Photo Friday: What Does This Ceremony Mean to You?

(Photo: wikicommons/הארכיון הציוני המרכזי)

(Photo: wikicommons/הארכיון הציוני המרכזי)

“‘When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, “What does this ceremony mean to you?” then tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”‘ Then the people bowed down and worshiped.” (Exodus 12:25-27)

In this photograph from 1948, members of the nascent Israel Defense Forces (IDF) celebrate Passover, a celebration they will pass on to future generations, many of whom will begin the Passover observation tonight at sundown. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, April 3rd, 2015 at 12:00 PM  | Stand For Israel

Preliminary Nuclear Deal Reached with Iran, World Powers

iitnAfter all-night negotiations, Iran and six world powers, including the United States, have agreed to preliminary terms of a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions. Full text of the agreement is to be drafted by June 30.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran’s nuclear aspirations are part of its plan to control the Middle East.
• Meanwhile, at least one Iranian military leader has been quoted as saying that wiping Israel off the map was “non-negotiable.”
• The United States continues to provide aid to Ukraine with both military training and equipment during the ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels.
• An Israeli doctor performed lifesaving surgery on the 18-month-old daughter of an Iraqi family fleeing from ISIS.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein on an important lesson we can learn from Passover.

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 8:43 PM  | Stand for Israel

Have a Joyous Passover and a Blessed Easter

Old City west wall and cloudsBecause of Good Friday and Passover, we’re suspending activity for April 3. We’ll be back on Monday, April 6. If any critical developments related to Israel come up in the meantime we will post them on the Stand for Israel blog. We wish our Jewish friends a joyous Passover and our Christian Friends a blessed Easter. Thank you for always standing for Israel!

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 4:28 PM  | Stand For Israel

Iran Agrees to Nuclear Limits, But Key Issues Are Unresolved

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of State)

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of State)

We have been following the nuclear talks with Iran very closely – and what any agreement would mean for the United States, Israel, and the rest of the free world. Now, The New York Times is reporting that Iran has agreed to a framework, but that key issues and a final agreement have not been resolved:

Iran and European nations said here tonight they had reached a surprisingly specific and comprehensive general understanding about next steps in limiting Tehran’s nuclear program, but officials said that some important issues need to be resolved before a final agreement in June that would allow the Obama administration to assert it has cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.

Both Germany’s foreign office and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said that key parameters of a framework for a final accord had been reached, with the details to be negotiated by June 30. But Western diplomats cautioned that on several of the key issues that were debated here for the past eight days between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, there were still significant differences.

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 1:37 PM  | Stand For Israel

70 Killed When Islamist Terrorists Target Christians at Kenyan University

(Photo: flickr/advocacy_project)

(Photo: flickr/advocacy_project)

In yet another international attack by Islamist terrorists, CNN reports that members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group entered Garissa University College in Kenya, took students hostage, and killed 70 of them, specifically targeting Christians:

Islamist gunmen burst into a Kenyan university before dawn Thursday, shooting students and taking hostages in a terror attack that left 70 dead, Kenyan officials said.

Two attackers were killed in the ongoing security operation, and one was arrested, authorities said…

Joel Ayora, who was on the campus and witnessed the attack, said gunmen burst into a Christian service. Taking hostages from the service, they then “proceeded to the hostels, shooting anybody they came across except their fellows, the Muslims.”

The attackers separated students by religion, allowing Muslims to leave and keeping an unknown number of Christians hostage, Agence France-Presse reported.

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 12:29 PM  | Stand For Israel

Anne Frank’s Earlier Death Dispels Notion She Could Have Been Saved

It was long believed that the death of teenage diarist and Holocaust victim, Anne Frank, occurred close enough to the end of World War II that the young girl might have been saved. The Times of Israel reports on new research that revises the date of Anne’s passing and disputes that long-held notion:

Teenage Jewish diarist Anne Frank likely died of typhus in a Nazi concentration camp about a month earlier than previously thought, the Amsterdam museum that honors her memory said Tuesday on the 70th anniversary of the officially recognized date of her death. And this finding, researcher Erika Pins said, dispels the notion that she might have been rescued had she lived a little longer.

Anne likely died, aged 15, at Bergen-Belsen camp in February 1945, said Prins, a researcher at the Anne Frank House museum…

The new date of her death changes little about the tragic lives of Anne and her sister Margot, who went into hiding with their family in an Amsterdam canal house but were eventually betrayed, sent to Nazi concentration camps and died in the Holocaust along with millions of other Jews.

“It was horrible. It was terrible. And it still is,” Prins said.

But she said the new date lays to rest the idea that the sisters could have been rescued if they had lived just a little longer.

“When you say they died at the end of March, it gives you a feeling that they died just before liberation. So maybe if they’d lived two more weeks …,” Prins said, her voice trailing off. “Well, that’s not true anymore.”

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 10:31 AM  | Stand For Israel

Passover Aid: 100 Tons of Matzah to Ukraine

(Photo: JDC/Vladimir Shraga)

(Photo: JDC/Vladimir Shraga)

While Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) begins tomorrow at sundown, too many Jews – in Israel, in the former Soviet Union (FSU), and elsewhere – are struggling to survive, much less afford food for this sacred celebration. The Yeshiva World News reports how The Fellowship is working to remedy that, in part, by delivering 100 tons of matzah (the unleavened bread eaten by Jews during Passover) to Ukraine’s suffering Jewish community:

In the last few days, a shipment of over hundred tons of matzos was dispatched by Chabad shluchim to about 100 thousand needy Jews across the former Soviet Union. This was the initiative of Lev Leviev, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS (FJC), and Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ). Chief Rabbi and Chabad emissary of Donetsk, Pinchas Vishedski: “Besides the matzos serving as the Pesach bread, they remind my community of their Jewish roots and gives them hope for a better future”. (more…)

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 9:23 AM  | Stand For Israel

Passover in Uniform

(Photo: wikicommons/ Imperial War Museums)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Imperial War Museums)

For Jewish people around the world, Passover begins tomorrow at sundown. Tablet’s Marjorie Ingall provides this wonderful account of how this important Jewish celebration of the Exodus was observed by U.S. soldiers during World War II:

While researching a different story at the Center, I stumbled on this file and wound up so enthralled that I scrapped my original column idea to focus on this instead. Who were these American soldiers, noshing on matzo-ball soup in strange lands, sometimes near active fighting? Who organized these Seders? Who did the cooking? It was time to research.

According to the lively website Jews in Green, Jews served in WWII in numbers much higher than our representation in the general population; by some estimates, 4 to 5 percent of U.S. soldiers were Jews at a time when we constituted less than 2 percent of the population. And the significance of fighting for others’ liberty during their own celebration of freedom clearly wasn’t lost on them.

A program from the Air Force Theater in Pisa began with a prayer, “May we be imbued with a deep sense of our duty as free men; and, as we gather here tonight in brotherly reunion, may we be mindful of those who still dwell in the house of bondage and eat the bread of affliction. Let us pray that the day be not far off when the whole world will be liberated from the forces of tyranny, injustice, inequality, and war.” It concludes with the Shehechiyanu prayer in Hebrew.


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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 8:36 AM  | Stand For Israel

Palestinian Authority Wants Arabs to Bomb Gaza

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

Yesterday, we reported on the Palestinian Authority’s official membership into the International Criminal Court (ICC), an attempt to charge Israel with war crimes. Yet, at the same time, writes Gatestone Institute’s Khaled Abu Toameh, the P.A. is calling on the Arab world to bomb Gaza, the very same actions they claim are war crimes:

The Palestinian Authority (PA), whose leaders say they are planning to file “war crimes” charges against Israel over its last war with Hamas, is now calling on Arab countries to launch a military strike against the Gaza Strip, similar to the Saudi-led campaign against Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen…

When Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in the summer of last year in response to the firing of rockets at Israeli cities, the Palestinian Authority and its leaders, including Abbas, were quick to condemn Israelis for allegedly perpetrating “war crimes” against Palestinians.

But now the same Palestinian Authority, which condemned Israel over Operation Protective Edge, is calling on Arab armies to launch a military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

For Abbas and his top advisors, it is fine if the Gaza Strip is attacked, so long as Israel is not the attacker. In fact, the PA is inviting the Arab states to do exactly what the Israel Defense Forces did in the summer of 2014: to launch airstrikes against terror bases belonging to Hamas and other radical groups inside the Gaza Strip…

The PA’s call for military intervention in the Gaza Strip should be brought to the attention of the International Criminal Court if and when Abbas proceeds with his plan to file “war crimes” charges against Israel for its 2014 war against Hamas. This call should also be brought to the attention of Western governments and international human rights organizations that condemned Israel during Operation Protective Edge.

What they need to know is that Abbas in fact supports military action against Hamas, but has a problem when it is carried out by Israel. Arabs are…

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 8:18 AM  | Stand For Israel

Palestinians Join International Criminal Court

icc_logoEarlier this year, we reported on the Palestinian Authority’s move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), in hopes of bringing war crimes charges against Israel. The Times of Israel reports that today, the P.A. officially became a member of the ICC:

The Palestinian Authority became a member of the International Criminal Court in Wednesday and was marking the occasion with a low-key ceremony at the court’s headquarters.

Palestinians signed the court’s founding treaty in January and their membership came into force Wednesday, an event welcomed by activists who see it as an opportunity to bring accountability to years of conflict between Palestinians and Israel.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, but the country’s military and civilian leaders could now face charges if they are believed to have committed crimes on Palestinian territory…

Beyond seeking war crimes charges against Israel at the court, the Palestinians want the UN Security Council to set a deadline for an Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank and hope for new momentum of a Palestinian-led international movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

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Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 at 11:58 AM  | Stand For Israel

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

Rabbi’s Commentary
Believing in Miracles

On Israel Independence Day, we celebrate the land in which God planted His people. While many of the Jewish state’s goals – such as those of liberty and of justice for all her citizens – have come to fruition in the past 67 years…

Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »


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