IDF’s Lone Soldiers Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

(Photo: IDF blog)

(Photo: IDF blog)

Stand for Israel has reported on the two American “lone soldiers” who were killed battling terrorists in Gaza this past week, as well as the tremendous response of gratefulness and grief shown by the Israelis these young men gave their lives to protect. Today, Israel’s i24 News on yet another young soldier from elsewhere who gave his life protecting his beloved adopted homeland:

Like the hundreds of young people from abroad that come to Israel to fight in the Israeli Defense Forces, Jordan Bensemhoun was committed to Israel’s security, his sister said the day after learning of his death in Gaza while fighting with the IDF.

Bensemhoun was a 22-year-old “lone soldier” who came to Israel to serve from France without his family …

“Your son is also our son, your brother is also our brother” Jewish Agency President Natan Charanski told Bensemhoun’s family during his funeral at Ashkelon’s military cemetery on Tuesday.

Bensemhoun’s family from France were accompanied at the cemetery by thousands of Israelis who did not know him, but wanted to honor his memory and sacrifice for the State of Israel regardless …

“The only thing we can tell you, is thank you” said one of his fellow soldiers. “Thanks for your love for Israel. Our victory will be also yours, you can be sure that you played a main role in Israel’s security.”

The loss of this brave young man is especially poignant as Staff Sergeant Bensemhoun was a graduate of the first class of the Fellowship-sponsored One of Us IDF-preparation program. After making aliyah from France and graduating from the One of Us program, Bensemhoun volunteered for the Golani Brigade, eager to protect the Holy Land. We pray for God’s comfort and peace for his family and loved ones.

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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 9:01 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Terrible Cost of Thwarting Hamas



While the terrorist rockets launched from Gaza toward Israel and her people are terrifying, David Horovitz of The Times of Israel writes that the nation is in anguish over another threat – the terrorists’ tunnel systems, and the mounting death toll of Israel’s finest young people tasked with finding and destroying them:

Our soldiers are our future. They’re the youngsters among us, who have been required because of Israel’s unique geographic and geostrategic peril to place themselves on the front line for years of service before their young lives have really begun. We feel guilty that we’ve pitched them into war. We, the safe civilians, draw our strength from the sky-high level of their determination and motivation to protect us. We wish it were us, the grownups, who were on the front line. We’d have much preferred for the rockets, targeting all of us, to have been the chief threat …

The prime danger, the second half of the terror strategy that has required us to send our troops into Gaza, has turned out to be Hamas’s cross-border tunneling, the scale of which was not publicly known until the last few days.

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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 8:45 AM  | Stand For Israel

Thousands Pay Their Respects at Funeral of Lone Soldier

(Photo: facebook/ Sean Carmeli)

(Photo: facebook/ Sean Carmeli)

Yesterday we reported on the two American IDF soldiers who were killed during weekend fighting in Gaza. Nissim Sean Carmeli, from Texas, was one of the two. At The Times of Israel, Jessica Steinberg writes about the life of this “lone soldier” and the outpouring of support shown by Israelis who mourned his death:

Carmeli was buried in Haifa’s Neve David cemetery on Monday night. Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral, with some estimates putting the number at a staggering 20,000.

There had been concerns that the lone soldier, who split his time between Ra’anana and South Padre Island, Texas, where his Israeli parents live, wouldn’t have enough people paying their final respects at his funeral …

“There were people from all walks of life … Religious, secular, Chabad, a Ra’anana crew, a lot of people from Haifa. Soldiers from the navy, air force and infantries. It was really impressive to see it. And there were a lot of people walking around wearing flags, Israeli flags.”

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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 at 8:51 AM  | Stand For Israel

Seven IDF Soldiers Killed on Monday

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Seven IDF soldiers were killed fighting Hamas terrorists on Monday, bringing the number of Israeli dead to 25. Four were killed during Hamas’ attempt to infiltrate Israel disguised as friendly soldiers. The head of the IDF’s operation in the area noted that their sacrifice helped avert greater tragedy:

Four of the seven were killed by a rocket-propelled grenade, fired by Hamas gunmen who emerged from a tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel near Kibbutz Nir Am. The Hamas cell, clad in IDF uniforms, emerged from the tunnel, and waited for an approaching IDF jeep before opening fire, killing the IDF officer and the three other soldiers in the vehicle …

Troops from the Nahal Brigade converged and killed 10 of the Hamas gunmen. Two of the gunmen may have escaped back into Gaza …

“We paid a heavy price, but we averted a grave disaster,” said Sami Turgeman, the general in charge of the IDF’s Southern Command. “There is no Iron Dome protection against tunnel infiltration.”

Again, we ask that you, our friends who stand with Israel during peaceful times and troubled ones such as these, pray for God’s comfort on the families of those lost in battle, and for His protection on those who continue to protect the Holy Land.

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Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 1:54 PM  | Stand For Israel

Terrorists Wearing IDF Uniforms Try to Infiltrate Israel



Hamas terrorists tried to infiltrate Israel today. Yediot Achronot reports that while the attack was stopped by Israel’s military, the attackers sneaked in wearing correct IDF uniforms:

The terrorists, 9 of which had been killed, were carrying army bullet-proof vests, wore IDF boots with rubber bands to keep pants from snagging at anything, as well as helmets with camouflage covers very similar to the ones used by the army.

The terrorists crossed the border fence from Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip and came across an IDF force near kibbutz Nir Am.

Observation units identified the terrorists in the bushes, but the army did not open fire at them at first because they were wearing correct IDF uniforms, and the troops feared these were IDF soldiers, since many different units operate in the area.

The troops were ordered to open fire only after the terrorists started firing at them with AK-47s.

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Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 12:17 PM  | Stand For Israel

2 U.S. Citizens Among 13 Dead Golani Brigade Soldiers

(Photo: IDF blog)

(Photo: IDF blog)

Yesterday, 13 members of the IDF’s Golani Brigade were killed while fighting terrorists in Gaza. Israel Hayom reports that two of these soldiers were Americans:

Two U.S. citizens, 24-year-old Max Steinberg and 21-year-old Staff Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli, were among the 13 IDF soldiers killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip early Sunday morning.

Steinberg, whose family lives in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, was a sharpshooter in the Golani Brigade. His father, Stuart Steinberg, said Max visited Israel for the first time in June 2012 on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, which helped him realize where he belonged. After the trip was over, he told his parents that he was planning to return to Israel and join the Israel Defense Forces …

“He was completely dedicated and committed to serving the country of Israel,” Stuart Steinberg said. “He was focused, he was clear in what the mission was, and he was dedicated to the work he needed to be doing.”

Stuart Steinberg last spoke to his son at 4 a.m. (Los Angeles time, 2 p.m. in Israel) Saturday. Max Steinberg called his father to tell him that his group had been injured when two of their tanks collided, and had returned to Israel for treatment. Some soldiers had broken bones, and Max had sprained his back, his father said.

“He called me up at 4 a.m. and said he’d be returning to Gaza, back to combat, to be with his friends,” Stuart Steinberg said …

Nissim Sean Carmeli, who also served in the Golani Brigade, was the son of Israelis who moved to the U.S. many years ago. His parents, Alon and Dalia, left their home in South Padre Island in Texas on Sunday to travel to Israel to bury their son.

Rabbi Asher Hecht of Chabad of the Rio Grande Valley, a friend of the Carmeli family, said Nissim Sean Carmeli had “great energy” and “a kind and gentle soul.”

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Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 10:46 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hushed, Determined Israel in a War “for Our Home”



The brave men and women of the IDF continue their ground operation against terrorists in Gaza, finding the many terrorist tunnels leading into Israel. Sadly, 13 soldiers were killed this weekend in a firefight with Hamas terrorists. David Horovitz writes at The Times of Israel that as each of these soldiers has a personal connection with those they defend, Israel remains hushed but determined to win this war for their home:

In our small country, with its people’s army — where most of our children are conscripted, and many people are in the reserves through their 20s, 30s, and 40s — the bad news we all now brace for is highly personal as well. Which is why, along with the TV, the radio and the internet, we’re also all glued to our phones, worried when they ring, worried when they don’t.

I say the news is almost unremittingly grim. What isn’t grim is the relative unity of fragmented Israel right now, and the motivation of our soldiers. We are joined in common horror at the evidence of Hamas’s war-to-the-death strategy, and in the realization of the extent of the danger …

When Netanyahu said last night that Israel is in “a war for our home,” it sounded anything but demagogic. When he said that Hamas had expected Tel Aviv to be in “ruins” by now, thanks to its rockets, we knew this was true. When he said Hamas had invested “years of work, and immense capital” in the tunnels, aiming to “carry out mega terror attacks and kidnappings,” and that the planned assaults “on kindergartens, dining halls” would have been “catastrophic,” there was no doubting him …

For all that the news is grim, Hamas is encountering far more failure than success. The rockets that were intended to reduce much of Israel to rubble have proved largely ineffective — though nobody should doubt that Hamas is working feverishly to outwit Iron Dome. Infiltrations from the sea have failed. Most of the attack…

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Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 8:49 AM  | Stand For Israel

IDF troops uncover 21 smuggling tunnels in Gaza

smuggling tunnelThe IDF’s efforts in Gaza are paying off:

IDF soldiers from the Paratrooper Brigade uncovered 8 shafts leading to smuggling tunnels during Friday morning skirmishes in the Gaza Strip. Soldiers from the Givati Brigade also uncovered 13 similar tunnels for a total of 21 so far.

The finds align with the government declaration that the IDF’s main targets in their ground incursion would be tunnels in use by Hamas.

The troops apparently uncovered the tunnels in coordination with intelligence efforts and found a cache of weapons being stored there.

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Friday, July 18th, 2014 at 4:36 PM  | Stand For Israel

IDF Soldier Killed


Sergeant Eitan Barak (photo: Flash90)

An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier was killed during the ground action in Gaza today, Israel’s first military fatality during this operation.

Sergeant Eitan Barak, 20, from Herzliya, was critically wounded during an operation against rocket launchers in the area of Beit Hanoun and died of his wounds before he could be evacuated. Four other soldiers were injured, one moderately and the rest lightly.

Please pray for comfort for Sergeant Barak’s loved ones and for safety for the rest of the IDF troops working bravely and selflessly to defend the Holy Land.

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Friday, July 18th, 2014 at 10:51 AM  | Stand For Israel

U.S. Senate Doubles Funding for Iron Dome



As Stand for Israel has reported, the Iron Dome defense system has proven to be a great success, keeping the people of Israel relatively safe from the recent nonstop rocket attacks from Gaza. Seeing how effective Iron Dome has been, the United States Senate has proposed a large increase in its funding for the program:

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved a defense spending bill yesterday (July 15) that will provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense, including $351 million for the Iron Dome system that intercepts short-range rockets and mortars. The sum represents a 50 percent increase in funding for the program …

The Iron Dome anti-rocket system has been successful in shooting down rockets and preventing Israeli deaths with a 90 percent success rate, an improvement over the 84 percent success rate achieved in Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’.

The IDF deployed its ninth Iron Dome battery this week, after it was scheduled to be prepared only in a few months and was produced in record time.

We are heartened by this display of friendship from the U.S. to Israel, and pray that the relationship will continue, during times of peace and difficult times such as these.

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 at 9:42 AM  | Stand For Israel
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Rabbi's Commentary
Seeking Prayers for Safety and Comfort in a Time of Crisis

The news from Israel continues to grieve me deeply. Twenty-seven Israeli soldiers have been killed thus far during Operation Protective Edge.

Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »


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