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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

IDF’s Lone Soldiers Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

(Photo: IDF blog)

(Photo: IDF blog)

Stand for Israel has reported on the two American “lone soldiers” who were killed battling terrorists in Gaza this past week, as well as the tremendous response of gratefulness and grief shown by the Israelis these young men gave their lives to protect. Today, Israel’s i24 News on yet another young soldier from elsewhere who gave his life protecting his beloved adopted homeland:

Like the hundreds of young people from abroad that come to Israel to fight in the Israeli Defense Forces, Jordan Bensemhoun was committed to Israel’s security, his sister said the day after learning of his death in Gaza while fighting with the IDF.

Bensemhoun was a 22-year-old “lone soldier” who came to Israel to serve from France without his family …

“Your son is also our son, your brother is also our brother” Jewish Agency President Natan Charanski told Bensemhoun’s family during his funeral at Ashkelon’s military cemetery on Tuesday.

Bensemhoun’s family from France were accompanied at the cemetery by thousands of Israelis who did not know him, but wanted to honor his memory and sacrifice for the State of Israel regardless …

“The only thing we can tell you, is thank you” said one of his fellow soldiers. “Thanks for your love for Israel. Our victory will be also yours, you can be sure that you played a main role in Israel’s security.”

The loss of this brave young man is especially poignant as Staff Sergeant Bensemhoun was a graduate of the first class of the Fellowship-sponsored One of Us IDF-preparation program. After making aliyah from France and graduating from the One of Us program, Bensemhoun volunteered for the Golani Brigade, eager to protect the Holy Land. We pray for God’s comfort and peace for his family and loved ones.

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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 9:01 AM  | Stand For Israel

Thousands Pay Their Respects at Funeral of Lone Soldier

(Photo: facebook/ Sean Carmeli)

(Photo: facebook/ Sean Carmeli)

Yesterday we reported on the two American IDF soldiers who were killed during weekend fighting in Gaza. Nissim Sean Carmeli, from Texas, was one of the two. At The Times of Israel, Jessica Steinberg writes about the life of this “lone soldier” and the outpouring of support shown by Israelis who mourned his death:

Carmeli was buried in Haifa’s Neve David cemetery on Monday night. Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral, with some estimates putting the number at a staggering 20,000.

There had been concerns that the lone soldier, who split his time between Ra’anana and South Padre Island, Texas, where his Israeli parents live, wouldn’t have enough people paying their final respects at his funeral …

“There were people from all walks of life … Religious, secular, Chabad, a Ra’anana crew, a lot of people from Haifa. Soldiers from the navy, air force and infantries. It was really impressive to see it. And there were a lot of people walking around wearing flags, Israeli flags.”

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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 at 8:51 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hushed, Determined Israel in a War “for Our Home”

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

The brave men and women of the IDF continue their ground operation against terrorists in Gaza, finding the many terrorist tunnels leading into Israel. Sadly, 13 soldiers were killed this weekend in a firefight with Hamas terrorists. David Horovitz writes at The Times of Israel that as each of these soldiers has a personal connection with those they defend, Israel remains hushed but determined to win this war for their home:

In our small country, with its people’s army — where most of our children are conscripted, and many people are in the reserves through their 20s, 30s, and 40s — the bad news we all now brace for is highly personal as well. Which is why, along with the TV, the radio and the internet, we’re also all glued to our phones, worried when they ring, worried when they don’t.

I say the news is almost unremittingly grim. What isn’t grim is the relative unity of fragmented Israel right now, and the motivation of our soldiers. We are joined in common horror at the evidence of Hamas’s war-to-the-death strategy, and in the realization of the extent of the danger …

When Netanyahu said last night that Israel is in “a war for our home,” it sounded anything but demagogic. When he said that Hamas had expected Tel Aviv to be in “ruins” by now, thanks to its rockets, we knew this was true. When he said Hamas had invested “years of work, and immense capital” in the tunnels, aiming to “carry out mega terror attacks and kidnappings,” and that the planned assaults “on kindergartens, dining halls” would have been “catastrophic,” there was no doubting him …

For all that the news is grim, Hamas is encountering far more failure than success. The rockets that were intended to reduce much of Israel to rubble have proved largely ineffective — though nobody should doubt that Hamas is working feverishly to outwit Iron Dome. Infiltrations from the sea have failed. Most of the attack…

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Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 8:49 AM  | Stand For Israel

Leaving Home, Missing Home

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

As terrorist rockets continue to bombard Israel, and as the IDF continue their battle against those who would do Israel and her people harm, Yael Eckstein talks about how hard it is to leave for a trip when her beloved country is in peril. Lamenting the horrors the war has brought, Yael rejoices at the wonderful moments she has witnessed, as well:

The past few weeks of this war have brought about some terrible moments, yet awesome beauty as well:

-Soldiers covering children with their own bodies, as code red sirens wail

-Children staying up late at night to bake cookies for soldiers

-Singing “Am Yisrael Chai” – “The Nation of Israel Lives” – while huddled in a bomb shelter

-Families in northern Israel opening up their living room and couches to war torn families from the south

-Anonymous pizza deliveries to soldiers on the border.

-Countless volunteers working tirelessly at Fellowship emergency projects in cities under fire

But these are not the only things that have inspired me. Millions of Christians and Jews around the world have been sending their support, love, and prayers to the people of Israel during this difficult time.

Comments (19) »

Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 8:29 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israeli Killed by Gaza Mortar Fire

(Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

(Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

While the Iron Dome has protected Israel and her people thus far, Yediot Achronot has just reported the first Israeli death since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge:

An Israeli man succumbed to his wounds after being hit by mortar fire from Gaza near the Erez border crossing. The incident marks the first Israeli death since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge.

Gaza militants launched a heavy barrage of rockets on central and southern Israel before 7 pm on Tuesday evening. Code Red sirens wailed from Netivot to Be’er Sheva, while Iron Dome intercepted two rockets over the skies of Tel Aviv. Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility for four M-75 rockets fire on Tel Aviv.

We pray for God’s comfort for this man’s loved ones, as well as for His continued protection over all of Israel.

Comments (4) »

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 at 12:09 PM  | Stand For Israel

Israel Okays Ceasefire Proposal, But Hamas Says No

(Photo: ASHERNET/IDF)

(Photo: ASHERNET/IDF)

On Monday, Egypt proposed a ceasefire to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. While Israel agreed to the ceasefire, The Times of Israel reports, Hamas did not:

Israel accepted the Egyptian ceasefire agreement because it would restore the status quo that preceded Operation Protective Edge but leave Hamas severely weakened, the official said.

“Hamas didn’t achieve what it had planned to achieve: not in the military campaign itself, where it was dealt a severe blow with more than 1,700 attacks, not in its efforts to harm Israeli civilians, not in its desire to carry out strategic terror attacks from the sea, the air and the ground — which were attempted but thwarted — and not in its ability to recruit the Arab world and Judea and Samaria,” the official said, referring to Palestinians in the West Bank.

Hamas also failed to accomplish anything with the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, which does not include any preconditions and does not mention Hamas’s demands for the payment of salaries for its men in Gaza and the release of prisoners, the official said.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said the Palestinian group rejected the proposal.

We continue to pray for the safety of the Israeli people and the brave men and women of the IDF who are defending them, as well as for peace in Israel.

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Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 at 9:48 AM  | 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

Yesterday 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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