A Heartwarming Surprise for IDF Lone Soldiers

Recently, Stand for Israel told you about the unexpected visit paid to some IDF troops. Now watch the mothers of lone Israel Defense Forces soldiers (soldiers who have no immediate family in the country) surprise their children thanks to The Fellowship’s donors. Thank you for standing for Israel and the brave men and women who protect her!

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Thursday, May 21st, 2015 at 7:41 AM  | Stand for Israel

Why I Tour the US as an IDF Soldier

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

We always love hearing from the brave men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Yesterday we shared a letter from an IDF reservist who lives in the United States. And today, we share this letter by two IDF soldiers who tour the U.S., giving a face to the Israeli military, sharing their experiences, and standing for the Holy Land they’ve sworn to serve and protect:

We go because we want to correct the many lies and misrepresentations about the IDF. There is no comparison to actually meeting a soldier and learning from their first-hand experiences. We love Israel and we know best the moral dilemmas we faced.

Lital works for a news site in Israel. Born in Ashdod, she holds a BA in Social Sciences from the Open University and is working towards her Masters in American Jewry at Haifa University.  Proud of her service in the IDF, she considers it an honor to contribute whatever she can to her country, which led Lital to choose service in the border police unit. She served in checkpoints, stations aimed at thwarting terrorist attacks — a position usually held by men.

Lital tells a harrowing tale of a woman in labor, screaming in pain, who arrived in an ambulance at a checkpoint between Israel and the West Bank.  She is 18-years old. What would you do?  In that split second, Lital made the executive decision to check the ambulance to ensure that nothing harmful was being transported into Israel. She found an explosive device hidden under one of the seats…

I served in Hebron, ensuring that Muslims and Jews could safely pray in its holy sites. My other position was in Gaza. We received reports of tunnels being built. One day, mortar shells shot by Hamas terrorists hit the base. All activity stopped, and the Erez border crossing with Egypt was closed. Just then, a Palestinian boy arrived at the checkpoint, heading for his appointment at the children’s hospital in Tel Aviv. My task…

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Thursday, May 21st, 2015 at 7:38 AM  | Stand for Israel

An IDF Reservist Happy to Serve

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

In Israel, young people are required to serve in the IDF. For many, their service does not end there, though. Writing at The Times of Israel, an IDF reservist who lives in the U.S. tells why he looks forward to serving the Holy Land:

One moment I’m procrastinating – scrolling through my Facebook feed when I should be working, munching on a killer glazed donut – the next, I’m frantically searching the web for a reasonably priced gym. It all started with an unassuming red blot that lit up my inbox.

The note came from my close friend, Yaniv, who also happens to be the lieutenant to whom I report in the reserves. “Hey Izzy, what’s up with you over the next two weeks? Any chance you’re visiting DC? I’ll be there for work.” Almost as an afterthought, he added, “Oh, and our unit’s been drafted for training up north the first week of June. You coming?”

Of course I’m coming, and he knows it. Since my return to the United States, I haven’t missed a day of reserve duty – not once since the IDF released me from active service at the tail end of 2011. But June? We weren’t scheduled to draft until November. Why call us up so early? And why are we training up North? ISIS? I purchase my airfare before nightfall—I’ve already found a gym that’ll whip me back into shape.

Throughout Israel’s relatively brief history, there have been many IDF veterans, women and men who live abroad but return to Israel; they’ve taken up arms when the Jewish State needed them most. But I’ve met only a couple others like me—young men who return to Israel each year at their own expense to train with their counterparts in the Special Forces. Our logic? If we’re inevitably going to head into the fog of war with our Israeli brothers, then we should know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We need to work out the chinks in our phalanx so that when the lead starts…

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Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 at 1:14 PM  | Stand for Israel

Photo Friday: I Will Put My Name Forever

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

“In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever.” (2 Chronicles 33:7)

Starting at sundown on Saturday, and lasting through Sunday, Israel will celebrate Jerusalem Day – remembering the reunification of the Holy City in 1967. Here, members of the IDF’s Givati Brigade take their oath at the Western Wall, an oath to protect God’s chosen people, their Holy City, and their country. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, May 15th, 2015 at 3:37 PM  | Stand For Israel

IDF Lone Soldiers Receive Surprise Visit from Their Mothers

(Photo: twitter/IDF)

(Photo: twitter/IDF)

The Fellowship and our generous supporters have long done all we can for the brave men and women of the IDF who sacrifice so much in order to keep the Holy Land safe. Yediot Achronot reports that some IDF lone soldiers were given a welcome surprise this week – their mothers paid them an unexpected visit:

Twenty lone soldiers were surprised to discover on Tuesday night that their mothers had been flown to Israel for a special reunion with their sons and daughters…

The project, created by the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers (AWIS) in cooperation with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), funded the flights of the soldiers’ mothers who came from 10 different nations: the United States, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, India, Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.

Zundel, a lone soldier from Mexico, was very surprised to see his mother and could not hide his excitement: “I’m deeply moved and cannot believe this is happening to me,” he said. “I think about my mother and family in faraway Mexico a lot and miss them…”

Lone soldiers serving in combat positions attended the ceremony, including those serving in the air force and the Golani, Nachal, Kfir, paratroopers and intelligence brigades.


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Thursday, May 14th, 2015 at 8:37 AM  | Stand For Israel

At IDF Hospital in Nepal, Healing and Heartbreak

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

When the recent earthquake left the nation of Nepal in ruins, we told you about the IDF’s efforts to help the Nepalese people recover from the disaster and its effects. The Jewish Week’s Nathan Jeffay reports on the healing and heartbreak that is still being witnessed at the field hospital set up by the caring men and women of Israel’s military:

An 18-year-old lies on a bed at the entrance of a tent, with an injured head and just a stub where his right arm used to be. “When I saw him I thought he was dead,” said his father, Bim Mahi.

Nearby, there’s a new baby in an incubator, a woman clinging to life in the intensive care unit, a soldier praying in the synagogue, and a triage full of Nepalese who are flocking here based on word-of-mouth reports about the treatment on offer.

It’s just a normal day at Israel’s field hospital in Nepal, still reeling after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the country on April 25; the death toll now stands at more than 7,500.

One of the first faces that many of the patients see here is that of Avi Alpert, a U.S. immigrant to Israel who had no obligation to conscript to the army but signed up and put himself through basic training at age 42. Now, seven years later, the sense of duty that first got him into uniform has brought him to this makeshift Kathmandu facility.

As of Tuesday night, the field hospital has treated almost 1,000 patients, delivered seven babies — all of them healthy — and performed 50 surgeries. Its team, consisting of nearly 150 medical professionals here as part of their full-time army service or as reservists, sleeps in tiny one-man or two-man tents: even revered doctors like Jonathan Halevy, director-general of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, finds rest under canvas after a grueling shift.

Around here, Alpert is Mr. Clockwork: the man who keeps the emergency room running smoothly, which, in turn, keeps the whole place running smoothly. Despite the…

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Friday, May 8th, 2015 at 11:26 AM  | Stand For Israel

An IDF Soldier’s Letter to His Mother

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, when we all show appreciation for the important mothers in our lives. The brave men and women of the IDF are no different – they each learned their strength and virtue from someone. The Friends of the IDF (FIDF) has provided this moving letter from a 24-year-old officer in the Israeli Navy that states these sentiments about his own “ima” (“mother” in Hebrew):

My mother is an incredibly strong woman, and has always been there for her children, through thick and thin. In the intense first stage of my training in Eilat, in the Naval Officer’s Course, our cell phones were taken and we had only a few minutes on Fridays to call home. A week after I began the course, my commander surprised me by handing me a few letters, one for each day since I’d arrived. From that day onwards and throughout those difficult months, I received a letter from my Ima every single day. Those letters kept me going, especially when my older brother, serving in the Paratroopers Brigade, was participating in an operation and I had little news of him because of my training. It is her strength that has always made me strong and still keeps me going. Love you, Ima.


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Friday, May 8th, 2015 at 8:14 AM  | Stand For Israel

The IDF Is Worth It

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

A young Israeli Arab in northern Israel recently took to social media to convince other Israeli Arabs that the Jewish state is not the “Satan” they have been indoctrinated to believe it is, and that the IDF is not a murderous army intent on spilling Palestinian blood. The response was quite surprising.

Here is a little background about the instigator of this post.

The young man who began posting – anonymously – that the IDF is a moral and courageous army is a Muslim. He served in the IDF, himself – as all Israeli Arabs have an option to do – and was furious when he learned of a campaign seeking to eliminate Arab recruitment into the IDF.

He began a Facebook campaign and called it “TZaHaL bistahal,” meaning the “IDF is worth it.” To his surprise, he received an outpouring of videos and messages from countries such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, and Yemen that professed a love for Israel and an admiration for the IDF.

Arabs from around the Middle East sent messages of peace and love for Israel. One woman from Saudi Arabia stated that Jews should have rights in their land. An officer from Egypt took a picture of his police badge and passport cover with a note stating his love for Israel and the IDF. The list goes on and on.

Such sentiments might be rare in the Middle East. But these posts tell us a few things about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the lies that lure young Arabs into the embrace of terror organizations and radicalized mosques.

With all the upheaval in taking place in the Middle East – where 200,000 Syrians have been killed, where ISIS beheads “nonbelievers” and kidnaps young women to be used as sex slaves – it is getting harder to convince young Arabs that Israel is at fault. Anyone who observes the Middle East can see that Israel is a beacon of light in a very dark region.

We often hear from our friends in the West that our only…

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Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 at 8:35 AM  | Stand for Israel

Hamas Atrocities and the Rules of War

(Photo: flickr/  l_suddenly)

(Photo: flickr/ l_suddenly)

In today’s Daily Dispatch, we note that the terrorist projectile that killed Daniel Tragerman, a four-year-old Israeli boy, was a mortar fired from a United Nations facility. In light of this, and last week’s U.N. report that actually stated Hamas was using such civilian facilities to launch attacks, Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin writes on the terrorist group’s atrocities and the rules of war:

General Benny Gantz recalled one incident that didn’t make it into the UN report in which a Palestinian mortar killed a four-year-old Israeli boy. According to Gantz the shell that took his life was fired from a United Nations building. The question the general raised is of what use are such rules if they serve to protect Hamas killers while endangering Jewish children?

The UN report gave Israel credit for the fact that incidents in which the Israel Defense Forces’ fire was deemed to be unjustified or wrongful due to the impact on civilians resulted in investigations and/or prosecutions of those involved. But it what failed to grasp was that two factors undermined most of the criticisms of Israel’s conduct in Gaza. One is that widespread infiltration of UNRWA by Hamas personnel who use UN facilities as storage depots. The other is the fact that the Hamas government of Gaza systematically exploits civilian buildings that are treated as off limits to Israeli fire for military purposes.

As Gantz detailed, it was well known, even during the war, that the Hamas leaders who were directing the rocket attacks on Israel were doing from the safety of hospital buildings. It was also clear throughout the campaign that Hamas was firing the thousands of rockets that were shot at Israeli cities from the immediate environs of shelters, schools and hospitals…

Were the world prepared to let Israel go into Gaza and capture these terrorists and the government in whose name they operate, it might be possible to say that there is no need to think about rules. But we know this isn’t so….

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Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 at 8:28 AM  | Stand for Israel

Photo Friday: The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

At the field hospital set up by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in earthquake-devastated Nepal, an IDF soldier shares much-needed comfort, nourishment, and joy with a grieving Nepalese child. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, May 1st, 2015 at 12:57 PM  | Stand For Israel