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Supporting Christians in the IDF

(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)

(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)

In Israel, Christians are not required to enlist in the IDF. Yet The Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum advocates a shared destiny between Jews and Christians for the benefit of Israel. The forum sees special value in the IDF recruitment of Israeli Christians, both to participate in the defense of the Jewish state and to promote the integration of Israeli Christians into the country.

The Fellowship supports this effort and has allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars to aid the organization, both to support its ongoing activities and to help feed needy Christian families this Christmas season.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also a supporter. Haaretz reports that Netanyahu recently visited a forum event in Nazareth, where he lauded Christians serving in the IDF:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Upper Nazareth on Sunday night to attend an Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum event in honor of the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Hundreds of people attended the event, including many soldiers. The forum, headed by Father Gabriel Nadaf, encourages Christian Arabs to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces.

Netanyahu told the crowd of how he had accompanied his son Avner to the enlistment office on December 1. The very next day, he noted, Nadaf accompanied his own son, Jubran, to the enlistment office, and, like Avner, Jubran volunteered for combat service.

“We are brothers, we are partners – Christians and Jews and Druze and Muslims who defend the State of Israel,” he said.

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Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at 2:15 PM  | Stand For Israel

Netanyahu’s Youngest Son Begins IDF Service

(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)

(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)

In Israel, all young people are required to serve in the military. That includes offspring of those in the highest reaches of the Israeli government. The Jerusalem Post reports that today, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s youngest son, Avner, began his service with the IDF:

You’re in the army now! Avner Netanyahu, the youngest son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, began his three-year mandatory army service on Monday, enlisting in the IDF’s Combat Intelligence Collection Corps.

Like every soldier on the first day of service, Avner, accompanied by his famous parents, arrived at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill.

“Like any parents sending their child off to the army,” Netanyahu said, “we are excited to see our son” begin his army service.

He and his wife Sara were “full of pride” at the milestone of their son, and like “every home in Israel, we are no different.”

Netanyahu told his son to protect the country and protect himself, the proud father told reporters.

In a personal note to other soldiers drafted that day, he wished them success and reassured other parents that “everything will be OK.”

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Monday, December 1st, 2014 at 9:56 AM  | Stand For Israel

IDF: Palestinians Planned to Assassinate Liberman

(Photo: wikicommons/ Michael Thaidigsmann)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Michael Thaidigsmann)

In the wake of this summer’s conflict, Israel has seen a rise in terrorist attacks, including the horrific scene at a Jerusalem synagogue this week. Now The Jerusalem Post is reporting that three Palestinians have been charged with planning to use rocket-propelled grenades to assassinate Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman:

The IDF West Bank Prosecution has indicted three Palestinians for a plan to buy a rocket propelled grenade launcher to blow up Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Though the indictment was filed on Tuesday, no public announcement has been made to date from the often anonymous IDF Military Courts.

The three Palestinians: Ibrahim el-Zir, Ziad el-Zir and Anans Bech, all from the West Bank village of Harmala, allegedly decided to try to assassinate the foreign minister in mid-August to try to stop Operation Protective Edge.

An additional part of the rationale for the plan to go after Liberman was the proximity of Harmala to Liberman’s home in Nokdim and instances when the defendants observed his entourage of vehicles traveling in the area, said the indictment filed in the Judea Military Court …

In another concerning sign of the unpredictable spread of terror during the recent period, the three were not connected with Hamas or another larger organization and appear to have allegedly been operating their own cell.

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Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 2:32 PM  | Stand For Israel

IDF: West Bank Van Attack Was Terror, Not Accident

Two weeks ago, after one deadly vehicle attack had already occurred, we reported on a second incident in which three IDF soldiers were hit by a van in the West Bank. Initially labeling the event an accident, the IDF has now declared it to be a deliberate terror attack:

hit-and-run incident in which three Israeli soldiers were struck by a van in the West Bank was indeed a terror attack and not a car accident, the IDF has determinedaccording to a Thursday report.

The army informed the families of the three soldiers who were injured in the November 5 van attack in the Etzion Bloc region of the West Bank, south of Jerusalem, that the incident was nationalistically motivated, after wrapping up a two-week investigation into the incident, Channel 2 reported.

A day after the attack, a senior security official said the attack may have been a car accident, according to Israeli media reports. The driver of the van, Hamam Mesalmeh, turned himself in to Israeli authorities on November 6, ending a manhunt following the incident.

Mesalmeh told officials that he lost control of the large commercial vehicle he was driving, and panicked when he realized he had hit Israeli soldiers and fled the scene.

But the parents of the three wounded soldiers maintained all along, based on the footage of the incident, that it was a deliberate attack. On November 9, Roni Aharoni said that his son, Moshe Aharoni, who was seriously injured in the hit-and-run, told him that the driver of the commercial van had accelerated as he barreled into the soldiers.

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Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 1:57 PM  | Stand For Israel

Update: IDF Soldier Stabbed in Terror Attack Dies from His Wounds

(Photo: flickr/israluv)

(Photo: flickr/israluv)

Earlier today we told you about the IDF soldier who was stabbed in a Tel Aviv terror attack – as well as the young woman who was killed in a similar West Bank terror stabbing. Now we must report that the soldier, 20-year-old Almog Shiloni, has died from his injuries:

An Israel Defense Forces soldier stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist at a Tel Aviv train station died of his wounds Monday night after doctors spent hours trying to save his life.

Almog Shiloni, 20, of Modiin, died of multiple wounds to his stomach and chest, an official from the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital said.

“After resuscitation efforts that began in the field and continued for hours in the hospital, the stabbing victim who arrived at the hospital earlier today was declared dead,” a spokesperson announced.

When Shiloni was first brought into the hospital following the attack he had no pulse, although doctors were able to restart his heart.

Shiloni was critically wounded after being stabbed multiple times in a terror attack at Tel Aviv’s Hahagana train station on Monday afternoon.

His death marks the second fatality in separate terror incidents Monday. After the Tel Aviv attack, a 26-year-old woman was stabbed to death at a bus stop outside the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, south of Jerusalem.

Shiloni’s family was by his bedside throughout the day as doctors worked to stabilize his condition …

Please pray for God’s comfort for the families of both victims of these attacks, as well as His protection over all of Israel.

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Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 3:18 PM  | Stand for Israel

New Documentary on the Lives of IDF Soldiers

This new documentary follows five diverse Israeli soldiers during their first year of service, a fascinating look at the Israel Defense Forces – and an attempt by the filmmakers to offer a more accurate and positive public impression of the Israeli military. The film is being screened on more than 100 college campuses across the U.S. Wish we could see it too!

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Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 10:05 AM  | Stand for Israel

IDF Soldier Stabbed in Tel Aviv Terror Attack

(Photo: twitter)

(Photo: twitter)

Last week saw more terror attacks against Israel, and this week has begun with yet another. The Times of Israel reports that an IDF soldier was stabbed today in Tel Aviv, the victim of a train station terrorist attack:

An IDF soldier, about 20 years of age, was critically wounded after being stabbed multiple times in a terror attack at Tel Aviv’s Hahagana train station on Monday afternoon.

Police confirmed the attack was a politically motivated terrorist attack.

A 50-year-old man who confronted the terrorist was lightly injured in the scuffle, and received medical treatment at the scene, Channel 2 reported.

The attacker was in police custody, Israel Radio reported. Initial reports identified the suspect as an 18-year-old Palestinian man from Nablus who had illegally entered Israeli territory. Channel 2 named the stabber as Nur al-Din Abu Hashiyeh …

An eyewitness to the attack said the victim was wearing an air force uniform.

Senior Israel Police official Shahar Hamdi asked the public to be alert and report any Palestinians residing illegally in Israel to the authorities.

The terrorist tried unsuccessfully to grab the soldier’s gun after stabbing him repeatedly in the leg, Israel Radio reported.

Eyewitnesses identified the attacker as wearing a red shirt and jeans, and said he fled west in the direction of the Tel Aviv central bus station. Police arrested the man, who hid on the fourth floor of a building near the scene of the crime, Israel Radio reported.

Zaki Heller, the spokesman for Magen David Adom, said the victim was unconscious and was found by paramedics without a pulse, and received first aid at the scene.

The victim was later transferred to Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer, and was undergoing surgery.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch arrived at the scene of the incident shortly afterwards.

Hamas welcomed but did not take responsibility for the stabbing attack, Channel 10 reported. The terror group encouraged Palestinians to continue targeting Israelis.

A picture of the suspect holding a Hamas flag…

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Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 8:37 AM  | Stand for Israel

IAF’s First F-35 Stealth Fighters Set for Production

(Photo: USAF)

(Photo: USAF)

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning is an American-made stealth fighter jet that fills ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense roles. It is a “fifth generation” combat aircraft – the newest and latest in aeronautic design – and Israel Hayom reports that the first two F-35 aircraft ordered by Israel are now set for production:

The U.S. Defense Department and Lockheed Martin have reached an agreement in principle on the production of 43 F-35 joint strike fighters, including the first two to be built for the Israeli Air Force. The deal is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.

This will mark the eighth lot of F-35 aircraft to be produced. Production and delivery of the lot will begin in 2016 …

In 2010, Israel ordered 19 of the state-of-the-art stealth fighter planes at a cost of around $2.75 billion, with an option of increasing the total number to 75.

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Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 at 9:19 AM  | Stand For Israel

Built on the Value of Life: A Thank You from the IDF

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

With The Fellowship’s Adopt a Battalion program, 11 IDF battalions have adopted so far, while 31 IDF bases have also received funding. Being able to help these brave men and women who give their all to protect the Holy Land is an honor for us. An additional honor was receiving this recent thank-you letter from the outgoing head of the IDF’s Human Resources Directorate:

“Our army is built on the value of human life” (David Ben-Gurion)

Honorable Rabbi,

After three years of service as Head of the Human Resources Directorate and the conclusion of my military service, I would like to thank you personally for your contribution to the empowerment of those serving who represent the IDF’s qualitative advantage.

Alongside the financial aid provided by The Fellowship, we found in you a faithful and true friend.

The main process which you recently advanced as part of the “Adopt a Battalion” project, proved once again the importance you place on the welfare of IDF soldiers who guard the security of the state of Israel.

Upon the conclusion of my task, I want to thank you and all those who work with you at The Fellowship for your constant contribution on behalf of the soldiers serving in the IDF.

Happy New Year,

Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai
Head of the Human Resources Directorate

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Monday, October 27th, 2014 at 10:07 AM  | Stand for Israel

IDF Soldiers Educate the Next Generation

While so much of the focus on the Israel Defense Forces goes to those who defend Israel from the many threats and enemies that the nation faces – focus these brave men and women rightfully deserve – defense is not all that the IDF provides the Jewish state. Unlike many of the world’s military forces, the IDF not only protects the present population, it prepares and educates Israel’s future, as well:

Cpl. Yael Shtockman is one of the many soldier-teachers that work in Israeli schools across the country. As a Hebrew teacher in an elementary school in Beer Sheva, she is tasked with educating new immigrants and incorporating them into Israeli society. Her unique role as a soldier and teacher gives her a special opportunity to work closely with children.

Cpl. Shtockman works with the students every day, making her service different from many other soldiers in the IDF. “My goal is for the students to have the courage to speak in class,” she says. “Not just to sit in the classroom and understand, but also to speak amongst themselves.” She encourages the students by playing games, singing songs, and reading books with them …

The Education Corps was founded in 1957 and its representatives can be found in every branch and unit of the IDF. The corps duties include educating commanders and soldiers, developing leadership skills, teaching heritage and culture, incorporating minorities and special communities into the IDF, and spreading the values and Spirit of the IDF.

Cpl. Shtockman concludes that the importance of the Education Corps is to demonstrate a human aspect of the IDF, something that is not common in other armies throughout the world. “Part of our obligation as a nation is to help our citizens in every way possible,” she says.  “The IDF does more than just defend the nation. It is not only in charge of the security of its citizens, but also their education.”

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Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 3:24 PM  | Stand for Israel

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State of Israel"

Rabbi’s Commentary
An Inspiring Time of Year

Hanukkah, which begins next week, is a festive time for the Jewish people. But it is also much more than a celebration for families. It is a moving, inspiring story of God’s protection and provision that is especially meaningful this year in light of recent events in Israel and around the world.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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