Photo Friday: A Place for You to Dwell Forever


“I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.” (1 Kings 8:13)

Most people know about the Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall), a portion of the retaining wall that once surrounded the Second Temple in Jerusalem. It’s considered the holiest site in all of Judaism, and Jews from around the world flock to this sacred spot to lift their prayers to God.

But did you know that there’s another portion of the wall that remains and is considered by some even more sacred, as it was situated closer to the Holy of Holies? Learn more about “The Small Wailing Wall,” or HaKotel HaKatan. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, August 14th, 2015 at 11:01 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israeli President Rivlin: “I Was Born in Jerusalem, I’m Israeli”

(Photo: twitter/PresidentRuvi)

(Photo: twitter/PresidentRuvi)

This week’s troubling ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court highlighted the fact that much of the world does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s. But when the American military’s Chief of Staff visited the Jewish state this week – in meetings that did much to show what friends the two nations are – Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin made sure to stress that the Holy City belongs to his country and people:

President Reuven Rivlin hosted U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey for a meeting at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Dempsey, set to retire in October, is visiting Israel for the final time as head of the U.S. military.

“We are proud to have you as a friend,” Rivlin told Dempsey. “We salute and appreciate you, and your friendship will be well remembered.”

Rivlin made a point of welcoming Dempsey to “Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.” He was referring to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week that struck down an existing but unenforced law that would have let American citizens born in Jerusalem have Israel listed as their country of birth in passports.

“I am a seventh-generation Jerusalemite, and even though I was born nine years before the State of Israel was established, I was born in Jerusalem and I am Israeli,” Rivlin said.

“Of course, we have no criticism of the decision of the Supreme Court in Washington. We salute the rule of law, and we appreciate and understand that they have decided not upon if Jerusalem is part of Israel or not, but who is going to decide upon those matters once it is a matter that goes between the Congress and the administration and the president.”

Dempsey thanked Rivlin for the warm reception and pledged that America’s “deep commitment” to its relationship with Israel would continue.

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Friday, June 12th, 2015 at 8:16 AM  | Stand For Israel

In the Words of Ben-Gurion

(Photo: flickr/GPO)

(Photo: flickr/GPO)

Yesterday, Stand for Israel reported on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against allowing those Americans born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birthplace. Summoning the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, Israel Hayom’s Nadav Shragai writes that Israel and her supporters must unite for Jerusalem:

Yiddish speech is peppered with the phrase “Hat er gazant.” David Ben-Gurion tended to use it, and later translated it into a somewhat weaker Hebrew version: “So, he said it!”

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that American citizens who are born in Jerusalem cannot have Israel listed as their country of birth on their U.S. passports. We can and should revisit our birthright to Jerusalem; the historic Palestinian fraud; the hypocrisy of U.S. President Barack Obama (whose policy the Supreme Court upheld). We can prove that the ruling is ridiculous, but it looks like the most appropriate response in this case is actually the sarcastic, “So, he said it!”

Because Jerusalem is one of the cases in which the State of Israel has an obligation to do what is good for the Jews and think less about what the goyim say. To be committed to the dream and try a little harder to make it come true, and care less about the reality…

This is the vision that guided the State of Israel to stand up against the entire world to unite Jerusalem. Let the boycotters make threats, and the judges hand down worthless rulings — we will do our part and answer them once and for all in the words of Ben-Gurion: “Hat er gezant.”

Because Jerusalem is a special case, and we won’t let the diplomatic reality — however difficult — confuse us.

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Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 at 8:21 AM  | Stand For Israel

US Supreme Court: Jerusalem-Born Americans Are Not Israeli

(Photo: wikicommons/WPPilot)

(Photo: wikicommons/WPPilot)

Americans born in Jerusalem have, until today, been allowed to list Israel as their birthplace. But The Times of Israel reports that with today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, this will no longer be allowed on the passports of those born in the Holy City:

The US Supreme Court struck down a disputed law Monday that would have allowed Americans born in Jerusalem to list their birthplace as Israel on their US passports in an important ruling that underscores the president’s authority in foreign affairs.

The court ruled 6-3 that Congress overstepped its bounds when it approved the law in 2002. It would have forced the State Department to alter its longstanding policy of not listing Israel as the birthplace for Jerusalem-born Americans.

The policy is part of the government’s refusal to recognize any nation’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, until Israelis and Palestinians resolve its status through negotiations…

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Monday, June 8th, 2015 at 4:24 PM  | Stand For Israel

Six-Day War Memories: Into the City for the First Time

Six Day War - Day 3We continue to bring you Israelis’ remembrances of the Six-Day War, this time with the story of Josephine Bacon, who not only recalls the terror leading up to the war, but the joy felt by Israelis at its end when they were at last able to enter Jerusalem’s Old City:

We filled every available receptacle with water, because June is quite a hot month and Jerusalem is very dry. If we’d had our water supply cut off we would have been in difficulty, especially as I had a small child.

We did the usual things that one does in war – you stick tape over the windows so a blast won’t shatter them and cause damage inside. There were hardly any air raid shelters at the time.

For the first couple of days there was shelling from the United Nations building (captured by the Jordanians on the first day of the war) which landed around our house. We sheltered in the corridor, which had no windows, and put up the dining room table vertically to hopefully stave off any blast. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been any use if we’d had a direct hit, but it was comforting anyway.

On the day the fighting started I went to work as I hadn’t heard anything. I went into my office as usual and then the civil defence people told us we must go down to the shelter. I was sharing a room with Rabbi Rabinowitz, who had been the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, and we both said we wouldn’t bother to go down to the shelter. But of course Jordan entered the war about 1100 that day, and where I worked was in direct line of fire from Jordan. We were forced to go down stairs and sure enough our office got a direct hit. I’ve still got a piece of shrapnel that I picked up from the floor…

One of the greatest moments of my life was when we could go into the old city after the war…

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Friday, June 5th, 2015 at 10:44 AM  | Stand for Israel

Turkish President Says Muslims Must Assert Dominance over Jerusalem

(Photo: wikicommons/ Randam)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Randam)

Even as Israel was celebrating the reunification of its Holy City on Jerusalem Day, elsewhere those who stand against the Jewish state were calling for its fall. Breitbart’s Mary Chastain reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proclaimed this week that Muslims should assert dominance over Jerusalem:

“We Muslims lost our way towards Jerusalem,” he proclaimed. “The warer of our eyes froze making us blind, and our hearts that was destined to beat for Jerusalem in now instead conditioned for rivalry being in a state of war with each other.”

Erdogan was in the city to promote numerous service projects, but the speech continued to be about Jerusalem.

“When you mention the worse ascension, the first thing that comes to mind is Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is located in the Old City of Jerusalem and is said to be the third holiest site in Islam. It sits right on Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism. Israel is in control of the Old City, but the mosque is controlled by Jordanian and Palestinian officials. Despite this, Erdogan told his countrymen to “ask God to restore the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the infallibility of the Muslims.”

Erdogan is known for his anti-Semitic views. Breitbart London documented the many times Erdogan spewed his anti-Israel rhetoric since he was mayor of Istanbul…

The open hatred espoused towards Israel appears to have encouraged anti-Semitic behavior in Turkey. In the summer of 2014, protesters threw stones at Israel’s consulate in Istanbul. The people wrote, “Die out murderer Jew” on the building. Protesters in the capital of Ankara also targeted the consulate, but the riot police did not do anything to stop them. Bulnet Yildirim, the head of the Turkish IHH NGO, said that “Israel is acting like a spoiled child” and the “Turkish Jews will pay dearly” for Israel’s actions against Gaza.

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Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 at 8:17 AM  | Stand for Israel

Netanyahu: Jerusalem “Only Ever the Capital of the Jewish People”

(Photo: facebook/IsraeliPM)

(Photo: facebook/IsraeliPM)

Yesterday the people of Israel celebrated Jerusalem Day, which marks the reunification of the Jewish people and the Holy City. At the official ceremony in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the city is the Jewish people’s capital and will never be divided again:

Speaking at a ceremony commemorating the war dead from that conflict on Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill, the site of one of the fiercest battles in the Six Day War, Netanyahu vowed that “Jerusalem won’t become once again a wounded and bisected city. We will forever keep Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty.”

“On this special day it is clear to us that a divided Jerusalem is a memory. The future belongs to the complete Jerusalem that shall never again be divided,” he said.

Netanyahu’s message was not meant for Israelis’ ears alone.

“Jerusalem was only ever the capital of the Jewish people, not of any other people,” he said in comments his office then sent to the media. “Here our path as a nation began, this is our home and here we shall stay.”

Netanyahu also lauded the city’s progress under Israeli sovereignty. “Jerusalem is now in one of its most glorious epochs. We continue to build and nurture her, to expand her neighborhoods, and we have much still to do and to improve in all parts of the city for all her inhabitants.”

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Monday, May 18th, 2015 at 8:48 AM  | Stand for Israel

Jerusalem and the Prophet’s Tomb

(Photo: flickr/Set Frantzman)

(Photo: flickr/Seth Frantzman)

Sunday was a glorious day for Israel. It was Jerusalem Day – the day on which the Holy City was reunited with the Jewish people after nearly two thousand years of separation, after its Jewish population had been driven out, persecuted, and terrorized for simply being Jews.

Instead of venturing into Jerusalem for the day’s celebration, I decided to visit the Tomb of Samuel the Prophet on a hilltop overlooking the ancient city of Jerusalem like a guardsmen. It’s not that I was trying to avoid the large crowds in Jerusalem; there were thousands of worshipers at Samuel’s tomb, as well, because the date of Jerusalem’s reunification and Samuel’s day of passing coincide. I made my decision because I simply felt moved to pay a visit to the Prophet’s grave.

It is no coincidence that Samuel’s day of passing would be the day that Jerusalem would be liberated thousands of years later. Samuel anointed King David, who captured the city in ancient times, and whose son King Solomon erected the Holy Temple.

It was also Samuel and King David who traversed the Judean mountain range in an effort to locate where the Temple –the holiest site in Jerusalem – would eventually rest. This hilltop where both Temples once stood is the same spot where Abraham bound Isaac and where Jacob dreamed that a ladder stretched all the way up to the heavens.

Of course, King David and Samuel had to guide them to the exact location. Divine inspiration led them to the site which serves as Judaism’s holiest place, the city of Jerusalem and its Holy Temple.

Samuel the Prophet never saw the building of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem; he died before its construction. But his resting place overlooking Jerusalem has witnessed all the city’s highs and lows – its construction, destruction, rebuilding, devastation, and in 1967, its reunification.

For thousands of years, Jews from far and near would travel with their young sons to give them the traditional first haircut at Samuel the Prophet’s grave on the day…

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Monday, May 18th, 2015 at 8:45 AM  | Stand for Israel

Photo Friday: I Will Put My Name Forever

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

“In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever.” (2 Chronicles 33:7)

Starting at sundown on Saturday, and lasting through Sunday, Israel will celebrate Jerusalem Day – remembering the reunification of the Holy City in 1967. Here, members of the IDF’s Givati Brigade take their oath at the Western Wall, an oath to protect God’s chosen people, their Holy City, and their country. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, May 15th, 2015 at 3:37 PM  | Stand For Israel

Jerusalem Then and Now: A Journey in Photos

(Photo: wikicommons/Snapshots of the Past)

(Photo: wikicommons/Snapshots of the Past)

As Israel prepares to celebrate Jerusalem Day this weekend, photographer Noam Chen takes us on a historical journey through the Holy City, sharing both photos from more than a century ago, as well as those that show Jerusalem today, from the Damascus Gate to the Western Wall to the Mount of Olives:

Jerusalem Day commemorates the unification of the city in 1967 under Israeli sovereignty, when IDF soldiers liberated the Old City from Jordanian occupation.

Only then were Israelis able to return to the holiest place on earth for the Jewish people, the Western Wall, after 20 years during which they had been denied access to the site.

I decided to celebrate 48 years of the unification in a special way, by inviting you to join me on a journey through time in Jerusalem — a journey in photos.

Recently, a rare collection of photographs was unveiled by the U.S. Library of Congress, uncovering some stunning scenes from Jerusalem during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

I selected 25 of these amazing early photographs of the city, and compared them with photos from my own collection. Some were taken from the very same angle, others from a similar point of view, but all of them show remarkable differences and similarities alike.

(Photo: Library of Congress)

(Photo: Library of Congress)

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Friday, May 15th, 2015 at 8:33 AM  | Stand for Israel