… “ (Exodus 12:25-27)

Here, a Tel Aviv kindergarten class holds a Passover seder in 1949. We wish our Jewish friends a happy Passover and our Christian friends a blessed Good Friday and joyous Easter. Shabbat shalom.

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Friday, April 18th, 2014 at 10:00 AM  | Stand For Israel

Have a Joyous Passover and a Blessed Easter

(Photo: Jack Hazut)

(Photo: Jack Hazut)

Because of Good Friday and Passover, we’re suspending activity for April 18, 21, and 22. We’ll be back on Wednesday, April 23. If any critical developments related to Israel come up in the meantime we will post them on the Stand for Israel blog. We wish our Jewish friends a joyous Passover and our Christian Friends a blessed Easter. Thank you for always standing for Israel!

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Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 4:46 PM  | Stand For Israel
"informing, equipping and mobilizing individuals and churches to support the
State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
God Is Present This Holy Season

Even as efforts for peace seem to be at an impasse all around the world, the Passover story can give us hope and affirmation that God is always present in our lives, and even when situations seem impossible, He is working in ways we cannot imagine.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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