Netanyahu: Hamas and ISIS Are “Branches of the Same Tree”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a statement today, speaking against Hamas – who broke the most recent ceasefire, and continues to launch rockets into Israel. The Jerusalem Post gives further information of Netanyahu’s remarks, in which he warned the terror organization that it is not invincible and will be targeted should it continue to target the people of Israel:

He said this his main priority at this time was to protect the citizens of Israel and keep them safe. He said the fight against terror, including international terror organizations, is Israel’s biggest challenge.

“This is the hardest that Hamas has ever been hit since it was founded. I promise that we will not stop until the goal of security for our citizens is achieved.”

Netanyahu warned Hamas that “If you shoot, you will be hit back seven-fold.”

When asked if Israel had attempted to assassinate Hamas military leader Muhammad Deif, Netanyahu said, “the leaders of Hamas are legitimate targets, no one is invincible.”

Netanyahu compared Hamas to the Islamic State, saying that the organizations were “branches of the same tree.”

The Prime Minister’s comments came following a long security cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv discussing the developments in Gaza, and how to go forward.

The meeting came amid an escalation of the fighting in Gaza, with Hamas firing dozens of rockets at Israel throughout the day.

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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 at 2:40 PM  | Stand For Israel

Who Will Stand Up for the Christians?

(Photo: IFCJ)

(Photo: IFCJ)

Even as the world concentrates on the destruction in Gaza (caused by Hamas firing rockets from civilian sites such as homes, schools, and hospitals), it continues to ignore the plight of Christians across the Middle East. Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, writes in The New York Times that the Jewish people must stand up for oppressed Christians:

Historians may look back at this period and wonder if people had lost their bearings. Few reporters have traveled to Iraq to bear witness to the Nazi-like wave of terror that is rolling across that country. The United Nations has been mostly mum. World leaders seem to be consumed with other matters in this strange summer of 2014. There are no flotillas traveling to Syria or Iraq. And the beautiful celebrities and aging rock stars — why doesn’t the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?

I will not be silent in the face of the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Middle East, I will not be indifferent to Christian suffering. Historically, it has almost always been the other way around: Jews have all too often been the persecuted minority. But Israel has been among the first countries to aid Christians in South Sudan. Christians can openly practice their religion in Israel, unlike in much of the Middle East.

This bond between Jews and Christians makes complete sense. We share much more than most religions. We read the same Bible, and share a moral and ethical core. Now, sadly, we share a kind of suffering: Christians are dying because of their beliefs, because they are defenseless and because the world is indifferent to their suffering.

Good people must join together and stop this revolting wave of violence. It’s not as if we are powerless. I write this as a citizen of the strongest military power on earth. I write this as a Jewish…

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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 at 10:35 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel-Loathing Hamas Cannot Be Easily Deterred

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

As we reported yesterday, Hamas broke the latest ceasefire by launching rockets into Israel, causing the IDF to retaliate and the Israeli government to pull its team of negotiators from Cairo, as it will not negotiate for peace while under attack. Times of Israel founding editor David Horovitz writes that maybe now the international community will realize that Hamas’ intention has never been to make peace, but rather to make war and destroy Israel:

Hamas is still far too strong, and that Hamas will always be far too cynical, to be deterred by Israel’s ongoing response to the attacks from Gaza, the counter-strikes that follow its rocket fire. Hamas lost dozens of its tunnels, and perhaps 1,000 of its gunmen, and pleaded for a ceasefire, apparently believing it could negotiate a diplomatic resolution more satisfactory than the military face-off had yielded.

But most of its elite fighters are still alive. It still has thousands of rockets, and is capable of manufacturing more in mid-conflict. Its local political leadership is safe and sound in the Gaza underground. Its overseas leadership is in still better shape, cosseted in Qatari luxury. And it cares not a whit about the suffering that its violent Islamist extremism is bringing down upon Gazans (a very substantial proportion of whom voted for Hamas in the relatively democratic parliamentary elections of 2006). Thus Israel’s firm negotiating posture has sent Hamas back into conflict.

As Hamas keeps telling anybody who asks, it is bent on “ending the occupation of Palestine” — i.e. ending the existence of Israel. Unfortunately, too few people are asking. Understandably appalled by the death and devastation in Gaza, much of the watching world, including its leadership, are confusing cause and effect.

Hamas is not seeking freedom for the people of Gaza when it demands the “lifting of the siege,” a seaport and an airport, and when it fires rockets because its demands are not being met. It is, rather, seeking the capacity to…

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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 at 8:52 AM  | Stand For Israel

Americans in More Danger Today Than Before 9/11

(Photo: FEMA/Andrea Booher)

(Photo: FEMA/Andrea Booher)

While politicians have, per usual, taken the spotlight on the international stage, Israel Hayom points to an interview with outgoing chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Comparing the state of terrorist groups now to the time before the United States’ war on terror began, Gen. Flynn paints a bleak picture, one in which Americans are in more danger today than they were before the September 11 attacks:

…the “international environment” has ‎become “uncertain, chaotic and confused,” that we have entered “a very dangerous era,” ‎and that we are in a period of conflict that may be both “prolonged” and ‎‎”unprecedented.” In other words: He’s trying to sound an alarm …

According to Flynn, in 2004 there were 21 “Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 18 ‎countries.” Today, by contrast, there are 41 “Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 24 ‎countries.” The result, he said, is that Americans today are in more danger than they were ‎prior to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

It’s true that some jihadi groups are focused on local wars, but many if not most “have ‎the intention to attack Western interests, to include Western embassies and in some cases ‎Western countries,” Flynn said. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self-declared ‎‎”caliph” of the Islamic State, has directly threatened Americans. Some of his warriors ‎have Western passports. That will make it easier for them to enter Europe and the United ‎States at a time of their choosing.‎

Underlying this global conflict, Flynn said, is a “core” ideology that is “spreading, ‎not shrinking.” Having interrogated combatants during the years he served as intelligence ‎chief for Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and Afghanistan, he concluded: ‎‎”These are people who have a very deeply rooted belief system that is just difficult for ‎Americans to comprehend. Just think about the mindset of a suicide bomber.”‎

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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 at 8:38 AM  | Stand For Israel

Following Truce Breakdown, Rockets Fired at Tel Aviv, Southern Israel

Rocket lands on road in Tel Aviv

Rocket lands on road in Tel Aviv

Hours after the most recent cease-fire between Israel and Gaza was shattered, rocket fire was heard as far north as Tel Aviv and across southern and central Israel:

Three loud explosions were heard over Tel Aviv, shortly before 11 p.m., for the first time in over a week.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks. It also said it launched a J-80 rocket at the Ben Gurion Airport, though there were no reported strikes near the airport.

Rocket alert sirens were heard all over southern communities, Beersheba, central Israel and as far as Beit Shemesh – which borders the nation’s capital.

One explosion in open territory in the greater Tel Aviv area was so far confirmed. Two rockets exploded in open areas of Sha’ar HaNegev. A rocket directed at the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council shortly before the latest salvo of rockets landed near a shopping center in the area. No injuries were reported but damage was caused to a building. …

The Home Front Command has instructed all cities within 80 kilometers of the Gaza Strip to open public bomb shelters.

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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 4:00 PM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: IAF Strikes Gaza in Response to Rocket Fire

(Photo: USAF)

(Photo: USAF)

Despite the ceasefire still in place, rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza. Arutz Sheva reports that the Israeli Air Force has struck targets in Gaza in response to the rocket attacks:

The Israeli Air Force has struck terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire this afternoon, following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s order to strike back hard against the perpetrators.

An IDF spokesman said: “The IDF was prepared for this possibility and is determined to protect the security of the residents of the State of Israel.

IDF sources say the rocket fire came from the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya, where some of the fiercest fighting between the IDF and Islamist terrorists has taken place during Operation Protective Edge.

In an even more explosive development, an unnamed security source told Walla! news site the rocket attack was ordered directly by Hamas’s Qatar-based head Khaled Meshaal. The source claimed Meshaal had bypassed Hamas’s official “military wing”, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, and ordered a specially-assigned unit of Hamas operatives answerable directly to him to launch the attack.

The source claimed Meshaal was aiming to sabotage negotiations for a long-term truce in Cairo, which were not going his way.

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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 9:02 AM  | Stand For Israel

Ukraine Refugees Caught in Crossfire

(Photo: REUTERS/ Yannis Behrakis)

(Photo: REUTERS/ Yannis Behrakis)

As The Fellowship continues to provide shelter and support to the many displaced people of Ukraine’s Jewish community, the nation’s fighting has again targeted innocent civilians. Reporting for The Wall Street Journal, journalists in Zhytomyr and Donetsk tell of a convoy of refugees from the ravaged city of Luhansk (or Lugansk) that was attacked, killing dozens:

On Monday, Ukrainian officials said a refugee convoy of several vehicles was displaying white flags as it traveled through an area where intense fighting had taken place. The buses were hit by rockets and mortars, the officials said, leaving some of the occupants, including women and children, to burn to death. The officials said dozens of people who had left the besieged rebel-held city of Luhansk were killed, though an exact death toll wasn’t available.

“They tried to get away from the fighting and instead became victims of it,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf …

The back-and-forth over the refugee convoy offered the latest reminder of the high stakes in the Ukraine conflict, which the United Nations says has already claimed more than 2,000 lives and led to the most intense confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 8:26 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas Coup Should Change Truce Equation

(Photo: flickr/ crazymaq)

(Photo: flickr/ crazymaq)

Yesterday we told you about a Hamas coup attempt thwarted by Israel – that the terror organization intended to overthrow the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank through a series of terror attacks. Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin explains what Hamas wanted from this plan, and what the revelation should mean to any Israeli-Palestinian truce:

What did Hamas think it could accomplish by pouring operatives, money, weapons and explosives into the West Bank? The point was to plunge the area into turmoil opening up a second front against Israel to relieve pressure on Hamas in Gaza as well as to make it impossible for Abbas to pretend to govern the West Bank …

But the decision to acquiesce to any of Hamas’s demands will have consequences for more than the future of Gaza. The assumption that Abbas can continue to hang on to the West Bank and maybe even assume some power in Gaza is based on the idea that Hamas is on the ropes and without options. But once the resupply of Hamas in Gaza begins, it will have serious implications for Abbas’s future …

Those who have spoken of Hamas, as having evolved to the point where it is a legitimate political force and not a terror group should have had lost their illusions about the group amid the rocket launches and the discovery of the tunnels. But the revelation about the coup attempt should remove any doubt as to the Islamists’ intentions. The Obama administration, which has been eager to push Israel to do something to allow Hamas a way out of the conflict, should realize that the coup should end its illusions about Palestinian unity and the ability of Abbas to make peace while partnering with the terrorists.

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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 8:01 AM  | Stand For Israel

Islamic State: The Jews Are Next

(Photo: flickr/ News Feed)

(Photo: flickr/ News Feed)

The U.S. has begun to join in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) – formerly known as ISIS) – the terror group wreaking havoc and death across Iraq and Syria. The Algemeiner brings us this report of a disguised Israeli reporter who interviewed an American-born member of IS, a report that shows the terrorists’ intentions, as well as the truth behind their many foreign-born members:

“From Syria, we’ll expand the caliphate, Allah willing, and Hizbullah and the Jews will meet their fate, and soon,” vowed an American-born 26-year-old Islamic State (IS) fighter in Aleppo, Syria …

IS boasts that dozens of American youths, and hundreds from various countries in Europe have joined its ranks and have already entered Syria and Iraq to fight alongside various factions, in part, thanks to easy access to information on the internet …

“For these young people, this is a protest. They see radical Islam as an alternative to the failure of nation-states. They go to the edge of the edge, talking about the caliphate, but no one there knows what ‘caliphate’ really means,” [Dr. Muhammad Al Atawneh, a senior faculty member in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev] said.

“There is tremendous ignorance on the subject,” Al Atawneh said. “They’re very confused in matters of religion. The distortions and gaps are so abysmal, it is impossible to understand what texts people who chop off heads are following.”

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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 7:46 AM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: Hamas Coup Against Abbas Foiled

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

Arutz Sheva is reporting that the IDF and Shin Bet have foiled an attempt by Hamas to overthrow the Palestinian Authority:

A large scale operation mounted from May to August by the IDF and Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) foiled a Hamas network’s plot to carry out a coup in the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria.

The news about the operation was under a gag order until today.

The Hamas infrastructure in Judea and Samaria was controlled by a Hamas HQ in Turkey. The plot was to carry out a series of cruel terror attacks against Israel and create a situation of security instability, then take advantage of that situation to take over the PA.

Israel announced that 93 Hamas terrorists were arrested in the operation. Of these, 46 were taken to interrogation by the ISA. Hamas terror funds amounting to over 600,000 shekels were confiscated and weapons including 60 guns and 7 RPGs were seized.

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Monday, August 18th, 2014 at 10:02 AM  | Stand For Israel

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Rabbi's Commentary
The Rabbi Recommends: Rebbe, by Joseph Telushkin

Rarely do I recommend a book with the exuberance and enthusiasm I do today. The author of Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, was my roommate in Yeshiva Seminary when I studied for semicha, or ordination, there. He was then, and remains today, a dear friend whom I admire and deeply respect.

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