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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:
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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.
Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 11:18 AM | Stand For Israel
Israel security officials maintain that the Syrian army still possesses “significant” stockpiles of ready-for-use arms primed with chemical toxins, in contravention of the regime’s commitment to dismantle or give up its entire chemical weapons arsenal, according to information released Thursday:
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“There is, to my mind, still in the hands of Syria a significant residual capability… that could be used in certain circumstances and could be potentially very serious,” the official was quoted as saying.
According to the official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, the stockpiles, which were hidden by the Syrian army in secret locations across the war-torn country, included missile warheads, bombs, and rocket propelled grenades. The official added, however, that Israeli intelligence had been able to discover the whereabouts of the hidden arms.
The official told Reuters that Israel had a “high degree of confidence” that its information regarding the weapons was accurate, adding that the IDF had decided not to disclose its estimates until now in order not to harm international efforts to rid Syria of unconventional arms.
The official added that Israel was not particularly concerned that it would be attacked by Syria, since the regime knew that if it were to target the Jewish State with chemical weapons, it “wouldn’t be a game-changer, it would be a game-ender,” for Syria.
Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 2:30 PM | Stand for Israel
The Syrian government’s war with Islamist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels continues to reach across Syria’s border with Israel. Yediot Achronot is reporting that an IDF soldier stationed on the Golan Heights was wounded by stray fire that crossed the border into Israel:
An IDF soldier was wounded Monday evening in light condition from a bullet fired from Syria, north of kibbutz Ein Zivan. He was evacuated to a hospital in northern Israel.
In recent weeks, while the fighting has raged on the other side of the border fence, stray mortar rounds and artillery shells have exploded in Israeli territory. The most recent incident occurred last Thursday – when the air raid siren was sounded in the northern Golan Heights …
The IDF has said that it sees the Syrian Army as the authority responsible for all cross-border fire into Israel.
We pray for the soldier’s recovery, and that God will give His protection to the brave men and women of the IDF who are protecting protecting Israel from threats on all fronts.Comments (3) »
Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 11:33 AM | Stand for Israel
In this morning’s Daily Dispatch, we reported on the IDF officer wounded by mortar fire at the Syrian-Israeli border – from fighting between Syrian military forces and Islamist rebels. Now Arutz Sheva reports that a second Israeli has been wounded by an errant tank round from Syria:
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The shell was fired from the Quneitra region of Syria, where intense fighting between the Syrian army and rebel forces has been raging all day.
The wounded man, aged 52, was able to go seek medical treatment, and is currently being looked after. Magen David Adom forces evacuated him to the Ziv Hospital in Tzefat (Safed).
Aside from the wounded, the tank shell also inflicted damage on a local wine vineyard, as well as a gas pipe in the area.
The opposition forces in Quneitra, including the Al Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front, captured the Syrian side of the Quneitra Crossing to Israel according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported AFP.
“Al-Nusra Front and other rebel groups took the Quneitra crossing, and heavy fighting with the Syrian army is continuing in the surrounding area,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the British group. He added that at least 20 Syrian soldiers and four rebels were killed in the fighting.
Earlier on Wednesday morning reportedly six mortar shells careened into Israeli territory from the Quneitra area, lightly-to-moderately wounding an IDF officer and causing damage to several vehicles.
In response to the mortar shells, IDF artillery fired at a Syrian military position.
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 at 12:37 PM | Stand for Israel
Over the weekend, a missile from Syria hit a truck on the Israeli-Syrian border, killing a 13-year-old Israeli boy. The boy’s father was driving the water truck for a construction project, and was also wounded, Yediot Achronot reports, though losing his son was the far greater tragedy:
The boy was a high-school student who decided to join his father for work only a day after summer recess began.
Speaking to Ynet from his hospital bed at the Rivkah Ziv Medical Center at Safed, the father said “he was very happy when I agreed to take him with me today, and now this joy has turned into a tragedy.”
The father spoke with great pride of his son: “He was gifted child who also spoke about wanting to be a doctor.
“I don’t want to go back to work. I don’t know how I will deal with this loss. I can only hope that something like this will never happen to any family, because no one can deal with this type of death,” he said.
Let us remember the boy’s family in our prayers, as well as all of the men and women who patrol or work along all of Israel’s borders.Comments (3) »
Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Stand For Israel
As civil war continues to devastate Syria, one of the country’s holiest Jewish sites was destroyed by the government’s forces. The Daily Beast reports that the 400-year-old Jobar Synagogue was destroyed this weekend, along with many priceless Jewish artifacts:
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The area where the synagogue once stood has been under bombardment by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for months. The Syrian regime is laying siege to the town, one of the few rebel strongholds in the area. It’s all part of what the opposition calls Assad’s “scorched earth” policy, which includes random and violent attacks on civilian populations.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the destruction of Jobar Synagogue, which was a treasure of Jewish and Syrian cultural heritage,” said Shlomo Bolts, an official at the Syrian American Council, an American charity connected to the Syrian opposition.
Bolts, a Jew of Syrian ancestry, said that the Syrian Jewish community is only the latest victim of Assad’s strategy to target religious and cultural institutions.
Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 at 2:45 PM | Stand For Israel
We have previously detailed how Turkey is a bad actor in the Middle East and how the tension on the border between Syria and Turkey has led to limited military engagements. Writing at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin calls out Turkey for its hand in helping kill more than 100,000 Syrians:
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CNN has reported on the jihadis flying into Hatay and then paying bribes to Turkish border guards to cross into Syria. Now the Kurdish media based in Syria has interviewed captured jihadis who have talked about how they, too, transited Turkey
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 at 8:25 AM | Stand For Israel
In the backward world of Middle East politics, there are few morality plays and even fewer ethical actors. Faisal Al Yafai writes in The National that one of the most immoral regimes in the world – that of chemical-weapons user and mass murderer Bashar al-Assad of Syria – is nonetheless probably popular enough in his country to win election in a free and fair vote:
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In 2007, and even up to 2011, life was getting better in Syria. It wasn’t moving fast enough and the country was riddled with corruption, but for many of the urban middle-class in Damascus and Aleppo, life was better than it had been. Syria was safer than any neighbouring country. The chaos of Iraq next door felt far away. The uprising changed that. Many who supported it in the beginning, when it looked like it would swiftly topple a long-standing regime, regretted their position as months became a year and a year became three.
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 at 8:15 AM | Stand For Israel
As Israel celebrated its 66th Independence Day last week, and remembered its fallen heroes, the Jewish state also honored many of its outstanding soldiers currently serving with the IDF. One of these honored soldiers was paramedic Noga Erez, who has saved the lives of many Syrians injured in their country’s civil war and brought for treatment to the Golan Heights field hospital where Erez is stationed. The video above and this Times of Israel piece both discuss the medical care given to wounded Syrians by Erez and other IDF members:
Erez said she not only treats patients in the hospital itself, but also helps to transport them from the border to the facility by ambulance.
“When I’m in the ambulance, I’m the senior medical authority,” she said. “I can’t panic.”
The hospital, staffed by soldiers in uniform, includes an emergency room, an intensive care unit, an operating theater, a mobile laboratory, a pharmacy and an x-ray facility. It treats Syrian patients who cross the border regardless of creed — or of where their loyalties lie. IDF medical teams deployed in the Golan Heights give them preliminary treatment. Those who are well enough are sent back across the border, and those who require further treatment are evacuated to the military hospital, a field commander at the facility told Channel 2 earlier this year. In this way, the hospital treats about a hundred Syrians per month.
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Monday, May 12th, 2014 at 10:04 AM | Stand For Israel
Andrew Tabler, writing at The Atlantic magazine, lays out the Assad regime’s strategy to end the Syrian civil war on terms favorable to the status quo ante – beginning with the rigged reelection of dictator Bashar al Assad:
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Allowing Assad’s forced solution to go forward will only contribute to the spread of a Syria-centered Middle Eastern proxy war between Iran and Arab countries, demonstrate to dictators that mass slaughter works, and show Moscow and other U.S. adversaries that Washington is unwilling to follow through on its foreign-policy principles and diplomatic agreements. But reversing Assad’s course will require the kind of military action from the West and its regional allies that Obama has been extremely reluctant to use due to its expense and uncertain result for the United States.
Thursday, May 1st, 2014 at 8:52 AM | Stand For Israel