Hostage Situation at Kosher Market in Paris

(Photo: flickr/alvarez)

(Photo: flickr/alvarez)

In today’s Daily Dispatch, we reported that the two suspects in this week’s Paris newspaper attack have taken a hostage. In more disturbing news from France – in an incident connected to the killing yesterday of a French policewoman – The Times of Israel reports that another hostage situation has developed at a kosher market in Paris:

Fresh shooting broke out in eastern Paris on Friday, as an armed man took at least six people hostage at a kosher grocery store, among them women and children.

French lawmaker Meyer Habib told Army Radio Friday that the hostages include “a family with kids, there shopping for Shabbat.”

Army Radio reported that the gunman told police he will not free the hostages unless the Charlie Hebdo attackers, who were holding one person hostage in eastern Paris in a standoff with French police, are allowed to go free.

Police confirmed Friday afternoon that the gunman was the same man who killed a policewoman south of Paris on Thursday, and is linked to the assailants who stormed satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, killing 12 people. He was named as Amedy Coulibaly, 32.

Coulibaly was seen with Charlie Hebdo suspect Cherif Kouachi in 2010 during an investigation into an attempted prison break in France, police said. He was convicted for his role and was well-known to anti-terrorist police.

Coulibaly is believed to have had a female accomplice in the shooting of the policewoman, according to the authorities, who identified her as Hayat Boumeddiene, 26. They were both described as “armed and dangerous.”

France Info radio reported that the shooter at the kosher market had two AK-47 rifles, and fired for around 20 seconds before taking hostages. He then phoned police to make contact.

An eyewitness at the kosher market told Le Monde that “people were shopping when a man entered and started firing everywhere.” The witness, who did not identify himself, said he was able to escape but heard more bursts of gunfire behind him. He said he only saw one gunman but a person waiting for him outside in the car…

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Friday, January 9th, 2015 at 9:03 AM  | Stand For Israel

Canadian PM: Jihadists Have “Declared War”

In response to this week’s terror attacks in France, The Toronto Star reports that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke out Thursday against those who “have declared war on anybody who does not think and act exactly as they wish they would think and act.” Harper went on to say that the issue will have to be confronted by “any country like ourselves that values freedom, openness and tolerance” – countries like Canada, the United States, and Israel.

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Friday, January 9th, 2015 at 8:23 AM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: Terrorist Stabs Jewish Student in Jerusalem’s Old City

(Photo: wikicommons/Soti)

(Photo: wikicommons/Soti)

The world is still in shock over yesterday’s horrific killing of 12 in an attack on a French newspaper office, as well as today’s shooting death of a French policewoman. But despite terror’s far reach, it still lurks in Israel. Arutz Sheva reports that a 21-year-old Jewish student was stabbed by a terrorist at the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City, the attacker perhaps incited by a Palestinian Authority publication praising the stabbing of Jews:

A young Jewish yeshiva student was stabbed by an Arab terrorist armed with a screwdriver on Thursday night in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The stabbing took place at the Damascus Gate of the Old City according to Magen David Adom (MDA) reports – the location has been a site of stabbing attacks in the past.

The victim, thought to be 21-years-old, was moderately wounded in the attack and was given treatment while still fully conscious. He reportedly was stabbed in the back.

After giving him medical treatment at the site, MDA evacuated him to Shaare Tzedek Hospital in the capital. The terrorist fled the scene and large police forces are currently scouring the area to track him down …

The attack comes after an op-ed in the Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Monday praised a stabbing attack on two Border Patrol officers in Jerusalem’s Old City late last month, saying it inspires other Arabs to commit similar stabbings.

“These kinds of confrontations which frighten the enemy are excellent Palestinian examples of willpower and determination to win,” read the op-ed, written by a Hamas-affiliated contributor to the PA paper. “The video of the Palestinian storming and stabbing of Zionists serves as a school.”

It continued “the video of the assault drew the interest and approval of every youth, man and woman in Palestine. Now, every Palestinian raises his hand holding a knife together with this young Palestinian, and stabs the Zionists.”

We pray for the young man’s recovery, that his attacker is brought to justice, and for…

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Thursday, January 8th, 2015 at 12:48 PM  | Stand For Israel

Netanyahu: Radical Islam Knows No Boundaries

The terrorist attack on the French newspaper which left 12 dead pulled the Western world even farther into the reality Israel has long faced – that of radical Islam and its followers attacking freedom and those who hold it dear. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in the wake of the horrific incident, sending the condolences of Israel and asserting the need to fight terror:

“The people of Israel send their condolences to the people of France over the brutal acts of savagery in the heart of Paris today,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, following the terrorist attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices in central Paris in which 12 people were killed. “The attacks of radical Islam know no boundaries — these are international attacks and the response has to be international. The terrorists want to destroy our freedoms and our civilization.

“And therefore, all the free countries and all the civilized societies have to band together to fight this scourge. And if we stand together and if we are not divided, then we can defeat this tyranny that seeks to extinguish all our freedoms. I wish once again to express the sympathy that all the citizens of Israel feel for the people of France and for the grieving families.

“We are experiencing these attacks time and again, we know the pain but we also know the resolution with which free societies can defeat terror — however dreadful, however threatening.”

 

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Thursday, January 8th, 2015 at 9:20 AM  | Stand For Israel

Paris Massacre Highlights Jihadist Traffic Between Europe and Middle East

(Photo: flickr/topsoftbe)

(Photo: flickr/topsoftbe)

Yesterday’s horrific massacre at the office of a Parisian newspaper highlighted many sad and frightening aspects about our world. One of them, writes The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff, is the ease with which young radical Islamists are able to travel between Europe and the Middle East, and the difficulty intelligence agencies have in tracking them:

Wednesday’s terror attack in Paris, foul as it was, was sadly no great surprise given the movement of Islamist terrorists between Europe and the Middle East.

The Israeli intelligence community currently estimates that there are some 30,000 Islamic State activists; the CIA puts the number anywhere between 20,000 and 31,500. About half of them are foreign volunteers from around the Islamic world and the West. The Magreb states, surprisingly, are the most prominent suppliers, notably including Shiite Tunisia, where 5,000-6,000 IS fighters come from. Thousands have joined IS in Iraq and Syria from Europe, Australia and the United States. Within Europe, Belgium heads the list of suppliers.

Europes’s problem, and this may well have been the case with the massacre in France, is the relative ease with which young Muslims can leave Western countries, join the ranks of IS in Syria and Iraq, and then go back to their homes and attack targets there. It’s an almost impossible mission for European intelligence agencies to track every Muslim youth who goes to the Middle East and then returns home or to a neighboring country with the goal of murdering “infidels.”

Apart from tracking this flow, Western intelligence agencies have another challenge, no less complex. Islamic State is inspiring many youngsters to carry out attacks without first coming to the Middle East. These potential assailants have not fought with IS or spent time in another Muslim state, but make do with getting hold of weapons in their home countries and going out to commit attacks. Thwarting these kinds of attacks must be a nightmare for the intelligence services.

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Thursday, January 8th, 2015 at 8:58 AM  | Stand For Israel

Winter Storm Descends on Israel

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

As we anticipated earlier this week, a winter storm has descended upon Israel, dumping snow on Jerusalem and shutting down schools and roads. Yediot Achronot reports on the severe winter weather that has arrived in the Holy Land:

Snow and sleet fell in Jerusalem, the Galilee and Golan Heights and rain poured on the center as a much anticipated winter storm reached Israel Thursday, forcing schools and roads to close across the nation, as Israel braced for the looming cold front.

One boy was killed in a car accident Wednesday noon, joining three others killed as a result of the snow throughout the region.

Though more common in recent years, pristine snow-covered roads and mountains are still a rarity in Israel, and, for lack of better infrastructure, still pose a security risk, forcing local authorizes to shut down the roads leading to a number of central spots in the north, namely the roads leading up to Safed and the Golan Heights.

The Fellowship is on the ground, helping Israel’s neediest. Learn how you can help with our ongoing Operation Warmth project.

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Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 at 8:58 AM  | Stand For Israel

12 Killed in Attack on French Newspaper

(Photo: twitter/GuidoFawkes)

(Photo: twitter/GuidoFawkes)

In the latest terrorist assault against the free world, gunmen stormed the offices of a newspaper in Paris today, killing 12 and wounding more. The Times of Israel reports on this horrific attack:

Twelve people were killed when at least three gunmen stormed the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris Wednesday and opened fire on employees with Kalashnikov rifles and RPGs.

The death toll was confirmed by Paris prosecutor’s spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre. A source cited by AFP said there were two police officers among the dead.

The shooters fled the scene, and may have taken a hostage with them, initial French reports said. Luc Poignant, an official of the SBP police union, said the attackers escaped in two vehicles.

The French government raised the security alert in the country to the highest level in the wake of the attack and reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and public transportation …

French President Francois Hollande confirmed that the shooting was a “terror attack without a doubt” and said that his country’s authorities had thwarted several attacks “in recent weeks.” Hollande rushed to the scene and top government officials planned an emergency meeting later Wednesday.

Video images on the website of public broadcaster France Televisions showed two gunmen in black at a crossroads who appeared to fire down one of the streets. A cry of “Allahu akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great”— could be heard among the gunshots.

We pray for the families of those killed, for the recovery of those wounded, and for God’s peace and protection over the world.

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Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 at 8:38 AM  | Stand For Israel

Iran’s Plan to Wreak Havoc on Israel with Missiles

(Photo: Presidential Press and Information Office)

(Photo: Presidential Press and Information Office)

Stand for Israel has stayed on top of the ongoing talks with Iran regarding its nuclear program. The threat of a nuclear Iran – to Israel, and to the free world – is still a very real danger. But writing at The Algemeiner, Dr. Herbert London says that regardless of its nuclear capabilities, Iran still plans to surround the Jewish state with missiles:

The Iranian desire to acquire nuclear weapons involves several political and military scenarios, including the oft repeated desire to “annihilate” the state of Israel. However, Supreme Leader Khamenei has made it clear that even without nuclear weapons, he intends to surround Israel from the north (Hezbollah), the south (Gaza and Hamas), and the east (the West Bank) with an unbroken ring of rocket and missile arsenals.

Since the end of the summer war between Hamas and Israel, Iran has openly supplied advanced missiles to its surrogates in the region without a word of condemnation from the West.

As expressed by Supreme Leader Khamenei during the International Congress on Extremist and Takfiri [apostasy] Orientations, “We have passed through the barrier of denominational discord. We helped Hezbollah (Shia)…in the same way that we helped Sunni groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.” Of course, few things unite disparate Muslims more than hatred of Israel …

With the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region, the rapprochement towards Iran by the Obama Administration, and the strengthening of Iran’s influence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories, Israeli security – to some degree – has been compromised.

Surely Israeli military planners understand the new challenges that have emerged. Terrorist mobilization in the Golan has increased dramatically in the last year. At the moment, Israel is quiescent, but this is likely to be a temporary reprieve from battle.

Each day that passes introduces new complications for Israeli security. Israel won the war against Hamas, and from a tactical point of view, Operation Protective Edge provided information about Hamas’ leadership, and planning and infiltration methods….

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Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 at 8:25 AM  | Stand For Israel

Christian Holocaust Survivor Tells Her Story

(Photo: U.S. Army)

(Photo: U.S. Army)

6 million Jews died during the Holocaust, history’s darkest moment. Yet the Nazi regime persecuted Christians, as well as Jews. Stephen J. Kotz of The Sag Harbor Express tells of one woman whose Christian family in Poland first harbored Jews, before finding themselves refugees and prisoners in concentration camps:

Bozenna Urbanowicz Gilbride, a diminutive woman of 80, wasted little time getting to the point when she was invited to speak about her experience as a survivor of the Holocaust with students at Bridgehampton High School on Thursday. In a 45-minute presentation to a rapt audience, she described a lost childhood …

Ms. Gilbride was the oldest of four children born to a farm family living in Leonowka, a small village in eastern Poland. She was only 5 when World War II broke out.

She told the group of students in teacher John Reilly’s global history classes that her parents hid people in a shed on their farm, and she would bring them food, seeing only the hands that darted out through the barely opened door to quickly take it from her. She would learn after the war that they were Jews, and hiding them was punishable by death.

By 1943, Ukrainians nationalists allied with the Nazis were terrorizing the region, killing Polish families in their homes at night. That summer, Bozenna’s family and their neighbors slept in their fields for safety. In August, her father, fed up, insisted that they return to their own beds. But it turned out to be that very night that their village was invaded by the Ukrainians. The family fled in their night clothes, but met scenes of terror whichever way they turned. Their village was being burned from both ends. “You couldn’t tell the cries of the animals from the people,” she said. “It was chaos, absolute chaos…”

Bozenna learned her first word of German, when the soldiers shouted over and over, “Schnell!” as they loaded the refuges into box cars. After a three-day journey, they arrived in Freiberg, where…

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Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 at 12:32 PM  | Stand For Israel

Warming Bodies,
Warming Hearts

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

Yesterday we reported on The Fellowship’s readiness to help Israel’s poor and elderly during the winter storm anticipated to hit Jerusalem. Today, Fellowship Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein writes that Israel might be able to fend off many threats, but winter is one for which it is unprepared – but that The Fellowship and our faithful supporters are able to reach out and help those who need it most:

This past week in Israel, news reports on Iran, ISIS, and even the upcoming Knesset elections were put on hold. Instead, the impending snowstorms in Jerusalem and other high-altitude locations in Israel have been at the forefront of everyone’s mind. I was listening to the radio with my husband, and as one news report after the next spoke about the dangers of snow in Jerusalem, my husband broke our silence. “Israelis aren’t slowed down by many things. We’re not scared away by terror, war, or threats. But bring us snow, and it will shut this country down.”

He’s right. It does seem a bit comical. But snow in Jerusalem is far from a joke.

Although the ancient stone buildings and streets of the Holy City look magnificent and magical covered in white, the dangers far outweigh the beauty. Simply put, neither the city of Jerusalem nor its people are prepared for snow …

That is why as soon as we learned about the upcoming snowstorms in Jerusalem, The Fellowship created an action plan. We’ve identified the most vulnerable elderly, and during the storms we will bring them heat, blankets, and anything else they need. As we learned from last year’s snowstorm, when thousands of elderly in Jerusalem wouldn’t have had food or heat for days if The Fellowship didn’t bring it directly to them, the most vulnerable elderly are relying on us to respond. They simply have nowhere else to turn to for help.

So as the people of Israel anxiously prepare for the snowstorms, I encourage you to help The Fellowship stock our warehouse…

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Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 at 10:21 AM  | Stand For Israel

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

Rabbi’s Commentary
Terror Returns to the Holy Land — Again

Recently our attention has been focused on brutal terrorist attacks around the world. But with Wednesday’s attack on Israelis aboard a Tel Aviv bus, our focus returns to Israel, where we must continue to defend the society and the values we have taken so long to develop and build.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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