A Wake-Up Call

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

Shalom,

I breathed a sigh of relief as I read the newspaper headline that the code red sirens that sounded across southern Israel this week were just false alarms.

But then the reality of situation quickly sank in: The people running to bomb shelters as sirens blare are replaying the past summer’s trauma, their fears are resurfacing, and the terrifying doubts about the security and safety of their children are reemerging.

A false siren, for people whose lives have recently been torn apart by war and terror, is petrifying nonetheless.

Two weeks ago, I visited Sha’ar Hanegev, an Israeli town near the Gaza border, on the same day that code red sirens were blaring. I can assure you that for many, it makes little difference if the sirens prove to be “real” or not. These Israeli heroes in southern Israel know that there are terrorists on our border, just miles away from their homes, who are set on our destruction. They know all too well about the weapon stockpiles of Hamas terrorists that are growing rapidly, and the terror tunnels that could be located right under their community synagogue or their children’s bedroom.

That is why, for most trauma-stricken residents, hearing the familiar code red siren tears open painful scars of war that have yet to heal.

For the children who jump from the breakfast table with tears in their eyes to frantically run to the closest shelter, it is little comfort to know that this time no rockets were fired.

For the holy teachers who pray to God that they will get all of their students in the safe room within the 20 second warning period they have, hearing that these sirens were false doesn’t calm their pounding hearts and trembling legs.

And for the weak elderly Holocaust survivors who have no choice but to stay in bed as the code red…

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 11:00 AM  | Stand For Israel

With Attack Inside Israel, Hezbollah Lays Down New Ground Rules

(Photo: wikicommons/ yeowatzup)

(Photo: wikicommons/ yeowatzup)

Yesterday we reported on the explosion on the Lebanese border that wounded two IDF soldiers, an attack for which Hezbollah claimed responsibility. The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff discusses the terror group’s explanation for the attack, and says that while it may not lead to all-out war, it will likely lead to more bloodshed:

The ring of explosives detonated alongside an IDF patrol on the border with Lebanon on Tuesday was another in a series of messages from Hezbollah to Israel. It was a brazen attack, carried out inside Israeli territory, the message being that, from now on, every incident in which Israel causes Lebanese injuries will be greeted with a response along the Lebanese or Syrian borders.

As opposed to other recent cross-border attacks, in which the perpetrators didn’t claim responsibility, the message this time was loud and clear: a full admission by Hezbollah. The claim of responsibility also gave a reason for the attack.

“The Group of the Martyr Ali Hassan Haydar detonated an explosive device in the Shebaa Farms,” the Shiite group said in a statement, using the Lebanese name for the Mount Dov region, where the attack took place …

(more…)

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 8:41 AM  | Stand For Israel

Christian Leader: ISIS Already in Baghdad

(Photo: flickr/ Karl-Ludwig Poggemann)

(Photo: flickr/ Karl-Ludwig Poggemann)

Even as the United States and its current allies against the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) continue their airstrikes, the terror organization continues to make headway across the Middle East. Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, has been ordered out of Iraq, but reports that ISIS is already in the city and terrorizing its Christians and other minorities:

“ISIS has plants in Baghdad. That’s why the archbishop wanted us gone. The other day, they discovered 150 bodies of people who had been shot. Nobody knows who did it, but we know that ISIS is already operating in Baghdad,” said White in an exclusive interview with the Clarion Project.

White spoke to Clarion about the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq, the fate of the kidnapped Christian and Yazidi women and children, and the prospects for the future.

He related how, just recently, the Islamic State burst into the house of one of “his families” and offered the parents a choice: “Convert right now or we will kill your children in front of you.” They came to White heartbroken that they had uttered the required words to save their children.

Another day, they went to a different family. White remembers, “The kids were told to convert or be killed. They refused. There were four of them from 15-years old and younger. They beheaded all of them,” he related crying. “They were all our children. That is how evil these people are. So evil. They have no respect for anyone. The other day, they chopped a four-year old boy in half. He didn’t do anything. What can a four-year old boy do? He was just a boy …”

The future, he says, is “very, very bleak.” The Iraqis from Baghdad who had the funds have left the country. Another 250,000 Christians in Mosul and Ninevah have been ousted from their homes, most likely never to return.

“Basically, apart from the south, ISIS controls Iraq until you get to Kurdistan. They are the richest terror…

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 8:30 AM  | Stand For Israel

Blackballed Jordanian Author: “Jews Have a Right to the Land of Israel”

(Photo: facebook)

(Photo: facebook)

While we might stand for Israel, would each of us put our lives and livelihoods on the line to do so? The Algemeiner’s Dave Bender tells about Jihad Ali Alwan, an author from Jordan who has been blackballed because of his support for the Jewish state:

Despite being arrested, fired from his job, called “crazy” and an “infidel” and being left destitute, Jordanian writer Jihad Ali Alwan, 42, has no intention backing off his full-throated support of Israel, and from every possible platform, Israel’s NRG News reported Monday.

“I don’t care what price I’ll pay. I will not apologize for my beliefs,” Alwan said, writing on his personal blog, “I suggest the Arabs normalize relations with Israel,” he wrote in October of last year.

The striking statements by the married father of four were read by some eight million readers, including the Jordanian Writers Association, who called him in for a clarification.

But after refusing to appear before the committee, the guild revoked Alwan’s membership. Which also prompted an irate blog post by the man known in the Hashemite Kingdom, as “The Normalizer.”

“A short time ago I was invited by the so-called ‘Committee of the Struggle to Oppose Normalization with the Zionist Enemy’ at the Jordanian Writers Association, located in Amman, and they told me to get to a hearing before the committee on my article under the title ‘normalization with Israel.’ I rejected the request, and then they told me, ‘If you refuse, then the decision will be made in your absence,” he wrote.

“I have suffered persecution for 16 years, economic and political persecution, and they accused me of courting Jewish and Christian Zionist institutions. All those who are attacking me, eat and drink in the United States and use American and Israeli technology in their homes; their flour comes from America and they receive financial support from the United States.

“I’m not a criminal, but rather a man of peace, a man of respect for others, and I suffer from hunger and poverty because no…

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Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 3:23 PM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: Hezbollah Claims Attack That Wounded IDF Soldiers

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

This morning, Stand for Israel reported that an explosion on the Lebanese border wounded two IDF soldiers. Now, The Times of Israel says that the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah has taken credit for the attack, and that Israel has responded with heavy fire:

Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement on Tuesday afternoon claimed a bomb attack against Israeli troops along the border that wounded two soldiers earlier in the day.

Hezbollah operatives “detonated an explosive device on the Shebaa hills against a motorized Israeli patrol causing a number of injuries among the occupation’s soldiers,” the group said in a statement.

The statement said that the bomb was planted in honor of Hussein Ali Haidar, a Hezbollah member who was killed in a September 5 explosion that Lebanese officials claimed was caused when Israel destroyed one of its own surveillance devices that had been uncovered inside Lebanon.

The explosion, in the contested Shebaa Farms area, also known as Har Dov, set off the second border clash in the area in three days.

The army said in a statement that the bomb was “activated against them during activity along the Israel-Lebanon border.”

“Initial reports indicate that the explosive device was planted with the intent to attack soldiers,” the statement read.

Israel responded by shelling an area next to Kfar Chouba, near the Shebaa Farms region. In all, the Israeli army reportedly fired dozens of shells into Lebanese territory.

One soldier was moderately wounded and the second lightly injured, the Ynet news outlet reported. Other Hebrew media reported that the two were lightly wounded.

Hours later, a second bomb went off along the border in the area, but did not cause any casualties.

We pray for the recovery of the IDF soldiers wounded in this attack, and for God’s protection on all the brave men and women protecting Israel from further attacks.

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Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 10:41 AM  | Stand For Israel

Two IDF Soldiers Wounded in Explosion on Lebanese Border

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Two days ago, the IDF and the Lebanese army clashed on the Lebanese border. Now Arutz Sheva reports that two IDF soldiers were wounded today in an explosion, with the IDF returning fire:

The IDF Spokesperson Unit announced that two soldiers were wounded on Tuesday afternoon by an explosive set on the Lebanese border in the Har Dov (Shabaa Farms) area.

The two soldiers were defined as suffering from moderate and light wounds following the blast.

“Two soldiers were injured by an explosive device. It was activated against them during activity near the Lebanon border,” a military spokeswoman said. “Initial reports indicate it was intended to attack soldiers.”

Earlier Al-Manar, the news outlet of the Iranian-proxy terror group Hezbollah, reported on powerful explosions heard in the Har Dov area bordering Israel. According to the reports, a large quantity of smoke was seen billowing from the site.

In response to the explosive attack, the Lebanese Al Meyadeen news site reported that the IDF had returned artillery fire to the area of Kfar Shouba and Al-Haraba. The report added that the explosive was detonated as an armored IDF vehicle passed adjacent to the site.

The IDF dispatched two medical helicopters to the scene to evacuate the two wounded soldiers, and likewise has raised preparedness and reinforced troops in the area.

Just this Sunday IDF forces clashed with the Lebanese army at the site, with the IDF opening fire on suspects who attempted to infiltrate into Israel, apparently to conduct a terror attack.

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Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 8:57 AM  | Stand For Israel

Iran an Untrustworthy Ally in Iraq

(Photo: wikicommons/ MrInfo2012)

(Photo: wikicommons/ MrInfo2012)

As the United States continues its strikes on the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), the nation with many troops on the ground in Iraq is Iran. Writing at The Daily Beast, Eli Lake says that while Iran has ordered its Quds Force (“America’s most dangerous foe in the region”) not to fight Americans, this truce is for a self-serving reason and cannot be trusted:

U.S. intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast that the apparent Iranian decision not to target American troops inside Iraq reflects Iran’s desire to strike a nuclear bargain with the United States and the rest of the international community before the current negotiations expire at the end of November.

“They are not going after Americans,” one senior U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast familiar with the recent assessments. “They want the nuclear talks to succeed and an incident between our guys and their guys would not be good for those talks.”

The Quds Force, named for the Arabic word for Jerusalem, are believed to have hundreds of troops in Iraq. As the primary arm of the Iranian state that supports allied terrorist organizations, their operatives worried Obama’s predecessor so much that the Treasury Department began sanctioning its members in 2007 for sabotaging the government of Iraq. The U.S. military accused the Quds Force of orchestrating cells of terrorists in Iraq. In 2012, Wired magazine dubbed Quds Force leader Qassem Suleimani the most dangerous person on the planet. In 2013, the New Yorker arrived at a similar conclusion, and claimed he has “directed Assad’s war in Syria.”

More recently, the Treasury Department has accused the Quds Force of international heroin trafficking and conducting terrorism and intelligence operations against the Afghanistan government.

Exactly how long this informal Quds Force truce lasts is anyone’s guess. But Kimberly Kagan, the president of the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War and a one-time adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, cautioned that this…

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Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 8:50 AM  | Stand For Israel

Casualties Climb As Ukraine Ceasefire Continues to Crumble

(Photo: flickr/ Sasha Maksymenko)

(Photo: flickr/ Sasha Maksymenko)

Last week we reported on some disturbing developments in Ukraine: a Red Cross worker was killed by shelling, heavy fighting occurred at the airport in Donetsk, and 10 were killed when a school and bus were shelled. Writing at Vice News, Liz Fields reports that this increase in fighting – despite the supposed ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists – is causing the civilian casualties to climb:

As fighting rages around eastern Ukraine despite a tenuous ceasefire agreement between Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government, bodies continue to pile up in the morgues of Donetsk, with officials reporting at least 20 deaths over the last two days, according to Russian media.

At least 11 civilians were among those killed in the latest round of fighting, Dmitry Kalashnikov, the head of Donetsk’s main morgue, told Russia Today, an outlet that is sympathetic to Russian foreign policy.

“Twenty bodies have arrived at the morgue over the past 24 hours. Among them are 11 civilians, who were killed by shell explosions. I find it hard to call this a ceasefire,” Kalashnikov said. “Last week there were many civilian deaths, and I’m not even counting the soldiers.”

The EU has finally admitted that the peace agreement, signed early last month by Kiev, Ukrainian separatists, and Moscow, may have been breached, but at the same time called for continued adherence to the truce’s terms, Russian media reported.

“We are worried that the truce has been breached. We count on the truce to be respected because it is a necessary condition allowing the peace process to move forward, the OSCE and the Red Cross employees to work there,” Soren Liborius, the head of EU information department said, according to RT.

Clashes resumed in Donetsk pre-dawn Saturday, with residents awaking to gunfire and single booms of heavy artillery throughout the early morning, the Donestk Mayor’s Office said in a statement. The situation reportedly remained “restless” in the afternoon.

The UN estimates more than 3,000 people have been killed…

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Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 8:34 AM  | Stand For Israel

No Communion in Nineveh for First Time in 2,000 Years

(Photo: flickr/ james_gordon_losangeles)

(Photo: flickr/ james_gordon_losangeles)

As the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) has spread across Syria and Iraq, it has persecuted, expelled, and executed any and all whose ideas and beliefs conflict with its own hateful brand of radical Islam – including the Christian communities it has come across. Breitbart provides this troubling report on the state of Christians in the city of Nineveh in northern Iraq:

The Islamic State’s goal of eradicating Christianity from its ancient home in northern Iraq is nearly complete, report Christian officials remaining in the area. According to one Vicar, last week marked the first time in millennia that Christians did not receive Holy Communion in Nineveh, northern Iraq.

As the Telegraph reports, Canon Andrew White, the only Anglican Vicar remaining in Iraq, reported that Communion did not take place in Nineveh this year. “All [churches] are closed, all their people have run away.” Canon White noted that the few Iraqis remaining in the region are there due to poverty or immobility, and that those remaining fear for their lives constantly …

Canon White has been warning of the potential for a complete ethnic cleansing of Iraqi Christians from the region for months. In July, he told BBC Radio 4 that “the end could very well be near” for Christianity in Iraq, noting the squalor in which the Islamic State had left thousands of Christians: “We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off. The Christians are in grave danger. There are literally Christians living in the desert and on the street. They have nowhere to go.”

The Islamic State’s advances in Nineveh and other areas of northern Iraq have severely hurt the Christian populations there, forcing an estimated 200,000 people to flee their homeland and remain permanently displaced, with few belongings and no homes. The situation in northern Iraq became especially dire in July, when Islamic State jihadists conquered Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq.

In Mosul, the terrorist group demanded that all Christians convert and pay an infidel’s tax (jizya),…

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Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 11:21 AM  | Stand For Israel

Stockholm’s Syndrome

(Photo: flickr/ komponisto)

(Photo: flickr/ komponisto)

Last week, we reported in the Daily Dispatch that the nation of Sweden has decided to recognize “the state of Palestine” – the first major European country to do so. While Sweden has since tried to backtrack and qualify its position, Dan Margalit worries that other European nations might soon follow the Swedish lead:

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven looked as if he had been possessed by some demon in his inaugural speech last Friday. When he spoke before the Swedish parliament, he said his country would “recognize the state of Palestine.” MK Ahmad Tibi (Ra’am-Ta’al) and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were delighted, but the government in Jerusalem was outraged, and as a result, Swedish Ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus Nesser was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to receive an official Israeli demarche. In an effort to pre-empt this move, Sweden scrambled to clarify that recognition of the new state would take place only after the two parties arrive at a negotiated settlement.

So has Sweden walked back this statement and fallen in line with Israel’s position? Not really. Lofven, who hails from the Social Democratic Party, was probably more genuine in his original statement than in his clarification. The first was probably a reflection of what he truly thinks. For Lofven, recognizing “Palestine” is just as important as dealing with Islamic State and Hamas. It tops his agenda, perhaps even eclipsing the other two …

Israel and Sweden have a history of troubled relations …

But what’s most worrying is that Sweden is not alone. It is only a trailblazer. European countries may very well follow its lead, one by one. Of course, they are likely to sound equivocal statements along the way, very much like Sweden. Two steps forward, one step back.

There are multiple factors that contributed to this European posture: Muslim immigration; a lack of understanding when it comes to Hamas and al-Qaida and their extremism and…

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Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 8:36 AM  | Stand For Israel

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

Rabbi's Commentary
Rejoicing in God’s Word

The festive Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah ends and begins the annual cycle of Torah readings in synagogue. It is God’s Word that offers comfort and hope to Jews and Christians alike, reminding us of His permanent presence in our constantly changing world.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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