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Inside the Hospital Where Israeli Doctors Treat Syrian Patients

(Photo: ziv.org.il)

(Photo: ziv.org.il)

While Israel must always be prepared for the threats that await her from every direction, Israelis are also prepared to show kindness and care for those who cross the borders needing medical treatment. Vice News’ Sara Elizabeth Williams takes us inside Ziv Medical Center in Safed, Israel, where Israeli doctors provide lifesaving care for many Syrians:

In nearly two and a half years, around 2,000 Syrians have been admitted to Israeli hospitals. While the vast majority are male — up to 90 percent at Ziv, the hospital closest to the border — there are women, too, and 17 percent of all patients are children.

There are the very old, and the very new: At least 10 Syrian babies have been born at Ziv alone since Syrians began arriving in February 2013.

Word has spread that Syrians can access medical help over the border from people they’ve long believed are the enemy. Medics say more patients, and less urgent cases, are filling the beds of publicly-funded Israeli hospitals…

Ziv Medical Center in the mountain city of Safed, just west of the Golan Heights, is the first port of call for most patients who come through the border fence near the devastated Syrian city of Quneitra. With 331 beds and seven operating theatres, Ziv is modern, well-equipped, and only 40 minutes from the border in a fast-moving IDF ambulance…

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Monday, July 27th, 2015 at 3:01 PM  | Stand For Israel

Iran’s War in Syria

(Photo: flickr/jan Sefti)

(Photo: flickr/jan Sefti)

While the possible nuclear agreement with Iran is indeed unsettling, the Islamic Republic’s reach across the Middle East threatens the region in other ways, too. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams writes that “[t]he war in Syria is becoming increasingly an Iranian war rather than a civil war”:

Consider this new report by Now Lebanon, entitled “Syria Alawites reportedly clash with regime, Iran troops.” Two facts are striking. First, the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad is having enormous trouble recruiting Alawite youths to join the military. It has long been said that the Alawite community is his base and will fight for him, if only out of fear that if the regime falls they will pay the price when Sunnis attack Alawites. But more and more Alawites, it seems, do not wish to risk their lives for Assad. This should not be quite so surprising, because only the Alawite upper classes benefitted financially from the regime (and some became millionaires and even billionaires), while many Alawites remained in poverty…

While we debate the possible nuclear deal with Iran, let’s not lose sight of Iran’s aggressive conduct throughout the region. If the nuclear deal does get signed and as planned gives Iran access to $150 billion, we can expect even more of an Iranian (and Hezbollah) role in Syria. Not only is there Sunni and Kurdish resistance but now some Alawite resistance. The usual way Assad and Iran deal with such resistance is murder. If the Iran deal comes to pass, let us hope that far stronger American action is planned to prevent even more killings in Syria and to see if the Alawite population can be turned against the regime.

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Monday, July 13th, 2015 at 8:26 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Fellowship’s New Initiative Will Provide Aid to Druze Refugees from Syria

Rabbi Eckstein with Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Muwaffak Tarif (photo credit: IFCJ)

Rabbi Eckstein with Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Muwaffak Tarif (photo credit: IFCJ)

The Fellowship has launched a new initiative to provide humanitarian assistance to members of the Druze community hurt by the ongoing conflict in southern Syria, according to an announcement made by Rabbi Eckstein on Sunday:

IFCJ announced it will provide monthly assistance to roughly 50 families who recently fled from Syria to Jordan to escape the ongoing violence.

The six months of assistance will cover food and medical care costs and amounts to 500,000 shekels [about $132,000]. During the meeting, Rabbi Eckstein promised to provide additional support to the Druze refugees, as needed, and to remain in close contact with Druze leaders in Israel who can keep him updated on the volatile state of the Druze community in Syria.

“From the very beginning, the IFCJ has worked to safeguard the Druze community and to advance their integration into Israel’s society and economy,” said Rabbi Eckstein, who added, “We believe the Druze to be true partners to Israel’s security and wellbeing.”

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Monday, June 29th, 2015 at 8:34 AM  | Stand for Israel

Syrian, Hezbollah Troops Advancing Toward Israeli Golan

(Photo: wikipedia/Johnny Zoo)

(Photo: wikipedia/Johnny Zoo)

The recent Hezbollah attack in the Golan Heights that killed two IDF soldiers and wounded seven showed once again that Israel is threatened from all sides. Yediot Achronot hammers this point home today as it reports that Syrian and Hezbollah forces are advancing toward the Israeli Golan Heights:

Syrian troops and fighters from Lebanese terror group Hezbollah seized several towns and villages south of Damascus on Wednesday, state media and activists said, advancing in a region bordering the Israeli Golan Heights.

“The operations are being led by Hezbollah’s special forces,” said Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “Their aim appears to be to eventually reach areas bordering the occupied Golan and set up a border zone under Hezbollah’s control.”

The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists around the country, said Iranian volunteers are also taking part in the fighting. It said 20 opposition fighters were killed there on Tuesday alone.

Hezbollah has been fighting alongside forces loyal to Assad, saying it is battling Sunni Islamic extremists who pose a threat to the whole region. Israeli officials accuse Iran, through Hezbollah, of working to establish a base in southern Syria to launch attacks against the Jewish State.

 

 

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Thursday, February 12th, 2015 at 8:36 AM  | Stand For Israel

Axis of Evil Still Targeting Israel

(Photo: wikicommons/upyernoz)

(Photo: wikicommons/upyernoz)

Yesterday Stand for Israel discussed the reported Israeli airstrikes in Syria – strikes that took out weapons bound for the terrorist group Hezbollah. Writing at Israel Hayom, Professor Eyal Zisser explains that Hezbollah, Iran, and what is left of Syria make up an axis of evil whose priority is the destruction of Israel:

There is little left of Syria as we knew it, with the exception of one thing — the strategic alliance between Damascus, Tehran and Hezbollah, which has only grown stronger over the past few years. The deeper Assad has become embroiled in the quagmire of civil war, the more dependent he has become on his Iranian ally and its proxy, Hezbollah.

It is doubtful that Assad could have survived this long without the financial aid Iran has afforded Syria, but the assistance lent to him by Hezbollah has also been crucial to his ability to maintain his grip on the regime. The thousands of Hezbollah fighters sent to battle the rebels may not have been able to defeat them, but it is Hezbollah’s hundreds of wounded and dead that have been keeping Assad in power.

Iran and Hezbollah have made it their mission to save Assad, because Syria is pivotal to the Shiite axis they seek to install between Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut. Syria is Iran’s gateway to the Mediterranean, as well as a crucial supply route through which Iran continues to arm Hezbollah with tens of thousands of missiles.

Assad, for his part, feels obligated to do his Shiite allies’ bidding. After all, for years emissaries from Washington and Jerusalem whispered in his ear that he should sever his ties with the axis of evil, strike a peace deal with Israel and restore diplomatic relations with the U.S., but at the moment of truth, the U.S. became his adversary while Iran rallied to his side.

Syria’s alliance with Iran and Hezbollah is so strong that Assad has not thought twice…

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Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 at 8:37 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel Bombs Syria – Again

(Photo: USAF)

(Photo: USAF)

Yesterday we reported on Israel’s alleged airstrikes on Syria – strikes against Hezbollah weapons caches. Today at World Affairs Journal, Michael J. Totten looks at the international responses to Israel’s actions – ridiculous responses by Syria, Iran, and Russia that are none too surprising:

Israel is not bombing Syria randomly. It’s targeting weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The rest of us are focused on ISIS and ignoring what the Assad regime and Hezbollah are up to, but the Israelis have to live in that neighborhood. The main reason Hezbollah is fighting Sunni jihadists in Syria is because it desperately needs the Assad regime as backup in its relentless war against Israel. If ISIS defeats Assad, Hezbollah loses.

The Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers are claiming Israel is “in the same trench” as ISIS since it’s attacking those who are fighting against ISIS. There’s a certain logic there, but it’s circular. The United States is “in the same trench” as Israel, which according to these characters puts us “in the same trench” as ISIS. Yet the United States is also “in the same trench” as Assad and Hezbollah since we’re bombing ISIS. That’s a heck of a trench! It’s a circular trench, or perhaps even a three dimensional möbius trench. But that’s the Middle East for you.

Russia is furious about all this, of course, but that’s no surprise. There’s nothing complicated about which trench Vladimir Putin is in.

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Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 at 8:23 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hezbollah Drones, Missiles Destroyed in Alleged IAF Attack

(Photo: social media)

(Photo: social media)

Yesterday, reports came in of airstrikes within Syria. The Jerusalem Post reports that the strikes were allegedly carried out by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and targeted weapons caches of the terror group, Hezbollah:

Syrian opposition sources told Arab media on Monday that the airstrikes near Damascus that were alleged to have been carried out by Israeli warplanes destroyed a storage facility housing anti-aircraft missiles as well as drones belonging to Hezbollah.

While the Lebanese Shi’ite group has yet to officially comment on the attack, Channel 2 is citing a report in the Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper Al-Akhbar which said that “the Israeli action was intended to preserve the rules of the game.”

The newspaper claimed that the IAF struck weapons caches “that belonged to Hezbollah.” These arms are considered to be “capable of tilting the strategic balance,” namely threaten Israel’s ability to act freely in the skies above Lebanon.

The IAF has struck Syria several times since the start of the three-year conflict, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for their longtime foe Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon …

An IDF spokesman said he would not comment on “foreign reports.”

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel was following developments in the Middle East with great interest, because “a great deal is happening.”

“We will remain constantly with our hand on the pulse, and we will deal with these threats and challenges because they do not take a time-out,” Netanyahu said.

“We will deal with them with the same degree of responsibility that we have done up until now.”

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Monday, December 8th, 2014 at 8:46 AM  | Stand For Israel

Eyes Wide Open

(Photo: USAF)

(Photo: USAF)

As we report in today’s Daily Dispatch, an alleged IAF airstrike in Syria destroyed drones and missiles in a weapons cache belonging to Hezbollah. While Israel has neither confirmed or denied the attack, Israel Hayom’s Yoav Limor writes that while the attacks were on Syrian soil – which theoretically means the terror organization needn’t respond – extra vigilance will be needed in the coming days:

As usual in such cases, Israel on Sunday maintained an ambiguous stance on the airstrikes in Syria. It neither issued a denial nor claimed responsibility. “We aren’t addressing it,” was the official, unified, line expressed by all the relevant parties.

This Israeli evasion of claiming responsibility coincides with all military operations attributed to Israel by foreign reports since the 2007 attack on the Syrian nuclear reactor until today.

The rationale is clear: As long as Israel is not responsible, the side that was attacked (Syria, Sudan) can swallow the insult. But Israel’s flaunting of an alleged strike would obligate a response, as an act of redemption.

Under this umbrella of ambiguity, in the past three years Israel has carried out — according to foreign reports — a series of airstrikes in Syria, mostly targeting advanced weapons earmarked for transfer to Hezbollah in Lebanon. These attacks adhere to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s declared “Three Noes” policy: no to the transfer of chemical weapons; no to the transfer of weapons that can alter the strategic balance (long-range, accurate rockets, anti-aircraft systems, and land-to-sea missiles); and no to violating Israeli sovereignty.

It can be assumed this was the case leading to the attack on Sunday — the planned transfer of quality weapons to Hezbollah’s hands …

A retaliation can come in the form of a direct attack (very unlikely) or indirectly, via terrorist organizations on the Golan Heights or Hezbollah along the border with Lebanon. In February this year, Hezbollah responded to an alleged Israeli attack on a weapons convoy…

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Monday, December 8th, 2014 at 8:40 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hezbollah Facing Attacks in Syria and at Home

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Operation Protective Edge saw the IDF put a dent in Hamas’ terrorist capabilities. But Israel is all too aware that it has other enemies who wish to do her harm. One of these threats is the terrorist group Hezbollah, though The Washington Post’s Hugh Naylor reports that the Lebanese terror group is not as mighty as it once was:

Hezbollah has won grudging respect, even from some foes, for its tenacious guerrilla campaigns against Israel. But now Lebanon’s most powerful military organization is losing its aura of invincibility.

Tactics that the Shiite group has used against Israeli soldiers are being inflicted on its own forces­ by militants from the Islamic State and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, which have carved out footholds in Lebanon along the porous Syria border.

The growing number of attacks and kidnappings by the Sunni militants represent the opening of yet another military front for Hezbollah. It already has thousands of troops deployed in Syria to bolster President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, while still more are facing Israel in southern Lebanon.

“Hezbollah is spread thin. They are waging so many battles and are positioned on so many fronts,” said Imad Salamey, associate professor of political science at the Beirut-based Lebanese American University.

Classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union, Hezbollah was created in the turmoil following Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The militant group forced Israel to end its occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000 and inflicted a heavy blow on Israel during a 34-day war in 2006. Hezbollah’s forces­ are better armed than Lebanon’s army, which plays a subordinate role.

Hezbollah also developed expansive charitable networks and a political movement that exerts considerable influence over the country’s parliament.

The group owes its power, in part, to an ample supply of weapons from the Iranian and Syrian governments, which form an anti-Western axis that allows Tehran to project influence to the Mediterranean and Israel’s borders. The weapons are largely funneled through Syria.

So when Assad’s forces­ started sustaining serious defeats…

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Thursday, October 30th, 2014 at 3:14 PM  | Stand For Israel

Syrian Jewish Family Smuggled into Israel

(Photo: wikicommons/ Talmoryair)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Talmoryair)

Between the civil war that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and the threat of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), life in Syria is brutal. This is especially so for the few Jews remaining in the ravaged nation. The Times of Israel brings us this uplifting story of a Syrian Jewish family who was smuggled into Israel by a network of caring people, so that they might find a better life:

The family, one of the few remaining Jewish families in Syria, arrived in Israel “with nothing,” according to a Netanya businessman who helped them immigrate, Army Radio reported.

“In the first stage, the mother and daughter arrived, then the whole family came,” the businessman, identified only as David, told the station. The family arrived with no possessions, so “we donated to help them with everything they needed… we did our best to help them in their acclimation to Israel,” David added.

The businessman is part of a network of Israelis of Syrian origin who helped the family. MK Yisrael Hason of Kadima, who was born in Damascus and came to Israel at age seven, is part of the group. MK Shaul Mofaz of Kadima, who was born in Iran, hosted the Syrian family in his sukkah on Sunday.

The Jewish community in Syria is one of the most ancient in the Diaspora and was once concentrated mainly in Aleppo and Damascus. After World War I the community saw mass emigration to the US, the land of Israel and Latin America. After the creation of Israel in 1948, most of the remaining Jews left Syria, while only a few thousand remained, many of whom were slowly smuggled out of the country.

(more…)

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Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 11:18 AM  | Stand For Israel

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State of Israel"

Rabbi’s Commentary
United for Freedom, Liberty, and Peace

Israel and her friends are deeply concerned about the Iranian nuclear deal, as Iran continues to wage war across the Middle East, support terrorism around the world, and engage in violent rhetoric against the West…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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