US Intel Report Removes Iran and Hezbollah as Terror Threats

(Photo: wikicommons/ Alborzagros)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Alborzagros)

As the United States continues talks with Iran regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, a troubling bit of news has been reported by The Times of Israel. A new U.S. intelligence report has removed both Iran and Hezbollah from the list of terror threats:

An annual report delivered recently to the US Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats, after years in which they featured in similar reports.

The unclassified version of the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Communities, dated February 26, 2015 (PDF), noted Iran’s efforts to combat Sunni extremists, including those of the ultra-radical Islamic State group, who were perceived to constitute the preeminent terrorist threat to American interests worldwide …

The report said that it was unclear whether or not Iran would eventually decide to build nuclear weapons, but noted that should the Iranian government decide to pursue such a course, it would face no “insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon.” It lingered on Iran’s pursuit of intercontinental ballistic missile technology as a likely delivery system for a nuclear weapon, and delineated Iranian threats in the realms of counterintelligence and cyber warfare.

According to one Israeli think tank, the removal of Iran and its proxy Hezbollah from the list of terror threats, where they featured in previous years, was directly linked to the campaign against the Islamic State …

Israel, as well as Sunni allies of the US, has often warned that Iran, through Hezbollah and other proxies, has been sowing instability in the region …

Iran has made bellicose statements toward Israel, threatening to destroy the Jewish state, often citing Israeli talk of attacking its nuclear facilities, which it maintains are for peaceful purposes.

Hezbollah, which is based to Israel’s north in Lebanon and the Syrian Golan Heights, has largely refrained from attacking Israeli targets since the bloody Second Lebanon War of 2006, although there have been skirmishes along the border.

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Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 at 8:53 AM  | Stand for Israel

Israelis Prepare to Vote, Palestinians Prepare to Fight

(Photo: flickr/ crazymaq)

(Photo: flickr/ crazymaq)

With elections underway in Israel, for many today is a day of hope and promise. Not so for many Palestinians, says Gatestone Institute’s Khaled Abu Toameh. He writes that for them elections are not about who leads Israel, but instead are about removing Israel from the map:

As Israeli voters head to the ballot boxes to elect their new representatives, Palestinians say they are preparing for another war with Israel.

The preparations came even as US Secretary of State John Kerry and some Israeli candidates, especially Zionist Camp leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, continue to talk about the need to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after the election.

For some Palestinians, the election is not about removing Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu from power. Rather, it is about removing Israel from the face of the earth and replacing it with an Islamist empire.

The next Israeli government will face a two-pronged attack on the Palestinian front — one from the Gaza Strip, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad say they have just completed preparations for the next conflict with Israel, and another from the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority (PA) says it is determined to pursue its “diplomatic war” against Israel in the international arena.

On the eve of the election, Kerry expressed hope that Israelis will elect a government that “meets the hope for peace.”

Kerry’s statement about the revival of the peace process shows that he remains oblivious to the reality in the Middle East, particularly with regards to the Palestinians.

Kerry is ignoring the fact that the Palestinians are today divided into two camps; one that wants to destroy Israel through terrorism and jihad, and another that is working hard to delegitimize and isolate Israel in the international community with the hope of forcing it to its knees.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to scoff at Kerry’s talk about the resumption of the peace process. The two groups, which control the 1.7 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, actually have other plans for the post-election…

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Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 at 8:38 AM  | Stand for Israel

Car Attack Terrorist Bought an Axe, Hunted Jewish Victims

(Photo: twitter/MickyRosenfeld)

(Photo: twitter/MickyRosenfeld)

Details were released Monday about Mohammed Salaimeh, a 22-year-old Arab resident of the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of Jerusalem. Salaimeh was the terrorist behind the car terror attack on female Border Patrol officers in Jerusalem 10 days ago:

On March 6 at 9:50 a.m., Salaimeh drove in his car on Highway 1 in Jerusalem heading southwards, according to the indictment list. When he arrived at the Border Patrol headquarters in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood, he saw the officers standing in a crosswalk, at which point he backed up, slammed on the gas and ran over the officers together with a bicyclist.

A Border Patrol officer who was manning the base’s entrance at the time of the attack together with another security guard saw the attack and opened fire at Salaimeh, damaging his car and bringing it to a halt.

Salaimeh then exited the vehicle while holding an axe in his hand, at which point the officer and security guard again fired at him, wounding the terrorist.

A total of six Border Patrol officers were wounded at different levels of severity due to the attack, along with the bicyclist who happened to be on the scene.

Under investigation the terrorist admitted to conducting the attack, adding that during the week prior to it he was planning an attack against Jews, and went to the Old City where he bought an axe which he stored in his car.

A day before the attack Salaimeh finalized his intentions to attack, and at 8 a.m. on the morning of the attack he left his house, driving around looking for Jewish victims.

First Salaimeh drove on Highway 1, from which he transferred to Begin Highway before returning to Highway 1. When he arrived at the base, he saw the officers and decided to attack them.

On Monday morning Salaimeh’s detainment was extended, after the prosecutor clarified she intends to submit an indictment against him.

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Monday, March 16th, 2015 at 9:40 AM  | Stand for Israel

Resisting the Pressure

U.S. President Barack Obama with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud AbbasThere are increasing indications that Western powers will seek to renew Israeli-Palestinian negotiations right after the Israeli elections on March 17. Dore Gold writes at The Algemeiner that no matter how the elections turn out, Israel’s government must stand firm in resisting the pressure to agree to a dangerous deal:

Whatever government Israel elects on March 17 will have to be firm in resisting the pressures that are likely to mount. The most immediate demand to be made is that Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders, with “limited” land swaps, as the U.N. draft resolution [from December 2014] recommended. In past interviews, such as the one he gave to The New York Times on Feb. 7, 2011, [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas clarified that his idea of a “limited land swap” involved 1.9 percent of the West Bank. This miniscule land swap in no way could offset the huge concession he was demanding of Israel — to agree to the 1967 borders.

This land swap would not provide enough territory to protect Israeli settlement blocs. Leaks to Al Jazeera of past negotiations under Olmert indicate that the Palestinians refused to concede the large settlements of Ariel and Maale Adumim. In short, Abbas’ land swaps would leave thousands of Israelis on territory that the Palestinians expect to be theirs. The concept of 1967 borders with land swaps is a non-starter.

The pressure on Israel to agree to a nearly full withdrawal on the basis of the 1967 lines also directly impacts Israel’s security — yet another reason for any Israeli government to resist such a demand. Ironically, just as this pressure can be expected to increase, the current chaos in the Middle East makes such a withdrawal more dangerous than ever. The vacuum created by the breakdown of several Arab states, like Syria and Iraq, has allowed for the growth of a new breed of terrorist organizations, like Islamic State, that are far more challenging than the…

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Monday, March 16th, 2015 at 9:23 AM  | Stand for Israel

Photo Friday: Sun and Moon Stood Still in the Heavens

(Photo: flickr/Yosef Silver)

(Photo: flickr/Yosef Silver)

Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
    at the glint of your flying arrows,
    at the lightning of your flashing spear …
You came out to deliver your people,
    to save your anointed one. (Habukkuk 3:11-13)

The moon stands tall in the heavens over a Jerusalem cemetery, as an IDF soldier stands guard. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, March 13th, 2015 at 12:35 PM  | Stand For Israel

19 Under 19: Young Israelis to Watch

(Photo: flickr/RonAlmog)

(Photo: flickr/RonAlmog)

We here at Stand for Israel love the many areas in which Israel leads the way – technology, the arts, academia, etc. And with the amazing young people the Jewish state is turning out, it looks like such excellence is here to stay. Our friends at Israel21c have compiled a list of some of the amazing and accomplished young Israelis making a difference in various fields. Here are a few of them:

Avital Boruchovsky, 17, became the 2014 European Youth U18 Chess Champion after winning a four-hour game against a Spanish opponent last October. The 12th-grader from Rehovot won both the 2012 European Individual Chess Championship and the 2013 European Club Cup, and was crowned the youngest Israeli Grand Master in January 2014. He plays four hours a day at the Kfar Saba Chess Club.

Maya Fishman, 16, is a first-year medical student in Tsameret, the Elite Military Medicine Track at the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine in Jerusalem. She is set to become Israel’s youngest doctor when she graduates at 22 and enters active service. Maya aced her college-entrance exams at 14 and won a competition for exceptional Bible students at Bar-Ilan University.

Yulia Gordichuk, 16, is a Paralympic swimmer with a prosthetic leg. A panel at the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports chose her “Most Promising Young Athlete” for 2014, calling her an outstanding example of an accomplished athlete with a disability. Yulia placed fourth in the 400-meter freestyle in this year’s European Championships in the Netherlands, assuring her a spot on Israel’s Paralympic squad.

Ido Shkuri, 17, is an MVP guard on Israel’s national basketball wheelchair team for athletes under 22. Ido was an avid soccer and tennis player until four years ago, when surgery to remove a tumor in his pelvis left him unable to walk without crutches. His talent for wheelchair basketball was discovered at the ILAN Foundation for Handicapped Children’s Ramat Gan sports facility. In September 2014, he was part of Israel’s first delegation to the European…

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Friday, March 13th, 2015 at 11:02 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas’ Twitter Campaign Is Mocked Before It Even Starts

(Photo: flickr/ hughes_leglise)

(Photo: flickr/ hughes_leglise)

Desperate to use any ploy or manner of technology to gain favor in the eyes of the world, yesterday Hamas announced that it will begin a social media campaign on Twitter. The terrorist group’s plan has already backfired. The Washington Post reports on the extremely negative backlash the #AskHamas hashtag operation has already received:

According to a number of reports, the media wing of Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, announced a social media operation aimed at Europeans on Thursday. One feature: The group would set up an English-language Twitter account (@HamasInfoEn) and allow senior members of the group to take questions via the hashtag #AskHamas.

What could possibly go wrong?

A lot, obviously. According to social media analytic company Topsy, there have already been over 3,000 tweets with the hashtag #AskHamas in the last three hours and almost all appear to be negative. Incredibly, the campaign isn’t even due to begin until Friday.

Right now, #AskHamas is going so terribly that you have to wonder if someone was seeking to discredit Hamas. However, the campaign appeared to have been retweeted by Hamas’ Arabic language account and some high-profile members of Hamas, as well as featured in a number of Palestinian news outlets. There have been no denials issued from Hamas at the time of writing.

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Friday, March 13th, 2015 at 8:38 AM  | Stand For Israel

Partnering with the Christian Community for Israel

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

It is because of The Fellowship’s faithful Christian friends that we are able to help the neediest Jewish people – the elderly, children, families – in Israel, the former Soviet Union, and elsewhere around the world. Writing at The Jerusalem Post, Fellowship Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein talks of her appreciation for this partnership and says that this friendship blesses both Christians and Jews:

There is a phrase I have been hearing more often lately, one that agitates me to no end. It makes me feel like so many of my people are being foolish and blind about the fate of our nation, which has been friendless for thousands of years and has only recently acquired a deep and respectful friendship with a group of people we used to consider “the other.”

Let me set the scene for you.

I receive a phone call from the executive of a large non-profit organization or company in Israel saying they need to meet with me about an urgent issue. I clear my schedule and arrive at the meeting. With a big smile, the executive opens our meeting with a line that goes something like this: “For years, I’ve been reluctant to receive money from Christian Zionists, but now we’re in a very difficult situation, so we have decided to accept money from The Fellowship.”

Astonished and angered, I try to keep my feelings to myself. But now, it’s time to speak out. It’s time for me to raise my voice, before it is too late.

For more than 30 years, my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, has dedicated his life to building bridges between the Jewish and Christian communities. “The Jewish people have never been large in number,” he recently told me.

“To have hundreds of millions of Christian friends support us financially, politically and with prayer puts Israel in a stronger position than we ever could have dreamed of.”

And, indeed, in the past 30 years that friendship has only grown. Today, the Christian community is one of the most…

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Friday, March 13th, 2015 at 8:25 AM  | Stand For Israel

ISIS Video Shows Child Executing Israeli Prisoner

iitnISIS’ shocking brutality reached a new level this week when it released a video showing a young boy, possibly 10 or 12 years old, shooting a man who the terrorist group claim was a captured Israeli spy. Israeli sources have not confirmed if the footage was authentic.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• Israelis go to the polls next Tuesday, March 17, with incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holding a slim lead over challenger Isaac Herzog.
• Following Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech warning Congress of making a “bad deal” with Iran, a group of U.S. Congressmen have sent an “open letter” to Iranian leaders, saying any nuclear deal that Congress doesn’t approve will not be accepted.
• Last weekend, a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into a crowd of pedestrians in Jerusalem, injuring five. The attack is the latest in a string of vehicular terror attacks which began last year.
• This week, Hamas said it intends to continue kidnapping IDF soldiers as part of its overall military strategy.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Ami Farkas with thoughts on the upcoming Israeli election.

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Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 5:00 PM  | Stand for Israel

Jewish Teens Attacked in France

(Photo: wikicommons/Tiia Monto)

(Photo: wikicommons/Tiia Monto)

Earlier this year, the terrorist attacks at a Paris newspaper and Jewish kosher deli highlighted the problem of Islamist extremism Europe is facing. More specifically, France – and the entirety of Europe – has become a dangerous place for the Jews who live there. This anti-Semitic violence was demonstrated again today, The Times of Israel reports, as two Jewish teens were attacked after leaving their French synagogue:

Two Jewish teens in France were robbed and beaten after leaving their Marseille synagogue …

According to the victims, the assailants said, “Dirty Jews, we will exterminate all of you,” before they were robbed and beaten. The Jewish teens required medical attention …

“Jewish citizens have become increasingly vulnerable targets,” the BNVCA said in a statement. “This gives rise to insecurity, despite the significant steps taken by the government to try to protect its Jewish citizens, and their places of worship.”

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Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 3:55 PM  | Stand For Israel

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

Rabbi’s Commentary
A Beacon of Freedom in a Sea of Oppression

Last week, a United Nations’ commission singled out Israel as the world’s worst violator of women’s rights – ignoring the Jewish state’s offering of full freedom to women…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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