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The Jewish People’s 3,000-Year Connection to the Desert Remains Strong

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

When the Jewish people left slavery and Egypt behind, they began their time of wandering in the wilderness. The Jewish connection to the desert has not withered, however. The IDF’s blog brings us this piece on the desert’s importance to Israelis to this day:

According to the Passover story, after escaping slavery in Egypt, the Jewish people wandered for 40 years in the desert on the way to the promised land. Today, the Negev Desert makes up more than half of Israel’s territory. It is home to many of the IDF’s major bases, and significant training and drills take place in this special region.

IDF soldiers endure long and intense training in order to prepare them for any scenario they may face on the battlefield. For those in a combat role, a long “masa” – journey in Hebrew – marks the end of their training and the beginning of their service as IDF fighters. These marches often take place in the heat of the Negev Desert…

Years of living in sparsely populated desert areas and spending lots of time outdoors has taught the soldiers of the Desert Reconnaissance Battalion how to be desert detectives. They can spot a single footprint in the sand and learn volumes from it – who, what, where and whether it’s a security threat or not…

Comprising almost 60% of Israeli territory, the desert is an important part of Israeli life. The IDF works extensively in the desert and therefore its soldiers must be prepared for the extreme conditions they will face. Overall, the Jewish people’s connection runs deep with the arid wilderness and the IDF continues this tradition with extensive activities in the modern-day Negev.

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Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 at 1:04 PM  | Stand for Israel

Two IDF Soldiers Stabbed by Terrorist in West Bank

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Today, two IDF soldiers were stabbed by a terrorist in the West Bank. Haaretz reports on the attack and the IDF’s response:

Two Israeli soldiers were wounded on Wednesday morning in a stabbing attack at the Shiloh Junction in the northern West Bank. One of the victims was seriously wounded in his upper body and the other sustained light injuries to his back. The assailant was shot and killed on the spot.

The soldiers, both around 20 years old, were attacked on Route 60, near the entrance to the Ma’ale Levona settlement and the Palestinian village of Sinjil, just after 10 A.M. They were initially treated by medics on site and then transferred to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The two soldiers both serve in the Tavor Battalion of the Home Front Command. They were sitting in an ambulance at the time of the attack, called to the area to reinforce the security guards manning the Shiloh area roads over the Passover holiday.

The assailant approached the ambulance and stabbed one of the soldiers, a medic, lightly wounding him. The assailant then stabbed a paramedic in his neck, inflicting serious wounds.

The lightly wounded medic opened fire on the assailant and killed him.

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Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 at 9:19 AM  | Stand for Israel

Photo Friday: What Does This Ceremony Mean to You?

(Photo: wikicommons/הארכיון הציוני המרכזי)

(Photo: wikicommons/הארכיון הציוני המרכזי)

“‘When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, “What does this ceremony mean to you?” then tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”‘ Then the people bowed down and worshiped.” (Exodus 12:25-27)

In this photograph from 1948, members of the nascent Israel Defense Forces (IDF) celebrate Passover, a celebration they will pass on to future generations, many of whom will begin the Passover observation tonight at sundown. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, April 3rd, 2015 at 12:00 PM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: I Am in Israel

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Then you will know that I am in Israel,
    that I am the LORD your God,
    and that there is no other (Joel 2:27)

An IDF soldier from the Nahal Infantry Brigade completes a 50km march through the Negev Desert, arriving at Masada, sure that the Lord our God is with him and with Israel. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, February 27th, 2015 at 1:03 PM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: Walk in the Ways of the Good

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
    and keep to the paths of the righteous. (Proverbs 2:20)

An IDF soldier walks along Israel’s northern border near the Jordan Rift Valley, while an Israeli helicopter flies overhead. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, February 20th, 2015 at 12:44 PM  | Stand For Israel

On the Frontline with Gaza, Fence Menders Face Nightly Peril

credit: Netta Asner/ IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

credit: Netta Asner/ IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

For members of the Israel Defense Forces’ Kometz unit, nights are spent tending to the northern half of the Gaza border fence, re-stringing torn strands of barbed wire and repairing the electrical damages done by winter rain and lightning — it’s work that is unremittingly dangerous, laborious, and absolutely crucial:

The 60 kilometers of fence separating Israel from Gaza, first built with the onset of the Oslo Accords in 1994 and bolstered physically and technologically since then, can be, at times, a ticket to relative safety for some Gaza residents.

In recent months, from September to January, 84 Palestinians from Gaza have been arrested for crossing the border fence, The New York Times reported this week. The rise, up from a reported 13 per month average before the summer’s war, is seen as an expression of desperation. Compared with Gaza, “the prison in Israel is like a five-star hotel,” Youssef Abbas, a former fence-crosser, told the paper.

For the army, though, and for the majority of Israelis, the fence is the frontline against terror infiltration. And the men tasked with its upkeep are prime targets in an area that is seldom visited by patrolling troops on account of the dangers of sniper fire and IED ambushes, sprung by luring the troops to the fence.

“It’s like being a duck on a firing range,” said Sgt. Maj. Ran Shlomo, the Kometz unit commander, who has been tending to Israel’s many border fences in and around the Gaza Strip since he joined the army in 1990.

Shlomo, who began his service with Kometz along the Philadelphi Corridor, which separated Gaza from Egypt, said in an interview that he has seen the threats against the Kometz soldiers evolve from gravel to fist-sized stones, to small arms fire, to mines, to short-range anti-tank missiles, to more complex guided missiles.

Speaking of improvised mine fields, a terror tunnel packed with so much explosives that it blew an empty jeep high into the air, and an RPG anti-tank…

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Thursday, February 19th, 2015 at 2:42 PM  | Stand For Israel

Female Christian IDF Soldier: “I Came to Serve My Country and My Home”

Stand for Israel fully backs Israeli Christians who decide to protect the Holy Land by serving in the IDF – The Fellowship has long supported projects that both promote this and that support Israel’s Christians. This video from the IDF features Monaliza, who joined the IDF to protect her country and all its citizens.

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Thursday, February 12th, 2015 at 11:46 AM  | Stand For Israel

IDF Arrests Three Hamas Smugglers

Operation Protective Edge put a dent in much of Hamas’ terrorist capabilities in Gaza, but that does not mean that the terror organization has stopped its plans to attack Israel. Just cleared for publication, the IDF reports that less than a month ago, it intercepted three terrorists trying to smuggle weapons materials into Gaza:

On January 19, IDF forces identified a suspicious boat making its way towards the Gaza Strip. The navy, in conjunction with the Israel Security Agency (ISA), intercepted the vessel after requesting that the passengers stop the boat.

The craft was disguised as a fishing boat, but underneath the fishing gear liquid fiberglass was concealed. The liquid fiberglass was intended for Hamas and meant to be used in the manufacturing of rockets and mortars …

The three suspects, Mahmed Bechar, Ahmed Zaidi and Awad Zaidi​, were arrested and interrogated by the ISA. During the interrogation, the suspects admitted that they were sent to collect the manufacturing materials from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt and to deliver the liquid fiberglass to Hamas’ military wing.

Furthermore, the three men provided detailed information about previous weapon smuggling activities and how Hamas intended to use the fishermen and smugglers for future smuggling attempts.

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Thursday, February 12th, 2015 at 9:47 AM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: The Lord Your God Will Fight for You

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

“The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes…” (Deuteronomy 1:30)

This week, a Hezbollah attack killed two IDF soldiers and wounded seven more. Here, a member of the IDF artillery – part of the Fellowship-adopted Brigade 282 - in the Golan Heights looks to the Syrian border, knowing that God is on the side of Israel. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, January 30th, 2015 at 12:52 PM  | Stand For Israel

Visiting Soldiers on the Syrian Border

At the Israel-Syria border, an IDF base adopted by The Fellowship receives a visit from Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein. On the base, soldiers monitor violence in Syria and make sure Israel and her citizens are safe. Thanks to you, The Fellowship’s generous donors, we are able to stand together with these guardians of Israel.

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Friday, January 30th, 2015 at 8:37 AM  | Stand For Israel

"informing, equipping and mobilizing individuals and churches to support the
State of Israel"

Rabbi’s Commentary
We Must Take Sides

Seventy years has passed since the Holocaust, one of the darkest periods in history. However, the evil of anti-Semitism lives on. As Israel observes Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), let us continue to pray for the chains of hatred to be loosened and for the oppressed to be freed…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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