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Photo Friday goes to Mount Hermon

(Photo: bibleplaces.com)

 

Here’s a beautiful view of Mount Hermon, the highest point in Israel. Enjoy, everyone — and a Happy New Year to all our dedicated supporters and friends of Israel!

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Friday, December 30th, 2011 at 12:17 PM  | Stand For Israel

Happy New Year from the IDF!

Enjoy this New Year’s message from the Israel Defense Forces! Wishing a happy, safe, and blessed New Year to all.

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Friday, December 30th, 2011 at 10:06 AM  | Stand For Israel

Listen to Israel in the News

Responding to an Iranian threat to close down the strategically critical Straits of Hormuz, the Obama administration sent the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and its accompanying battle group to the area. The move sends an unambiguous message to the Iranians: you’ll have to go through the US Navy to close the Straits.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

  • Mass protests agains the government continue in Syria
  • Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was back in court this week, charged with ordering the killing of hundreds of protesters during the Egyptian uprising last spring
  • In Afghanistan, three NATO service members were killed in an attack by Taliban terrorists
  • An anti-Semitism lawsuit against the University of California at Berkeley has been dismissed

In this week’s Israel in the News Perspective, IFCJ President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein offers his thoughts on the year that has passed, and the year that is to come.

Listen below to Israel in the News — and a Happy New Year to all!

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Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 12:43 PM  | Stand For Israel

U.S. sends Navy through Strait of Hormuz

The USS John C. Stennis

Congratulations to the Obama Administration, which has moved the aircraft carrier  USS John C. Stennis and its accompanying battle group through the Strait of Hormuz in response to Iranian bluster about closing the important waterway and an Iranian military exercise in the area.

According to this report from Israel’s Yediot Achronot, the Iranian navy has spotted the Stennis inside the area of the maneuver zone.  For all our differences with him, the President is to be thanked for sending a totally unambiguous message to the Iranians: you’ll have to go through the US Navy to close the Straits.

Note to the mullahs: I wouldn’t mess with the U.S. Navy if I were you.  Ask Osama Bin Laden.

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Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 10:12 AM  | Stand For Israel

What happened while Israel slept?

Jerusalem at dusk

A Soldier’s Mother on the reality of life in Israel:

So, while I slept, Israel was hit with at least four rockets and there were, it seems, at least two more attempts to fire against our citizens. What happened while you slept? That, my friends, is the difference – and that is why another Gaza War may well be around the corner. I slept…but hundreds of thousands of people in the south had a long night. At some point, they probably decided just to try to sleep in safe rooms – rooms that are protected by thickened walls and smaller windows with a metal door that shields the glass from impact. They are lucky – it is winter and so closing the window blocks out the cold rather than causing them to sleep in hot, unbearable conditions. 

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Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 7:41 AM  | Stand For Israel

Don’t let Israel’s foes determine the debate

 

We have a poster on the SFI Facebook page – a Danish “psychodramatic therapist”, of all things – who fancies himself something of an expert on international law.  He’s repeating the false trope that Israel’s policies in the West Bank and other areas amount to a violation of international law.  Many Israel-haters regurgitate this position without knowing what they’re talking about.  So we thought it might be a good idea to give you something to throw back at them. 

First rule: NEVER allow Israel’s detractors to set the parameters of the discussion by claiming that Israel is engaged in an illegal “occupation.”  Occupation is used as a political term by Israel’s detractors, but it has a very specific legal definition.  Here are some sources from real experts that will help you demolish this narrative (it’s worth noting that the late Prof. Julius Stone, whose article appears below, was considered the world’s preeminent scholar on international law – if you only read one of these, make it that one):

Eugene V. Rostow: “Resolved: Are the Settlements Legal?” New Republic, October, 1991

Julius Stone: “Israel and Palestine – Assault on the Law of Nations”
Excerpts edited by Ian Lacey, 2003

David Phillips: “The Illegal-Settlement Myth,” December 2009

Alan Baker: “The Settlements Issue: Distorting the Geneva Convention and the Oslo Accords,”  January, 2011:

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Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 at 2:45 PM  | Stand For Israel

Clay seal from Second Temple period unearthed‎

Photo Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority

Archaeologists in Jerusalem uncovered a Second Temple artifact which testifies to the ritual practices performed in the Holy Temple. The artifact, a clay seal the size of a button, is inscribed with the Aramaic words Daka Le’Ya, meaning “Pure for God.”

The inscription dates back to the first century, and is consistent with Jewish literature which teaches that no oil was to be used for lighting the menorah in the Temple unless it had the signature of the High Priest stating that it is “Pure for God.”

The fact that this ancient artifact has been brought to light on Hanukkah is no coincidence. While there were many miracles performed for the Jewish people when they waged war against the much mightier Greek army, it is the miracle of the oil that we celebrate.

After the Jewish people succeeded in driving the Greeks out of their land, the priests entered the Holy Temple to perform the Temple service that had been prohibited by the Greeks. When they entered, they found a Temple that had been completely desecrated – the instruments of service were destroyed and the oil used for lighting the menorah was defiled.

Amidst the havoc which prevailed in the Temple, the Cohanim, or Priests, found one jar of oil remaining which had the seal of the High Priest – “Pure for God.” The jar contained enough oil for one day and it would take an additional eight days to produce more pure oil fit for lighting. Yet, God performed a miracle and the oil lasted for eight days.  

The service of lighting the menorah in the Temple was called the Aish Tamid or “Eternal Flame.” The Cohen (priest) would light the menorah every morning and it would continue to burn through the following morning, so that the menorah would be lit continuously.

What is unique about the light of the menorah which was lit in the Temple and that we light today on Chanukah? When describing the creation of the…

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Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 at 9:45 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hanukkah — holiday of light and unity

During Hanukkah, every Jew in Israel feels the unity of the Jewish people. We’re all celebrating – Orthodox and secular alike. Whether you are in a synagogue or an office building, restaurant, café, or even a pub, at sunset you will witness the Hanukkah lighting ceremony.

Hanukkah comes in the winter, the darkest time of year. This is no coincidence. On the holiday we light candles every night for eight nights in a row, and the candles show us that one little flame has the ability to light up the darkness; that, if we live a life of righteousness and holiness, our one little flame of faith can brighten the entire world. The Hanukkah candles are the vehicles that light our souls, warm our hearts, and give us hope.

The story of Hanukkah took place during the Second Temple era, about 200 years before its destruction at the hands of the Romans. At the time, the Greeks overpowered the Jews living in Israel and enforced laws which banned the biblical practice of Judaism. The Greeks saw the Jewish religion – which puts God at the center of the world and faith in the Creator as the highest level a man can attain – as a threat to their culture. They wanted us to erase our faith in God, since they looked at biblical believers as threats to their vision of a progressive society.

The Greeks did not seek to annihilate the Jewish people, but to fully assimilate them to Greek culture. Therefore, the Jewish people’s struggle with the Greeks was more spiritual than physical. If the Jews would have forsaken their God, the Greeks would have left them alone.

The Jewish people are once again in a struggling with forces that seek to uproot their history, culture, and religion. Israel’s enemies are rewriting history with the intent of erasing evidence of the Jewish people’s ancient roots in the Holy Land.

Still, we do not lose hope. The light of the menorah is a taste of the light that shone…

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Friday, December 23rd, 2011 at 11:40 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hanukkah Celebrations Begin

Jewish people around the world this week began the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah. In the United States, the beginning of Hanukkah was marked by the lighting of the world’s largest menorah in New York City. The “Festival of Lights” celebrates two miracles — the military victory 2,100 years ago of a small group of Jews against a powerful army that had invaded and occupied Israel, and a one-day supply of oil that miraculously lasted eight days, keeping the eternal flame burning in the holy Temple.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

  • A simple military ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland marked the end of the Iraq war with the return of the U.S. forces’ Iraq colors.
  • Meanwhile in Iraq, the deadliest bombings in months took place this week, leaving at least 57 dead and fears that terrorist groups are exploiting America’s recent departure.
  • Syrian government troops reportedly advanced on a village in northwestern Syria, unleashing what one resident called “an organized massacre.” More than 100 people were killed in one of the bloodiest days of the government’s crackdown against the popular uprisings.
  • A convicted Nazi war criminal lost his bid to return to the United States. Retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk was convicted in Germany as an accessory to more than 28,000 murders.
  • One failed suicide bomber from Gaza, released from an Israeli prison as part of the exchange for Gilad Shalit, has expressed her willingness to strap on another bomb and try to kill Israelis.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a Christmas message for Christians around the world.

Listen below to Israel in the News!

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Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 at 5:00 PM  | Stand For Israel

High school curriculum spreads lies about Israel

The Arab World Studies Notebook

A Boston-area newspaper, the Newton Tab, recently reported that local parent Tony Pagliuso was horrified when his daughter, a freshman at Newton South High School, brought home an article on women in the Middle East that claims “Several hundred [Palestinian women] have been imprisoned, tortured, and killed by Israeli occupation forces since the latest uprising, ‘Intifada,’ in the Israeli occupied territories.” 

The article, which was distributed to Pagliuso’s daughter’s class by her world history teacher, makes it sound like Israel arbitrarily imprisons innocent Palestinian women. What it fails to mention is that Palestinian women have been responsible for carrying out some of the most horrific terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. For example, Dalal Mugrahbi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, carried out the 1978 coastal road massacre in which 38 civilians were murdered, including 13 children.

On top of this, the accusation that Israel tortures female prisoners is simply false. Palestinian female prisoners serving in Israeli jails enjoy full prisoner rights as stipulated by the Third Geneva Convention. In Israeli jails, Palestinian prisoners – male and female – are given decent living quarters, food, clothing, medical care, religious and physical activities, newspapers, phone calls, visits from friends and family, and a canteen where relatives and friends deposit money for their use inside the prison. 

The article refuting these truths was taken from a controversial textbook called The Arab World Studies Notebook. In 2005, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) prompted many schools across the U.S. to ban the book from their high-school curriculum. In its critique, the AJC said that the book “is replete with factual errors, inaccuracies and misrepresentations about Middle East history.” The textbook goes so far as to suggest that “students repeat Arabic phrases that are confessions of belief and proposes that Muslim faith statements be transmitted to others,” concludes the AJC report. The textbook even makes the claim that Muslims discovered America prior to Columbus. Unbelievable!

This textbook is not about genuine learning — it’s a propaganda tool meant to shape…

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Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 at 12:11 PM  | Stand For Israel
"informing, equipping and mobilizing individuals and churches to support the
State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
An Israeli Boy’s Dream of Peace

This weekend, I spent a wonderful day playing with some of my grandchildren – really, one of the most glorious days of my life. There is something about the innocence of children that reminds you that the most cherished and most beautiful moments of life are the simplest ones.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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