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Photo Friday: From Above

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

“Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness” (Isaiah 45:8 KJV)

This past weekend was Father’s Day, so we couldn’t help but share this photo of fathers and sons of elite IDF units parachuting together. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, June 26th, 2015 at 11:40 AM  | Stand For Israel

This Is My Truth: IDF Soldiers React to War Crime Accusations

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Since the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report on Operation Protective Edge was released this week, many who stand with Israel have spoken up against it. But today, Israel Hayom provides a mouthpiece for actual IDF soldiers who were on the ground, who faced an immoral enemy, and who acted morally as they defended their homeland, the Holy Land:

Shmul went on to share his experience from last summer’s Gaza war: “During Operation Protective Edge, we were sent to Gaza. We were supposed to go in on a Friday, but they made us wait because they said there were still civilians in the area.

“After we received permission to enter, Hamas waited for us in Shujaiyya, using civilians as human shields and hiding in hospitals and kindergartens. About an hour after we went in, the terrorists were waiting for us in the tunnels, and that is because we sent warnings to the civilians to clear out — we lost our element of surprise. As a result, eight of my friends were killed, seven of them in the APC disaster,” he recalled…

 

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Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 at 7:54 AM  | Stand for Israel

Next Time, Ask a General

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Last week, a report by military experts absolved Israel of war crimes, ahead of an expected United Nations report on last summer’s war in Gaza. And, as expected, the U.N. report – release yesterday – stated that Israel may have committed war crimes. The Times of Israel’s Mitch Ginsburg looks at those who created the report, noting that their own inexperience and lack of understanding calls their findings into question:

The UN report on last summer’s Gaza war, while more even-handed than its predecessor — written shortly after the 2008-2009 conflict — is still willfully or perhaps unknowingly ignorant of modern military affairs. What it needed, aside from Israeli cooperation and an open mind, was a general, preferably one who has commanded troops under fire in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

The first thing this officer could have provided is perspective. Whether one accepts the UN death toll, as provided by the Hamas Interior Ministry, or the Israeli one, an international reader still has no way of knowing if the tragic toll in human life — of civilians as opposed to enemy combatants — is disproportionately or even outrageously high…

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 at 8:09 AM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: Joy to His Father

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

“A wise son brings joy to his father” (Proverbs 15:20)

A young IDF soldier finishes his special forces training with his proud and joyful father by his side. Stand for Israel wishes a blessed Father’s Day to the important men in all of our lives. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, June 19th, 2015 at 10:58 AM  | Stand For Israel

“IDF Is a Moral Army Fighting in an Immoral Neighborhood”

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Earlier this week, Stand for Israel told you about a report that, for once, absolved Israel of any wrongdoing during last summer’s war in Gaza. Such reports, however, are rare in the anti-Israel international climate. Speaking out against biased reporting at the E.U.’s Human Rights Subcommittee, IDF Reserve Captain Matan Katzman said that the Israeli military is a moral entity in an immoral world:

Israel Defense Forces Capt. (res.) Matan Katzman spoke Wednesday before the Human Rights Subcommittee of the European Parliament in an effort to counter recent testimony by Breaking the Silence, an organization dedicated to exposing alleged wrongdoings by the Israeli army.

“The IDF is a moral army fighting in an immoral neighborhood,” said Katzman, who serves in the Givati Brigade and was speaking on behalf of StandWithUs, an educational organization for Israel advocacy, and the My Truth initiative, which gathers IDF soldier testimonies…

“Behind every Israeli soldier there is a human being, a human being that has to go out and defend his country, although he faces the complexities of war,” Katzman said to the EU subcommittee.

He went on to say that “in Gaza, our mission was clear: It was to stop the rocket fire that put over a million Israeli children in bomb shelters last summer…”

Katzman has fought in every major Gaza conflict since 2005. He told the lawmakers that the IDF has a clear policy to protect Palestinian civilian life, even at the expense of compromising the safety of its own missions, as it does when it repeatedly warns civilians about incoming attacks.

He clarified that the most important rule of engagement in the IDF is that “in cases of doubt, don’t shoot. If there is doubt, there is no doubt — we don’t shoot.”

Describing Operation Protective Edge, Katzman said,”During last summer’s war, the Israeli army aborted and cancelled multiple missions from air and from ground in cases where Palestinian civilians were present, or we even thought they were…

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Thursday, June 18th, 2015 at 8:16 AM  | Stand For Israel

Instead of Investigating IDF, UN Should Probe Itself

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

As Stand for Israel reported yesterday, some international diplomats and military experts have absolved Israel of any wrongdoing during Operation Protective Edge. However, the U.N. Human Rights Council is to issue its own report this week. Israel Hayom reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu says the IDF’s actions were in full accordance with international law, and Israeli leader Yair Lapid says the U.N., not the IDF, should be under investigation:

At a meeting in Jerusalem with visiting Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the Israeli government report on the operation that was published on Sunday.

“Yesterday, I received our official government report about last year’s conflict in Gaza. The report demonstrates unequivocally that our military actions during that conflict were in full accordance with international law, that Israel was exercising its legitimate right of self-defense,” Netanyahu said.

“We fulfill our responsibility to protect our people against terrorists who perpetuate and perpetrate a double war crime. Hamas terrorists deliberately target our civilians while deliberately hiding behind their civilians.”

Turning to the upcoming U.N. report, Netanyahu said, “Israel was pronounced guilty before the investigation even began. They appointed a person to head this committee who was being paid by the Palestinians. This committee has more resolutions against Israel than against North Korea, Syria and Iran combined. This tells you what we’re dealing with. So this campaign, these attacks against Israel, these investigations against Israel, have nothing to do with human rights. They have everything to do with politically inspired attacks in a cynical effort to delegitimize Israel using U.N. bodies…”

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said on Monday that the U.N. had “lost its mind.”

“It’s not the IDF — the most moral army in the world — that the U.N. should be investigating, but rather itself,” Lapid said.

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 8:21 AM  | Stand for Israel

Photo Friday: The Lord Is with You

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

“The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12)

From defending their country from enemies to providing aid to the world’s needy, the men and women of the IDF are guided and protected by God’s mighty hand. Here, a soldier and his dog, from the IDF’s Oketz canine unit, look out on the Himalayas while in Nepal providing earthquake relief. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, June 12th, 2015 at 12:35 PM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas Commander in West Bank Calls for Kidnapping of Israeli Soldiers

(Photo: flickr/ ahmadmesleh)

(Photo: flickr/ ahmadmesleh)

It has been nearly a year since Hamas operatives kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens, while more kidnappings were attempted during last summer’s war in Gaza. Now, Algemeiner’s David Daoud reports that a Hamas commander in the West Bank is calling on the terror group to kidnap Israeli soldiers once again:

The commander of Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank called on members of the terror group on Sunday to attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers, Israel’s NRG news portal reported.

In an unprecedented move, Abdullah Barghouti, who is currently being held in an Israeli jail, issued the call on Al-Ra’i Radio, a radio station affiliated with Hamas which broadcasts from the Gaza Strip.

Barghouti, who was once one of Hamas’ chief bomb-makers, is currently serving 67 life sentences for his involvement in the deaths of 66 Israelis…

On the radio show, Barghouti urged the leadership of Hamas to be patient and not to rush into a deal with Israel. He said, “do not rush to sign a deal, we are patient and resilient as you have entrusted us to be.”

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Monday, June 1st, 2015 at 7:56 AM  | Stand for Israel

The PTSD Problem

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become a major problem facing the brave men and women who return from serving in the U.S. military, even as it is more closely studied and better understood by doctors and researchers. In this gripping study of the problem of PTSD, Sebastian Junger takes a look at how and why IDF soldiers have been less likely to suffer its effects:

Israel is arguably the only modern country that retains a sufficient sense of community to mitigate the effects of combat on a mass scale. Despite decades of intermittent war, the Israel Defense Forces have a PTSD rate as low as 1 percent. Two of the foremost reasons have to do with national military service and the proximity of the combat—the war is virtually on their doorstep. “Being in the military is something that most people have done,” I was told by Dr. Arieh Shalev, who has devoted the last 20 years to studying PTSD. “Those who come back from combat are re-integrated into a society where those experiences are very well understood. We did a study of 17-year-olds who had lost their father in the military, compared to those who had lost their fathers to accidents. The ones whose fathers died in combat did much better than those whose fathers hadn’t.”

According to Shalev, the closer the public is to the actual combat, the better the war will be understood and the less difficulty soldiers will have when they come home. The Israelis are benefiting from what could be called the shared public meaning of a war. Such public meaning—which would often occur in more communal, tribal societies—seems to help soldiers even in a fully modern society such as Israel. It is probably not generated by empty, reflexive phrases—such as “Thank you for your service”—that many Americans feel compelled to offer soldiers and vets. If anything, those comments only serve to underline the enormous chasm between military and civilian society in this country.

Another Israeli researcher, Reuven Gal, found that the…

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Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 at 11:54 AM  | Stand for Israel

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

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

Rabbi’s Commentary
In the Midst of Tragedy, God Is with Us

Last week’s tragic attack that left nine dead in a historic African-American church in Charleston, SC, sickened me, showing yet again that such hate and violence still exist…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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