Israel Won’t Tolerate “a Dribble of Rockets”

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Late yesterday, we reported on rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, attacks which were countered by the IDF. The rocket attack came at the end of Israel’s Independence Day celebration, and The Times of Israel’s Itamar Sharon and Joshua Davidovich report that the Jewish state was quick to state that such incidents will not be tolerated:

Israeli security officials warned Thursday night that the nation would not tolerate a “dribble” of rocket attacks against Israel, saying Hamas was responsible for keeping the peace in the Gaza Strip…

Though officials said Hamas was not believed to be behind the rocket fire, a senior security official told Ynet news that “we view Hamas as responsible… and expect it to enforce order in its territory. Hamas is the ruler on the ground and needs to ensure that there is quiet, otherwise it bears responsibility.

“We will not accept a situation of a dribble (of rockets) by some party or other,” the unnamed official added.

Israeli forces struck a site in the northern Gaza Strip late Thursday night, hours after a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave at southern Israel broke months of a shaky truce between the sides.

The Israel Defense Forces targeted a “terror site” belonging to Hamas near Beit Hanoun. There were no reports of injuries or damage in Gaza.

The army said tanks were used to hit the target. The strike came shortly after a rocket exploded in an open field in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.

The launch of the rocket set off alarms across a number of communities bordering the Gaza Strip, sending many residents scurrying for shelter.

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Friday, April 24th, 2015 at 8:24 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel Independence Day: We Have Reason to Rejoice

(Photo: facebook/IDF)

(Photo: facebook/IDF)

Today, Israel celebrates her 67th year of independence. Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, comes after yesterday’s day of mourning for the nation’s fallen soldiers and terror victims. Writing at The Jerusalem Post, Isi Leibler says that while Israel is the only nation in the world whose right to exist and defend itself is constantly questioned, the Jewish state has overcome great challenges and is stronger than ever today, at age 67:

The Bible quotes Balaam describing the Jews as “a people that dwells alone and is not counted among the nations.” Alas, that aptly describes the status of the Jewish state on the 67th anniversary of its rebirth. Yet despite enormous challenges confronting us, we have every reason to celebrate.

Yes, Israel is the only country in the world whose right to exist and defend itself is continuously challenged.

We have neighbors who still dream of driving us into the sea; we face an ongoing global tsunami of anti-Semitism; the world judges us by double standards; Israel is an oasis in a region in which primitive barbarism reigns as hundreds of thousands of people are butchered as a matter of routine.

But despite this, by any benchmark Israel unquestionably represents the greatest national success story of all time.

Exiled and scattered throughout the world for 2,000 years and suffering endless cycles of persecution and mass murder climaxing with the Shoah, the Jews miraculously resurrected a nation state…

Today, on our 67th anniversary, we should give thanks to the Almighty for enabling us to be the blessed Jewish generation, privileged to live in freedom in our resurrected ancient homeland. We should continually remind ourselves that our success defies rationality and by any benchmark must be deemed miraculous.

Chag Sameach.

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Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 at 9:15 AM  | Stand for Israel

67 Reasons We Love Israel




1. Israeli wildlife is awesome! When taking in Israel’s beautiful outdoors, you can expect to see deer, ibex, hyrax, and jackals at any point!

2. The southern city of Eilat is a top destination for scuba divers—the tropical fish and colorful coral are breathtaking!

3. 510 species of birds have been spotted in the Holy Land. The migrations they form are incredible!

4. Israel’s landscape is super diverse. From skiing in the north to soaking up some rays at the beach, you would never guess that the Negev desert takes up more than half of the country!

5. The Dead Sea—where else in the world can you float effortlessly in water? Fun fact: The Dead Sea is the lowest water surface on Earth!

6. Israel’s population has increased almost tenfold since its establishment!

7. Jews from around the world live in Israel, creating a melting pot of different communities. While the country’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, you can hear English, Russian, Yiddish, and more.

8. 7 million Jews from 130 countries have immigrated to Israel!

9. Ancient artifacts that are thousands of years old are always being discovered—either on purpose, or by accident!

10. Thank you to everyone for sharing this one with us: Israelis are God’s chosen people!

11. Israel has had some of the best leaders in the world. We can still look to Israel’s founders for inspiration today!

12. Israel turned a desert into a blooming greenhouse.

13. Israel is the only nation in the Middle East where Christians are free to live without fear of persecution

14. Israel is the “Promised Land.”

15. No matter its hardships, Israel has a strong future. We can’t wait to see what lies ahead for Israel.

16. 67 is young!

17. Israelis value, respect, and celebrate life.

18. It is a home for Jews around the world, and is a sign of what people can do if they work together.

19. Israelis show kindness even in the face of hatred.

20. Israeli doctors will treat anyone, no matter their race or religion.

21. Israel has contributed so much to science and medicine.


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Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 at 9:05 AM  | Stand for Israel

The Meaning of Their Sacrifice



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not the only leader to address the Jewish state and her people on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke at the Western Wall of his nation’s survival and faith:

We stand here this evening, together, and ask to be comforted, at the foot of the silent stones before us. Stones which have for thousands of years, absorbed the tears of our people – tears of sadness and of joy. A wall of cries of mourning and of hope…

The struggle for our existence is still not a matter of choice. Our obligation, to ourselves, our children and grandchildren, is to be sure to do everything in our power to prevent the next war. In order to clarify to our enemies, that should they choose to go to war against us, we will stand strong as we have always stood strong. Along with this, we look at the current reality and must ensure that we are doing everything in our power to be prepared and ready for the next conflict. The reality of our lives here places a great challenge before the IDF and its commanders and soldiers; the challenge of preserving professional and ethical excellence throughout the IDF, from the lowest to the highest rank. This reality places before the security forces the challenge of managing a war in between wars. A war in which, each night, our soldiers return to their bases, from nameless battles which push further into the distance the next conflict, and make us ever more ready for that next conflict.

This is our obligation to those who have fallen. We will always promise that while we will never accept this decree of fate, we are, at the same time, also ready to pay the price of our existence here. This reality which has been forced upon us must not lead us to accept the sacrifice, even if we recognize it is a necessity. Amidst this tension, we are obligated to continue to…

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Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 at 8:59 AM  | Stand for Israel

Bereaved US, Israeli Families Share a Loss that Bridges Cultures

US Army Lt. Col Brandon Robbins, a membeAccording to Nava Shoham, chairwoman of the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization, loss is a shared experience, whether for Israelis or Americans, which naturally leads to cross-cultural and cross-boundary bonds that are forged when one loses a loved one in service to the country:

The IDF Widows and Orphans Organization (IDFWO), a nonprofit founded in 1991, is the sole organization recognized by Israel representing the widows and orphans of fallen soldiers. The organization works to protect the rights of, and to provide support and welfare activities for, IDF widows and orphans. …

Through numerous programs providing support for widows and orphans, the organization aims to “bring back the smiles” to both the mothers and the children who have experienced loss.

One of the highlights of the organization’s activities is the OTZMA camp program. Since 2011, every year for Hanukka, Passover, and Succot, hundreds of children from all over the country who have lost a parent in the IDF get together to participate in fun-filled activities and to celebrate the holidays together. …

In addition, OTZMA runs a summer camp program in the US, which, in cooperation with [the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) in the United States], brings Israeli orphans for a tour of the US and introduces them to American counterparts.

“Two years ago we brought bar and bat mitzva children to Washington, D.C., and there they met with orphans from the US,” explained Shoham.

“They spent a few days together, and even though there was a language gap, the children were able to develop a shared dialogue through special activities,” she said.

According to the IDFWO head, forging bonds with American children who have experienced similar loss is an important and worthy cause.

“It shows the children that not only does Israel fight for its independence, and not only in Israel are there orphans, but that there are other children who have to deal with the loss, too,” she said. …

“The international community understanding of loss and grief, and especially with Israel being such an ally…

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Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 at 9:01 AM  | Stand for Israel

Israel Remembers Its Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims

Photo: Ashernet

Photo: Ashernet

Yom HaZikaron, or Israel’s Memorial Day, begins at sundown today, and ceremonies will be held across the country to honor Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror:

The day, officially known as Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism, lasts for the 24 hours before Independence Day, with the sadness of the day giving way to the joy of celebrating the establishment of the state.  …

As of April 14 2015, Israel had lost some 23,320 of its sons and daughters, 116 of them in the last year alone – 67 of those soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge. Some 35 wounded veterans passed away this year as a result of their injuries, and were thus also recognized as fallen soldiers, the Defense Ministry said.

More than just remembering the fallen, the day also gives Israelis a chance to show their respect for the ‘family of bereaved’ – an umbrella term for all those families who lost their loved ones to terror or war – currently numbering 9,753 bereaved parents, 4,958 widows and 2,049 orphans (under 30); together they number 16,760.

In the past year, as a result of summer war in Gaza, the 67 fallen soldiers added 154 bereaved parents to the ‘family'; 26 children were orphaned as a result of Operation Protective Edge; including two who were born after their fathers fell.

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Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 at 9:01 AM  | Stand for Israel

Thank You to a Generation

(Photo: flickr/GPO)

(Photo: flickr/GPO)

This Thursday, Israel celebrates its 67th Yom HaAtzmaut, or Independence Day. Writing at Israel Hayom, Nadav Shragai says that the generation that reestablished the Jewish people in their historic and biblical homeland deserve admiration and gratitude:

I never thanked my grandfather for packing up his meager belongings and coming to Israel in 1924, not to find a place safe from persecution, but simply because he knew that the Jewish people belonged in Israel.

It was not the obvious choice then, and it is not the obvious choice now. He and his ilk were part of the minority of the last few generations who came to the historic homeland not because of persecution and pogroms, but simply because they felt committed to their Jewish genes, to the historical, religious and national baggage that ties them to this place.

Their courage was perhaps different from that of the warriors on the battlefields, but it was no less magnificent. They deserve this belated thanks. Not, God forbid, as a way to diminish those who did come here out of distress and fear. We owe them thanks for our continued existence, for my parents’ generation, my own generation and that of my children, as it is doubtful that we would have survived the horrors of the Holocaust in Europe had they stayed.

They deserve our gratitude for the understanding that they instilled in us that, even before this land became a safe haven for the refugees of the pogroms and the Holocaust, it was our destination; that while we might be here today thanks to our strength, we were here before thanks to the strength of our right; that security, which is today the central subject of discussion when it comes to Israel, is meant to allow us to realize our right to live here (in security, of course)…

And indeed, the land we came to, the land in which we re-established Jewish sovereignty,…

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Monday, April 20th, 2015 at 8:31 AM  | Stand for Israel

On Holocaust Day in Israel, Strangers Answer the Call to a Funeral

(Photo: flickr/healinglight)

(Photo: flickr/healinglight)

Yesterday was Yom HaShoah in Israel, the Jewish state’s day of remembrance for the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. With the remaining survivors of this dark chapter in history aging, fewer remain to share with today’s generations. But, as Jodi Rudoren writes for The New York Times, many strangers in Israel answer the call to honor Holocaust survivors and victims of other anti-Semitic violence:

Most of the mourners had never met Nate Remer, who survived the Holocaust hiding in a Ukrainian forest, built a successful wholesale hardware business in Southern California and had severe dementia for 15 years before dying Tuesday at 82. They did not know his son, Gary, a professor at Tulane University, or his grandson, Moshe Alexander, who moved to Israel five years ago and works in high tech.

They came, anyway, to the hilltop funeral on Thursday, Holocaust Remembrance Day. There was Ben Pask, 29, a lawyer who took the day off because he had returned to Israel at 5:30 a.m. from the United States. There was Jessie Schechter, 59, who hurried to finish her pre-Sabbath shopping to make the 4 p.m. service, and brought a friend…

Holocaust Day is a major event in Israel. Much of the country stood silent for two minutes after a siren sounded at 10 a.m. Television channels broadcast only Holocaust-related documentaries the night before, or simply showed flickering candles. Spinning classes were canceled at Studio Mati, a gym near the Malha Mall in Jerusalem, because upbeat music is forbidden; the radio was filled with mournful melodies instead.

If attending a survivor’s funeral on Holocaust Day felt like destiny, mourning strangers is not an isolated phenomenon here. Some 30,000 people showed up last summer to bury Max Steinberg, 24, an American who had volunteered for the Israeli Army and was killed fighting in the…

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Friday, April 17th, 2015 at 8:38 AM  | Stand for Israel

A Story of Devastation and Triumph

Holocaust survivors light torches during ceremony at Yad Vashem. credit: ASHERNET

Holocaust survivors light torches during ceremony at Yad Vashem. credit: ASHERNET

Every Holocaust survivor is a living reminder of one of the most important historical lessons of the past hundred years. They are testaments to the anti-Semitism that engulfed Europe during the first half of the 20th century, a hatred that inflicted unprecedented horrors on the Jewish people. Yet as the community of survivors grows older and passes away, we are losing the only living proof left to remind us where this intolerance of Jews leads.

Reading historical accounts of concentration camps, visiting Holocaust museums, and watching movies about Nazi Germany do educate the next generation about the horrors of the Holocaust. But none measure up to a glance at a survivor’s tattooed arm, or the pained look in their eyes.

Every Jewish family with roots in Europe has relatives affected by the Holocaust, and these stories must be told, recorded, and handed down. Like so many others, my family also has a story of devastation and triumph.

My father was a little boy living in Romania near the Hungarian border when Hitler came to power. His grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all lived a few kilometers away in Hungary. And though he was a young boy, he recalls the fear and panic which set in when news spread about the Nazis’ plan for the Jews of Europe.

“Should we run or stay put? If we run, where do we go? Palestine? The United States? South America? How do we get there? Will we be allowed to enter?” These were the typical dinner conversations my father recalls as a little boy.

Another factor which concerned my grandparents and complicated their decision of whether to stay or go was that most of their family lived in Hungary, a country more antagonistic to Jews than Romania, and where travel restrictions were also far more stringent.

My grandparents stayed put, and my grandfather started searching for ways to sneak the rest of the family out of Hungary…

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Thursday, April 16th, 2015 at 2:35 PM  | Stand for Israel

Holocaust Survivors Honored in Israel

(Photo: Yad Vashem)

(Photo: Yad Vashem)

As Israel observed Yom HaShoah, its Holocaust Remembrance Day, survivors of this dark period of history were honored. The Times of Israel’s Jessica Steinberg reports that at the ceremony at Yad Vashem – Israel’s official Holocaust memorial – survivors included a twin experimented on in Auschwitz, those who later fought for the Haganah and IDF, and one woman whose experiences left her unable to speak:

When the annual Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day begins Wednesday evening, the official start of the 24-hour-long period is marked with a ceremony at Yad Vashem, Israel’s official museum commemorating the Holocaust…

The torches are traditionally lit by six survivors who suffered through the travails of the Holocaust but managed to emerge alive and make their way to Israel, then just a fledgling state.

“The torchlighters really symbolize the six million victims and the survivors,” said Estee Yaari, a spokesperson for Yad Vashem. “It’s their personal stories that we are able to connect with, that create an emotional connection for many people…”

Ephraim (Moshe) Reichenberg was born in Hungary, and with his twin, Menashe, was the oldest of seven brothers and sisters.

When the entire family was deported to Auschwitz, the twins were taken to Mengele’s laboratories for experiments on their vocal cords. During the death march from Auschwitz in 1945, the two were among 22 of 160 inmates who remained alive.

The brothers eventually reached Prague, where Menashe was hospitalized, while Ephraim returned to Budapest to search for surviving family members.

He found no one, and upon returning to Prague, learned that Menashe had also died. Ephraim, who had been known as Moshe until then, changed his name to Ephraim in memory of his brother, after the biblical sons Joseph, Ephraim and Menashe…

Shela Altaraz was born in Stip, Macedonia, the youngest of four…

Altaraz’s sister, Bella, was allowed to leave because she had Italian citizenship. Their mother pushed Shela into Bella’s arms, telling her to “take the little one.” The rest of the family was forcibly deported and killed at…

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Thursday, April 16th, 2015 at 8:27 AM  | Stand for Israel

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

Rabbi’s Commentary
Believing in Miracles

On Israel Independence Day, we celebrate the land in which God planted His people. While many of the Jewish state’s goals – such as those of liberty and of justice for all her citizens – have come to fruition in the past 67 years…

Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »


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