Responding to Terror

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

You have to hand it to the Palestinians – they sure can turn almost anything into a weapon of terror. And so begins a new phase in the terrorist war against Israel – one in which motor vehicles are the weapon of choice. Following the second vehicular terror attack in Jerusalem in two weeks, Palestinians starting posting cartoons of vehicles portrayed as rockets online and have termed the latest round of attacks against Jews the “Car Intifada.”

A dear friend of mine received a call on Wednesday. Her husband was on his way home in Jerusalem, when a car driven by a Palestinian terrorist rammed into his rear bumper. This is the second time in less than two weeks that someone I know has been a target of a terror attack.

Without a doubt, we are in the middle of a Third Intifada. Our enemy is rising up once again, this time disguised in civilian clothing. In the Second Intifada, Palestinian suicide bombers strapped bomb belts around their waists. Operation Defensive Shield put an end to that particular weapon of choice, but not to Palestinian terror. And now the Palestinians have found a new way to disrupt Israeli life and terrorize its civilian population.

A chorus of voices, especially from the West, lays blame on the latest violence on Israel, and its supposed obstructions to peace. Some argue that Israeli construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank has sown the seeds of discord. But these views do nothing more than whitewash Palestinian terror and justify violence against Jews as an expectable form of “resistance.”

Israel’s only defense against these enemies is land. Cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv need the security of a buffer zone.  The major settlements – which Israel has stated it will never relinquish – in and around Jerusalem, and on the outskirts of central Israel, are essential to the Jewish state’s survival. And since Israel faces violence and international condemnation no matter what policy it follows, it makes the most sense to…

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Friday, November 7th, 2014 at 9:43 AM  | Stand For Israel

Netanyahu: “They Try to Rewrite History”

(Photo: twitter/IsraeliPM)

(Photo: twitter/IsraeliPM)

Earlier this week, at a memorial for Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an impassioned speech for these difficult times, saying that the Jewish state’s hateful enemies are trying to rewrite history, but that Jerusalem was, is, and always will be the unified Holy City for the people of Israel:

The murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is a low point in the history of our people, a despicable and contemptible act that threatened to drag us into the depths of self-destruction. It is a personal tragedy for a special individual; it is a family tragedy; and it is a national tragedy. It is also a danger to Israeli democracy, and we must remain vigilant at all times.

Disagreements and differences of opinion, even when substantial and sharp, have and will always exist. There is no democracy without real debate, which can be fiery and profound at times, but under one condition: That the boundaries of the argument are maintained, that freedom of expression is not abused and that no one ever rises against their fellows to kill them. Even with disagreement, and I would say especially when there is disagreement, the unity of the people around fundamental ideas – this unity is an unparalleled asset. We witnessed unity this past summer during the days of fighting against our enemies. We saw how important it is and how much strength it gives us, and we need that same unity now in order to confront challenges both domestic and foreign with determination and success.

If there is one idea around which we have all united for hundreds and thousands of years, it is Jerusalem. Jerusalem is different than most world capitals: It is not just a capital city, it is our heart and soul and it is the foundation for our existence as a sovereign nation. Ten days before his murder, at an event marking 3,000 years of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin said, “In Israel there is…

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Friday, November 7th, 2014 at 9:03 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel Went to “Extraordinary Lengths” to Save Lives in Gaza

(Photo: Secretary of Defense)

(Photo: Secretary of Defense)

While the international media has blasted Israel for Operation Protective Edge, the United States’ highest ranking military officer has spoken out in defense of the Jewish state’s actions during the conflict. Haaretz reports that General Martin Dempsey said Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to protect innocents in Gaza, and that the U.S. is learning from Israel how to limit civilian casualties:

The highest-ranking U.S. military officer said on Thursday that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in the recent war in Gaza and that the Pentagon had sent a team to see what lessons could be learned from the operation.

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged recent reports criticizing civilian deaths during the 50-day Gaza war this year but told an audience in New York he thought the Israel Defense Forces “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.

Israel was criticized for civilian deaths during the conflict, including by the White House. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed during the fighting, most of them civilians and many of them children, according to UN and Palestinian figures.

A Human Rights Watch report in September accused Israel of committing war crimes by attacking three UN-run schools in the enclave, while Amnesty International said in a report released on Wednesday that Israel showed “callous indifference” to the carnage caused by attacks on civilian targets.

Dempsey was asked about the ethical implications of Israel’s handling of the Gaza war, during an appearance in New York at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group.

“In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he added.

Dempsey said Hamas had turned Gaza into “very nearly a subterranean society” with tunneling throughout the coastal enclave.

“That caused the IDF some significant challenges. But…

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Friday, November 7th, 2014 at 8:41 AM  | Stand For Israel

1 Killed in Hamas Terrorist “Car Attacks”

iitnAn Israeli police officer was killed this week in the second of a series of Hamas terrorist “car attacks” in Jerusalem. A third attack in which a car slammed into several IDF soldiers on the West Bank is under investigation as to whether it was actually an accident.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• An assassination attempt on Israeli activist Yehuda Glick last week has sparked numerous protests on the West Bank and the Temple Mount. Glick is calling for Temple Mount access for Jews.
• After Israeli police shot and killed the suspect in the Glick assassination attempt, Palestinian protestors clashed with police over the Temple Mount access issue throughout the week.
• In the aftermath of reports on deteriorating relations between Israel and the U.S., Obama administration officials insisted this week that the relationship is strong.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Ami Farkas on why young Palestinian men may find a life of terrorism attractive.

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Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 5:00 PM  | Stand for Israel

The Faith of a Child

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

Shalom,

Sometimes it takes an innocent child and their open, trusting ways to really demonstrate the beauty of simple faith. Children can be so much more in tune to truth and holiness than adults. I was reminded of this lesson this past week when I read my child a story of what might be the bones of biblical giants unearthed in northern Israel. “See,” my 5-year-old son replied. “I told you they really exist.”

My husband and I shower our children with biblical stories. We go through the awesome tales of creation in Genesis, the Temple services in the book of Exodus, and the fundamental inspiring lessons that we learn from our forefathers throughout the Bible. Our goal with our children is to have biblical stories delicately interwoven within the stories of their own lives; we want the biblical values of faith, kindness, and worship to be an intrinsic part of their upbringing.

Yet, it’s not always easy.

How to compete with the modern world, a world void of spirituality and faith, is a question that my husband and I often ponder. How do we make ancient Bible stories more exciting and appealing to our kids than the nonsense that they see on television, billboards, and in magazines?

Because we are lucky enough to live in the Holy Land, we try to make the stories in the Bible come alive – both for ourselves and for our children – by visiting biblical sites. Together as a family, we have toured the ancient ruins of Tiberius and heard of the miraculous stories that took place at that very spot, we have stood at the Western Wall and learned about the ancient Temple sacrifices, and we have hiked the Judean Desert where so much of our people’s history took place.

But what really lights up my son’s soul are the biblical stories of giants. When my precious boy was just 2 years old and I told him the heroic story of David defeating Goliath, he put…

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Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 4:37 PM  | Stand For Israel

Throwing Stones

(Photo: flickr/ rustystewart)

(Photo: flickr/ rustystewart)

A close friend asked to borrow my car the other night. His vehicle was in the shop with a smashed windshield after a group of Palestinians bombarded it with stones as he was driving home down a windy road in northern Samaria – just a 20-minute drive from our neighborhood – after having led a Bible class. Though a flurry of stones crashed through his windshield he was not hurt, and in synagogue this Sabbath he thanked God for saving him from injury, or worse.

These stone-throwing incidents are occurring more frequently and are extremely dangerous. Another friend of mine lost his eye when he was hit by a stone while driving, and other less fortunate victims of such attacks have lost their lives. The situation in Israel is heated, as the Palestinian population raises the stakes each day with more attacks against Jews. And while the international community points its finger at Israel, blaming Israeli construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank for causing the heightened violence, it is this finger pointing that continues to enflame the conflict.

We hear constant rebuke aimed at the Israeli government, particularly toward Prime Minister Netanyahu. Israel is unanimously viewed as acting against peace and with ill intentions, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who praises terrorists and has been consistent in his effort to derail peace talks, is touted as a man of peace, someone Israel should trust and offer countless concessions to. In such a climate, where Israel is blamed for every Palestinian act of violence, it is no wonder that young Palestinian men find the life of terrorism so attractive.

In this climate, radical Palestinian terrorists have a green light to pursue terrorism, to attack Jews, to throw stones, confident that Israel will be blamed for any deterioration.

- Ami Farkas

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Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 12:23 PM  | Stand For Israel

Suicide Terrorism Returns to Jerusalem

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

Yesterday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem that left a police officer dead and many others injured was carried out by a member of Hamas – just like the vehicle attack in late October. The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff writes that these brutal attacks on the Holy City are being encouraged by the terrorist group’s leadership in Gaza:

The attacks of recent weeks have marked the return of the suicide terrorists. There are differences this time. These are not attackers wearing belts laden with explosives or driving cars carrying bombs. They are “merely” using their cars and tractors as weapons. And they are overwhelmingly concentrated in Jerusalem.

Another difference is that the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada were orchestrated in large part by a Hamas terror infrastructure. This time, it appears that general instructions from the Hamas leadership, without an organized military infrastructure, are sufficient to prompt a wave of attacks, and again to destroy Jerusalemites’ sense of security.

Israel’s security forces tried often during the Second Intifada to put together a profile of the “typical” suicide bomber, the better to thwart the attacks. And they couldn’t. Sometimes the bombers were young males. Sometimes they were youths. Sometimes they were married women, sometimes divorcees, sometimes widows. In short, there was no typical bomber. The notion that suicide bombings were overwhelmingly the work of young, single, impoverished men was disproved time and again.

The same is true now, as well. It is hard to point to common denominators among the perpetrators of the recent attacks, including the attempted assassination last Wednesday night of Yehudah Glick, except, that is, that they identify with Islamist organizations, especially Hamas.

Wednesday’s terrorist on Route One in Jerusalem, Ibrahim al-Akary, was a 48-year-old father of five, from a family closely identified with Hamas. Not your “typical” terrorist. Last Wednesday’s would-be assassin Mu’taz Hijazi was much younger, as were the perpetrators of the two previous attacks in which Jerusalem pedestrians were targeted by suicide drivers, in August and October.

What is common to…

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Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 8:49 AM  | Stand For Israel

Terror Groups: “Car Intifada” Is Here

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

With two terror attacks having occurred in Jerusalem in less than two weeks, it would seem that Israel’s enemies have adopted a new tactic. Arutz Sheva’s Moshe Cohen writes that both Hamas and Fatah are urging their followers to use vehicles as weapons of terror against Israel and her people:

After the second attack in as many weeks by Arab terrorists against Israelis using cars, Hamas websites are glorifying the new “car intifada,” with vehicles now replacing rockets as the weapon of choice against Israelis.

On Wednesday, one person was killed and at least 13 were wounded in Jerusalem, when a terrorist drove his vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians at the Shimon Hatzadik train station, north of the Old City and not far from the Municipality building.

The attack was similar to one that occurred in later October, when a terrorist rammed his vehicle into a crowd waiting for a train in Jerusalem.

Common to both attacks is that they were carried out by Hamas terrorists who were residents of Jerusalem – and licensed drivers who had access to vehicles.

Hamas and Fatah websites have apparently realized they have a new terror weapon on their hands, and since Wednesday’s attack, sites have been full of caricatures, photos, and instructions on the best way to carry out such attacks.

 

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Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 8:38 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Lashes Out at Security Council for Silence on Terror Attacks

(Photo: wikicommons/ public1london)

(Photo: wikicommons/ public1london)

In the wake of yesterday’s two terror attacks in Israel, the Jewish state and all who stand with her mourn for those lost or injured. However, Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, lashed out at the U.N. Security Council for its silence in the wake of the attacks. The Jerusalem Post provides the text of Prosor’s letter to the council, calling its members out for their inaction on the recent events:

If recent events offer any indication, the Security Council will once again remain silent as Israel buries yet another victim of Palestinian terrorism.  Earlier today, a terrorist rammed his vehicle onto two crowded Jerusalem train platforms, killing Jedan Assad and injuring 14 others.  Shortly after the attack Hamas claimed responsibility, calling the perpetrator a ‘martyr’ and describing the attack as ‘a heroic operation.’

This is the most recent example of the violence that has come in the wake of inflammatory remarks made by the Palestinian leadership.  Two weeks ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Palestinians to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount using ‘all means’ necessary.  In response to this blatantly dangerous provocation, the Security Council did not utter a word.

Following Abbas’s incitement, hundreds of Arabs rioted in Jerusalem, on 23 October a terrorist deliberately drove full speed onto a Jerusalem train platform killing two people, and days later, Palestinian terrorist, Moataz Hijazi, shot Rabbi Yehuda Glick.  The Security Council continued to remain silent.

As Rabbi Yehuda Glick lay in a coma, fighting for his life, President Abbas saw fit to write a condolence letter to the family of the would-be murderer.  In the letter he describes Israeli security forces as ‘terrorists’ and glorified Hijazi as a ‘martyr.’  President Abbas is sanctioning and celebrating murder and Israelis are paying with their lives.  Still nothing from the Security Council.

I write to you today with the full expectation that the Council will continue adhering to its vow of silence. Should the Council revise its policy and deem it appropriate to…

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Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 8:17 AM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: Car Rams Bus Stop in New Terror Attack

(Photo: flickr/israluv)

(Photo: flickr/israluv)

News reports are surfacing that yet another vehicle attack has occurred south of Jerusalem, where earlier today a police officer was killed and several people were injured by a Hamas terrorist. A van has rammed a bus stop, and The Times of Israel reports that those injured were three IDF soldiers:

Three Israeli soldiers were injured when a Palestinian vehicle rammed into them on a West Bank road Wednesday evening in what appeared to be a second vehicular attack of the day

One soldier was in serious condition and two suffered moderate injuries, officials said.

A Palestinian vehicle hit the soldiers, who were standing by the side of Route 60 near the Palestinian refugee camp of al-Aroub, south of Jerusalem, a Police spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said that the police were treating the incident as a possible terrorist attack.

The IDF confirmed that three soldiers were injured after a Palestinian vehicle ran them down. The vehicle was identified as a large white commercial truck.

The driver of the vehicle fled the scene and a manhunt was underway to find the perpetrator. Israel Police and the IDF had set up roadblocks in the area.

“The IDF is conducting a widespread search in the region to locate the vehicle and its driver,” the army said in a statement.

The attack came hours after an East Jerusalem man drove his van into a group of pedestrians in the capital, killing a Border Police officer and ratcheting up tensions.

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Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 at 2:39 PM  | Stand For Israel

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State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
Clarity in a Confused World

In response to this week’s horrific terrorist attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with a voice of moral clarity. We, as people of faith and conscience, must all cling to such clarity in a world so often ruled by moral confusion.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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