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Terror in a Synagogue

(Photo: Flash 90)

(Photo: Flash 90)

After the horrifying terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue this week, my seven-year-old daughter asked me if terrorists are going to attack us in our synagogue. Apparently, our attempts to shield our children from news about the attack hadn’t worked. Kids in her school caught wind of the story, and that caused her imagination to run wild with scenarios no child should have to imagine.

I wish I could’ve told my daughter that this could never happen in our synagogue, or in our neighborhood, or that most of our Palestinian neighbors don’t wish us harm.

But following the attack, Palestinians danced in the streets of Gaza when they heard the news.  Palestinian Authority (P.A.) President Abbas, coerced by John Kerry to issue a condemnation of the attack, didn’t miss a chance to throw more fuel on the fire.

“We condemn the incident that took place at a synagogue in Jerusalem and which resulted in the killing of a number of Israelis,” said Abbas. “And while we condemn this act, we also condemn the assault on the Noble Sanctuary [Temple Mount] and all holy sites and the torching of mosques and churches.”

According to Abbas, it’s too bad that Jews were butchered during morning prayers, but it was their own fault. Even as he “condemned” the attack, Abbas fabricated an “assault on the Noble Sanctuary [Temple Mount] … and the torching of mosques and churches.”

In his pathetic statement, Abbas managed to lie about Jews assaulting the Temple Mount – the holiest place in Judaism, but also a place where Jewish prayer is forbidden by Israeli law due to Islamic insecurities – while also claiming that Israelis are torching churches in the Holy Land.

Abbas not only sees himself as the defender of the Palestinian people, but also as a champion of Christian rights in Israel – in truth the only place in the Middle East where Christians actually have rights.

Instead, Abbas’ incitement has caused weeks of bloody attacks against Jews. The Palestinians have been raised on vitriolic hatred…

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Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 11:23 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel’s Problem: How Do You Stop the Lone Wolf?

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

This week’s synagogue massacre in Jerusalem was only the latest in the rising number of terrorist attacks against Israelis. So many of these attacks have not been the result of coordinated actions by terror groups – though those organizations do work toward the destruction of the Jewish state, and do applaud violence against the Jewish people – but have been the result of “lone wolf” terrorists acting alone. Bloomberg News’ Alisa Odenheimer looks at how Israel is dealing with this latest threat against its people and its existence:

Palestinians’ new weapons of choice can be found in every kitchen and parked outside their doors, presenting Israeli security forces with what may be their toughest challenge yet.

Nine people, including five killed yesterday at a Jerusalem synagogue, have been attacked in the past month by Palestinians who deliberately plowed cars into pedestrians or wielded knives and cleavers. Israeli Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino says assailants have acted on their own. This combination of readily accessible weapons and rogue attackers makes it impossible to foretell who will act, or where.

“It’s the lone-wolf syndrome,” Jonathan Fine, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter– Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, said last week. “It’s the worst kind of terrorism you can think of because it’s unpredictable …

“I pay attention when I cross the street: I look 20 times before I cross,” she said in an interview. “When I wait for the bus, I stand as far back from the street as I can.”

One of the victims of a previous attack was a three-month-old baby killed by a driver who rammed into a group of people waiting at a tram station.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, of inciting the violence. Last week, Abbas lauded Palestinian protesters for trying to keep Jews from “defiling” a contested Jerusalem shrine that’s holy to Muslims as the al-Aqsa mosque complex and…

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Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 9:01 AM  | Stand For Israel

IDF: Palestinians Planned to Assassinate Liberman

(Photo: wikicommons/ Michael Thaidigsmann)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Michael Thaidigsmann)

In the wake of this summer’s conflict, Israel has seen a rise in terrorist attacks, including the horrific scene at a Jerusalem synagogue this week. Now The Jerusalem Post is reporting that three Palestinians have been charged with planning to use rocket-propelled grenades to assassinate Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman:

The IDF West Bank Prosecution has indicted three Palestinians for a plan to buy a rocket propelled grenade launcher to blow up Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Though the indictment was filed on Tuesday, no public announcement has been made to date from the often anonymous IDF Military Courts.

The three Palestinians: Ibrahim el-Zir, Ziad el-Zir and Anans Bech, all from the West Bank village of Harmala, allegedly decided to try to assassinate the foreign minister in mid-August to try to stop Operation Protective Edge.

An additional part of the rationale for the plan to go after Liberman was the proximity of Harmala to Liberman’s home in Nokdim and instances when the defendants observed his entourage of vehicles traveling in the area, said the indictment filed in the Judea Military Court …

In another concerning sign of the unpredictable spread of terror during the recent period, the three were not connected with Hamas or another larger organization and appear to have allegedly been operating their own cell.

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Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 2:32 PM  | Stand For Israel

Europe’s Campaign Against the Jewish State

(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)

(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)

New European Union (E.U.) Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini visited Israel for the first time since her appointment, and dished out some harsh statements against the Israeli government while here. Mogherini condemned the Israeli government’s approval of building plans in East Jerusalem, claiming such moves undercut the proposed two-state solution, and also raised questions about Israel’s overall commitment to peace.

Meanwhile, the left-leaning Israeli news organization Haaretz obtained an internal E.U. document detailing possible sanctions if Israel goes ahead with building plans in East Jerusalem or anywhere beyond the Green Line.

This latest jab at Israel comes on the heels of other abhorrent moves taken by European nations, moves that single out Israel as the sole proprietor of the deadlocked peace talks and help the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) push the Jewish state into a diplomatic corner.

Last month, Sweden officially recognized a Palestinian State in a move, it claimed, was meant to push both sides back to the negotiating table. Sweden would like us to believe that their recognition of a Palestinian state will foster peace. But in reality, their move undermines the most basic and fundamental premise of peace negotiations – that Palestinian statehood will result from an accord signed by both parties to the conflict.

Now we are seeing a domino effect as the U.K., France, and Spain are all following Sweden’s absurd lead by recognizing Palestinian statehood despite a total absence of peace. This will only intensify hostilities and Palestinians further rejection of the Jewish people’s right to a homeland.

The western world callously points fingers at Israeli settlement construction as the reason for these hostilities, consequentially providing a defense of and justification for Palestinian terrorism. Israelis, however, know all too well that no matter where Israel draws its borders, it will find itself in an existential war with its Arab neighbors.

And so Israel finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Faced with international pressure to concede land to Palestinians for the return of a peace that won’t be achieved by this…

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Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 1:40 PM  | Stand For Israel

Rivlin: Bullet Cannot Pierce the Belief in Coexistence

(Photo: GPO/ASHERNET)

(Photo: GPO/ASHERNET)

Yesterday, Israel’s Druze community buried one of their own, Zidan Saif, the police officer killed during Tuesday’s terrorist attack on a Jerusalem synagogue. Speaking at Saif’s funeral, Israel President Reuven Rivlin said that together, Israel will fight terrorism, and will win:

“He went first into the fire to protect the residents of Jerusalem. Without fear, he faced the terrorists and risked his life to protect the residents of Jerusalem. He acted on the values on which he was raised — courage, valor, self-sacrifice,” President Reuven Rivlin said Wednesday, giving a eulogy for Druze police officer Zidan Saif, who was killed on duty while confronting terrorists in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday.

Thousands accompanied Saif to his final resting place on Wednesday near his home in the Western Galilee. Saif was the first police officer to enter the scene, after two assailants entered a synagogue in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem and killed four worshippers with guns and knives. Saif, who was critically wounded in the attack, is one of three officers credited with quelling the attack and preventing further injuries and death.

“Saif family,” the president said, his voice shaking, “I stand before you trembling and pained. Terrorism has hit Jerusalem once again. Terrorism does not distinguish between one person and the next, between this or that blood. Terrorists have turned a house of prayer into a slaughterhouse.

“A murderer’s bullet took Zidan’s life, but this bullet cannot pierce the belief in coexistence, in a joint life. We will not allow terrorism to win.”

Saif’s funeral was attended by several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews, grateful for his act of sacrifice. Earlier in the day, social media was awash with calls to ultra-Orthodox Jews to come to the funeral and pay their respects. Buses were chartered to transport those interested in coming to the funeral. Rabbi Yitzhak Rubin, the rabbi of the synagogue that was targeted on Tuesday, remarked that Saif “saved the lives of many people. He is righteous among…

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Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:09 AM  | Stand For Israel

Elie Wiesel Stands for Israel

(Photo: wikicommons/ Вени Марковски)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Вени Марковски)

Stand for Israel keeps you updated on the many global threats the Jewish state and Jewish people face. One of these threats is the continued indoctrination of young people to stand against Israel. This New York Observer piece discusses how Elie Wiesel – Nobel Peace Prize winner, professor, writer, and Holocaust survivor – will speak today to a mainstream audience, to teach them that standing for Israel is a righteous act:

A month ago the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, came to Cooper Union’s Great Hall, where he spoke to approximately 1,000 students, mostly from New York University.

Praised as a moderate, at least in comparison to Hamas, Mr. Abbas accused Israel of genocide in Gaza. Four days later, he repeated that charge at the UN General Assembly.

My son Mendy, an undergraduate at NYU who had just finished his Chabad smicha, took five of his siblings to protest. He sought to enlist mainstream Jewish groups on campus to protest Abbas’s demonization of Israel. Mendy’s small protest was not in vain. The media interviewed him extensively and his message defending Israel was broadcasted far and wide.

I decided, as a parent, that there should be an appropriate response to the Palestinian Authority president falsely accusing the Jewish state of heartless slaughter. I approached my friend and mentor, Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, and asked him to speak on a panel so he not only could refute the monstrous allegation but also talk about why the Jews are perennial targets of genocide, both as victims and now as purported perpetrators. Are we living in an age of new anti-Semitism?

We’ve long witnessed the “moderate” Mr. Abbas naming public squares after Palestinian terrorists whose hands drip with Jewish blood. He posthumously bestowed the “Star of Honor” on Abu Jihad, the mastermind of the 1978 Coastal Road attack, where 38 Israelis, including 13 children, were killed, calling him “the model of a true fighter and devoted leader.” He named a public square after…

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Monday, November 17th, 2014 at 3:30 PM  | Stand for Israel

The Blessing of Israel

(Photo: wikicommons/ א.ינאי)

(Photo: wikicommons/ א.ינאי)

The recent terrorist attacks in Israel – along with this past summer’s conflict in Gaza – might make some question why Israelis choose to live where they do. But writing at The Times of Israel, Israeli CEO, writer, and mother (her personal blog is A Soldier’s Mother) Paula R. Stern says that living in the Holy Land, this light unto the nations, is a blessing:

We are a nation at war. But this is truly not a war between Arabs and Jews or Judaism and Islam. It isn’t about ALL Arabs hating ALL Jews or ALL Jews hating all Arabs.

Israel is a democracy (well, except for this ridiculous law about Israel Hayom not being allowed to give away its product for free). It is an amazingly open country where its citizens have access to one of the most affordable and best medical systems in the world. Twice now, my family had access to world-renowned surgeons – fully covered by our medical insurance. Our universities are, for the most part, among the top in the world. Our economy is thriving. We have the latest and greatest technical devices available in huge malls and modern shopping centers.

We have skiing in the north (okay, so maybe not comparable to Switzerland, but not a total embarrassment). We have snorkeling and scuba diving in the south (okay, so maybe it’s a bit more modest than the Caribbean, but still so relaxing and wonderful). We have lakes and canoeing (which we call kayaking even though it’s really just rafting) and the white water sections are more water than white.

But we have so much more. The sun shines on most days in this country. Even in the midst of winter, I can usually walk outside with little more than a sweater and now, in mid-November, I have yet to turn the heat on. At most, I’ll close the window in the evening. (more…)

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Monday, November 17th, 2014 at 8:45 AM  | Stand for Israel

Photo Friday: Your Land in Its Season

(Photo: flickr/yeho)

(Photo: flickr/yeho)

I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. (Deuteronomy 11:14)

Israeli wheat grows for autumn’s harvest, with the Holy Land’s skies bright blue above and beyond. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, November 14th, 2014 at 1:17 PM  | Stand for Israel

A Land Filled with Heroes

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

This past week again saw terrorism directed at Israel, joining recent attacks and this summer’s conflict with Hamas in the continued and troubling violence against the Jewish people. Writing at The Jerusalem Post, The Fellowship’s Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein says that she finds solace among this darkness in the heroes who call the Holy Land their home:

With all of the violence and riots that took place throughout Israel this past week, I have been forced to find inside myself an island of strength and optimism. What I have been searching for in recent days is the light within the darkness and the hope among the despair; beautiful paradoxes that Israel was founded on. And as I searched for meaning and inspiration while violence was raging and fear was growing, I found my solace in the people that I am surrounded by; eight million heroes who call this blessed land home.

Just 10 steps outside my house, I found inspiration in a stone bench surround by flowers which my neighbor set up as a memorial for her son, who was killed in battle while serving in the army. The memory bench was my first powerful reminder that heroes exist not just in fairy tales and movies; they are my neighbors, friends and passersby on the street.

In Israel, there is a unique and special feeling that we are all family, and, honestly, I don’t think any of us would be able to endure the hardships that the nation has faced without this bond. When I sit on the memory bench, the feeling of love for my country and its people is overwhelming, and I cannot help but think about the sacrifices we all have made to live here in the Promised Land.

When I moved to Jerusalem 10 years ago, I met a sweet couple with three children who had been living in the city for years. They told me how lucky I was to have moved to Jerusalem after the second intifada. “Bombs…

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Friday, November 14th, 2014 at 8:43 AM  | Stand for Israel

Israeli Trauma Doctors Leave Their Emotions at the Door

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Israel and its supporters have watched horrified in recent weeks as terrorists have committed attacks using cars and knives, leaving Israelis dead and wounded. The Israeli physicians who have treated both the victims and their attackers have been forced to make some tough decisions, writes The Times of Israel’s Renee Ghert-Zand, but their ethics and dedication mirror the overall goodness of their nation and its people:

Accused Hamas terrorist Abdelrahman al-Shaludi was brought with severe gunshot wounds by ambulance to Shaare Zedek Medical Center on October 22. He had been shot by police as he tried to flee the scene at a crowded Jerusalem light rail station where he had allegedly run over bystanders, killing two of them, including a 3-month-old baby, Chaya Zissel Braun.

One of Shaludi’s victims, an injured woman, was transported to the hospital at the same time. Doctors at Shaare Zedek opted to treat the terrorist first.

As the doctors saw it, it wasn’t really a choice. Shaludi’s condition was more critical, so he needed more urgent medical attention, regardless of what he had done.

Whatever their opinions about what happens outside the hospital, once they stand within its walls, Israeli physicians, sworn by oath to do no harm and save lives, say they manage to put aside their emotions and treat each and every patient equally.

“Five department heads were called in to try to help save this guy who purposely ran people over,” Dr. Ofer Merin, Shaare Zedek’s deputy director and head of trauma, told The Times of Israel …

The team of physicians performed two surgeries on Shaludi, but he died on the operating table five hours after having been brought to the hospital.

“We gave him 30 units of blood. We did everything we would have done had it been the prime minister or the president, God forbid,” said Merin.

Merin does not deny that seeing victims of terrorist attacks rushed in to the emergency room can provoke strong emotions, but he insists that medical professionals…

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Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 at 3:49 PM  | Stand for Israel

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

Rabbi's Commentary
Clarity in a Confused World

In response to this week’s horrific terrorist attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with a voice of moral clarity. We, as people of faith and conscience, must all cling to such clarity in a world so often ruled by moral confusion.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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