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The Ceasefire Debacle

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of Defense)

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of Defense)

Israeli politicians on the left rarely agree with their political opponents on the right; the chasm between their respective ideas makes finding common ground an unusual occurrence. This is not the case in Israel today, where the military operation in Gaza is supported by close to 90 percent of the population, and where the only disagreement is whether Operation Protective Edge should continue until Hamas is completely destroyed, or whether it should end once the terror tunnels have been obliterated.

There is one area in Israeli society where the ideological gap between the left and right is even more boisterous than the Knesset during election season, and that’s in the media. So this week’s unanimous rejection of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal by both the security cabinet and the media signaled an almost unprecedented moment in the Jewish state’s history.

The Kerry proposal, handed to the Israeli security cabinet for approval, agreed to all of Hamas’ demands – lifting the siege on Gaza, releasing Hamas prisoners, and continuing the flow of goods, including more cement, into the Strip. Israel’s security needs were vaguely mentioned, almost as an afterthought.

What made Kerry’s ceasefire offer so shocking is that it undercut Egypt’s earlier ceasefire proposal, which Israel has already agreed to, while at the same time rewarding Hamas for a war which it started. Israeli officials were understandably dismayed that instead of placing pressure on Hamas to accept the Egypt’s peace proposal, which calls for the demilitarization of Gaza, the U.S. backed a ceasefire agreement formulated by Qatar and Turkey, two countries that openly support Hamas both financially and diplomatically.

Editorials found in newspapers on both the left and right of Israel’s political spectrum illustrate Israel’s near-unanimous disappointment with Obama and Kerry’s handling of this crisis. The general attitude in Israel is that the U.S. administration has prioritized Hamas’ interests ahead of Israel’s security needs. Israelis understand that this doesn’t represent the general pro-Israel sentiment felt across…

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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 12:45 PM  | Stand For Israel

10 IDF Soldiers Fall in Battle

(Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

(Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

As Operation Protective Edge continues, Israel Hayom reports that yesterday was the deadliest day the IDF has experienced since the beginning of the campaign against Hamas, with 10 Israeli soldiers killed:

On Monday night, a group of Hamas terrorists infiltrated into Israel through a tunnel under the border near Nahal Oz. The terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF position, killing five soldiers. In an ensuing exchange of fire, one of the terrorists was killed, while the rest escaped back to Gaza …

Earlier on Monday, a mortar shell fired from Gaza struck an IDF staging area near the border in the Eshkol region. Four soldiers, all from the Armored Corps, were killed …

Also on Monday, Staff Sgt. Moshe Davino, 20, was killed in southern Gaza when terrorists fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a D9 bulldozer. The terrorists subsequently entered a nearby house. An IDF bulldozer then toppled the house, killing eight of the terrorists. Two other terrorists were arrested by Givati Brigade soldiers.

In both Gaza and the West Bank on Monday evening, Palestinians held joyous demonstrations after learning of the Israeli deaths.

We pray for the families and friends of these 10 brave soldiers who gave their lives protecting their nation and people. May God comfort them.

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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 11:50 AM  | Stand For Israel

In This Gaza War, the Truth Is Buried

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

The Iron Dome defense system has proved its worth, helping defeat many of the terrorist rockets launched on Israel over the past weeks. But Hamas’ extensive system of attack tunnels that are still being uncovered by the IDF, writes Jeffrey Goldberg, illustrates the terrorist group’s true, murderous goals and shows how Israel must continue to respond:

But there is no Iron Dome for tunnels. The tunnels give me real pause. It’s hard enough to imagine a situation in which your neighbors are quite intentionally trying to blow up your house and kill your children with rockets. But Hamas’s well-developed kidnapping strategy represents a whole other category of depravity. The handcuffs and tranquilizers are mere baroque, Pulp Fictionish details. The core depravity of Hamas is its longstanding policy of treating every Jew as a target for elimination.

So I would ask this question: What would you want your government to do if your enemy was digging tunnels under your village, in order to pop out at night to kill or kidnap you? Could you imagine taking the risk that members of your family might be seized, dragged underground, handcuffed and tranquilized, and then held in the dark, perhaps for years, perhaps never to come home? Hamas terrorists have recently emerged from these tunnels inside Israel multiple times. This is not a theoretical threat …

The tactical goals are to terrorize Israelis and bring about the international delegitimization of Israel. The strategic goal — the theological goal, in fact — is to bring about the end of their country.

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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 8:44 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Fellowship Opens “Friendship Village” for Thousands of Israeli Children

(Photo: ASHERNET/IDF)

(Photo: ASHERNET/IDF)

As terrorist rockets continue to target Israel – especially the southern part of the country – The Jerusalem Post details The Fellowship’s latest effort to help those in the line of fire:

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) is set to open a complex in the Jerusalem Forest on Tuesday for thousands of children from the South to engage fun filled activities.

The camp, Friendship Village, developed in collaboration with the production company Promarket, will host groups of children daily, in an attempt to salvage what’s left of their summer, mired by the barrage of rocket fire.

“The efforts of the Fellowship stem in two directions, one is addressing security needs and the second toward helping the most vulnerable segments of society – the elderly and the children,” Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the IFCJ told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday …

This massive undertaking is the latest endeavor by the IFCJ that since the start of Operation Protective Edge has dedicated substantial resources to help the residents of the South – primarily children and the elderly population.

“Unfortunately we have a lot of experience in terms of the wars in Israel, we were on the ground in the second Lebanon war, in the first war in Gaza and now here,” Eckstein said. “The situation has changed dramatically in each of the wars and so we adjusted to what each of the needs was.”

Help us meet the growing needs in Israel throughout this crisis.

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Monday, July 28th, 2014 at 4:49 PM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas Leader: No to Israel As a Jewish State

In an interview for CBS yesterday morning, Charlie Rose spoke with Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas leader safely hidden in Qatar during the conflict in Gaza. Among other topics, when Rose pressed Meshaal whether he would recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Meshaal answered, “No.” Watch the interview above.

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Monday, July 28th, 2014 at 1:59 PM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: 4 Israelis Killed by Mortar; 5 Terrorists Breach Border

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Arutz Sheva reports that at least four Israelis were killed when a mortar shell from Gaza hit a home in the southern Eshkol region, an area where The Fellowship has been working closely with community leaders to provide assistance to the residents who’ve been under some of the heaviest rocket fire. Also reported was an attempted terrorist attack, as five terrorists breached the border before being stopped by the IDF:

At least four, possibly five, people were killed when a mortar shell scored a direct hit on a home in the Eshkol region Monday afternoon. Several injuries have also been reported. The injured were taken to hospitals in Beersheva and Ashkelon, Voice of Israel public radio said. At least three were in serious condition.

Five terrorists were eliminated after they breached the border from Gaza near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, Channel 2 reported Monday evening.

Please pray for the loved ones of those killed by the mortar, and for the safety of those IDF troops protecting those near the border.

Help us meet the growing needs in Israel throughout this crisis.

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Monday, July 28th, 2014 at 12:26 PM  | Stand For Israel

Some Concrete Facts About Hamas

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

As the IDF continues Operation Protective Edge – finding and destroying Hamas’ massive system of tunnels used for smuggling weapons into Gaza and sneaking terrorists into Israel – Liel Leibovitz brings us an informative piece at Tablet that not only puts into perspective how the terrorist organization created these tunnels (using 800,000 tons of concrete) but why they did so:

What else might that much concrete build? Erecting Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, required 110,000 tons of concrete. Hamas, then, could’ve treated itself to seven such monstrosities and still had a few tens of thousands of tons to spare. If it wanted to build kindergartens equipped with bomb shelters, like Israel has built for the besieged citizens of Sderot, for example—after all, noted military strategists like Jon Stewart have spent last week proclaiming that Gaza’s citizens had nowhere to hide from Israel’s artillery—Hamas could have used its leftovers to whip up about two that were each as big as Giants Stadium. And that’s just 18 tunnels. Egypt, on its end, recently claimed to have destroyed an additional 1,370. That’s a lot of concrete …

So, where did Hamas get all that concrete? Most of it came from you and your government. Hamas got its hands on the supplies it needed to build the tunnels after it pleaded with the international community last year to help redeem Gaza from the throes of a humanitarian crisis, caused by the fact that both Israel and Egypt closed their borders to Gaza, because both countries grew tired of having their soldiers and citizens murdered by terrorists. Needless to say, Israel’s concerns about how the concrete would be used were universally derided in the West as inflicting cruel and needless suffering on the people of Gaza—who, needless to say, didn’t receive any of the concrete for their own use. The priorities of Ismail Haniyeh’s government were crystal clear—to use all resources at their disposal to launch another war with Israel …

Hamas isn’t here to talk or build…

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Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 8:54 AM  | Stand For Israel

A Citizen Among Citizens: Shimon Peres’ Farewell Speech

(Photo: wikicommons/ David Shankbone)

(Photo: wikicommons/ David Shankbone)

As Operation Protective Edge continues to take a toll on Israel and her people, it was at a modest ceremony today where Reuven Rivlin took office as the tenth President of Israel. Rivlin called outgoing President Shimon Peres “the shepherd of our hopes, and the poet of a vision,” and Peres delivered a heartfelt farewell speech to the people he has so faithfully served:

It is a great privilege to be a citizen among citizens who know toil and struggle. Who made a supreme effort and carried determined hope until the first dew of our dawn.

We returned. We built. We fought. We prayed. Until we began to see contours that even surprised us. We are an ancient people who are getting older. We are a people, first and foremost, that rebuilds itself time and again.

Israel was born as a precedent and created precedents. Despite being small in number among the nations, our people carried a faith as great as any. The first to rebel against prejudice was Moses.

A nation that rebelled against Pharaoh. That smashed idols. That shattered illusions. A nation that walked through the desert to reach its home, its destiny.

We climbed the mountains and came down with the tablets, with the Ten Commandments which became the foundations upon which our nation was built and which were adopted by Western civilization.

We continue and will continue with this great legacy. There are still idols to be smashed, slaves to free, lives to save and justice to uphold. There is still a world to fix.

Even if we remain the minority among the nations. Even if we serve as a target for evil – we will not deviate from our moral heritage.

We are thankful to President Peres for his loyal service, and ask God to guide President Rivlin during trying times such as these, as well as in times of peace.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 3:30 PM  | Stand For Israel

Our Young Heroes

Funeral of Max Steinberg (Photo: ASHERNET)

Funeral of Max Steinberg (Photo: ASHERNET)

Two American warriors serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fell in battle this week as the IDF continued its effort to destroy Hamas’ ability to terrorize the Jewish state. Max Steinberg, 24, was born and raised in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, and served as a sharpshooter in the Golani Brigade. Sean Carmeli, 21, was from South Padre Island, Texas, and also served in the Golani Brigade.

Over the years, thousands of American volunteers have come to Israel to serve in the IDF. These admirable young men and women – unwilling to sit idly by while Israel fights for its survival – leave their tranquil American life to help defend the Jewish state against multiple enemies. My nephew, Noam, who was born and raised in Chicago, was one of these volunteers, and during his time in the IDF he served in the same unit as Max and Sean.

About 20,000 people attended the funeral service of Sean in the northern city of Haifa, while 30,000 paid tribute to Max as his family buried his body in Jerusalem’s military cemetery. These thousands of Israelis – most of whom did not know Max or Sean – paid their respects at these young men’s funerals, funerals that symbolized who the Jewish people are and how we deal with adversity and tragedy as a nation.

Israelis from every sector of society came in droves to show support and solidarity for our young heroes. And they came to say “thank you” to two young men who did not have to serve in the Israeli military, but who chose to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in order to fight side-by-side with their brothers and sisters in Israel.

It is unfortunate that we need such painful reminders of who we are, but in no other nation would tens of thousands of strangers  come together in such unity and love to honor a fallen solider.

More than anything else, God desires us to show such unity and love…

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 8:16 AM  | Stand For Israel

Anti-Israel Protests Make the Case for Israel

(Photo: flickr/ looking4poetry)

(Photo: flickr/ looking4poetry)

Stand for Israel has reported on the rampant anti-Semitism and violence against Jews that has been manifesting itself during anti-Israel protests in Europe over the past week. Writing at Tablet, Jordan Chandler Hirsch cites many of the same incidents as he argues that such hatred and despicable acts make a case for Israel:

Not every place in the world, of course, is like this for Jews. In the United States, the Jewish community is overwhelmingly secure, prospering in a society that celebrates it. But each chant of “gas the Jews” in Berlin, with all of its hideous echoes, underscores the need for a refuge.

There are those who would have us believe that what we are witnessing in the world’s most cosmopolitan capitals is boiled-over frustration with Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. Because, apparently, to borrow a line from Hamas, firebombing European synagogues is a “natural response” to the conflict in the Middle East.

Israel’s operation in Gaza is not causing deep-seated prejudices, it is revealing them. And behind all of that hatred lies the need for Israel—the case for Jewish sovereignty is the case for Jewish safety.

Let us ask God to provide for the safety of Jewish people who face rising anti-Semitism and violence across Europe and elsewhere, even as we thank him for the faithful friends who stand for Israel and support Jewish people worldwide.

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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 12:03 PM  | Stand For Israel
"informing, equipping and mobilizing individuals and churches to support the
State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
The Heartbreaking Reality
in Southern Israel

Last week I traveled to southern Israel to stand in solidarity with communities that are getting the brunt of the rocket fire…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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