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Zionism, in a nutshell

Chaim Weizmann

 

A member of the House of Lords asked Chaim Weizmann (Israel’s first president), “Why do you Jews insist on Palestine when there are so many undeveloped countries you could settle in more conveniently?”

Weizmann said: “That’s like asking why you drove 20 miles to visit your mother last Sunday when so many old ladies live on your street.”

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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 at 11:53 AM  | Stand For Israel

Egyptian Islamic Jihad official on Christians: “I will exterminate them”

The ouster of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt has brought to the fore all sorts of unsavory characters, including Sheikh ‘Adel Shehato, an official in Egyptian Islamic Jihad who was freed from prison after Mubarak was forced from office. In a recent interview with an Egyptian newspaper (translated from Arabic by the good folks at MEMRI), Shehato had this to say about the possibility of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians in post-Mubarak Egypt:

Interviewer: “Are you against blowing up churches?”

Shehato: “Yes and no. The Christian is free to worship his god in his church, but if the Christians make problems for the Muslims, I will exterminate them. I am guided by the shari’a, and it stipulates that they must pay the jizya tax while in a state of humiliation…”

Interviewer: “These positions of yours frighten us, as Egyptians.”

Shehato: “I will not act [in ways] that contradict my faith just in order to please the people… We say to the Christians, convert to Islam or pay the jizya, otherwise we will fight you. The shari’a is not based on [human] logic but on divine law. That is why we oppose universal, manmade constitutions.”

With people like Shehato jockeying for power in Egypt, the prospects for Egyptian democracy do not — to say the least — look bright. Pray for Christians in Egypt, and for all in the country who truly long for and work for a free, democratic state.

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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 at 7:02 AM  | Stand For Israel

Iron Dome hits 85 percent of its targets

Iron Dome launcher near Sderot, Israel

In the recent barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza, the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 85 percent of rockets launched at southern Israeli cities.

Not only is the Iron Dome saving lives, it’s also creating a better political position for Israel.

The battlefield success of Iron Dome could change the political calculus in Israel by providing protection against attacks that prevented Israel from withdrawing after it dismantled settlements in Gaza in 2005.

Mr. Oren said 1,000 Qassam rockets were fired into southern Israel from August 2005 to May 2006. At the time, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon formed a political party, Kadima, to complete what he called disengagement, or the withdrawal of Israeli forces and the dismantlement of settlements in Palestinian areas of the West Bank that the Jewish state did not intend to keep within its final borders. The continuous barrage of rockets from Gaza is widely seen as stopping disengagement in its tracks.

“This restores Israel’s deterrence against a weapons system that Israel’s enemies believed Israel was incapable of defending against,” said Patrick Clawson, the director of research for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Second, by doing that, it makes it politically possible to talk about trading territory for peace, even if you are not confident that the new authorities can stop missile attacks by terrorists from that territory.”

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Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 at 9:58 AM  | Stand For Israel

An Israeli mother’s pride … and fear

In a blog post today, A Soldier’s Mother drives home the reality of the constant rocket attacks in Israel.

Recently her youngest son, Davidi, went shopping for school clothes …

It was getting late and he should have been home. We called him, “where are you?” my husband asked.

Davidi and his friend had taken advantage of one of the most amazing aspects of living so close to Jerusalem. Instead of coming right home, they went to the Kotel, the Western Wall, to say the evening prayers. It is a most amazing place. I can’t even complain. Years ago, a friend and I went shopping. I don’t remember which one of us asked the other, but the next thing I remember was that we were driving and parking in the Old City, walking down the steps…to the large plaza that opens to the most glorious site we currently have available to us. The large towering wall of ancient stones, the last remaining wall from our Holy Temple. Actually, the truth is, it isn’t from the Temple – it’s “only” a retaining wall, but it is, in many ways, all we have left.

I felt such joy and pride that he’d gone there on his own initiative.

And then, I saw the news, Arabs were rioting not far away – had stoned an Israeli bus – Bus #2 – easily could be the bus he was riding on – four were injured – a mother and her three children. They have been taken to the hospital…and so came the fear.

Let us join with all of Israel’s mothers in praying for the safety of the Holy Land’s citizens.

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Monday, August 29th, 2011 at 4:13 PM  | Stand For Israel

Eight hurt in Tel Aviv terror attack

Eight people were injured in south Tel Aviv early Monday morning when a 20-year-old terrorist from the West Bank highjacked a taxi at knifepoint, and then rammed the vehicle into a roadblock outside a Tel Aviv nighclub filled with high school children at an end-of-summer party:

Photo by: REUTERS/ Nir Elias

Border Police had set up a precautionary road block ahead of time at the entrance to the club on Abarbanel Street, in Tel Aviv’s Florentine neighborhood. The terrorist rammed the road block, and struck a number of civilians and a border policeman.

“He then got out of the car, screamed Allah Akbar [God is Great], and went on a knife attack,” a police spokeswoman said.

As this article notes, the Palestinian Authority did indeed issue a statement condemning this attack (unlike the attacks in southern Israel more than a week ago). But, true to form, they didn’t stop there:

In the same statement the PA President’s Office condemned Israel’s attacks on Gaza as well as Israel security operations and arrests made in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

How much pain, sorrow, and bloodshed could have been avoided over the years if the Palestinians put as much energy into seeking peace as they do into condemning Israel?

 

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Monday, August 29th, 2011 at 10:07 AM  | Stand For Israel

Happy birthday, Gilad Shalit

Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who has been held captive by Hamas terrorists for more than five years, turns 25 years old today. 

IDF soldier Gilad Shalit

Birthdays are usually celebratory times to gather with loved ones, to reflect on the years that have passed and to hopefully look toward the future. Of course, there will be no loved ones with Gilad today to help him mark this special occasion. But perhaps today we can all give him a gift — the gift of our prayers.

The Psalmist spoke of God’s loving, unfailing care for us: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139: 7-10). Let us all pray today that Gilad, wherever he is, will be kept safe, and that he is comforted by a sure sense of God’s presence and the knowledge that many, many people love him and are eagerly awaiting his safe return home.

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Sunday, August 28th, 2011 at 8:40 AM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday goes to Masada

Herod the Great’s palace cascades down the front of Masada in southern Israel.

Though his architectural feats were obviously impressive, including his expansion of the Second Temple, Herod is perhaps best known by Christians as the one who ordered the deaths of all the boys two and younger in Bethlehem in order to kill the one “born king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2).

View more amazing images of Herod’s creations – Masada and the Second Temple – at the National Geographic site.

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Friday, August 26th, 2011 at 1:44 PM  | Stand For Israel

Iron Dome defense helps secure Israel

Iron Dome Working

Israel’s newly deployed “Iron Dome” rocket defense system, the first system of it kind in the world, has proven to be one of the greatest defenses for southern communities suffering from the recent resurgence of rocket attacks

Sources say that in light of the latest upsurge of violence, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, a department in the Israeli Defense Ministry responsible for producing the Iron Dome’s Tamir missiles, plans to invest tens of millions of shekels in the coming months to speed up production of additional Iron Dome batteries.

Israeli reports estimate that 13 Iron Dome batteries are needed to protect threatened areas nationwide:

The Israel Air Force’s two operational Iron Dome batteries are based at Ashkelon and Beersheva. They intercepted over 90% of the rockets that would have hit populated areas, over the past few days, including an estimated 25 Grad rockets.

Rafael has just one production line for the Tamir interceptor missiles. Future operational needs, as well as the plan to establish two more Iron Dome batteries by the end of the year, necessitate the doubling of the missile production. Rafael is due to deliver the third Iron Dome battery to the Air Force in three weeks, and it will probably be based in Ashdod, which was inadequately protected against Grad rockets in last week’s fighting.

The fourth battery is due to be ready by the end of the year, and it will probably be based in Sderot, which has been the target of Qassam rockets fired by terrorists in Gaza since the start of the second intifada in October 2000.

The Air Force Air Defense Network plans to have at least nine Iron Dome batteries nationwide by 2013. A special U.S. aid grant of $205 million will finance the procurement of four batteries.

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Thursday, August 25th, 2011 at 2:51 PM  | Stand For Israel

Jerusalem’s walls restored

Old City Walls (Photo: Michael Houri)

Israeli experts are nearing completion of an ambitious $5 million undertaking to restore the Old City walls of Jerusalem, built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1541 during the years of Islamic rule over Jerusalem:

The $5 million undertaking, which began in 2007, is set to be complete by the end of this year. The first restoration of the walls in nearly a century, it has required decisions about which of the walls’ many idiosyncrasies – the falcon nests, for example, the hundreds of machine-gun bullets, the botched restorations of years past – are flaws to be corrected, and which have earned a place in Jerusalem’s story and are thus worth preserving.

“On these walls you see the whole history of this city,” said Avi Mashiah, the Israel Antiquities Authority architect in charge of the project. “They are like a mirror, reflecting all of the periods that the city experienced, and there are many. There are no other cities like this one.”

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Thursday, August 25th, 2011 at 12:13 PM  | Stand For Israel

Could you escape terror in 15 seconds?

Buried in this story on the IDF’s targeting of a terrorist kingpin in Gaza is this sobering statement:

Residents of the Gaza vicinity communities, meanwhlie, were once again asked to remain within a range of 15 seconds from a fortified compound.

Fifteen seconds. In less than the time that it takes me to write this sentence, Israeli citizens living near Gaza are supposed to be able to find shelter from incoming terrorist rockets. It’s staggering to think that people are able to live this way, but many Israelis do. 

Remnants of an Islamic Jihad operative's car targeted overnight (Photo: Reuters)

The next time you hear someone harshly criticizing the measures Israel takes in self-defense, remind them of this fact. And ask them what they would expect their government to do if it was in a situation similar to Israel’s.

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Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 at 2:55 PM  | Stand For Israel
"informing, equipping and mobilizing individuals and churches to support the
State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
The Heartbreaking Reality
in Southern Israel

Last week I traveled to southern Israel to stand in solidarity with communities that are getting the brunt of the rocket fire…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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