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Photo Friday: How Majestic

(Photo: flickr/ spacelion)

(Photo: flickr/ spacelion)

LORD, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:9)

How majestic is our God, and all that He has created. Enjoy this breathtaking view from the Golan Heights, and please pray for peace and protection of the residents there – as you do for all of Israel – as Islamist fighters in neighboring Syria are reportedly nearby. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 2:19 PM  | Stand For Israel

IDF on High Alert in Golan Heights

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Stand for Israel has been reporting on the developments across Israel’s border with Syria – of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda-linked Islamist fighters doing battle with Syrian forces. Israel is well aware of what is going on, and the IDF is on alert in the Golan Heights:

As a result of the fighting on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, the level of alert was raised on the Israeli side, an army spokesperson said Thursday, without confirming that it had been increased to the highest level.

The announcement followed several incidents in the area, including the capture and execution of 160 Syrian soldiers by the Islamic State, gruesome pictures of which appeared online Thursday, and the abduction, also Thursday, of 43 Fijian U.N. peacekeepers by al-Qaeda-affiliate al-Nusra Front at the Quneitra crossing with Israel, where fighting has raged this week between Syrian rebels and government forces.

Please pray for the return of the captured U.N. peacekeepers, for God’s protection over the brave men and women defending Israel in this dangerous situation, and for God’s peace over all of His people.

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Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 11:51 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel Has Emerged Stronger

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

As all wars do, Operation Protective Edge cost Israel much – in the lives lost, in the soldiers wounded, in the financial and emotional prices paid. Yet much was also gained. Writing at The Times of Israel’s blog, Dr. Daniel Polisar says that the war made Israel stronger by strengthening Israeli society, strengthening the Jewish state’s diplomacy, and weakening Israel’s enemies:

First and foremost, Israeli society was strengthened over the last seven weeks … showered soldiers with moral and material support, demonstrated gritty determination to continue the ground war despite the large number of IDF casualties, and bolstered the spirits of those most in need by attending en masse funerals of people whom they did not know—with the most sublime symbol being the sign placed near the grave of ex-Californian infantry fighter Max Steinberg, “There is no such thing as a lone soldier in Israel.”

Such acts gave Israelis and their leaders the fortitude to go on under difficult circumstances, but also have longer-term effects. They etched into the hearts of Israelis, especially those who recently came of age, that we are a people capable of great courage, compassion, and commitment when it matters most. When the dust settles and the commentaries of today and tomorrow are forgotten, it will be this sense that will remain and will instill in Israelis the conviction we have what it takes to survive and thrive, come what may.

Diplomatically, Israel was of course subject to increasing criticism from Europe and suffered a well-publicized rift with its leading ally, the United States. Even so, European actions, in any event not decisive, did not undergo a qualitative shift and the U.S.-Israel relationship remains firm, as witnessed by continued cooperation on numerous fronts. The only real strategic change was the remarkable deepening of Israel’s ties with Egypt, the most powerful Arab country …

Finally, the conduct of the war has given pause to Hamas and the heads of the more powerful Hezbollah about engaging soon in another military clash…

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Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 9:04 AM  | Stand For Israel

Nipping Terrorism in the Bud

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

While the ceasefire between Hamas holds for now, frightening developments are continuing to occur elsewhere, with the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations rampaging through the Middle East, nearing Israel, and endangering the entire world. And who knows when the battle against Hamas will reignite. Avi Dichter, former Israeli Minister of Internal Security and Shin Bet director, knows the threat of terrorism better than most. Writing at Israel Hayom, he says Israel cannot be complacent or indifferent to this threat, and must wake the rest of the world up to Hamas and other terrorist groups like them:

Israel should be the one to surprise Hamas, instead of waiting for rocket fire of any scale. Israel should not be the one left to mount a response. The days of Israel being dragged into a fight by Hamas are over.

In its seven years in power, Hamas has plunged Gaza into chaos, which should remain inside the Strip, instead of affecting the kibbutzim near the Israel-Gaza Strip border and cities nationwide.

Hamas’ brutality is growing. It is oppressing the people of Gaza and doing everything within its power to ensure Gaza does not become Westernized. Hamas favors maintaining a “Wild West” in the Gaza Strip, so that it can continue to dictate who can and cannot pull the trigger in Gaza, and how …

Hamas is more calculating than ISIS. It prevents the true scope of its atrocities from being revealed, mainly because it is wary of the wrath of the families of murdered Gazans. It has no qualms about harming women and children if it suspects one of their relatives might be a collaborator, but takes great care to conceal it.

Had Hamas been able to realize its tunnels conspiracy, infiltrate one of the communities near the border and abduct Israeli men, women and children, then Israel, the U.S. and the EU would have understood the true nature of Hamas’ cruelty.

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Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 8:45 AM  | Stand For Israel

Is the Gaza War Really Over?

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

As the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has held, Israel begins to rebuild, even as it watches warily the threats it faces on all sides. But writing at the Gatestone Institute, Khaled Abu Toameh asks – in light of Hamas’ stated intentions and overall strategy – if Israel’s war in Gaza is really over:

However, it is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas’s or Islamic Jihad’s overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.

Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip are not only fighting for an airport and seaport. Nor are they fighting only for the reopening of all border crossings with Israel and Egypt.

During this war, many seem to have forgotten that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.” The two groups have never recognized Israel’s right to exist and continue to oppose any attempt to make peace with the “Zionist entity.”

Operation Protective Edge may have ended, but the dream to destroy Israel is still alive. Even if Hamas and Islamic Jihad eventually get their own airport and seaport, it is obvious that the two groups are now more determined than ever to pursue their fight to eliminate Israel, especially in light of the fact that they feel they have emerged from the war triumphant.

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Thursday, August 28th, 2014 at 9:23 AM  | Stand For Israel

Video: Northern Israelis Evacuated; ISIS Said to Be Close

Operation Protective Edge has ended – for now – with the truce between Israel and Hamas still in effect. But while the residents of southern Israel may – for now – feel relieved, Israelis in the northern part of the country have reason for alarm. Israel’s i24 news reports that Islamist rebels have taken the Quneitra crossing at the Syria-Israel border from Syrian government forces:

In the Golan, fierce battles between pro-and anti-Syrian government forces close to the border with Israel on Wednesday prompted the army to evacuate residents and tourists from certain areas close to the northern and southern ends of the frontier, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

Latest reports from Syria indicate that several hundred fighters of the al-Qaeda-linked al Nusra Front have managed to overtake the southern Quneitra Crossing from Syrian government forces …

A Syria TV and Iranian Press TV reporter on the Syrian side of the border, speaking with Israel’s i24 News, said ISIS/ISIL personnel were also among those fighting …

“…there is huge fighting between the ISIS and the Syrian army, and also the Israeli army. There are three teams … three armies that are fighting now,” according to Hamat Awidat …

Claiming that the strategic situation “was worse than Gaza” for Israel, Awidat charged that ISIL “was a cancer” that would destabilize the region.

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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 at 3:29 PM  | Stand for Israel

Israel Emerges Victorious

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Yesterday we reported that Israel agreed to a long-term ceasefire in Gaza. As of today, Hamas has upheld the truce. Writing for Israel Hayom, Dan Margalit writes that despite the toll paid by Israel, her military, and her people, Operation Protective Edge is a victory for the Jewish state:

The vanquished will try to fire rockets up until the very last moment, despite profuse bleeding. We live in a world where perception occasionally trumps reality, and where the media has become as important as the battlefield. With all of that in mind, we can say that Israel emerged the victor on Tuesday.

For all the demagoguery going around about Israel having the upper hand, there is indeed a kernel of truth to that claim: Jerusalem’s basic demands have been met …

In the grand scheme of things, Israel has come out on top. It managed to secure a cease-fire without compromising on its terms. It essentially got what it had demanded all along, even before the fighting commenced. Hamas, on the other hand, now has to account for its various shortfalls. It has lost 1,000 terrorists, 32 tunnels, and 7,000 rockets (which did not inflict significant damage). This is the truth, despite the bereaving heart putting a damper on our victory celebrations.

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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 at 9:06 AM  | Stand for Israel

“Open-Ended” Ceasefire Takes Effect

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Yediot Achronot is reporting that Israel and Hamas have agreed on what is being called a “long-term ceasefire”:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ office confirmed Tuesday evening that an long-term ceasefire agreement was reached. State-run Egyptian television also reported on Tuesday evening that a truce deal had been reached between Israel and Hamas.

An Israeli official said that Jerusalem told Egypt that it accepted its offer of an ‘open-ended’ ceasefire.

Israel responded to the proposal after all the cabinet ministers had been informed of the developments. Sources said the Egyptian offer did not include the majority of Hamas’ demands.

According to a senior source in Hamas, the agreement includes the opening of the Rafah crossing under the supervision of the Abbas’ security forces.

Yet, immediately before the truce took effect, Arutz Sheva reports that a barrage of rockets from Gaza struck southern Israel, wounding several and killing one:

The sirens preceded a heavy barrage of rockets and mortar shells, during which six people in the Eshkol Regional Council were wounded by a rocket that struck a community in the region. One was wounded critically, two others seriously, one moderately and the rest lightly.

Resuscitation attempts were conducted on the critically wounded victim, but he soon succumbed to his wounds and died. AFP cited an Israeli security source as saying he was killed by mortar fire, which likewise wounded the other victims.

We pray for those who have been affected by these terrorist attacks, for God’s protection over the Holy Land and His people, and that this peace might take hold.

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Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 11:16 AM  | Stand for Israel

Daniel Tragerman’s War

(Photo: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

(Photo: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

On Friday we told you about the killing of a four-year-old Israeli boy by a terrorist rocket launched from Gaza, and yesterday Rabbi Eckstein asked that we pray for Daniel Tragerman’s family and for peace in Israel. In The Times of Israel, David Horovitz writes that this tragedy is the symbol of a battle between one side that longs for peace and safety and the other that only wants bloodshed:

His heartbroken mother Gila said, as she leant on his small-child’s coffin for support at his funeral on Sunday, that Daniel had “iron discipline” when it came to the rocket alerts. He was resolute and mature about taking shelter, because he knew that his little, loving family — parents Gila and Doron, younger sister Yuval and baby brother Uri – would be safe only once they reached that protected room.

There’s symbolism there, too, of course — in a nation reestablished too late to offer safe refuge to the Jews of Europe, and adamant about ensuring safe refuge for subsequent generations. Because when all is said and done, that’s all we want here: safe refuge. Peace and security in our historic national homeland, alongside, not instead of, the Arab peoples around us.

That’s all we want. That’s what was denied to four-year-old Daniel Tragerman. “We were the happiest family in the world,” said Gila Tragerman. Until Friday.

Hamas has its victory picture, and is drawing further delight in Israelis’ temporary abandonment of the kibbutzim and moshavim close to the treacherous border with its Gaza terror state. Israel stopped or evaded most of its thousands of rockets; Israel smashed most of its terror tunnels; so now it batters the south with barrages of shorter-range rockets and mortar shells — anything, everything, in the cause of our destruction …

Let no one forget, either, that Hamas killed its own Palestinian people in seizing Gaza seven years ago, plotted the violent ouster of the Palestinians’ own Mahmoud Abbas-run leadership…

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Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 8:33 AM  | Stand for Israel

Over 120 Rockets Fired at Israel from Gaza Strip

(Photo: Ziv Koren)

(Photo: Ziv Koren)

Terrorist rocket fire continued to hammer Israel this weekend into today. Yediot Achronot reports that not only have more than 120 rockets from Gaza targeted southern Israel, but fire from Syria and Lebanon struck northern Israel, as well:

Some 126 rockets were fired on Sunday since midnight from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory.

In a heavy barrage around midnight, four rockets were intercepted over Kiryat Malachi. Earlier Sunday night, the rocket alert siren was sounded in the area surrounding Jerusalem. One rocket was intercepted over the Jerusalem mountains. Two other rockets were intercepted over Ashkelon, while three hit open areas.

In the evening hours, rocket shrapnel hit two houses in Ashkelon and in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council on Sunday evening, while two rockets were intercepted over Ashkelon …

On Saturday night, as many as five rockets fired from Syria exploded in the northern Golan Heights, with three falling next to a community. Earlier Saturday night, a rocket fired from Lebanon hit an empty house in the Western Galilee …

Some 100 rockets were fired at Israel on Saturday, with one of the rockets hitting a communal dining hall in Nahal Oz, the very same kibbutz in which 4-year-old Daniel Tregerman was killed from a mortar hit the day before …

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the mortar that killed Tregerman was fired from a Palestinian Authority school that provides shelter for refugees in the Gaza Strip, and is close to an UNRWA facility.

Earlier Saturday, security officials stated that the mortar had been fired from within an UNRWA school in Gaza.

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Monday, August 25th, 2014 at 10:40 AM  | Stand for Israel

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

Rabbi's Commentary
A Fragile Peace

As we continue to pray for a lasting peace, one of our most critical tasks is to help Israel recover – to rebuild, to restore shattered lives, to comfort those who have lost loved ones or livelihoods. And none of this is possible without you who continue to stand by the Jewish people.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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