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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Israel Defense Forces’

A Soldier’s Account of Grief to Happiness

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Every year the moment comes when sadness and happiness have a strange meeting. I ask: Have I mourned enough for those who have sacrificed their lives? What is the width of the line that separates Israel’s Memorial Day and the Jewish State’s Independence Day?

In Israel, two special days take place one after the other – the very second that Memorial Day comes to an end, Israel Independence Day begins. It often feels as though there isn’t enough time to feel the sadness of Israel’s Memorial day–Yom Hazikaron, yet the celebrations of Independence day have already begun. Sometimes there is a inner-conflict in which the feelings of sadness have already faded and there is a restless wait until the celebrations begin.

This year, I experience this transition as a soldier for the first time. I joined the army just a few months ago, and am still trying to figure out how to carry the huge responsibility of protecting my family and country. Today, two contrasting moments come together and for me, raise many questions.

Why would someone make the decision to put these days together? I think that maybe it’s because it is the only way to really recognize why Israel is so precious to the Jewish people. The two days complete each other–the happiness rising from the grief.

Many times in life, you can only reach the top after you’ve been in the lowest place. My mother said to me once, “You can only become a complete person once you’ve had your heart broken in two.” That’s exactly the contrast I’m talking about–the juxtaposition of pain and joy – when remembrance becomes happiness. These days can only come together.

Grief and Independence

Now that I am part of IDF, I feel even stronger my personal connection to those fallen soldiers. They were mostly young soldiers just like I am and that realization is quieting. In their death, these soldiers pass on the heritage of loyalty and pride in the values of the IDF. I owe my life to them. We all do. These soldiers have motivated me to build a better future for Israel.

And here I am. With pride I bear my heritage. Now I’m the soldier who is defending Israel. I’m one of those who look after my nation. Now it is me who carries the responsibility on my own shoulders.

Grief and Independence

Israel Independence Day for me is pride in living. Here is the only place in the world where being a Jew is normal. We are living by our own rules, under our own principles and beliefs, not dependent on anyone else–that’s what it means to be independent. If those soldiers hadn’t fought and died with bravery, the present would be completely different. We wouldn’t have a reason to celebrate the great gift that they’ve given us. A dream of 2000 years that the Jewish people hoped would come true. This is the gift of Israel’s fallen soldiers, and this is why on Israel Independence Day–we celebrate!

Israeli Army Calls Seton Hall Basketball Player’s Number

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

An Israeli playing basketball at Seton Hall University was ordered to return home to serve in the army.

The Israel Defense Forces told Tom Maayan, a sophomore guard at the New Jersey college, to return by Jan. 2 to be drafted.

Maayan had spent several months over the summer in basic training with the Israeli army but received a 120-day exemption to start the season at Seton Hall. He reportedly had expected another after lobbying for the exemption granted to exceptional athletes.

Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said the Pirates’ game on Tuesday against the New Jersey Institute of Technology was Maayan’s last with the team. He is set to finish his final exams this week before returning to Israel, according to The Star-Ledger.

Maayan did not speak after the game but sent out a tweet that read, “unfortunately It was my last game as a pirate.Love my teamates coaches and the Shu fam! Thanks for all the love! #SHUBB#PIRATE4LIFE”

Maayan, his family and the university all reportedly lobbied the IDF to allow him to finish his college career at Seton Hall before re-enlisting. He will serve out his full three-year commitment to the military.

“Tommy has been and will always be a beloved member of the Seton Hall community,” Willard told The New York Times last month. “We will certainly miss him, and while we understand and respect his responsibility to serve his country, we are disappointed with the timing.”

Maayan would still have eligibility to play college basketball, but it is unclear if h’s scholarship at Seton Hall would be available after completing his army service.

Playing 20 minutes a game over his season-plus at Seton Hall, a Roman Catholic university, he averaged nearly 2 points and 3 assists.

American Oleh Improving after Collapse during IDF Training

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

An immigrant to Israel who collapsed during army training and was placed on life support spoke and started breathing on his own.

Matthew Klein, 20, formerly of Los Angeles, opened his eyes in a Tel Aviv hospital on Monday and spoke for the first time in more than a week Yediot Achronot reported. His friends and army buddies were at his bedside.

Klein had collapsed Aug. 18 while on a training run with his Nahal Brigade unit.

The Israeli military determined that despite the heat and humidity, the run was within the protocol for health and safety guidelines for training in hot weather.

Klein’s mother arrived in Israel the day after his collapse.

Klein made aliyah more than a year ago after participating in a gap-year Young Judea Israel Program, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reported. He is a graduate of the Shalhevet high school in Los Angeles.

Roger Waters Open Letter Calls on Musicians to Boycott Israel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

British rocker Roger Waters published an open letter calling on fellow musicians to join a boycott of Israel.

“I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel,” Waters wrote in the letter dated Aug. 18. The letter was previously drafted in July.

The former Pink Floyd front man said he was inspired to release the letter after British violinist Nigel Kennedy at a recent promenade concert at the Albert Hall in London called Israel an apartheid state. The BBC said it would remove his remarks in rebroadcasts of the concert.

Waters, who has been active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement for at least seven years, referred to the boycott of apartheid South Africa, saying that first a trickle of artists refused to play there, leading to a “flood.”

He singled out Stevie Wonder’s canceling of a performance for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces as a recent success story. Wonder quit his participation in the December fundraiser at the last minute under pressure from many corners.

“Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights,” Waters wrote.

Waters recently came under fire for using at in his concerts a huge inflated balloon in the shape of a wild boar with a prominently visible Star of David, as well as a hammer and sickle, crosses and a dollar sign, among other symbols. It is a gimmick he has used for several years.

As Egypt Nears Civil War, Israel on High Alert

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The dramatic escalation in Egypt’s domestic conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military is being accompanied by an upsurge in the activities of jihadi organizations in the Sinai Peninsula.

Since Morsi’s ouster, extremist Salafi and jihadi organizations have launched waves of attacks on Egyptian security forces, and provoked this week’s extensive counter-terrorism operation by the Egyptian army.

These Al-Qaeda-affiliated forces are also seeking to strike Israel — both to satisfy their ideological demand for jihad against Israelis, and to try and force Israel and Egypt into a confrontation, thereby undermining the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.

The Israel Defense Forces are therefore on high alert in the event of further attacks by terrorists in Egypt, while also facing the dilemma of how to safeguard its own national security without infringing on Egyptian sovereignty at this most sensitive time.

Two unprecedented incidents on the southern border in just the last few days, however, served as markers for the rapidly changing situation.

First, according to international media reports, an Israeli drone struck an Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization in Sinai, as it was making final preparations to fire rockets at Israel.

While Israeli defense officials have not confirmed or denied the reports, if true, they represent the first preemptive counter-terrorism strike on Egyptian soil.

If Israeli intelligence receives word of an imminent attack taking shape in Sinai, with little time to coordinate a response with Egyptian military forces, such action might be expected.

Islamists across Egypt were quick to seize on the incident to accuse the Egyptian military of being complicit in an Israeli breach of Egyptian sovereignty.

Although this incident was quickly forgotten by Egyptians as both Egypt proper and Sinai descended into turmoil, there is evidence that further attacks by Sinai terrorists against both Egyptian security forces and Israel are being planned.

An additional signal of the deteriorating security situation in Sinai was the rocket fired by a terrorist organization at the Red Sea tourist resort city of Eilat over the weekend.

Anticipating the attack, the IDF stationed an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery in the city. The prior preparation paid off: the system fired an interceptor that successfully stopped the rocket from hitting the city.

The rocket failed to hurt anyone, but it did trigger an air-raid siren and frighten tourists, sending them scatting for cover. Unlike the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, which are used to Palestinian rocket terrorism, Eilat, a resort town, is not used to living under rocket fire.

Today, a shadow of uncertainty hangs over the future of the city’s tourist industry. For now, Israeli visitors to the city are displaying trademark resilience, and are continuing to pack the city’s hotels and beaches.

Nearby, however, the IDF continues on high alert, watching every suspicious movement in the desert sands near the Egyptian border for signs of the next attack.

Gaza Rockets Hit Israel, Lies of Gaza Supporters Spread Worldwide

Monday, June 24th, 2013

PLEASE SEE UPDATE AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE

At least 6 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel very early Monday morning, June 24.  Two of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.  The other rockets landed without causing any injuries.  The areas that were hit include Rahat, in the Bnei Shimon Regional Council, Be’er Sheva and the Lachish Regional Council. Three more rockets were fired toward the Ashkelon area.

The rocket fire followed a surprise drill run by the Israel Defense Forces on Sunday.

Within a short time after the rockets began landing in Southern Israel, there were those on the social media, Twitter, claiming that “Gaza was under attack.”  That’s right, Israel is being shelled by Gaza, and the pro-Arab Palestinian propaganda machine immediately began pumping out claims that Israel was attacking Gaza.

In the space of half an hour, dozens of twitter reports in several different languages were announcing that Israel was attacking various points in the Gaza Strip, even naming cities being hit – Khan Younis, Rafah City.  There were reports of Israeli gunboats firing on Gaza from the Mediterranean and Israeli f-16s firing across the strip, but there were no rockets or attacks from Israel, the rockets were coming from Gaza, towards Israel.

Israel may always be better prepared militarily than its enemies, and it will always have history and law on its side, but watching the Twitter feed fill with lies based on absolutely nothing other than a sociopathological raw hatred was more than a little alarming.  How is it possible to defeat hatred that spawns lies in complete contradiction of the truth, and that is so easily gobbled up and spewed forth endlessly?

UPDATE: Long after claims of Israeli “first strikes” were ricocheting through the Twittersphere, it was reported that Israel, in response to the six rockets that were fired from Gaza into Israel, struck back and hit two arms depots at the center of the Gaza Strip and a rocket launching site in the southern part of the Gaza Strip overnight.  Unlike the claims made for hours by supporters of those who struck first at Israel, Gaza was not “under attack.”

Penn Hillel Provided Platform to Venomous ‘Breaking The Silence’

Friday, March 29th, 2013

In yet another example of academia succumbing to a flawed battering ram of freedom of speech, the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia was outsmarted by J Street U which guilted them into providing a home for an event the sole purpose of which is to indict and delegitimize the defense forces of the Jewish State.

On Thursday evening, March 28, Steinhardt Hall -  the Hillel building at the University of Pennsylvania – provided the platform for the pro-Palestinian J Street U to defile the integrity of the Israel Defense Forces through a well-funded delegitimization organization known as Breaking the Silence.

The “silence” that the group supposedly “breaks” is the unspoken criticism of Israel and Israel’s military.  Yes, that’s right – without Breaking the Silence, one would never hear a negative word about the IDF, because the New York Times, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the EU, the Guardian, the Iranian regime, the Arab League, the Huffington Post, CNN, El Mundo, El Diario or just about any other entity with a microphone or a media outlet never criticizes the IDF.

Well, that’s what the young whippersnappers at J Street U were able to convince the grownups on the board of the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia.

Breaking the Silence, which was created in 2004, exists to shout from the rooftops that the IDF is not a “defense” force but is instead an immoral military force that is dedicated to “annexation of territory, terrorizing and tightening the control over the civilian [Arab] population.”

NGO Monitor is a non-profit organization that provides information on, analysis of and promotes accountability for the reports and activities of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) which claim to advance human rights and humanitarian agendas, but which instead so frequently primarily promote the vilification of Israel.

According to NGO Monitor, the 2010 publication created by Breaking the Silence, “Occupation of the Territories – Israeli Soldier testimonies 2000-2010,” suffers from several fatal flaws: all testimony is anonymous, and almost none provide a date, location or context for the incidents being described.  In addition, of the 183 incidents mentioned in the report, only 16 were reported to superiors at the time, which makes it especially difficult to rely on the credibility or motivation for the late, non-reported, anonymous “episodic” revelations.

The effort of Breaking the Silence to smear the IDF as an immoral military force falls apart most decisively when a careful reading of the many violations it claims to catalogue reveal that all – to the extent they are real – are themselves violations of IDF policy, so while problematic, they are evidence solely of errors and missteps engaged in by individuals.

Even the indefatigably leftist Haaretz expressed disdain for the repeated claim by Breaking the Silence that it is a human rights organization:

“Breaking the Silence…has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.’ Any organization whose website includes the claim by members to expose the ‘corruption which permeates the military system’ is not a neutral observer.

The organization has a clear agenda: to expose the consequences of IDF troops serving in the West Bank and Gaza. This seems more of interest to its members than seeking justice for specific injustices.”

And yet, the board of the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia was conned into believing that Breaking the Silence, whose sponsors include not only J Street U, but also the New Israel Fund, the European Union, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, NDC (funds from Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark), and George Soros’ Open Society Institute was needed to amplify the tintinnabulation of hatred already ringing across U.S. campuses from such groups as the BDS movement and the annual Israel Apartheid Week hate fiestas which vilify every move taken by Israel and the IDF to protect Israeli citizens – Jewish, Muslim, Christian and others – from Arab Palestinian terrorism.

Although the HGP several years ago crafted and approved a policy that explicitly stated it would not lend its space for events or organizations the primary goal of which was to delegitimize Israel, J Street U succeeded in persuading the board that their point of view – that is, explicitly and simply, that the IDF is a terrorist, expansionist militaristic entity – does not get enough play at the University of Pennsylvania. While the HGP board initially refused to allow the event in the building, the board members’ hesitation was eventually drowned out.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/penn-hillel-provided-platform-to-venomous-breaking-the-silence/2013/03/29/

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