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Israeli advocacy group helps delay flotilla departure

Freedom Flotilla 2 – the fleet of “humanitarian” ships setting sail for Gaza – has encountered many problems along the way: key ships pulling out of the mission, international leaders asking them to reconsider, the number of expected participants dwindling from 1,500 to 350.

And now legal difficulties, thanks to the non-violent and reasoned efforts of an Israeli advocacy group: 

Greek authorities have detained two of the ships docked here, including an American vessel, after the Israeli advocacy group, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, submitted a complaint to the Greek Coast Guard suggesting that seven of the ships might be lacking insurance or were improperly registered.

Shurat HaDin, which describes itself as a civil rights organization, has also contacted about 30 maritime insurance providers to warn that insuring the vessels may leave the companies open to prosecution for aiding a terrorist organization, said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of the group. There have been reports that several vessels have been unable to join the flotilla because of insurance problems.

We applaud your efforts, Shurat HaDin!

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Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 3:12 PM  | Stand For Israel

Dutch journalists jump the flotilla

Some Dutch journalists have wised up and decided to abandon their place on the Gaza flotilla, citing a lack of honesty and transparency among flotilla organizers

“Questions were simply not answered. They would always just ‘get back to us’ on them. Soon I lost my faith and trust, which are essential to an undertaking with that many risks; last year 9 people had died. I am very, very disappointed.”

Good for them, but what were they expecting? It’s hard to get a straight answer from a group that’s only interested in telling lies about Israel.

Meanwhile, the flotilla continues to try to push out from the dock, with little success, due at least in part to the sabotage of one of the ships (flotilla organizers, of course, blame Israel). So what’s the departure date?:

Bureaucratic delays, strikes at Greek ports and damaged ships continue to delay the flotilla, which was originally scheduled to set sail at mid-week.

Huwaida Arraf, one of the heads of the Free Gaza Movement, said by phone from Athens on Wednesday that the flotilla will likely not set sail for a number of days.

That’s a shame. Now the starving people of Gaza will have to wait even longer for that desperately-needed humanitarian aid.

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Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 9:37 AM  | Stand For Israel

Gilad Shalit survey results

In our enewsletter last week, we asked our Stand for Israel and Fellowship supporters the following question: “A recent survey showed that almost two-thirds of Israelis would support a prisoner swap that would release 1,000 Palestinian inmates including some responsible for the murder of innocent Israelis — in exchange for Gilad Shalit. Do you support this deal?” 

Here’s how they responded:

No. Shalit should be released, but the price Hamas is demanding is too high. Palestinian prisoners need to pay for their crimes. (54%)

Yes. Shalit has been held far too long under brutal conditions — he needs to come home to his loved ones now. (46%)

Given the difficulty of this issue, it’s not surprising to see that the results were relatively close. It’s hard to imagine what Shalit has endured during his captivity. But the number of Palestinian prisoners Hamas is demanding to secure his release is grossly disproportionate — and these prisoners are incarcerated for a reason. Releasing this many could pose a grave threat to other innocent Israelis.

It’s a tough question. Wherever you stand on this issue, what we all need to keep doing is pray — for Shalit’s release, for the comfort of the family and friends, that his captors will one day be brought to justice, and that he will be given a sure sense of God’s love — and the love of so many friends of Israel — during his time of trial.

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Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 7:07 AM  | Stand For Israel

The U.N.’s latest lunacy

The U.N. recently appointed North Korea as head of its Conference on Disarmament, a 65-member arms control forum. Seriously? Perhaps the U.N. doesn’t remember that their very own Security Council has imposed sanctions on North Korea for its development of nuclear weapons and has repeatedly condemned the country for launching rockets.

“Bare months after the U.N. finally suspended Libya’s Col. Muammar Qaddafi from its Human Rights Council, North Korea wins the propaganda coup of heading the world’s disarmament agency,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “It’s asking the fox to guard the chickens, and damages the U.N.’s credibility.”

“While the U.N. will likely defend North Korea’s appointment as simply an automatic rotation,” said Neuer, “no system should tolerate such a fundamental conflict of interests. It’s common sense that a disarmament body should not be headed by the world’s arch-villain on illegal weapons and nuclear proliferation, notorious for exporting missiles and nuclear know-how to fellow rogue regimes around the globe.”

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Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 3:52 PM  | Stand For Israel

The ill-conceived statehood push

It’s obvious why Israelis have concerns about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ push this September for the U.N. to recognize a Palestinian state. But maybe Palestinian leadership should be concerned as well.   

As Khaled Abu Toameh writes in his thoughtful Hudson New York op-ed:

It is obvious by now that the September initiative would not advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. On the contrary, it would further complicate matters for both Israel and the Palestinians, plunging the region into another vicious cycle of bloodshed and violence.

Abbas has raised the expectations of many Palestinians to a dangerous level, as many are now expecting to wake up in September to see a new state where they live in peace and security. But when that does not happen, and the Palestinians realize they have been once again sold false promises, they could turn to violence not only against Israel, but also against their leaders in the West Bank.

So the question remains — if he’s not going to get a state and could alienate his own people, what’s the point of this push?

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Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 11:35 AM  | Stand For Israel

Are Taxpayers Funding Palestinians’ Dangerous Unilateralism?

Here’s an excellent question:   

The U.S. forks over an estimated $600 million to the Palestinians each year. Has Washington inadvertently allowed some of these taxpayer dollars to be spent in pursuit of a dangerous declaration of Palestinian statehood at the U.N. in September?

Yes, let’s look into that, shall we? Who wants this money going to fund an initiative that would place our strongest ally — Israel — in jeopardy?

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Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 at 3:17 PM  | Stand For Israel

IDF: Some flotilla participants planning violence

Israel Defense Forces sources reported to the Jerusalem Post that some of the activists on board the Gaza-bound flotilla are planning to kill Israeli soldiers if the IDF boards the ships and attempts to block them from breaking Israel’s maritime blockade of the region.   

The IDF says some passengers onboard the flotilla ships have prepared sacks of sulfur to throw at Israeli soldiers. If sulfur is poured on a soldier it could render him paralyzed and helpless — and could be fired up like a torch with the flick of a match. If these reports are accurate, the soldiers on this mission are in grave danger, and will need to board the ships prepared for anything.

Of course, flotilla participants claim that the IDF’s concerns are only meant to give Israeli soldiers a pretense to use force. One of them, Dror Feiler, stated that “violent people are not permitted to take part in the flotilla….All of the passengers signed a pledge of non-violence.” But these assurances are totally implausible. Look at last year’s ordeal with the Mavi Marmara, when IDF soldiers, in full accordance with international law, attempted to stop a flotilla ship and were swarmed by a mob of club and knife-wielding thugs.

The “peaceful activists” were not so peaceful then. The flotilla ships have already sailed and are fast approaching — and Israelis know that things could easily go wrong, despite Israel’s peaceful intentions.

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Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 at 9:38 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israeli man brutally attacked by Arab mob

Photo: Guy Gerfi

A wrong turn on a Jerusalem street almost cost 28-year-old Nir Nachshon his life Sunday night. Nir, a moving company employee, was driving to his home in a Jerusalem suburb when his GPS incorrectly led him into a Palestinian village in East Jerusalem.

Two Palestinian children noticed Nir as he was making a U-turn to get back on the main road and started whistling and yelling, “Jew, Jew.” Within minutes, more Arabs came to the street and began to attack, hurling stones and concrete blocks on Nir’s car, and then pulling him out of the car and savagely beating him with clubs. 

Nir’s life was saved by one of the village’s muhtars (an elected civil servant) and his three sons, who rushed into the crowd and dragged Nir into their home and then transported him to an Israeli patrol waiting outside the village. “I owe these people my life,” Nir said.

Lying in a hospital bed in Jerusalem’s Ein Keren Medical Center, Nir explained that he cannot forget the hatred he saw in his attacker’s eyes, nor the memory of the mob-like frenzy that nearly took his life. “I tried to look at them in the eyes and find an ounce of humanity in them, but all I could see was murder in their eyes. I felt my life would be over at any minute.”  

The vehement hatred that some of Jerusalem’s Arabic residents feel against their Jewish neighbors is appalling, especially because they are recognized as Israeli residents who benefit from government programs and enjoy the same rights as Israeli Jews.  In fact, recent surveys show that the majority of Arabs living in Jerusalem would prefer to live in Israel as Israeli citizens, then under Arab rule in Palestine.

The Palestinian village that Nir accidently entered is called Al-Issawiya and is located on Mount Scopus, which is also home to the Hebrew University campus, as well as Hadassah Hospital. Every day, many students, medical patients, doctors, and other pedestrians pass close to the very streets on which Nir was attacked. The fact that Jerusalem residents risk their…

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Monday, June 27th, 2011 at 3:39 PM  | Stand For Israel

Israel cracks top Palestinian terror cell

Within days of the five-year anniversary of Hamas’ capture of Gilad Shalit, Israeli forces make a significant stride in the fight to keep her citizens and her soldiers safe.

The IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) have arrested close to two dozen Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) operatives who were running a number of terror cells near Jerusalem and were planning to kidnap soldiers and perpetrate other terror attacks against Israel, it was released for publication on Sunday.

Some of the operatives, the Shin Bet said, were Arabs from east Jerusalem in possession of Israeli identity cards enabling them to travel freely throughout the country.

Over 20 suspects have been arrested in recent weeks, the Shin Bet said, including a number who have significant military experience and have previously served time in Israeli prisons.

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Monday, June 27th, 2011 at 1:22 PM  | Stand For Israel

Flotilla to depart from Greece this weekend

The Gaza “Freedom Flotilla” is set to sail from Greece this weekend. This, of course, is no mission of mercy — it’s a coordinated attempt by people with an ingrained bias against Israel to delegitimize and discredit the Jewish state and provoke violence.  

You’ll hear about the flotilla in the media — and much of what you’ll hear will reflect badly on Israel, and mention nothing of the real intentions of the flotilla organizers. So this is a good time to remember Rabbi Eckstein’s words on the subject from his message earlier this month:

We must hope for the best as Israel faces yet another challenge to its security. The Bible says, “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment” (Proverbs 12:19). Let us pray that the true intentions of the flotilla organizers, and indeed of all those who actively attempt to delegitimize and compromise the security of the Jewish state, will be revealed. Let us pray for the safety of the IDF soldiers who put themselves in harm’s way protecting the country they love. And let us pray for the day when God will bless the entire world with his most precious gift of shalom, peace.

Amen to that.

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Friday, June 24th, 2011 at 2:10 PM  | Stand For Israel

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State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
Remembering the Terror of 9/11, Confronting the Terror of Today

The attacks on 9/11 were a wake-up call to the dangers of Islamist terrorism, and the swift growth of terrorist groups such as the Islamic State should wake us up to a current threat that demands not just our vigilance, but also our unity.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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