The Rabbi in Wartime

(Photo: wikicommons/ Erich Robert Joli Weber)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Erich Robert Joli Weber)

On Veterans Day, we honor those brave men and women who defended our freedoms, yet we sometimes forget the chaplains who provide much-needed faith, hope, and love in wartime and in peace. Tablet’s Hillel Kuttler brings this extremely moving story of a young man at his lowest while fighting in Vietnam, the U.S. Army chaplain who changed his life, and a reunion of families decades later:

For a half-century, the Vietnam War has taken huge bites of Richard Eisenberg’s soul, plaguing him with memories of battles fought and friends lost. He certainly didn’t want to go. In 1960, he graduated Thomas Jefferson High School and bounced between jobs at banks in Manhattan before reaching Vietnam. “I wasn’t doing a whole lot with my life,” he says now. So, hoping to pre-empt the inevitable draft notice, he enlisted in the Army, took eight weeks of basic training at Fort Dix, N.J., then was off to Fort Gordon, Ga., for another two months to become a military policeman. That, he figured, might keep him stateside.

It didn’t. Eisenberg got to Vietnam in August 1964. He’d return, shattered, the following summer.

Lots of vets have rituals to help ease the painful memories: regular visits to the memorial in Washington, drinking sessions with VFW or American Legion buddies. Eisenberg’s ritual is different. He says Kaddish for a fallen friend—one who died not by a bullet but of a heart attack, a military chaplain whom he met just four times …

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Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 at 10:56 AM  | Stand for Israel

U.S. Veteran Helped Get IAF off the Ground

(Photo: wikicommons)

(Photo: wikicommons)

Today we celebrate Veterans Day in the United States. We salute all of the brave men and women of who have fought for our freedoms and defended us against our enemies for more than two centuries.

Recently, Rabbi Eckstein wrote about a new documentary – Above and Beyondthat tells the story of volunteer airmen who went to the newly independent Jewish state in 1948 to help fight off the Arab attack that followed Israel’s declaration of independence. These pilots not only turned the tide of the war in Israel’s favor, they laid the groundwork for today’s Israeli Air Force.

Today, we would like to tell you about one of these men, an American veteran of World War II and a Jewish-American who stood for Israel.

Milton Rubenfeld was born in 1919 into a Jewish family in New York. While he attended college and teaching aerobatics, World War II broke out. The United States, however, was not yet involved in the conflict. Eager to fly combat missions, Rubenfeld joined the Royal Air Force and flew with England. Once the U.S. declared war on Germany, he signed on with the U.S. Army Air Force.

After World War II ended, Rubenfeld – a seasoned veteran of combat – was asked by the Haganah (the predecessor to the modern-day IDF) if he would volunteer to fly for the new state of Israel. Rubenfeld agreed.

This was 1948 – when the American and Russian superpowers had already entered the jet age. But the only fighter plane Israel could procure was the Avia S-199. The S-199 was a Czech-built variant of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the Nazi fighter plane flown by the Luftwaffe. Not only was this aircraft a symbol of the enemy that had hoped to wipe the Jewish people from the earth, it was also seriously outdated and notoriously difficult to fly.

Five volunteer pilots – Milton Rubenfeld and four other men who had combat flying experience – and four of these S-199 aircraft were all that made…

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Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 at 8:05 AM  | Stand for Israel

Arafat Ten Years Later: A Curse to the Palestinians

(Photo: wikicommons/ Hans Jørn Storgaard Andersen)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Hans Jørn Storgaard Andersen)

Ten years ago today – November 11, 2004 – saw the death of Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat. As chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), president of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), and leader of Fatah, Arafat spent his life dedicated to the destruction of Israel and her people. While he claimed to hold the interests of the Palestinian people in high regard, former U.S. national security advisor Elliott Abrams writes that Arafat was actually a curse to Palestinians:

[C]harismatic to be sure, but also violent, corrupt, destructive leadership that created the political mess in which Palestinians live today. When he had a great chance for peace, a chance to create a Palestinian state at Camp David in 2000, he said no. He had a historic opportunity then–remember, the foreign “leader” with the greatest number of visits to Bill Clinton’s White House was Arafat–but he kicked it away rather than seizing it. The defense of Arafat is that Palestinians were not really prepared for him to say yes, and not prepared for the concessions peace would require. I agree–but whose fault was that? Arafat’s.

The point is not that every problem facing Palestinians is his responsibility, any more than every benefit Emiratis have can be attributed to Sheik Zayed. But leadership matters enormously, and Arafat’s was a plague for Palestinians–and all their neighbors. Under him the PLO was an ingredient in widespread violence in both Jordan and Lebanon. After the Israeli victory in 1967, civic life began to grow in the West Bank and Gaza. Roughly 700 NGOs were formed, the economy grew, and a far better future seemed possible. But after Arafat returned to rule in 1994, he crushed that civic life, made a mockery of the new Palestinian legislature that had been formed, and substituted a corrupt dictatorship. Theft of aid funds was constant and totaled around a billion dollars. Arafat created 13 “security” forces that he manipulated to assure his total control, and most were also involved…

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Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 at 8:05 AM  | Stand for Israel

Update: IDF Soldier Stabbed in Terror Attack Dies from His Wounds

(Photo: flickr/israluv)

(Photo: flickr/israluv)

Earlier today we told you about the IDF soldier who was stabbed in a Tel Aviv terror attack – as well as the young woman who was killed in a similar West Bank terror stabbing. Now we must report that the soldier, 20-year-old Almog Shiloni, has died from his injuries:

An Israel Defense Forces soldier stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist at a Tel Aviv train station died of his wounds Monday night after doctors spent hours trying to save his life.

Almog Shiloni, 20, of Modiin, died of multiple wounds to his stomach and chest, an official from the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital said.

“After resuscitation efforts that began in the field and continued for hours in the hospital, the stabbing victim who arrived at the hospital earlier today was declared dead,” a spokesperson announced.

When Shiloni was first brought into the hospital following the attack he had no pulse, although doctors were able to restart his heart.

Shiloni was critically wounded after being stabbed multiple times in a terror attack at Tel Aviv’s Hahagana train station on Monday afternoon.

His death marks the second fatality in separate terror incidents Monday. After the Tel Aviv attack, a 26-year-old woman was stabbed to death at a bus stop outside the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, south of Jerusalem.

Shiloni’s family was by his bedside throughout the day as doctors worked to stabilize his condition …

Please pray for God’s comfort for the families of both victims of these attacks, as well as His protection over all of Israel.

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Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 3:18 PM  | Stand for Israel

Israeli Woman Joins Kurds in Fight Against ISIS

(Photo: flickr/ strassenstriche)

(Photo: flickr/ strassenstriche)

While the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) has spread across the Middle East, reports of its hold on young people from Europe and even the United States has been troubling. But today The Times of Israel reports that an Israeli-Canadian woman has joined the ranks of those heading off to fight against ISIS:

An Israeli citizen has joined up with Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State jihadi group in northern Syria.

Israel Radio reported that the woman, a 31-year-old born in Canada, made contact with the YPG group, the People’s Protection Units in Syrian Kurdistan, via the internet.

She set out from her home in Tel Aviv on November 2, stopping in Amman before flying to Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The woman’s name was withheld by Israel Radio.

On Sunday, she posted to her Facebook page that she was in Nusaybin, Turkey, and was beginning her training in the mountains on the border with Syria the same day.

She told Israel Radio that she wanted to do her part for the Kurdish national struggle, and that she was hopeful her experience in the Israel Defense Forces would be useful to the Kurds.

According to her Facebook page, the woman served in the IDF’s Home Front Command.

The woman has posted pictures of herself in mountains of Iraq and Syrian Kurdistan.

“In the IDF, we say Aharai – After Me. Let’s show ISIS what that means,” she wrote, using an alternate acronym for Islamic State.

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Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 12:29 PM  | Stand for Israel

239th Birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps

(Photo: U.S. DoD)

(Photo: U.S. DoD)

Earlier this year, a retired United States Marine was attacked in Washington, D.C., for his pro-Israel stance. Many of those who stand for Israel have served in the fight for freedom – either with the American armed forces, or with Israel’s – and this Marine was no different.

Today marks the 239th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps. recounts the beginning of this long line of brave warriors who have defended our freedoms:

Semper Fi.

Today is the 239th anniversary of the founding in Philadelphia of the U.S. Marines Corps.

Tradition holds that the corps’ birthplace was the Tun Tavern, then located at Water Street and Tun Alley, where the first marines enlisted.

The tavern burned down in 1781. A historic marker at Sansom Walk and South Front Streets says the tavern stood nearby.

Current and former marines are expected to gather at Cookies Tavern, 10th Street and Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia, to raise a glass or two in honor of the corps.

The birthday went little noticed until 1921 when Marince Commandant John A. Lejeune issued Order 47, Series 1921) which says:

The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10th of November of every year. Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name “Marine.” In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.


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Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 10:51 AM  | Stand for Israel

New Documentary on the Lives of IDF Soldiers

This new documentary follows five diverse Israeli soldiers during their first year of service, a fascinating look at the Israel Defense Forces – and an attempt by the filmmakers to offer a more accurate and positive public impression of the Israeli military. The film is being screened on more than 100 college campuses across the U.S. Wish we could see it too!

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Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 10:05 AM  | Stand for Israel

Breaking News: Young Woman Killed in West Bank Terror Attack

(Photo: flickr/ Neal Ungerleider)

(Photo: flickr/ Neal Ungerleider)

Already today, an IDF soldier was stabbed by a terrorist in Tel Aviv, leaving the soldier in critical condition. Now The Times of Israel reports that another stabbing has occurred – this time in the West Bank – leaving a young woman dead and two others wounded:

A young woman was killed and two people were injured in a stabbing attack at the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut Monday afternoon, in the second terrorist attack of its kind in a day.

Police said the attack occurred at a bus stop at the entrance to the settlement around 4:45 p.m., in the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem.

The victim was stabbed in her neck, and declared dead at the site. Magen David Adom gave her age as 24 years old.

A 26-year-old man suffered light-moderate injuries, and a man in his 50s was lightly hurt in his face.

The stabber was shot by a guard on duty at the site, police said. Initial reports indicated he was killed, but later reports dispelled that claim. Magen David Adom said he was in serious condition.

According to Channel 10, Hamas Radio gave the terrorist’s name as Maher Hamdi al-Hashalmoun from Hebron.

Hashalmoun, affiliated with Islamic Jihad, spent four and a half years in Israeli custody, and was released five years ago.

Reports indicated that the terrorist first tried to ram into the three people waiting at the stop with his Subaru minivan. When he failed to run them over, he left his car and attacked them with a knife.

Alon Shvut is several kilometers from the spot where soldiers were run over by a van driven by a Palestinian last week. It is also next to the hitchhiking station where three Israeli teens were kidnapped before being murdered in June.

The attack came hours after a soldier was stabbed in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian man in what officials said was a terror attack.

The soldier was in critical condition Monday afternoon.

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Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 9:24 AM  | Stand for Israel

IDF Soldier Stabbed in Tel Aviv Terror Attack

(Photo: twitter)

(Photo: twitter)

Last week saw more terror attacks against Israel, and this week has begun with yet another. The Times of Israel reports that an IDF soldier was stabbed today in Tel Aviv, the victim of a train station terrorist attack:

An IDF soldier, about 20 years of age, was critically wounded after being stabbed multiple times in a terror attack at Tel Aviv’s Hahagana train station on Monday afternoon.

Police confirmed the attack was a politically motivated terrorist attack.

A 50-year-old man who confronted the terrorist was lightly injured in the scuffle, and received medical treatment at the scene, Channel 2 reported.

The attacker was in police custody, Israel Radio reported. Initial reports identified the suspect as an 18-year-old Palestinian man from Nablus who had illegally entered Israeli territory. Channel 2 named the stabber as Nur al-Din Abu Hashiyeh …

An eyewitness to the attack said the victim was wearing an air force uniform.

Senior Israel Police official Shahar Hamdi asked the public to be alert and report any Palestinians residing illegally in Israel to the authorities.

The terrorist tried unsuccessfully to grab the soldier’s gun after stabbing him repeatedly in the leg, Israel Radio reported.

Eyewitnesses identified the attacker as wearing a red shirt and jeans, and said he fled west in the direction of the Tel Aviv central bus station. Police arrested the man, who hid on the fourth floor of a building near the scene of the crime, Israel Radio reported.

Zaki Heller, the spokesman for Magen David Adom, said the victim was unconscious and was found by paramedics without a pulse, and received first aid at the scene.

The victim was later transferred to Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer, and was undergoing surgery.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch arrived at the scene of the incident shortly afterwards.

Hamas welcomed but did not take responsibility for the stabbing attack, Channel 10 reported. The terror group encouraged Palestinians to continue targeting Israelis.

A picture of the suspect holding a Hamas flag…

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Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 8:37 AM  | Stand for Israel

Palestinians’ Car Intifada and Obama’s Peace Process

(Photo: U.S. Department of State)

(Photo: U.S. Department of State)

Last week’s continuation of terrorist attacks using motor vehicles have been labeled as a “car intifada.” The ever-insightful Khaled Abu Toameh writes that the “car intifada” is a very real thing – one being embraced by many Palestinians – and that those who doubt it need only see how Palestinian leadership is inciting its people:

The “car intifada,” which has claimed the lives of four Israelis, including a three-month-old infant, is being hailed by many Palestinians as a “natural response to Israeli crimes.”

The “crimes” they are referring to are visits by Jewish groups and individuals to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority [PA], Hamas and Islamic Jihad are using these visits to stir up Palestinians against Israel. The recent terror attacks in Jerusalem are the direct result of this campaign of incitement.

The widow of Ibrahim Akkari, the 48-year-old Palestinian who drove his car into a group of Israelis in Jerusalem on November 5, said that her husband was influenced by TV scenes of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli policemen at the Temple Mount.

The widow, Amira, said that her husband carried out the attack in retaliation against Israeli “assaults” on the Aqsa Mosque. “He was martyred for the sake of the Aqsa Mosque,” she said.

Recent statements by PA President Mahmoud Abbas may also have convinced Akkari to go out and run over Israelis. Two weeks before the attack, Abbas called on Palestinians to “use all means” to protect the Aqsa Mosque.

“It is not enough to say the settlers came (to the Temple Mount), but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa, and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it,” Abbas told Fatah activists during a meeting in his Ramallah office.

As if not enough, Abbas indirectly encouraged Palestinians to resort to violence against Israel by praising the Palestinian who shot and severely wounded activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick in Jerusalem on…

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Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 8:25 AM  | Stand for Israel

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

Rabbi's Commentary
What a Blessing

One of the things I give thanks for every day is the continued and faithful support for Israel and the Jewish people shown by you, The Fellowship’s friends and supporters. I want to share with you just a few words of thanks from those you have helped, so you can see what a blessing you are for each one of them.

Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »


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