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So far, the fighting near the Israeli-Syrian border has been between Syria’s military and the al-Nusra terror forces. But now The Times of Israel’s Elhanan Miller reports that the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) is creeping into the Golan Heights near Israel’s border:
The Islamic State terror group is operating sleeper cells in southern Syria near the border with Israel, a spokesman for the opposition’s Free Syrian Army charged Sunday.
The spokesman, speaking to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to communicate with Israeli media, said that some of the 6,000 Islamist fighters who fled southward toward the borders with Israel and Jordan in July actually belong to the Islamic State, not to the less extreme Nusra Front as previously believed …
“There are sleeper cells in the south, which are hidden. They don’t do anything [military] at all,” the spokesman said of IS. “Many people [in the moderate Syrian opposition] are following them and will strike at them before they organize.”
According to the intelligence agency of the Free Syrian Army, Islamic State activists would approach individuals in the area, offering them basic food staples or financial aid.
“They say: ‘Stay at home, no one will know about you. The moment we need you, we’ll call.’” The spokesman said that many locals refused the IS overtures, but that could change given the region’s grave poverty.
Prices have skyrocketed recently, he added, with a liter of diesel fuel costing $15, for example.
Two villages where IS representatives made such proposals are Hayt and Sahem Al-Jawlan, near the Syrian-Jordanian border, the spokesman said.
“They were sent by the Islamic State to control the largest portion of land possible,” he said. “We are against them wholeheartedly. They have nothing to do with Islam, which they merely use as a cover.”
Eyal Zisser, an expert on Syria at Tel Aviv University, said he was unaware of the IS presence in southern Syria, but was not surprised by…Read More » Comments (1) »
Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 10:28 AM | Stand for Israel
The world is now focused on stopping the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), and the media – as it so often does – has forgotten the war against terrorists, Operation Protective Edge, that only just finished. Now, the Associated Press is reporting that Hamas has admitted to war crimes during that conflict – war crimes that those who stand for Israel knew about all along – and Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin worries that the world won’t take notice:
But perhaps some of those who pooh-poohed Israel’s claims that Hamas was firing rockets at Israeli cities from civilian areas and thereby using the people of Gaza as human shields will pay a smidgeon of attention to the news that, as the Associated Press reported today, Hamas operatives admit that they did exactly what the Israelis said they did.
According to the AP, contrary to the claims of its defenders, Hamas operatives have admitted firing rockets from civilian areas in Gaza …
Hamas figures quoted by the AP contend that it was impossible for them to fire missiles without being in the vicinity of civilians because the strip is so congested. There are two answers to this argument.
One is to point out that, despite the contentions about Gaza being the most congested place on earth, that there are, plenty of vacant areas in the strip. Parts of Gaza are crowded but it is not one continuous urban jungle. If Hamas really wanted to avoid Israeli fire being brought down on areas where civilians lived they could have used such places. But, firing from beaches or open fields doesn’t provide the cover that hospitals, mosques or school courtyards give the terrorists.
More to the point, if the only places they shoot missiles that are deliberately aimed to cause the maximum civilian casualties for the Israelis are an urban area, and then a group that was not a pack of bloodthirsty terrorists would have held its fire. Hamas did not.
These admissions prove again, as if much more…Read More » Comments (5) »
Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 8:32 AM | Stand for Israel
The costs of Operation Protective Edge have been high – from lives lost to the emotional toll to the financial strain it has put on Israel. The Jerusalem Post reports that because of the war to protect its people and nation, the Israeli government has had to cut two percent from its ministries’ budgets. Perhaps the people these cuts affect the most are Israel’s children, its elderly, and its poor. The Fellowship is doing all it can to relieve the need of these, Israel’s neediest:
This decision saw the welfare and social services ministry’s 2014 budget slashed by NIS 62.6 million …
“… despite the fact that we are in security distress, the public very clearly explains the attitude and importance it gives to the welfare budget and the need to address the weaker populations in Israel,” said Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen on Tuesday … “There is also the collective and personal responsibility on this ministry to take care of the population, which stood bravely during the military operation and was the guarantee of its success. The tunnels of poverty require treatment no less than the terror tunnels.”
In light of the recent budget cuts, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews announced it would donate NIS 11m. to 55,000 needy families ahead of Rosh Hashana.
The IFCJ is to distribute 11,000 food vouchers through these funds to single parent families living in public housing and to new immigrants.
In addition, the Fellowship is to distribute 8,500 clothing and food vouchers to lone soldiers and soldiers from needy families, as well as 8,100 vouchers for clothing for children in orphanages.
An additional 7,500 shopping carts containing essential goods and packages for the holiday are to be distributed to the elderly.
“Ahead of this holiday the worsening situation of the needy continues, and the despair among them is great … ” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the IFCJ.
“In light of the situation, we will increase our assistance to the underprivileged, thanks to the generous…Read More » Comments (0) »
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 at 2:38 PM | Stand for Israel
He moves mountains without their knowing it (Job 9:5)
This photograph from 1915 shows Mount Hermon, one of the sources of the Jordan River and the highest point in Israel. Shabbat shalom, friends.Comments (3) »
Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 1:05 PM | Stand for Israel
Israel is unique in that its young people are required to serve in the IDF. Even Israelis in their forties still often serve in the reserves, something many did during the latest war against Hamas. But The Times of Israel brings this amazing story of a man who served in Operation Protective Edge, and whose service has lasted for 59 years … and counting. Meet Nahum Gilboa, the oldest combat soldier in Israeli history:
Comments (22) »
Having first served as a reservist in the IDF’s 1956 Operation Kadesh in the Sinai Peninsula, Gilboa donned the IDF’s green uniform this summer in the Paratroopers Brigade. He’s served in the IDF for a staggering 59 years.
Gilboa, a farmer from Lachish, a community near Kiryat Gat, told Israel’s Channel 2 news he enjoys his time with the younger soldiers, and that reserve duty – and hard work on the farm – help keep him young.
His family doesn’t object, Gilboa said, “it’s part of who I am.”
Gilboa said he has a reserve duty ID card that expires in 2017, and he hopes the IDF will let him renew it.
Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at 11:11 AM | Stand for Israel
Hamas claims victory after the end of Operation Protective Edge – even though it was soundly defeated by the IDF. Israel’s enemies and opponents – and much of the media – continue to fault the Jewish state for defending itself and its people. One would think Israel was on the ropes. Not so, writes Jonathan Tobin, who says that yesterday’s Israeli pact with Jordan is just one more piece of evidence that Israel is getting stronger:
An Israel that is forced to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism will never be popular in Europe or accepted in the Muslim world. But growing Israeli economic power can ameliorate some of that hostility. The BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) campaign is gaining support especially in Europe. But as is the case with oil exporters, boycotts of natural gas aren’t as easy or cost-free to promote as those of Israeli academics or fruit and vegetables.
That economic ties with Jordan should be growing at the same time as Israel finds itself in a strange bedfellows alliance with Egypt and Saudi Arabia against Hamas and Iran is no surprise. Pragmatic Arab nations know that Israel won’t be destroyed and that Islamist terrorists are as much if not a greater threat to themselves than to the Jews.
The larger point here is that rather than getting weaker as its opponents and critics have consistently predicted, Israel is getting stronger, both economically and militarily. Anyone who thinks the two factors are not linked should remember the decisive role technology in the form of the Iron Dome missile defense system played in determining the outcome of the fighting with Hamas.
This doesn’t entirely cancel out the disadvantage that Israel faces from the ongoing campaign against Israel from pro-Palestinian activists and outright anti-Semites. But when you hear both American officials and left-wing pundits talk about an “unsustainable” status quo that will drag Israel down if it does not make more dangerous concessions to Palestinians who still seek its destruction, remember that this is…Read More » Comments (17) »
Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at 8:40 AM | Stand for Israel
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.Comments (0) »
Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 2:19 PM | Stand For Israel
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.Comments (2) »
Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 11:51 AM | Stand For Israel
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…Read More » Comments (14) »
Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 9:04 AM | Stand For Israel