My Weapon Is Faith

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

This New Year, The Fellowship’s senior vice president Yael Eckstein resolves to keep her faith. Writing at The Jerusalem Post, Yael calls her faith her secret weapon, her greatest hope, and the one thing that cannot be taken from her:

With my baby on my lap and my two older children playing outside the synagogue, this Rosh Hashana I prayed with all of my heart for a peaceful world. And as Yom Kippur approaches, it is a peace that I am crying tears of longing for, and that I believe is completely possible.

I don’t live in a bubble or in denial. I am well aware of the millions of enemies lined up on Israel’s borders, and the numerous powerful countries dedicated to my nation’s demise.

Yet I refuse to lose hope. I refuse to live in fear and anguish. And no matter how tumultuous the times might be, I refuse to raise the white flag of surrender.

I have a secret weapon that keeps me hopeful for better days to come. This weapon counters all of the violence in neighboring countries, and repels the hateful words of Israel’s enemies from entering my heart. It is what enabled me to be in Israel during the second intifada of 2000-2005 when my friends were being shot at and buses were being blown up. It is what keeps me here in Israel to raise my precious children, despite our having to run to bomb shelters as Color Red sirens blare.

My secret weapon is more powerful than an atomic bomb and stronger than any world leader.

My weapon is faith. It is hidden in a sacred spot where no one can touch it, harm it, or take it from me. It is deep within my heart, and I carry it with me everywhere I go.

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Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 9:41 AM  | Stand For Israel

Blame Palestinian Incitement

(Photo: flickr/ rustystewart)

(Photo: flickr/ rustystewart)

While anti-Semitic sentiment is flourishing around the world, recent incidents against Jews by Palestinians have been especially alarming. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Khaled Abu Toameh says that continued anti-Israel incitement by Palestinian leadership and media has caused the Palestinian people to hate all Jews and those who support them:

Over the past two decades, Palestinians, like most Arabs, have been subjected to a large-scale campaign of incitement against Israel and the US. This is a campaign that is being waged through the media, especially Arab and Islamic TV stations, the internet, mosques and the rhetoric of leaders and politicians.

As a result of the ongoing incitement, some Palestinians and Arabs are no longer able to distinguish between those who support them and those who stand against them.

If you are told that all Israelis are evil, you do not see a difference between a leftist and a right-wing Israeli. You are being taught, from very early stage of your life, that Jews are “occupiers” who “stole” the land of Palestine from its rightful owners. You are also being taught that all Jews (including innocent civilians) are legitimate targets because they either serve in the army or identify with the Zionist movement.

Because of the indoctrination, a growing number of people in the Arab and Islamic countries regard all Israelis as “settlers.” Palestinian spokesmen representing various groups, including Hamas and Fatah, often refer to Israeli cities (inside Israel proper) as “settlements” …

In Nablus, the largest Palestinian city, students rioted in protest against a visit to their campus by U.S. consular officials. According to Palestinian sources, the officials had come to An-Najah University as part of continued efforts to support educational and cultural activities on campus.

Dozens of students, chanting anti-U.S. slogans, surrounded one of the U.S. vehicles and tried to prevent it from entering the premises of the university. Eyewitnesses said that campus security personnel used excessive force to disperse the protesters.

One student, Mohamed Abu Awwad, was later admitted to hospital…

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Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 9:33 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Warns U.N. to Take ISIS Threat Seriously

iitnIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the threat of militant Islam and ISIS before the U.N., urging the international community to take this threat seriously. He later met with President Obama to discuss this growing danger.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• An American Muslim was arrested in Oklahoma for beheading a coworker and severely stabbing another.
• Despite an official truce, the conflict in Ukraine with pro-Russian separatists has erupted again with 10 people killed in mortar attacks that struck a bus and a school.
• An Israeli woman was kicked off a Kuwait Airlines flight from New York because of her nationality.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s founder and President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein on the anniversary of World War II and what, if any, lessons we have learned.

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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 6:43 PM  | Stand for Israel

Anti-Semites Gather in Iran for Regime-Sponsored Hate-Fest

(Photo: Anti-Defamation League)

(Photo: Anti-Defamation League)

This week, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu warned the United Nations and President Obama of Iran’s continuing quest for nuclear weapons, and their threat to Israel. If the world still wonders whether the Iranian government has any love for the Jewish state, an anti-Semitic conference sponsored in Tehran – sponsored by the Iranian government, no less – should provide some clarity. The Algemeiner reports that the annual “New Horizon Conference” is being held in Iran, attended by some of the world’s most rabid and vile anti-Semites:

Anti-Semites and radical anti-Zionists from the United States and Europe have converged on Tehran for the so-called “New Hori­zon Con­fer­ence” – a three-day jamboree dedicated to libelous conspiracy theories about the influence of the “Zionist Lobby.”

Among those attending are the French-Cameroonian provocateur and comedian, Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the originator of the anti-Semitic “quenelle” gesture. Also present are Medea Benjamin of the left-wing American organization CodePink, which supports the elimination of the State of Israel, and Thierry Meyssan, the French author of a book claiming that the 9/11 atrocities were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by the US government.

The conference, which is being hosted by the Iranian regime, is the latest in a series of similar events over the last decade. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, notorious for his Holocaust-denying rhetoric, staged the original “World Without Zionism” conference in 2005; the current conference indicates that the trend of hosting and promoting anti-Semites from across the globe is continuing under Ahmadinejad’s successor, Hasan Rouhani, who is often described as a “moderate.”

The Anti-Defamation League reported that the con­fer­ence “was opened with remarks by the per­sonal advi­ser to Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei, Mohsen Ghomi, who boasted that the con­fer­ence itself is ‘the biggest threat to Zion­ists,’ and that ‘Amer­i­can offi­cials are pup­pets of the Zion­ist lobby who are tak­ing advan­tage of Amer­i­can igno­rance.’ Anti-Israel jour­nal­ist Garth Porter said dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion on Mon­day that the Mossad and CIA are respon­si­ble for man­u­fac­tur­ing the nuclear…

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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 4:13 PM  | Stand For Israel

Eyes of the Nation: Only 20, She Has Foiled Two Terrorist Attacks

(Photo: IDF blog)

(Photo: IDF blog)

Throughout Operation Protective Edge – and long before – IDF soldiers performed many amazing deeds. But the IDF’s blog brings us the incredible story of 20-year-old Corporal Lihi Meir, a brave young woman who has already helped thwart two terrorist attacks:

The IDF Field Intelligence Corps is responsible for monitoring Israel’s most sensitive borders. Hundreds of observers, most of them female soldiers, scan video monitors around the clock, searching for the smallest details.

These soldiers are the eyes of the nation, ensuring the safety of Israel’s civilians on a daily basis. Corporal Lihi Meir is one of the soldiers responsible for Gaza’s northern border. Pressure, adrenaline and speed – these are the words she used to describe when she spotted and thwarted a terrorist infiltration during Operation Protective Edge …

July 21, 2014 is a day Corporal Lihi won’t forget. Around 6:30am, as she was monitoring her surveillance screen, she detected 5 moving figures. They were five terrorists who had managed to infiltrate Israel through a tunnel from Gaza.

“The terrorists were lying on the ground, wearing IDF uniforms, equipped with body armor, helmets and weapons. I didn’t have time to think, I just acted,” she said, recalling those crucial moments.

Corporal Lihi immediately sent IDF soldiers to the site of the infiltration. The soldiers neutralized two terrorist cells composed of 9 members, who were planning to carry out kidnappings and attacks in Israeli towns near the border. They thought that by wearing IDF uniforms, they wouldn’t be detected.

“The terrorists were neutralized and the incident was considered over, but my mission was far from being over,” said Lihi. “After the event, I went right back to my screens to keep monitoring the area, searching for threats.”

“I’m not just an observer, I’m an Israeli, and like many Israelis I went through Operation Protective Edge Read More »    Comments (33) »

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 2:56 PM  | Stand For Israel

IDF Nabs Bomb-Laden Terrorists

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

We here at Stand for Israel appreciate the bravery and determination shown by the brave men and women of the IDF who protect Israel and her people, and today they proved themselves heroes once again. The Algemeiner reports that alert IDF members stopped a terrorist attack in the West Bank on Thursday afternoon:

Alert army and Border Police forces foiled a planned terror attack by two Palestinians, as they tried to get through a busy Samaria junction, in the northern West Bank Thursday afternoon, according to Israel’s 0404, News.

Border Police inspectors at the Tapuach Junction, who stopped the pair to check their bags, found they contained three small explosive devices, an improvised gun, and a box cutter …

The checkpoint, near the large Palestinian-inhabited city of Nablus, is frequented by both Israelis and Palestinians, has often been the site of attempted attacks against both Israeli troops and civilians.

In early June, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at Israeli soldiers at the junction, just three days after soldiers apprehended another Palestinian terrorist wearing a suicide belt at the same location.

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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 1:31 PM  | Stand For Israel

Ukraine Conflict Renewed with Fighting at Donetsk Airport

(Photo: wikicommons/ MOs810)

(Photo: wikicommons/ MOs810)

Yesterday we reported on the resumption of fighting in Ukraine, which led to the shelling of a school and a bus, leaving at least 10 people dead in the war-ravaged city of Donetsk. Today, BBC News reports that fierce fighting is also taking place at the airport in Donetsk:

Rebel forces in eastern Ukraine are conducting an offensive to capture the government-held airport in Donetsk, officials say.

Pro-Russian rebels have tried several times in recent weeks to take the airport, which lies to the north-west of the city, despite an official truce.

The Ukrainian military said the rebels were moving on “a broad front”.

However a spokesman denied claims they had taken a large part of the airport and insisted it was not surrounded.

The ceasefire was called on 5 September, but on Wednesday four people were killed by a shell which landed on a school in Donetsk, and six died when a minibus was hit.

A spokesman for what the Ukrainian government calls its anti-terrorist operation said Ukrainian forces repelled four attacks on the airport on Wednesday evening.

A T-64 tank was destroyed and seven rebels were killed, Vladyslav Seleznyov told Kanal 5 TV.

The rebels used tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems, artillery and mortars, he said, resuming their attacks on Thursday morning with small-arms fire.

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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 9:16 AM  | Stand For Israel

Jerusalem: The Undivided Capital of Israel

(Photo: flickr/ agroffman)

(Photo: flickr/ agroffman)

Smiles and warm handshakes exchanged by Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu at their White House meeting yesterday quickly turned into jibes and snarky rebukes which have been the hallmark of the often hostile relationship shared by the two leaders, whose mutual dislike for each other is fortunately overcome by the bond of the two nations they lead.

The squabble which overshadowed the warm White House reception enjoyed by the Israeli premiere erupted when reports of a Jerusalem Municipality decision to approve construction of 2,500 apartment units in East Jerusalem was publicized by leftist NGO Peace Now, just hours before Obama and Netanyahu met in Washington. Shortly after the meeting, the White House issued some of its harshest condemnation towards Israel to date, warning that construction of these units would distance the Jewish state from its “closest allies” and declaring that Israel’s decision to build in East Jerusalem is “poisoning the atmosphere” with our supposed “peace partner,” the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu and mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat defended the building approval by stating that Jerusalem is Israel’s undivided capital and no construction freeze will be imposed based on race or religion. In fact, a third of the residential units in the new plans are intended to be used for Arab housing. Considering that Arabs make up roughly one third of Jerusalem’s residents, this new project equally benefits both Jews and Arabs living in an overcrowded metropolis in desperate need of new housing to meet the growing demands of its residents.

In general, Arab residents of Jerusalem enjoy far greater freedom to live anywhere in the city than their Jewish neighbors. Just this week, Jewish residents moved into legally purchased apartments in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, on the eastern side of the Western Wall, a mere five-minute walk from Judaism’s holiest site. Upon moving into their newly purchased apartments, the Jewish residents were greeted by their new Arab neighbors with a bombardment of stones and Molotov cocktails. Riot police had to be called in to calm the situation….

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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 8:58 AM  | Stand For Israel

Palestinians Still Won’t Negotiate

(Photo: wikicommons/ Peter Fedynsky)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Peter Fedynsky)

While the meeting yesterday between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu was marred by the White House’s reaction to Israel’s declaration to build in East Jerusalem, it was also marred by the actions of Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas. Right before the Obama-Netanyahu meeting, Abbas submitted his latest U.N. proposal for Palestinian statehood. Writing at Commentary, Tom Wilson says that while the proposal’s demands are ridiculous, it is even more ridiculous that Abbas expects these demands to be met before he’ll even negotiate:

The draft of the Palestinian proposal, submitted just as Prime Minister Netanyahu was about to step into the Oval Office for a meeting with President Obama, seeks to win UN Security Council backing for a deadline that would force Israel to cede the West Bank by November 2016. But that is not all. The petition also gives an extensive rundown of what the final settlement must look like. In addition to the total Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Jerusalem being turned into the Palestinian capital, the resolution also calls for a complete end to all Israeli military activity in the territories, an end to any Israeli settlement construction, an opening of all Gaza’s borders, and the deployment of an international force throughout the disputed territories–for the protection of Palestinian civilians, of course. Naturally the resolution draft also calls for a just settlement of Palestinian refugees, which is code for Israel being obliged to allow several million Arabs claiming Palestinian descent to relocate to the Jewish state.

Now, you can think these demands are reasonable or you can think that they are not. But what is undeniable is that it is ridiculous for Abbas to have essentially made meeting all his demands the precondition for his participation in any further peace talks. What kind of negotiation is it that can only begin once all of the outcomes have already been decided? In effect what the Palestinians have said is that there will…

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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 8:47 AM  | Stand For Israel

Obama and Netanyahu Meet at White House

(Photo: ASHERNET/Amos Ben Gershom)

(Photo: ASHERNET/Amos Ben Gershom)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House today and met with President Obama. The Times of Israel reports on what the two leaders discussed during this, their first meeting since Operation Protective Edge:

Referring to Netanyahu by his nickname “Bibi,” the president said their talks would focus on rebuilding Gaza and paths to Israeli-Palestinian peace. It would also cover the struggle against ISIS, and the Iranian nuclear program.

“It’s challenging, I think, for an Israeli prime minister to have to work so hard during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur,” Obama said. “But I know that the prime minister’s utmost priority is making sure that his country is safe during these difficult times, and we’re glad that the United States can be a partner in that process.”

Netanyahu struck a conciliatory tone before the gaggle of cameras and reporters, thanking Obama for his “unflinching support” of Israel, praising the “strong” US-Israel relationship, and saying he is committed to a two-state solution. That would require, he stressed, however, “mutual recognition” and “rock solid security arrangements on the ground.”

He praised Obama for approving new funding for Iron Dome — “which has saved so many lives” — at the height of the conflict. He also highlighted the “continuous bond of friendship.”

He also repeated his call for Arab involvement in the peace process.

Something was “changing in the Middle East” offering a new “commonality of interest between Israel and leading Arab states, and I think that we should work very hard together to seize on those common interests and build a positive program to advance a more secure, a more prosperous and a more peaceful Middle East. I remain committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples based on mutual recognition and rock solid security arrangements on the ground,” he said. The US and Israel should “think outside the box” and “see how we can recruit the Arab countries to advance this very hopeful agenda.”

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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 2:01 PM  | Stand for Israel

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

Rabbi's Commentary
Rejoicing in God’s Word

The festive Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah ends and begins the annual cycle of Torah readings in synagogue. It is God’s Word that offers comfort and hope to Jews and Christians alike, reminding us of His permanent presence in our constantly changing world.

Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »


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