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May 31, 2016 / 23 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israeli Army’

Gunfire From Gaza Hits IDF Vehicle After Netanyahu’s Visit to Border

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Nahal Oz (TPS) – An Israeli army vehicle was hit by gunfire from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops stationed on Gaza border and inspected a recently uncovered Hamas “terror tunnel” reaching into Israeli territory.

A military vehicle was struck near Nahal Oz, an Israeli community just beyond the security fence bordering the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF announced. The vehicle suffered damage but no one was injured in the incident.

Earlier in the day, Netanyahu toured the southern area of the Gazan border accompanied by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Gadi Eizenkot and inspected the Hamas tunnel uncovered by IDF forces several weeks ago. Netanyahu and Ya’alon were briefed by Gen. Eyal Zamir, Director of the Southern Command, on the most up-to-date Gaza survey findings.

“Tomorrow is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Seventy years ago we were like a leaf in the wind, with no defense force and helpless. We were slaughtered,” Netanyahu told soldiers of the 51st battalion stationed at the border. “Today we have a country and we have an army. We have the ability to defend ourselves on all fronts, both near and remote. What drives me is to secure the future of Israel and its people.”

“We are in the eye of the storm,” Netanyahu continued. “You see what’s happening. Millions are fleeing for their lives to Europe, and we have ISIS in the Golan on the other side [of the border], and ISIS here on the other side,” he said, referring to extremist forces in the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Desert.

“We are basically in the eye of the storm, and relative to the area we are the most stable, tranquil, and safest country.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Obama Trying to Make US Leftist Jews “Mainstream’

Monday, July 6th, 2015

A recent meeting between National Security Council officials and the left-wing Breaking the Silence group barely made headlines but was a significant move in President Barack Obama’s agenda to justify his view that Israel is an “occupier.”

It was President Obama who succeeded in removing AIPAC as the default representative of what is called the “pro-Israel lobby” by opening the Oval Office to J Street, the left-wing group that thinks being “pro-Israel” means accommodating Hamas, expelling 600,000 Jews from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and granting statehood Palestinian Authority inside Israel’s borders.

Calling itself “pro-Israel, pro-peace,” and with generous funding from far-left billionaire George Soros, J Street’s launch in 2008 coincided with the campaign and election of President Obama.

Since then, Obama has shifted farther and farther to adopt the Palestinian Authority view of Israel as an occupier, and of Jews in settlements and even half of Jerusalem as “illegal” and “illegitimate.” Listening to leftist Jews telling him what he wants to hear has strengthened his belief that the “peace process” is the panacea for the Middle East.

Obama also has grabbed every opportunity to twist Judaism into his vision of a religion that can used to support his agenda, and he has plenty of support from Reform Jewish leaders to become a modern Korach, the Biblical figure who rebelled against Moses’ authority by claiming that the entire Jewish community is just as holy as he is.

The end of the story is that Korach and his 250 followers were swallowed up in the ground, which opened up to bury them alive, and that seems to be the same fate for President Obama’s foreign policy, especially when it comes to any place in the Middle East.

Instead of accepting reality, he is trying to hold on to an illusion. Breaking the Silence is a new pawn for President Obama to use in his chess game to check Israel, and particularly Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Senior White officials welcomed Breaking the Silence, which was formed by a disgruntled Israeli-American soldier whose agenda is the same as Obama’s. Both of them have adopted the Palestinian Authority  term  “occupation” to describe the presence of approximately 300,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria and another quarter of a million or so in half a dozen Jerusalem neighborhoods. Tens of thousands of the residents are from the United States.

Reform Jewish leaders , who call themselves rabbis, do not represent Judaism, J Street does not represent the pro-Israel lobby, and Breaking the Silence does not represent the views of more than a tiny minority of Israelis.

But President Obama is playing magician to try to show that all three groups are the Jewish establishment.

The meeting  between White House officials with Breaking the Silence was the first ever and was held only days after the anti-IDF organization staged an anti-IDF exhibition  with the sponsorship of the Swiss government.

The President shrewdly made sure the meeting would not be held in the White House, making it easier for him to get smart and drop Breaking the Silence before it costs him support from the real mainstream Jewish community that knows the Israeli Defense Forces separate Israel from annihilation.

Haaretz reported that the meeting took place “at the offices of an American nonprofit in the capital.” A good guess – and it’s only as guess – would be that those offices belonged to J Street or perhaps more likely the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, whose president Matt Duss arranged the meeting.

The group’s website states:

The Foundation for Middle East Peace was created in 1979…to promote a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through education and advocacy…. the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [is] at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict….

In 1992, in view of the growing threat of Israeli settlements to peace, the Foundation introduced the bimonthly Report on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Breaking the Silence is trying to go mainstream. Obama’s “shared values” are more with the left-wing group than they are with the real mainstream in Israel and in the United States.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Garin Tzabar: Helping Lone Soldiers Feel At Home In Israel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

These lone soldiers, hailing from countries including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Turkey and Azerbaijan arrived in Israel without their families to join the Israel Defense Force and help build the Jewish nation.  ’Garin’ means seed in Hebrew but can also refer to a group of people who collectively immigrated to Israel and ‘tzabar’ refers to the ‘sabra’ cactus fruit which is prickly on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside, a euphemism to describe Israelis.

The Garin Tzabar program is in charge of bringing these lone soldiers to a kibbutz or Israeli city, providing them with an adopted family, a Garin community that supports them throughout their army service and Hebrew classes to assist their immersion into the IDF.  Several months from now the new recruits will begin to serve in the Israeli Army.  The Garin Tzabar  ensures lone soldiers receive support and attention on their birthdays, during holidays, Shabbat, and their days off .

The State of Israel officially welcomed this year’s Garin Tzabar participants during a special ceremony held at Tel Aviv University. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  gave a video greeting praising these young Jewish men and women and  numerous other government officials attended the event.

MK Sofa Landver, who addressed the group, stated, “We are here to receive the immigrants and the soldiers in our country, the most wonderful country in the world. It’s you who have come to serve and defend Israel. You will change the world.” A representative of Nefesh B’Nefesh added, “It’s not just a plane ride, it’s the destination and that’s Israel. Enjoy your new life.”

Netta Gelb, a new Garin Tzabar participant, was born in the Israeli city of Netanya and has spent the past 15 years growing up in Canada. Although she has Israeli relatives,  she is leaving behind her parents and siblings.  Gelb expressed the excitement many Garin members felt when she said, “I have been really looking forward to this for a long time.”

Michael Kosky, another Garin Tzabar participant, added, “We have come here to play our chapter in Jewish history. I am part of this program. Good luck to every one here.”  A lone soldier already serving in the IDF named Ariella, who hails from an Argentine family and grew up in both America and Israel told the audience that she holds dear the “values of loyalty to the state, its people, and the Tzabar members” and said to the new recruits “If you live together, you will learn a lot.”

Eitan Press contributed to this report.

Visit United with Israel.

Rachel Avraham

Is Learning Torah ‘Sharing the Burden’?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I have to respectfully disagree with the esteemed Mashgiach of Lakewood, Rav Matisyahu Salomon. An article in YWN quoted him as saying that the statement being made about Haredim in Israel not ‘sharing the burden’ is apikursus – heresy.

I suppose that the way he explains it, it might be heresy to say such a thing. To make the claim that learning Torah is not “sharing the burden” is indeed a slight to learning Torah. Learning Torah does help protect Israel from harm by its enemies just as a physical army does. Those are two necessary components.

But it is a gross misunderstanding to characterize “sharing the burden” in the way Rav Salomon does. The burden that is not shared – is the one that involves putting oneself in harm’s way. I can’t repeat this enough times. Rav Salomon cannot possibly think that yeshiva bachurim (lomdei Torah – those who study Torah) risk their lives in the same way as a solider in combat does. They are nowhere near harm’s way while they are in a Beis HaMedrash being protected by soldiers who do share the burden of risking life and limb.

Once again we see a great rabbinic figure who apparently does not understand what it is that really upsets the non-Haredi public – which includes many observant Jews. To say that our views are apikursus is both false and insulting – even if unintentionally so. Nor does Rav Salomon even attempt to give credit to those who do risk life and limb protecting those lomdei Torah – as did a Gadol of the previous generation, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz.

How sad it is that a leader of such great stature in the Haredi world feels he has to insult so many observant Jews in order to make his point about the importance of learning Torah. Would it not serve Klal Yisroel better if he were to first acknowledge the contributions of those who do serve in the IDF?

And wouldn’t it also serve Klal Yisroel better if he were to understand that “sharing the burden” means participating in the risk to life and limb equally… and not meant to denigrate the contributions of lomdei Torah to our survival as a nation?

Statements such as those made by Rav Salomon are very upsetting. Is there any wonder why there is such a lack of Achdus in Klal Yisroel? But all is not lost. I do in fact agree with his final paragraph:

HaRav Solomon said if there are מקטרגים (opponents; detractors) on the Torah, the Gra teaches us that this is a sign of the תביעות (claims) against us in Shomayim [Heaven] and while today we do not have prophets, one can know this is bases on מידה כנגד מידה (measure for measure) and we must look and see from where the פורענות (troubles) come from and this is the area where the teshuvah [repentance] and מעשים טובים (good deeds) must be focused.

Indeed. Perhaps God is sending a message about an area that needs improvement. And perhaps the first place his community should be looking at is in how they have reacted to this very issue. Perhaps if they would treat those of us who have made this statement (about sharing the burden) with a measure of understanding and respect instead of calling us apikursim, we would return that respect and understanding measure for measure.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Harry Maryles

Why US Ambassador Condemned IDF Probe, Boosting ISM’s Rachel Corrie Myth

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

This Tuesday the verdict is expected in a wrongful death suit against the government of Israel brought by the family of an American girl who died when she acted as a human shield against Israeli military anti-terrorism efforts.

As if there weren’t already enough drama and media attention surrounding the Rachel Corrie trial, it appears that U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro this week lent credibility to the plaintiffs’ case against the government of Israel when he reportedly criticized the Israeli investigation into Corrie’s death.

According to several news reports, Ambassador Shapiro told the Corrie family that the U.S. government believes the Israeli investigation was not “thorough, credible and transparent.”  That was enough to feed the liberal blogosphere, which touted the US support for the Corries, convicting Israel in their own court hearing.

But is that really the case?

The Israeli investigation, conducted immediately after Corrie’s death, concluded that what happened was a tragic accident brought on largely because Corrie insisted on entering and remaining in a military zone, and ignored repeated and escalating efforts to leave the area.  Further, that investigation found that the bulldozer operator could not have seen Corrie when she was struck and killed.

A little background, first.

In late January, 2003, Rachel Corrie moved from Olympia, Washington to Gaza, where she joined the virulently anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement and volunteered to act as a human shield in order to stop Israeli efforts to combat terrorism. She died on March 16, 2003, when she placed herself in the path of an Israeli army bulldozer that was in the process of leveling ground and removing booby traps planted by terrorists.

Between the time that Corrie arrived at the site and her death, the IDF issued multiple warnings and attempted to remove Corrie and her colleagues with shock grenades, tear gas and warning shots. The protesters refused to leave the site.

An Israeli military investigation took place immediately after Corrie’s death. The IDF concluded its investigation in June, 2003, finding that the bulldozer driver could not have seen Corrie, that the death was a tragic accident, and that Corrie had endangered herself by entering and remaining in a combat zone.  The investigation determined there was no fault on the part of the Israeli bulldozer driver, and that no charges would be brought.

What happened next within the US government on this issue is nearly as much of a deep mystery as many of Corrie’s supporters believe events surrounding her death is.

When Amb. Shapiro met with the Corries in advance of the court verdict last week, he was representing the US government, speaking to an American family, and discussing the death of an American citizen.  Although much has been made of his statement by supporters of the Corries, in fact he was simply repeating what has been described as the official position of the US government with respect to the Israeli investigation into Corrie’s death.

But where did the position come from?  Upon what was it based?

It turns out, the position appears to simply be the opinion of Rachel Corrie’s parents, the plaintiffs in the case against the government of Israel.

During his confirmation hearing in May, 2011, now Ambassador Dan Shapiro was asked by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry what steps he would take to ensure, as the State Department Spokesperson had called for, “that the Israeli government would continue a thorough, transparent and credible investigation of the circumstances concerning [Corrie’s] death.”

The State Department spokesperson was echoing what, in 2008, Senator Joe Biden asked during the confirmation hearing for Ambassador James Cunningham, now ambassador to Afghanistan, who was leaving his position at the US Consulate in Hong Kong.

Biden asked the future ambassador to Israel about the Rachel Corrie incident.  He asked whether, “in your opinion, has a thorough, credible, and transparent investigation taken place?” The Ambassador did not answer in the affirmative.  Instead, Cunningham stated that “The Department remains committed to providing the highest standards of citizen services  to the Corrie family. If confirmed, I will continue to press the Government of Israel for a thorough and transparent investigation of the tragic death of Rachel Corrie.”

Curious.

For those few who have followed the path of the “official US administration position” regarding Israel’s investigation into Corrie’s death, the trail leads to a letter allegedly written in June, 2004, to the Corries by Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.  Wilkerson was replying to the Corries who asked him whether, in his opinion, the investigation conducted by Israel was “thorough, credible and transparent.”  According to legend, Wilkerson replied: “no.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

A Mother’s Soldier: A Candid Discussion with a Toronto Mother About Her Son who is Serving in the Israeli Army.

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

War. Guns. Bullets. Combat Officers. Tanks. Paratroopers. Unfortunately, we’ve all become far too familiar with these terms.


And yet, as familiar as I am, for me, as for many of us in the Western world, the whole scenario remains a vague blur.

And as small a nation the Jewish People is – and though I may know people who currently are, were or will be serving in the Israeli army – it’s still all about them.


Fighting far away, over there. Across a vast ocean.


As connected as I may feel to our Homeland, as much as I feel so much a part of one large extended Jewish family, it remains in safe cognitive dissonance territory.


Until today.


Today, an e-mail was sent out to our entire community by my father, Rabbi Dovid Schochet, our community rabbi, making us aware of two of “our own” boys who were stationed on the front, asking us to increase in prayers and good deeds in their and all the soldiers’ merit.


“Our” two boys, Avraham Meyer (ben Leah Naomi) Ostfeld and Levy Yitzchack (ben Margalit) Mogilevsky, are in their early 20s. They grew up in our Toronto community, where their families currently live, just a stone’s throw from my own home. Yet the boys decided, on their own, to volunteer for the Israeli army; and in their respective special divisions – they were chosen from amongst many others in training – both are preparing to be at the very fore of the ground assault – if and when it may come.


I reached one mother, Lily Ostfeld, last night. Lily and her husband, Eron, are well-known members of the Toronto Chabad community, as well as the international Chabad community, for their philanthropy. Here, Lily is known for her modest grace, elegance and open warmth, generously offering her beautiful, spacious home to host any one of our many large communal events. The highly polished, ever shiny stone floors, the plush Oriental carpets, the tasteful furnishings and delicate knickknacks – as well as the mess, chaos and exertion of hosting hundreds of women – never prevent Lily from warmly agreeing.


“What is it like for you to have a son poised to begin the ground assault? To come face to face with his enemies?” I ask Lily.


“Avrohom Meyer was actually serving in an intense Maz lan battalion in the North. He switched very recently to the elite Golani brigade where he felt that the atmosphere was less intense, there was less rivalry and there was more of a sense of camaraderie amongst the unit. At this point,” here Lily sighs, “I guess I’ve got mixed feelings about his switch, since he might very well be involved in ground combat.”


“How did it all begin?” I wonder.


Lily speaks openly and frankly. “Three years ago, Avrohom Meyer was studying in CRC, now Meorot Chabad, a Lubavitch yeshivah in Israel, when he decided to volunteer for the army. He is well aware of the faults of the Israeli government in the whole peace plan and fully understands why many people are disillusioned with the effectiveness of the government in providing adequate security for its citizens,” Lily pauses. “But he has always said to me, ‘our brothers and sisters are in danger. Someone has to go to the front line to protect them. Just because the government puts the land in peril, someone still has to defend them.'”


One of those “someones” is now Avrohom Meyer.


How does a mother, living a comfortable life in Toronto, feel about her son’s decision?


“I’ll be honest with you, Chana.” Lily confides. “I can’t tell you how many times I tried to talk him out of this. I can’t say that I’ve supported his decision. I still have reservations and I admit that I was not a fan. And yet, I admire his determination and I’m so impressed by his motives.


“And the way that I hear him talking now – he’s changed. He’s grown. Life in the army makes them grow up really quickly. They gain a certain ” Lily grasps for the word, “a certain wisdom and knowledge.


“Look, here is a Toronto boy, growing up in a sheltered, cushy environment. And suddenly, he’s faced with real questions, with life staring him in the face, and situations in which he needs to ask for guidance from mentors.


“We speak to him very often – probably three or four times a day! I call him every night at 1:30 a.m. – which is 8:30 in the morning Israel time – to hear what is happening, or if he has been informed of the day’s schedule.


 “It’s important for him to speak to us. He can talk to us differently than to his katzin (army officer) – even though he’s got a great officer who’s a former expellee from Gush Katif and from whom he’s learned so much – but there are still things that you want to say to your mother or your father.


“He’s talking differently. He speaks about preparing his mindset, being especially focused in his goals and his mission and how he needs to be ready – not only physically but emotionally too – to face the enemy. He’s done his briefing and his training and a lot of work on himself emotionally, to be in the right frame of mind.”


“And, you, as a mother, Lily?” I ask. “How are you faring? What do you do when you feel nervous or scared?”


Without a pause, Lily continues, “I remind myself of this:


“I know he is there with his chitas [book containing a Chumash, Psalms, and Tanya, recommended by the Rebbe for extra safety – C.W.] − safely nestled in his bullet-proof vest, and with his Rebbe dollars.


“I know theAibishter firt de velt – G-d runs the world.


“And I say my Tehillim (Psalms).”


Almost as an afterthought, Lily says, “Please, Chana, write that the more Tehillim that is said for our boys, the more mitzvot that are done – it’s so important for them and the more encouragement we all feel.”


Because really, truly, there is no “them.”


It is all about us. Every one of us.


 


Watch Chana Weisberg’s two-minute videocast on www.chabad.org/intouch for your dose of weekly inspiration. Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers-Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman. She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at chanaw@gmail.com

Chana Weisberg

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/a-mothers-soldier-a-candid-discussion-with-a-toronto-mother-about-her-son-who-is-serving-in-the-israeli-army/2009/01/21/

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