Iran’s War in Syria

(Photo: flickr/jan Sefti)

(Photo: flickr/jan Sefti)

While the possible nuclear agreement with Iran is indeed unsettling, the Islamic Republic’s reach across the Middle East threatens the region in other ways, too. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams writes that “[t]he war in Syria is becoming increasingly an Iranian war rather than a civil war”:

Consider this new report by Now Lebanon, entitled “Syria Alawites reportedly clash with regime, Iran troops.” Two facts are striking. First, the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad is having enormous trouble recruiting Alawite youths to join the military. It has long been said that the Alawite community is his base and will fight for him, if only out of fear that if the regime falls they will pay the price when Sunnis attack Alawites. But more and more Alawites, it seems, do not wish to risk their lives for Assad. This should not be quite so surprising, because only the Alawite upper classes benefitted financially from the regime (and some became millionaires and even billionaires), while many Alawites remained in poverty…

While we debate the possible nuclear deal with Iran, let’s not lose sight of Iran’s aggressive conduct throughout the region. If the nuclear deal does get signed and as planned gives Iran access to $150 billion, we can expect even more of an Iranian (and Hezbollah) role in Syria. Not only is there Sunni and Kurdish resistance but now some Alawite resistance. The usual way Assad and Iran deal with such resistance is murder. If the Iran deal comes to pass, let us hope that far stronger American action is planned to prevent even more killings in Syria and to see if the Alawite population can be turned against the regime.

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Monday, July 13th, 2015 at 8:26 AM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: My Heart Will Not Fear

(Photo: Haim Zach/GPO/ASHERNET)

(Photo: Haim Zach/GPO/ASHERNET)

When the wicked advance against me
    to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,

    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident. (Psalm 27:2-3)

This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a service to mark the one-year anniversary of Operation Protective Edge. Here he speaks with Lt. Colonel Shai Siman Tov of the IDF’s Golani Brigade. Siman Tov was critically injured while leading his men to expose a Hamas terror tunnel. We are thankful for the sacrifices made by him and so many others to protect Israel and her people. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, July 10th, 2015 at 12:16 PM  | Stand For Israel

They Touched the Sky: Remembering Those Lost in Second Lebanon War

July 12 marks the ninth anniversary of the start of the 2006 Second Lebanon War. On that day, Hezbollah terrorists began to fire rockets into Israel. At the same time, they ambushed an IDF patrol on the Israeli side of the border, killing three IDF soldiers and abducting two. These hostilities forced the Israeli military to respond, resulting in more than a month of conflict. During the war, 121 IDF soldiers were killed and 1,244 were wounded, while 44 Israeli civilians died and nearly 1,500 were injured. One of the brave IDF soldiers who lost her life was Sergeant Major Keren Tendler. In the above video, and this Jewish Journal article by Noga Gur-Arieh, Keren’s mother remembers her daughter, who paid the ultimate price to protect the Holy Land:

After completing the Air Force mechanics course, Keren entered squadron, and from the very first moment, she was simply elated. She called her family every day, thrilled, to share every experience. Then, she decided she wanted to become an on-flight mechanic on a “Yas’ur” helicopter. This type of job is far from simple, and this type of helicopter is very large and complex. She went through a series of tests, including boot camp and courses, as the sole woman in a group of men. But she was a natural athlete, a swimmer, and it helped her overcome the physical difficulties and reach higher benchmarks than her male companions.

In 2002, Keren finally started living her dream as the first woman to qualify to serve as an on-flight mechanic on a “Yas’ur” helicopter. In an interview with the Air Force magazine, she said: “I see myself as a combat soldier just like the others. My aim is to show other girls that they can do this job, too…”

“Yes. On August 11, she entered Lebanon for the first time on another flight that was aimed to support IDF forces in the field. She returned home late that night, and tried to calm us down by assuring us that everything was fine, quiet.

The next day she was on…

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Friday, July 10th, 2015 at 9:40 AM  | Stand For Israel

Don’t Fall into the Trap of Complacency

Mr. Mahane Fahres, supervisor of Druze education in the Ministry of Education, and Religious Council representative in Hurfeish speaks with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

(Photo: IFCJ)

Each day, it seems that Israel is being threatened or attacked by one of its terrorist enemies. And when the Jewish state and its people are not being targeted, it is only because some other group – most often a religious minority – has incurred the terror organizations’ wrath. Fellowship Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein laments that none of us are immune to these threats. And, writing at The Jerusalem Post, she tells of what The Fellowship is doing for the Druze community:

I have gotten used to my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, being briefed on a disturbing situation and then yelling out the words, “How can this be? I can’t believe it!” and then taking swift action to help where others have failed to.

That is exactly what happened two weeks ago when Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, the Druse spiritual leader in Israel, approached The Fellowship asking for emergency food aid for the terrorized Druse families being targeted in Syria.

“This is an international headline news story, yet the world can’t get it together to provide food to these innocent people being threatened with genocide?” my father rightfully asked. The Druse leader said that was indeed the case. And, after lots of research, we learned that he was telling the truth. Two days later, my father, along with the Fellowship executive staff, approved six months of food aid for the Syrian Druse refugees in Jordan.

Learning about the plight of the Syrian Druse facing genocide was very powerful for me. As I looked at pictures of the terrified eyes of mothers holding their children, starving kids, and fearful fathers, I saw my own people.

The plight of the Syrian Druse – and of all of the other innocent minorities being ruthlessly persecuted around the world – is strikingly similar to the plight of the Jewish people before the formation of the modern State of Israel. Today, thank God,…

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Friday, July 10th, 2015 at 8:13 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Iran Delusion

(Photo: wikicommons/ Alborzagros)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Alborzagros)

As the deadline for an Iranian nuclear deal has been extended, and as both sides have hemmed and hawed, it only makes the ongoing negotiations more puzzling and worrisome. Writing at World Affairs, the ever-astute Michael J. Totten provides a focused and insightful look at the Iranian situation – and Iran’s aspirations:

The Middle East has five hot spots—or “shatter zones,” as Robert D. Kaplan called them in his landmark book, The Revenge of Geography—which are more prone to conflict than others, where borders are either unstable or porous, where central governments have a hard time keeping everything wired together, and where instability is endemic or chronic.

Gaza, where Hamas wages relentless rocket wars against Israel, is one such shatter zone. The Lebanese-Israeli border, where Hezbollah does the same on a much more terrifying scale, is another. Yemen, which is finally falling apart on an epic scale, has been one for decades. Syria and Iraq have merged into a single multinational shatter zone with more armed factions than anyone but the CIA can keep track of.

What do these shatter zones have in common? The Iranian government backs militias and terrorist armies in all of them. As Kaplan writes, “The instability Iran will cause will not come from its implosion, but from a strong, internally coherent nation that explodes outward from a natural geographic platform to shatter the region around it.”

That’s why Iran is a problem for American foreign policy makers in the first place; and that’s why trading sanctions relief for an international weapons inspection regime will have no effect on any of it whatsoever…

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Friday, July 10th, 2015 at 8:09 AM  | Stand For Israel

Iran Nuclear Talks Deadline Extended Again

iitn
Iran’s growing demands took nuclear negotiations past yet another deadline Tuesday. Iran is now asking for an end to UN missile sanctions with U.S. officials becoming critical of the protracted talks.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his growing concern on ISIS terrorist attacks that are increasingly coming closer to Israel’s borders.
• ISIS terrorists launch rockets into southern Israel as part of their attacks in Sinai.
• Israeli intelligence reported that Hamas and ISIS are now collaborating.
• Arial footage has revealed a large troop buildup in Russia along its border with Ukraine.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features Ami Farkas on fasting and waiting on God.

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Friday, July 10th, 2015 at 5:00 AM  | Tanaja Williams

WWII a Lasting Part of Jewish Ballplayer’s Legacy

(Photo: Library of Congress)

(Photo: Library of Congress)

Stand for Israel loves remembering the Jewish-Americans who not only helped Israel win her freedom, but who also fought for the freedom of the United States and the world. Writing at JNS, Jacob Kamaras discusses a new book about Hank Greenberg, an American Jew who was not only one of the best baseball players of his (or any) generation, but a hero during World War II, as well:

After an initial army stint of half a year, Greenberg was honorably discharged on Dec. 5, 1941, two days before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. In a statement of epic proportions, Greenberg voluntarily re-enlisted in the Army Air Corps immediately after the attack and did not return to Major League Baseball (MLB) until the summer of 1945. Baseball’s highest-paid player before the war, Greenberg was the first Major Leaguer to enlist, becoming the face of an era that—with conscription depleting baseball of much of its top-tier talent—forever changed the MLB and the entire American professional sports landscape, Kima’s book argues.

“What you found out about Hank Greenberg was that he really represented everything to everyone, and he represented everything to the Jewish people before the war, during the war, and after the war,” Klima tells JNS.org. “And then the rest of the country, even though they knew about him as an American League MVP and a big slugger, kind of embraced him, I think, the same way that the Jewish population had in the 1930s, in the sense that Hank suddenly represented the ballplayer who left the privileges of his life to go sacrifice and serve. That was Hank’s decision. Not only does he end up representing the guy who served, but then he ends up representing the soldier who’s coming back and putting his life together…”

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Thursday, July 9th, 2015 at 10:50 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Three Weeks

(Photo: IFCJ)

(Photo: IFCJ)

This weekend we entered a period of mourning known as the Three Weeks, which begins and ends with two important fasts that commemorate the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Until moving to Israel I dreaded this period, since the two fasts fall during the hottest time of the year. Yet, as an observant Jew, I did my duty and fasted for both days, while waiting anxiously for the Three Weeks to end so I could shake off the mourning blues and slide back into some summer fun.

But since moving to Israel, my view of the Three Weeks has changed. It has become a time of hope and longing, as opposed to frustration and dread. I remember my first Tisha B’Av – the second of the two fasts which falls on the day both Temples were destroyed – in Israel. Instead of watching the clock and counting down the hours, I marched with thousands of other Israelis around Jerusalem’s Old City walls.

We waved Israeli flags, sang songs about the reconstruction of the Temple, and later joined thousands of other worshipers to pour out our hearts to God before the Western Wall. The experience transformed me; I was filled with feelings of both hope and loss as the starlit sky above seemed to mourn with us.

Yes, the Three Weeks is a period of mourning for the Jewish people, but our mourning is not to be confused with despair. When someone loses something or someone they love, they fear they will never be reunited and are filled with despair. But when you know that the object of your love is not missing forever, that it will return to you, then your mourning is tempered with hope.

Our two-thousand year exile has come to an end. The Jewish people are coming back to Zion, and the faith of our ancestors is enjoying its greatest revival in over two millennia. But the redemption has not been completed, the Temple has not yet been rebuilt, and the period of universal peace, tranquility,…

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Thursday, July 9th, 2015 at 7:45 AM  | Stand For Israel

Continue or Abort? You Decide!

During Operation Protective Edge, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) did its best to defend Israel’s citizens from Hamas’ terrorism. But even when their missions involved stopping rockets from being launched or terrorists from attacking, IDF soldiers and pilots were faced with difficult ethical decisions. Watch (and interact with) the above video to see how the Israeli military made moral decisions while defending its nation and people.

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Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 at 12:48 PM  | Stand For Israel

Operation Entebbe – In Animation

Last week, Stand for Israel’s faithful friends enjoyed our remembrance of Yonatan “Yoni” Netanyahu. Today, we share another video remembering Yoni and the IDF’s brave rescue operation in 1976, this one an animated version of the raid on Entebbe – produced by our friends at Rogetka, with sound and music by Mitch Clyman and Muso Productions.

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Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 at 3:07 PM  | Stand For Israel