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IDF’s newest high-tech equipment: Socks!

Jewish tradition teaches that salvation comes in the blink of an eye, and from unexpected places… for the soldiers of the IDF–and for the women who love them (and who do their laundry)–salvation is set to come in March, when all new recruits will begin receiving special socks that can be worn for up to two weeks straight without smelling, the Israeli daily Ma’ariv (Hebrew link) reported on Thursday.

“It may sound ridiculous… but this is a very important issue that causes many problems during training,” the newspaper quoted Brigadier General Nissim Peretz, the commander of the Israeli military’s logistics division, told the paper.

He’s not joking. Many of SFI’s friends who served in the IDF (and continue to serve in the reserves)–especially those who serve in the tanks brigades–regularly were on assignment or maneuvers that required them to not change clothing for several days, or even a week or more, at a time.

The IDF sometimes stations tanks or other heavy armored vehicles in problem areas with orders to patrol the area and keep a lid on any disturbances, but with specific orders to not get out of the tank. This is not only to protect the soldiers, but to protect civilians or others who might–intentionally, unwittingly, or because a terrorist group forces them to–engage a soldier in plain sight. While crews can sometimes be swapped out regularly, during wartime or in other extreme situations, some tank crews might find themselves holed up in a tank for long stretches.

During the height of the Second Intifada, one friend–now a young father who heads a green energy company with operations in Israel and India and who does his reserve duty as the Jerusalem city commander–was in a tank for two weeks straight. As his wife cringed at the memory, he would pridefully recount how he never took his boots off even once.

The socks also prevent athlete’s foot — “a nuisance with which every soldier is very familiar,” the paper said. The fabric includes metal components to keep bad odours and fungal infections at bay.

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Saturday, January 30th, 2010 at 12:31 PM  | Stand For Israel

IDF's newest high-tech equipment: Socks!

Jewish tradition teaches that salvation comes in the blink of an eye, and from unexpected places… for the soldiers of the IDF–and for the women who love them (and who do their laundry)–salvation is set to come in March, when all new recruits will begin receiving special socks that can be worn for up to two weeks straight without smelling, the Israeli daily Ma’ariv (Hebrew link) reported on Thursday.

“It may sound ridiculous… but this is a very important issue that causes many problems during training,” the newspaper quoted Brigadier General Nissim Peretz, the commander of the Israeli military’s logistics division, told the paper.

He’s not joking. Many of SFI’s friends who served in the IDF (and continue to serve in the reserves)–especially those who serve in the tanks brigades–regularly were on assignment or maneuvers that required them to not change clothing for several days, or even a week or more, at a time.

The IDF sometimes stations tanks or other heavy armored vehicles in problem areas with orders to patrol the area and keep a lid on any disturbances, but with specific orders to not get out of the tank. This is not only to protect the soldiers, but to protect civilians or others who might–intentionally, unwittingly, or because a terrorist group forces them to–engage a soldier in plain sight. While crews can sometimes be swapped out regularly, during wartime or in other extreme situations, some tank crews might find themselves holed up in a tank for long stretches.

During the height of the Second Intifada, one friend–now a young father who heads a green energy company with operations in Israel and India and who does his reserve duty as the Jerusalem city commander–was in a tank for two weeks straight. As his wife cringed at the memory, he would pridefully recount how he never took his boots off even once.

The socks also prevent athlete’s foot — “a nuisance with which every soldier is very familiar,” the paper said. The fabric includes metal components to keep bad odours and fungal infections at bay.

Comments (0) »

Saturday, January 30th, 2010 at 12:31 PM  | Stand For Israel

Reports: Israel assassinates Hamas operative responsible for killing two IDF soldiers in ’80s

Hamas released a statement accusing Israel of assassinating the terrorist group’s military commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in Damascus a week and a half ago. Al-Mabhouh was believed to be behind the kidnapping and murders of two Israeli soldiers during First Intifada, Israeli media reports said. The Jewish state has not responded to the allegations.

IDF soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa’adon were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas in two separate operations in 1989.

Sasportas had been nabbed while heading to his home in Ashdod on the southern coast. He was shot in the head and his body was buried on the side of the road not far from where he was kidnapped. According to Yediot Aharonot,:

Three months later, Sa’adon was captured at a junction near Kiryat Malachi. The day after searches began for Sa’adon’s body, the body of Sasportas, who was considered missing, was discovered.

Sa’adon’s body was found seven long years after the kidnapping. In 1997 the Palestinian Authority gave Israel a map with five possible places where they body may be found. It was eventually found buried eight meters deep under a road that was paved south of Rishon Lezion.

At the end of 2001, an IDF Golani force managed to arrest Abdel Rabbo abu Househ, a Hamas official who was involved in the kidnapping.

Al-Mabhouh, 50, was exiled from the Palestinian territories in 1989 and had served as one of Hamas’ top officials abroad. Considered a founder of the “military wing” of the movement, the Izz ed-Din al-Kassam Brigades, al-Mabhouh had served as the terrorist group’s representative in Dubai.

Hamas did not specify how al-Mabhouh was killed, but the dead man’s brother told reporters that he had been electrocuted by “an electrical appliance that was held to his head.” His body was found on January 20.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh noted that al-Mabhouh was “the first to plan the act of abducting Zionist soldiers to exchange them for Palestinian prisoners.”

Israeli newspapers reported that Sa’adon’s sister, Maza Huta, said that “memories (of what happened) continue to haunt us” and that today was “particularly difficult.”

“Our mother say Ilan’s pictures on the television,…

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Friday, January 29th, 2010 at 3:55 PM  | Stand For Israel

Reports: Israel assassinates Hamas operative responsible for killing two IDF soldiers in '80s

Hamas released a statement accusing Israel of assassinating the terrorist group’s military commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in Damascus a week and a half ago. Al-Mabhouh was believed to be behind the kidnapping and murders of two Israeli soldiers during First Intifada, Israeli media reports said. The Jewish state has not responded to the allegations.

IDF soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa’adon were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas in two separate operations in 1989.

Sasportas had been nabbed while heading to his home in Ashdod on the southern coast. He was shot in the head and his body was buried on the side of the road not far from where he was kidnapped. According to Yediot Aharonot,:

Three months later, Sa’adon was captured at a junction near Kiryat Malachi. The day after searches began for Sa’adon’s body, the body of Sasportas, who was considered missing, was discovered.

Sa’adon’s body was found seven long years after the kidnapping. In 1997 the Palestinian Authority gave Israel a map with five possible places where they body may be found. It was eventually found buried eight meters deep under a road that was paved south of Rishon Lezion.

At the end of 2001, an IDF Golani force managed to arrest Abdel Rabbo abu Househ, a Hamas official who was involved in the kidnapping.

Al-Mabhouh, 50, was exiled from the Palestinian territories in 1989 and had served as one of Hamas’ top officials abroad. Considered a founder of the “military wing” of the movement, the Izz ed-Din al-Kassam Brigades, al-Mabhouh had served as the terrorist group’s representative in Dubai.

Hamas did not specify how al-Mabhouh was killed, but the dead man’s brother told reporters that he had been electrocuted by “an electrical appliance that was held to his head.” His body was found on January 20.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh noted that al-Mabhouh was “the first to plan the act of abducting Zionist soldiers to exchange them for Palestinian prisoners.”

Israeli newspapers reported that Sa’adon’s sister, Maza Huta, said that “memories (of what happened) continue to haunt us” and that today was “particularly difficult.”

“Our mother say Ilan’s pictures on the television,…

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Friday, January 29th, 2010 at 3:55 PM  | Stand For Israel

Rights group–in turnabout–zings Hamas for claiming no war violations

A vocal international human rights group lashed out against Hamas on Thursday: Using critical language it normally reserves for Israel, Human Rights Watch strongly rejected claims made earlier this week by the Gaza-based terror group that it had investigated allegations in a UN report into last winter’s Gaza war and absolved Palestinian armed groups of any wrong-doing.

AFP reported:

“Hamas’s claim that rockets were intended to hit Israeli military targets and only accidentally harmed civilians is belied by the facts,” the New York-based group said.

HRW issued its statement after the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip said its investigations of allegations in a UN report on the Gaza war found that they and other Palestinian armed groups “struck military targets and avoided civilian targets.”

HRW pointed out that most of the rocket attacks on Israel hit civilian areas. “Civilians were the target,” the rights group said, adding that “deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime.”

On Wednesday, Hamas’s statement said:

“The committee worked around the clock to uncover the facts, despite the certainty that there were no violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law that amount to war crimes,” said the committee head, Hamas justice minister Mohammed Faraj al-Ghul.

“The Palestinian government has on more than one occasion called on armed Palestinian groups to avoid targeting civilians,” said the report by Hamas, which has claimed scores of deadly suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

“(The armed groups) struck military targets and avoided civilian targets, and any accusations related to this concern errant fire.”

HRW has come in for frequent criticism from pro-Israel advocates, who said that the organization–like many similar non-governmental groups–singles Israel out for harsh criticism without taking into account the larger context of the battles she faces, while allowing the terror groups she fights a complete pass. Further, they say, HRW and other groups take full advantage of Israel’s open society while never criticizing the fact that they can’t even safely enter the territories controlled by rogue regimes in Syria or elsewhere in the Arab world.

Late last year, HRW Founder Robert Bernstein added his voice–sadly–to HRW’s critics,…

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Friday, January 29th, 2010 at 10:39 AM  | Stand For Israel

Airline incident points to need for bridge-building

Rabbi’s Eckstein’s message this week:

Terrorism has made us uneasy travelers. Stories of bombs concealed in shoes and undergarments have lead to tighter and tighter security measures, and put security personnel, flight crews, and passengers on edge. A recent incident on a flight from New York’s LaGuardia airport to Louisville, Kentucky, shows just how uneasy we have become.

On board the flight were a teenage brother and sister. After the flight had been airborne for about a half hour, the boy produced two small boxes, which he strapped to his arm and head. Fearing that the boxes might contain explosives, the flight crew alerted the pilot, who notified federal authorities to meet the plane after it made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Once the plane was on the ground, FBI agents burst into the cabin and handcuffed and questioned the boy. They quickly found out that he posed no threat. An Orthodox Jew, he had been strapping on tefillin—small leather boxes containing parchment inscribed with biblical passages—prior to saying his morning prayers.

Far from engaging in an act of terrorism, the boy was following one of the dictates of his faith. The Bible tells us to “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” (Deuteronomy 11:18) Orthodox Jews fulfill this command by putting on tefillin (also known as phylacteries) every morning except Sabbath as they recite their prayers. One box and strap is wrapped around the left hand opposite the heart, while the other is wrapped around the head. In this way the Jew demonstrates that his love for God and devotion to His word involve his hands (or actions), his heart (or emotions), and his mind (or thoughts).

To his credit, the boy was calm and cooperative—though frightened—during the incident. The reaction in the Jewish world, too, was measured. While some said the flight crew overreacted, there seemed to be a general understanding that in the current climate of extreme caution engendered by terrorism they had simply made an honest mistake. Jewish leaders were quick to…

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Friday, January 29th, 2010 at 7:46 AM  | Stand For Israel

For first time in a decade, no “successful” suicide bombings in Israel during 2009

For the first time in a decade, in 2009, Palestinian terror groups were unable to launch any “successful” –meaning, murderous–suicide attacks against Israelis, UPI reports.

Since Israel’s incursion into Gaza to stop Hamas rocket fire ended in January 2009, Palestinian terrorists killed one Israeli civilian inside Israel and murdered an additional four in the West Bank.

According to Israeli security sources, 234 Israelis were wounded in attacks by Palestinian terrorists (185 of which were during the Gaza War). In 2008, Palestinian attacks wounded 679 Israelis.

Security sources credited the drop in attacks to continuing operations by the IDF, which oversees security in much of the West Bank, and Israeli security forces (SFI notes that the continuing closed border with Gaza makes it more difficult for Hamas to send bombers from there). Security officials also credited Palestinian police forces trained by the U.S.:

“The Palestinian police have implemented a sustained iron-fisted fight against terror and the Israeli security forces see this as a very positive movement,” a senior Israeli security official told the Jerusalem Post.

The number of rocket and mortar attacks fell from more than 2,000 in 2008 to 566 in 2009, of which 406 were during Operation Cast Lead, officials said.

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Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 4:00 PM  | Stand For Israel

For first time in a decade, no "successful" suicide bombings in Israel during 2009

For the first time in a decade, in 2009, Palestinian terror groups were unable to launch any “successful” –meaning, murderous–suicide attacks against Israelis, UPI reports.

Since Israel’s incursion into Gaza to stop Hamas rocket fire ended in January 2009, Palestinian terrorists killed one Israeli civilian inside Israel and murdered an additional four in the West Bank.

According to Israeli security sources, 234 Israelis were wounded in attacks by Palestinian terrorists (185 of which were during the Gaza War). In 2008, Palestinian attacks wounded 679 Israelis.

Security sources credited the drop in attacks to continuing operations by the IDF, which oversees security in much of the West Bank, and Israeli security forces (SFI notes that the continuing closed border with Gaza makes it more difficult for Hamas to send bombers from there). Security officials also credited Palestinian police forces trained by the U.S.:

“The Palestinian police have implemented a sustained iron-fisted fight against terror and the Israeli security forces see this as a very positive movement,” a senior Israeli security official told the Jerusalem Post.

The number of rocket and mortar attacks fell from more than 2,000 in 2008 to 566 in 2009, of which 406 were during Operation Cast Lead, officials said.

Comments (0) »

Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 4:00 PM  | Stand For Israel

Peres’ speech in Germany

Yesterday, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli President Shimon Peres delivered a moving speech (in Hebrew) to the German Bundestag:

I can see in my mind’s eye, at this very moment, the imposing image of my deeply respected grandfather, Rabbi Zvi Melzer, handsome and dignified. I was blessed to have been his beloved grandson. He was my guide and mentor. He was the one who taught me Torah. I see him with his white beard and dark eyebrows, enveloped in his tallith (praying shawl), among the congregation praying in the synagogue, in the town where I was born, Vishniev in Belarus.

I wrapped myself in the folds of his tallith, and with much emotion listened to his clear and lovely voice. It is still ringing in my ears, as he recited the Kol Nidrei prayer of Yom Kippur, in the hours and the moments when, according to our belief, the Creator of the world determines who to life and who to death.

I still remember him at the train station from which I, an 11-year-old child, started on my journey from my village to Eretz Israel. I remember his poignant embrace. I remember the last words and the order that heard from his mouth: “My boy, always remain a Jew!”

The train whistled and started on its way. I continued watching my grandfather until he disappeared from sight. That was the last time I saw him.

Read the whole thing.

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Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 9:03 AM  | Stand For Israel

Peres' speech in Germany

Yesterday, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli President Shimon Peres delivered a moving speech (in Hebrew) to the German Bundestag:

I can see in my mind’s eye, at this very moment, the imposing image of my deeply respected grandfather, Rabbi Zvi Melzer, handsome and dignified. I was blessed to have been his beloved grandson. He was my guide and mentor. He was the one who taught me Torah. I see him with his white beard and dark eyebrows, enveloped in his tallith (praying shawl), among the congregation praying in the synagogue, in the town where I was born, Vishniev in Belarus.

I wrapped myself in the folds of his tallith, and with much emotion listened to his clear and lovely voice. It is still ringing in my ears, as he recited the Kol Nidrei prayer of Yom Kippur, in the hours and the moments when, according to our belief, the Creator of the world determines who to life and who to death.

I still remember him at the train station from which I, an 11-year-old child, started on my journey from my village to Eretz Israel. I remember his poignant embrace. I remember the last words and the order that heard from his mouth: “My boy, always remain a Jew!”

The train whistled and started on its way. I continued watching my grandfather until he disappeared from sight. That was the last time I saw him.

Read the whole thing.

Comments (0) »

Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 9:03 AM  | Stand For Israel

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

Rabbi's Commentary
A Fragile Peace

As we continue to pray for a lasting peace, one of our most critical tasks is to help Israel recover – to rebuild, to restore shattered lives, to comfort those who have lost loved ones or livelihoods. And none of this is possible without you who continue to stand by the Jewish people.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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