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IDF Soldier Seriously Injured in Gaza Border Shooting

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

While the level of fighting seen during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge has not occurred since the war’s end, the Gaza border is still a dangerous place, where conflict can arise at any time. The Times of Israel reports that an IDF soldier was seriously injured today during an incident when his patrol came under fire from Gaza:

Palestinians opened fire on an Israeli patrol late Wednesday morning along the southern Gaza Strip. One soldier from the Bedouin Reconnaissance Battalion was shot in the chest and severely injured. He was evacuated to a hospital, the IDF said.

The patrol was operating on the Israeli side of the border near Kibbutz Kissufim when it came under sniper and machine gun fire.

Palestinian sources said that a heavy exchange of fire ensued, with IDF tank fire striking a target east of Khan Younis. The air force also fired on Gaza targets.

Palestinians said that the commander of Hamas’s surveillance unit in the area was killed in the IDF response, Israel Radio reported. Hamas fighters were abandoning positions across the Strip, the report said.

Medical sources said Tayseer al-Ismary, 33, died after being hit by a bullet fired by the IDF, while Hamas sources confirmed he was a member of the movement’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

“This attack, the second of this week, is a lethal violation of the relative quiet along the Gaza border and is a blatant breach of Israel’s sovereignty,” said IDF spokesman Peter Lerner. “The IDF will continue to use all necessary means in order to maintain the safety of the citizens of southern Israel and will not hesitate to respond to any attempt to harm IDF soldiers.”

Israeli farmers were told to cease all work near the border fence, the Ynet news site reported, and roads in the area were closed.

We pray for the recovery of the injured soldier, and for God’s protection over all the brave men and women who risk their lives to keep Israel and her people safe.

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Wednesday, December 24th, 2014 at 8:54 AM  | Stand For Israel

Cement for Rebuilding Gaza Used for Hamas Terror Tunnels

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

During Operation Protective Edge, the IDF put an end to many of the terror tunnels that Hamas had built in order to attack Israel. Since the end of this past summer’s war, international efforts to help rebuild Gaza after the devastating conflict have begun. However, The Times of Israel reports that cement intended for civilian reconstruction is instead being used to repair the terrorist organization’s tunnels:

The Hamas terror group has been redoubling its efforts to restore the cross-border offensive tunnels that were destroyed by Israel during last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip, Israeli media reported Friday morning.

According to the reports, some of the cement and other materials being delivered to the coastal Palestinian territory, as part of an international rebuilding effort, has been diverted to the tunnels.

Hamas has realized that the tunnels, which were used to stage attacks on Israeli military targets during the war, provide it with a psychological edge over residents of Israeli border towns in the area …

The Gaza group has also begun restocking its depleted rocket arsenal, the Hebrew media reports said. Some rockets are imported through smuggling tunnels from Egypt and others are manufactured in the Strip. Many of the smuggling tunnels — one of Hamas’s main sources of revenue — were still open for business, despite massive efforts by Egypt to crack down on them.

According to the reports, Hamas has acknowledged the limited efficacy of its mid- and longer-range rockets, many of which were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system during the war, inflicting very limited civilian casualties. Meanwhile, Hamas has recognized the deadliness of mortar shells, which fall short of Iron Dome’s range.

One new approach that Hamas has been considering in an effort to extend its effective range is to launch large volleys of rockets that would challenge Iron Dome’s ability to fire interceptors in rapid succession, the reports said. It has also been conducting tests, lobbing dozens of rockets into the Mediterranean Sea in recent weeks, according to Ynet, which cited Palestinian Gaza sources in its…

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Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 11:39 AM  | Stand For Israel

Countdown to Next Gaza Conflict Has Begun

(Photo: flickr/  l_suddenly)

(Photo: flickr/ l_suddenly)

In today’s Daily Dispatch we report on two alarming incidents – a rocket from Gaza landed in Israel today, and Hamas is using the building materials meant for Gaza’s reconstruction in order to repair their terror tunnels. As Yaakov Lappin writes for Gatestone Institute, it looks like the next conflict in Gaza may be on its way:

More than three months have passed since the end of the fifty-day conflict between Hamas in Gaza and Israel this past summer, yet all of the catalysts that helped spark that war remain in place and are pushing the sides into their next clash.

One of the reasons Hamas launched a war in July this year was to try to end its strategic isolation, which became severe after the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood in next-door Egypt. Hamas also sought to improve its crumbling economic situation as the ruler of the Gaza Strip; its dire situation was illustrated by Hamas’s inability to pay 40,000 of its Gazan employees their monthly salaries.

Hamas could, with a fair amount of ease, cause Israel to end its security blockade by accepting the terms of the international Quartet. These would include recognizing the state of Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by previous diplomatic agreements. Of course, those would contravene Hamas’s ideology of Islamist jihad and move it away from its current trajectory of organized violence and religious hatred, the foundations upon which it was established in the 1980s by Palestinian members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Today, however, the same problems that plagued Hamas prior to the summer war have become worse. Gaza is hemmed in to the south by a hostile Egypt under the rule of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Egypt is systematically cutting off the smuggling tunnels that linked Sinai to the Gaza Strip. This means that Hamas is no longer easily able to smuggle either weapons or goods it can tax before they enter Gaza’s market …

Hamas has, since the moment that hostilities ended in…

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Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 8:39 AM  | Stand for Israel

Rocket from Gaza Lands in Israel

(Photo: Israel Police)

(Photo: Israel Police)

This summer’s conflict saw numerous terrorist rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. Since the end of Operation Protective Edge, however, rocket attacks have tailed off (terrorists have attacked using other means, such as vehicles, knives, and guns). But The Time of Israel reports that for the third time since the summer, a rocket from Gaza has been fired into Israel:

Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket at an Israeli community in the Eshkol region near the Gaza Strip on Friday morning.

The rocket fell in an open area, causing neither casualties nor damage.

It was the third time that Gaza terrorists have fired rockets at Israel since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

IDF soldiers swept the area and found the remains of the rocket.

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Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 8:28 AM  | Stand for Israel

ISIS in Gaza

(Photo: wikicommons/ Monotheist)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Monotheist)

Recently, threats from the Islamic State (ISIS) have circulated through Gaza. Hamas, the controlling terrorist organization in the area, insists that ISIS is not in Gaza, even though ISIS flags appear prominently at soccer games, on vehicles, and in public. Gatestone Institute’s Khaled Abu Toameh writes that when Hamas collapses, it will not be less-radical Palestinians who take over Gaza:

It is always dreamlike to see one Islamist terror group accuse the other of being too “lenient” when it comes to enforcing sharia laws. But it is not dreamlike when a terrorist group starts threatening writers and women.

That is what is happening these days in the Gaza Strip, where supporters of the Islamic State are accusing Hamas of failing to impose strict Islamic laws on the Palestinian population — as if Hamas has thus far endorsed a liberal and open-minded approach toward those who violate sharia laws.

Until this week, the only topic Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were talking about was how to rebuild homes and buildings that were destroyed during the last war between Hamas and Israel.

Now, however, almost everyone is talking about the Islamic State threats against poets, writers and women.

It is no secret that the Islamic State has a presence in the Gaza Strip. According to sources there, many disgruntled members of Hamas and other radical salafi-jihadi groups have already joined the Islamic State, with some fighting together with ISIS groups in Syria and Iraq.

Earlier this year, it was revealed here that Islamic State has already begun operating inside the Gaza Strip — much to the dismay of Hamas.

Hamas, nevertheless, continues to deny any presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. “There are no members of Islamic State in the Gaza Strip,” said Eyad al-Bazam, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry.

Many Palestinians, however, do not seem to take Hamas’s denials seriously, and remain unconvinced …

Even if the terror group still does not have many fighters in the Gaza Strip, it already has countless followers and admirers.

It…

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Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 8:18 AM  | Stand For Israel

Solidarity with Southern Israel

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

This summer’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza showed the dire situation faced by those who live in southern Israel – those who fear rockets, terror tunnels, and other terrorist attacks on a daily basis. Writing at Arutz Sheva, an Italian journalist tells of his visit to southern Israel, to see how life is there and to show solidarity with the region’s residents:

Tragic is the geographic situation of the State of Israel. 800 kilometers of borders with no natural defenses. Here, the geography of fear has no saving graces for the map of the Jewish state: from the border with Lebanon, to the deserts of Sinai and Gaza, the lives of all, here, go on every day shadowed with the ghost of insecurity.

And if there is a region which embodies the siege of Israel the most, it is the southern one.

I visited southern Israel to understand the reality on the ground. But I was also determined to do my part to show the people of Israel that they would not face solitude.

In the south, the Israelis measure the distance from Gaza in time, not meters. It is the time you need to find a shelter when the siren sounds. Overlooking Gaza is the town of Sderot, which in the minds of the Israelis is synonymous with poverty and danger. Sderot has, in fact, the highest number per capita in the world of shelters: 200. On this small city, the Muslims from Gaza fired 8,600 rockets. So far the Israeli government has invested $ 120 million in Sderot to provide the shelters.

“Sderot is the front line of Israel and Israel is the front line of Europe”  Avi Sulemani, who heads the community center, told me. The control center of the city is under a bunker which monitors what is happening in every corner of the city. “Every house and building in Sderot will be protected by shelters. We withdrew from Gaza, and Hamas has interpreted it as…

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Friday, December 12th, 2014 at 8:46 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas Must Be Defeated, Says Son of Terrorist Chief

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

Operation Protective Edge, this summer’s action by Israel to defeat Hamas, ended with a ceasefire between the Jewish state and the Gaza-based terror organization. But Israel should not stop until it has defeated Hamas, says the son of one of the terrorist group’s leaders, in this fascinating interview with The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff:

“To get to peace with the Palestinians, Israel needs to go to war against Hamas in Gaza, and fast.” That’s the view of Mosab Hasan Yousef, better known as the “Green Prince,” the son of West Bank Hamas chief Sheikh Hasan Yousef.

Mosab Yousef, who was a Shin Bet agent from 1997 to 2007, at the same time as he ran his father’s office, is well aware of the significance of what he is saying. “I know that this will sound to some people like dangerous rhetoric, a push for war, but my motivation is precisely the opposite. I’m speaking out because you can’t deal with reality by running away from it. You can’t take refuge in temporary solutions. Hamas has to be tackled at its roots, uprooted once and for all, and now is the perfect moment  to deal with Hamas militarily in Gaza. The longer Israel waits,” he warned, “the more dangerous an enemy Hamas will become and the harder the battle. This is the time to initiate a war against Hamas.”

Now based in the US, Mosab Yusef is currently on a visit to Israel, and I met with him in Tel Aviv. It was five years ago that I first revealed that he was an agent assisting the Shin Bet — Israel’s most reliable source in Hamas, central to the prevention of numerous suicide bombings and attacks, and to the exposure of Hamas terror cells — and the identity of his handler, “Captain Loai,” Gonen Ben Itzhak. As we sat together near the Tel Aviv beach, his criticisms of Israeli government policy were clear and fierce.

“Don’t wait for the summer for Hamas…

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 8:44 AM  | Stand For Israel

Closing Gaza Border: A Tale of Two Standards

(Photo: flickr/b-e-m)

(Photo: flickr/b-e-m)

A border into Gaza has been closed. You would think that there would be international outrage and anti-Israel sentiment. But former national security adviser Elliott Abrams says that this is not the case because it wasn’t Israel that closed the border:

Front page news? “Israel Turns Gaza Into Prison.” UN Security Council resolution? “Urgently demands that the Government of Israel open the passage and permit those needing medical attention to reach doctors and hospitals.” The U.S. State Department? Perhaps it says “We are deeply troubled by the humanitarian dimension and believe the passage should be opened immediately….” Marches and demonstrations in European capitals? “This is Genocide!” signs say.

Nope. Because the crossing in question is Rafah crossing, between Gaza and Egypt not Israel, and the country keeping it closed is Egypt. The Palestinians are “resentful,” in that story, about the government of Egypt. The health conditions of the people who are “suffering from medical problems” are suffering because of Egypt.

The Egyptian official explanation is that security requires the closing.  Recently the Egyptian terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged loyalty to the Islamic State. In October, 33 Egyptian security personnel were killed by terrorists; last week, 5 more. Why these events require that people in need of medical treatment may not use Rafah, and how that closure enhances Egyptian security, may be debated.

My point is a different one: were it Israel keeping the key passage closed and simply saying security requires it, this would be a very big deal. The condemnations would be constant. Instead, near silence. Double standard? The usual uninterest in how Arabs treat other Arabs? The desire not to criticize General Sisi’s government in Cairo? So it seems. A Palestinian would be justified in concluding that the world hasn’t the slightest interest in the fate of Palestinians, other than as a battering ram to use against Israel.

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Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 8:22 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel Went to “Extraordinary Lengths” to Save Lives in Gaza

(Photo: Secretary of Defense)

(Photo: Secretary of Defense)

While the international media has blasted Israel for Operation Protective Edge, the United States’ highest ranking military officer has spoken out in defense of the Jewish state’s actions during the conflict. Haaretz reports that General Martin Dempsey said Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to protect innocents in Gaza, and that the U.S. is learning from Israel how to limit civilian casualties:

The highest-ranking U.S. military officer said on Thursday that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in the recent war in Gaza and that the Pentagon had sent a team to see what lessons could be learned from the operation.

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged recent reports criticizing civilian deaths during the 50-day Gaza war this year but told an audience in New York he thought the Israel Defense Forces “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.

Israel was criticized for civilian deaths during the conflict, including by the White House. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed during the fighting, most of them civilians and many of them children, according to UN and Palestinian figures.

A Human Rights Watch report in September accused Israel of committing war crimes by attacking three UN-run schools in the enclave, while Amnesty International said in a report released on Wednesday that Israel showed “callous indifference” to the carnage caused by attacks on civilian targets.

Dempsey was asked about the ethical implications of Israel’s handling of the Gaza war, during an appearance in New York at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group.

“In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he added.

Dempsey said Hamas had turned Gaza into “very nearly a subterranean society” with tunneling throughout the coastal enclave.

“That caused the IDF some significant challenges. But…

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Friday, November 7th, 2014 at 8:41 AM  | Stand For Israel

Recruiting and Building Rockets, Hamas Determined to Keep Grip on Gaza

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

Operation Protective Edge disrupted Hamas’ ability to rain terror on Israel – much of its rocket supply was depleted, many of its terror tunnels were found and destroyed. But even as the terrorist group has been weakened, and even as Gaza begins to rebuild, The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff reports that Hamas, too, is rebuilding in an attempt to keep its grip on the Gaza Strip:

Things are as they were: Poverty, desperation, extremism and tens of thousands of displaced people. The sea is the same sea, and Hamas is the same Hamas, with the same aspirations.

There is one major difference, though: Hamas is poorer. Without the income from the Gaza-Egypt tunnels, and having stopped collecting taxes, its funds are dwindling. While the PA will oversee the actual reconstruction of the Strip, Hamas’s top priority is the reestablishment of its internal infrastructure — including its financial infrastructure …

Hamas has lowered its profile, but financial problems or not, it has no intention of relinquishing practical control over the strip. Gaza’s government and social services will formally be run by the Abbas-led administration, but Hamas is not going anywhere. Its police and military hierarchies will continue to operate throughout Gaza, and Abbas’s PA security forces will not, except perhaps at the border crossings.

Furthermore, despite those budgetary constraints, Hamas is already busily is trying to revive its military industry. Since the end of Operation Protective Edge on August 26, it has managed to conduct a series of rocket tests into the Mediterranean, underlining that a new line of rockets is being produced …

Meanwhile, the Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has launched a recruitment drive. Last Thursday, the very day that the “national reconciliation government” held its much-hyped first meeting in Gaza, the brigades held a large military parade in Shejaiya. Some of the same officials who greeted PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the morning attended the brigades’ rally in the afternoon — a rally intended to convey a clear message to the residents of…

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Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 8:28 AM  | Stand For Israel

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Rabbi’s Commentary
A Historic Aliyah

On the occasion of The Fellowship’s historic aliyah flight from Ukraine, I was privileged to say to a planeload of more than 200 Ukrainian Jewish refugees, “Shalom, and welcome to Israel. ‘This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it’” (Psalm 118:24).


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