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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.

Comments (43) »

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…

Comments (47) »

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

Israelis and the Obama Administration

(Photo: wikicommons/Ben Kelmer)

(Photo: wikicommons/Ben Kelmer)

I like being right. But, when it comes to Iran I hope that I’m wrong. Unfortunately, it seems that when it comes to Iran, all of us who oppose the nuclear deal being touted as a major success have never been so right about anything.

Earlier this week, The New York Times – not exactly one of President Obama’s fiercest critics – reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found a 20% increase in Iran’s uranium stockpile, an increase which occurred during the same negotiations Obama has hailed as having frozen Iran’s enrichment program.

It will be interesting to see the White House explain this debacle especially since its press secretary claimed on March 2 that negotiations have rolled back Iran’s nuclear development:

But in the context of these talks, we’ve actually succeeded in not just halting Iran’s progress as it relates to their nuclear program but actually rolling it back in several key areas, including reducing and eliminating their stockpile of highly enriched uranium. So I think the evidence indicates that this sanctions regime has been effective.

It would be great if this fanciful storyline were true, that the West has Iran in a corner, and that the negotiations have accomplished something other than enabling Iran to become a nuclear power.

But I live in the Middle East. My house is within the Iranians’ reach. So my fellow Israelis and I cannot engage in such wishful interpretations.

Here in Israel, the frustration with the Obama administration’s handling of Iran is palpable. The American president’s Israeli television interview this week only made matters worse.

During his interview with Israeli Channel 2, Obama lectured us Israelis about our values, and urged us not to worry about Iran or Palestinian terror – he’s got our back, so what could go wrong?

President Obama then then explained that Prime Minister Netanyahu, who just won a landslide election, is “predisposed” to worry about security threats. So are we to believe that because of his hyper-sensitivity to the safety of the millions of Israeli lives…

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Thursday, June 4th, 2015 at 1:08 PM  | Stand for Israel

Former Israeli Official Says Obama’s ‘Optimistic’ Middle East Policy Will Lead to Disaster

Obama-763x1024A former Israeli official slammed U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent take on the most pertinent issues facing Israeli security, saying his policy would ultimately lead to calamity with the Palestinians and Iran:

“Obama is a remarkable proponent for the optimist approach — he fundamentally believes in human decency, and therefore in dialogue and engagement as the best way to overcome conflict,” wrote Yossi Kuperwasser, the former director general of Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry.

Obama “believes that humility and concessions can salve the wound, and Islamists can be convinced to accept a global civil society.”

But for realists such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or “those who face an existential threat, Obama’s argument sounds appalling.”

Kuperwasser — whose comments were a response to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg’s latest interview with Obama, as well as the president’s address at a Washington DC synagogue — said the fundamental divide between optimists and realists in Western, Judeo-Christian political thought underlined the personal conflict between the American and Israeli leaders.

He accused Obama of “mirror-imaging” his values system on Palestinian youth, which Kuperwasser said has “plagued most of his foreign policy.”

Unlike Netanyahu, Obama does not understand that Islamists such as Hamas in Gaza and the Iranian regime are “willing to wait to overthrow the existing world order,” believing instead that “Islamists can be convinced to accept a global civil society.”

“Netanyahu, on the other hand, whose nation would feel the most immediate consequences from Western concessions [to Iran], does not have the luxury of optimism,” said Kuperwasser.

The former official also decried Obama’s double standard when it comes to criticizing Palestinian Authority President Abbas, though Abbas “rejected Obama’s formula for continued negotiations because it required recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people” and formed a unity government with Hamas, which openly calls for Israel’s destruction.

Concluding his argument, which Goldberg reprinted in The Atlantic, Kuperwasser wrote that “while Obama and the optimists offer their critiques, Netanyahu and the realists will be on the ground, living with the consequences the optimists have wrought.”

Comments (8) »

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 at 9:01 AM  | Stand for Israel

Golda Meir’s Answer to President Obama

(Photo: Library of Congress)

(Photo: Library of Congress)

Since being elected in 2008, President Obama’s stance on Israel has not been what many who stand with the Jewish state would hope. Writing at The Algemeiner, Ronn Torossian looks at what the great Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir would have said to the current American leader:

During a recent interview with The Atlantic, President Obama said “…I care deeply about preserving that Jewish democracy, because when I think about how I came to know Israel, it was based on images of … kibbutzim, and Moshe Dayan, and Golda Meir…” Obama continued on, claiming that there is “a very concerted effort on the part of some political forces to equate being pro-Israel, and hence being supportive of the Jewish people, with a rubber stamp on a particular set of policies coming out of the Israeli government.”

The truth is that Obama is simply out of touch with reality.

Golda Meir, the first female head of state in the Western world, noted, “We are not so fortunate that the quarrel between us and the Arab countries … is a question of territory … The Arab countries are in lack of a little more sand?”

Obama – who has regularly advocated for Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines, wouldn’t like Golda Meir’s words on the subject. She asked, “Now they say we should go back to the ’67 borders, but that’s where we were so why was there a war? And we had ’47 borders … we didn’t like them very much but we said yes to them. But there was still a war. And after the ’48 war they said we should go back to the ’47 borders. But that’s where we were … and that’s where they wanted to get us out from … They still nurture a hope that at some time we’ll disappear.”

Those words still ring true…

Golda Meir was supremely tough and clear.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Obama’s wrong. It’s not…

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Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 at 8:36 AM  | Stand for Israel

The PTSD Problem

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become a major problem facing the brave men and women who return from serving in the U.S. military, even as it is more closely studied and better understood by doctors and researchers. In this gripping study of the problem of PTSD, Sebastian Junger takes a look at how and why IDF soldiers have been less likely to suffer its effects:

Israel is arguably the only modern country that retains a sufficient sense of community to mitigate the effects of combat on a mass scale. Despite decades of intermittent war, the Israel Defense Forces have a PTSD rate as low as 1 percent. Two of the foremost reasons have to do with national military service and the proximity of the combat—the war is virtually on their doorstep. “Being in the military is something that most people have done,” I was told by Dr. Arieh Shalev, who has devoted the last 20 years to studying PTSD. “Those who come back from combat are re-integrated into a society where those experiences are very well understood. We did a study of 17-year-olds who had lost their father in the military, compared to those who had lost their fathers to accidents. The ones whose fathers died in combat did much better than those whose fathers hadn’t.”

According to Shalev, the closer the public is to the actual combat, the better the war will be understood and the less difficulty soldiers will have when they come home. The Israelis are benefiting from what could be called the shared public meaning of a war. Such public meaning—which would often occur in more communal, tribal societies—seems to help soldiers even in a fully modern society such as Israel. It is probably not generated by empty, reflexive phrases—such as “Thank you for your service”—that many Americans feel compelled to offer soldiers and vets. If anything, those comments only serve to underline the enormous chasm between military and civilian society in this country.

Another Israeli researcher, Reuven Gal, found that the…

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Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 at 11:54 AM  | Stand for Israel

Worrying Signals from Europe

(Photo: flickr/johnshonours)

(Photo: flickr/johnshonours)

Now that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s new coalition government is in place, much of the world has returned to its anti-Israel bias and pressure on the Jewish state. Writing at Israel Hayom, Zalman Shoval looks at this European pressure and hopes that Israel’s greatest ally, the United States, will once again come to its defense:

Once the new Israeli government was formed, European dignitaries began visiting at an increased rate, arriving with warnings that Israel must soon launch a “diplomatic initiative” to renew negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, or expect growing pressure in the form of various concrete measures.

According to their declarations, the Europeans intend to “play a leading role in re-launching the peace process based on the two-state solution,” largely predicated on the French proposal to immediately resume talks with a timetable of a year and a half to draft a final status agreement, after which, if a deal is not reached, “France will recognize Palestine as a state…”

It is difficult not to notice the European Union’s undertone that it has decided to support the establishment of a Palestinian state, even without any real negotiations and regardless of Israel’s positions on the matter…

This is not the first time (and certainly won’t be the last) that Europe has tried making its mark on the Palestinian issue while outflanking the United States, but we can hope that, as in the past, Washington will take the wind out of its sails. Indeed, we received an encouraging sign over the weekend that despite the differences of opinion over the Iranian nuclear program, the Obama administration is sticking to traditional U.S. policies when it comes to Israel’s vital interests, not only on security assistance, but, perhaps even more importantly, by defeating the Egyptian initiative to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.

We must hope this positive approach will be applied to the French proposal as well, when it is presented in the coming weeks to the U.N….

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Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 at 8:23 AM  | Stand for Israel

Shavuot and US-Israel Relations

(Photo: wikicommons/ James Emery)

(Photo: wikicommons/ James Emery)

Beginning this Saturday at sundown and continuing until sundown on Monday, the Jewish people will observe Shavuot, also known as Pentecost. Shavuot celebrates God’s gift of His Word on Mt. Sinai, while also being a festival of the firstfruits, a biblical concept well-known to Jews and Christians alike. Writing at Israel Hayom, Yoram Ettinger finds some interesting connections between this biblical observance and the historical relationship between the United States and Israel:

The foundations of U.S.-Israel relations were forged by the Bible-admiring Pilgrims of the 17th century and the Judeo-Christian values-driven Founding Fathers of the 18th century, preceding the evolution of the organized Jewish community, the Holocaust, the establishment of Israel and the appearance of AIPAC on the American scene. These foundations have nurtured a covenant between the American people — and their state and federal representatives — and the Jewish state, which has accorded Israel a unique standing as a foreign, but also a value-driven domestic issue.

The holiday of Shavuot — which commemorates the receipt of the Torah and the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai some 3,500 years ago — sheds light on the key values of the Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers…

Shavuot is celebrated 50 days after Passover (likewise, Pentecost — a derivative of the Greek word for 50 — is celebrated 50 days after Easter). Passover celebrates the Exodus, which has played a key role in shaping the American story, including the Revolutionary War and the struggle against slavery. The Liberty Bell bears an inscription: “Proclaim liberty upon the earth and unto all the inhabitants thereof (Leviticus 25:10),” which refers to the Jubilee — the cornerstone of the biblical concept of liberty — commemorated every 50 years. According to Judaism, there are 50 gates to wisdom, studied during the 50 days between Passover and Shavuot, challenged by the 50 gates of impurity. The 50th gate of wisdom is the gate of liberty — a cardinal value in…

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Friday, May 22nd, 2015 at 8:37 AM  | Stand for Israel

Why I Tour the US as an IDF Soldier

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

We always love hearing from the brave men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Yesterday we shared a letter from an IDF reservist who lives in the United States. And today, we share this letter by two IDF soldiers who tour the U.S., giving a face to the Israeli military, sharing their experiences, and standing for the Holy Land they’ve sworn to serve and protect:

We go because we want to correct the many lies and misrepresentations about the IDF. There is no comparison to actually meeting a soldier and learning from their first-hand experiences. We love Israel and we know best the moral dilemmas we faced.

Lital works for a news site in Israel. Born in Ashdod, she holds a BA in Social Sciences from the Open University and is working towards her Masters in American Jewry at Haifa University.  Proud of her service in the IDF, she considers it an honor to contribute whatever she can to her country, which led Lital to choose service in the border police unit. She served in checkpoints, stations aimed at thwarting terrorist attacks — a position usually held by men.

Lital tells a harrowing tale of a woman in labor, screaming in pain, who arrived in an ambulance at a checkpoint between Israel and the West Bank.  She is 18-years old. What would you do?  In that split second, Lital made the executive decision to check the ambulance to ensure that nothing harmful was being transported into Israel. She found an explosive device hidden under one of the seats…

I served in Hebron, ensuring that Muslims and Jews could safely pray in its holy sites. My other position was in Gaza. We received reports of tunnels being built. One day, mortar shells shot by Hamas terrorists hit the base. All activity stopped, and the Erez border crossing with Egypt was closed. Just then, a Palestinian boy arrived at the checkpoint, heading for his appointment at the children’s hospital in Tel Aviv. My task…

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Thursday, May 21st, 2015 at 7:38 AM  | Stand for Israel

An IDF Reservist Happy to Serve

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

In Israel, young people are required to serve in the IDF. For many, their service does not end there, though. Writing at The Times of Israel, an IDF reservist who lives in the U.S. tells why he looks forward to serving the Holy Land:

One moment I’m procrastinating – scrolling through my Facebook feed when I should be working, munching on a killer glazed donut – the next, I’m frantically searching the web for a reasonably priced gym. It all started with an unassuming red blot that lit up my inbox.

The note came from my close friend, Yaniv, who also happens to be the lieutenant to whom I report in the reserves. “Hey Izzy, what’s up with you over the next two weeks? Any chance you’re visiting DC? I’ll be there for work.” Almost as an afterthought, he added, “Oh, and our unit’s been drafted for training up north the first week of June. You coming?”

Of course I’m coming, and he knows it. Since my return to the United States, I haven’t missed a day of reserve duty – not once since the IDF released me from active service at the tail end of 2011. But June? We weren’t scheduled to draft until November. Why call us up so early? And why are we training up North? ISIS? I purchase my airfare before nightfall—I’ve already found a gym that’ll whip me back into shape.

Throughout Israel’s relatively brief history, there have been many IDF veterans, women and men who live abroad but return to Israel; they’ve taken up arms when the Jewish State needed them most. But I’ve met only a couple others like me—young men who return to Israel each year at their own expense to train with their counterparts in the Special Forces. Our logic? If we’re inevitably going to head into the fog of war with our Israeli brothers, then we should know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We need to work out the chinks in our phalanx so that when the lead starts…

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Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 at 1:14 PM  | Stand for Israel

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

Rabbi’s Commentary
In the Midst of Tragedy, God Is with Us

Last week’s tragic attack that left nine dead in a historic African-American church in Charleston, SC, sickened me, showing yet again that such hate and violence still exist…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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