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Fellowship and FIDF Provide $1.5M in Passover Gift Cards to IDF Soldiers

This year’s ‘Passover Fellowship Gift Cards’ support over 12,500 IDF soldiers in need and Lone Soldiers

JERUSALEM,  The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), in collaboration with Yachad Lema’an Hachayal, are providing “Fellowship Gift Cards” to over 12,500 soldiers in need and Lone Soldiers currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) so they can celebrate the Passover holiday without financial worries.

The vast majority of eligible soldiers will be receiving a gift card in the amount of NIS 500, or about $130, and about 2,500 soldiers are eligible for a gift card of NIS 350, or about $100. Soldiers will be able to purchase supplies such as food, clothing, shoes, sports, and leisure items.

The Fellowship and FIDF distribute “Fellowship Gift Cards” twice a year, during the major Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Passover. This campaign is administered in collaboration with the IDF Personnel Directorate and reaches every eligible IDF soldier. FIDF and The Fellowship have been teaming up to deliver the holiday gift cards since 2009.

World Jewish Congress launches petition to ICRC demanding Hamas return bodies of IDF soldiers

NEW YORK - The World Jewish Congress has launched a petition asking the International Committee of the Red Cross to press Hamas to return the bodies of IDF Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, 23, and Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul, 20, who were killed in action during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014.

“The World Jewish Congress is calling upon the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to act on its stated mission to ensure ‘humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence’ and help bring these brave young men home to Israel for proper burial,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer. “Burying one’s dead is a humanitarian right and a religious right, and the rights of the Shaul and Goldin families remain violated. Please join the World Jewish Congress in calling on the ICRC to use all available diplomatic channels to right this egregious wrong. There is strength in our unity."

Shaul was killed on July 20, 2014 when he left his armored personnel carrier to repair the vehicle when Hamas fired on his unit and took him prisoner. On August 1, 2014, Hamas kidnapped Goldin, 23, following a deadly ambush in southern Gaza. The attack came an hour and a half into an agreed upon humanitarian ceasefire which had been brokered by then US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The IDF has determined that both soldiers were killed in action, but nearly three years have gone by and their bodies have not yet been returned. The Shaul and Goldin families remain in an unresolved state, unable to give their sons proper burials in Israel.

The petition, which has already received nearly 1,000 signatures, will be delivered to ICRC President, Peter Maurer. Click here to sign 

Young Leaders from Across US Will Visit Israel to Meet IDF Soldiers

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Young Leadership Mission to Israel July 1-9

NEW YORK,  More than 20 young leaders and supporters of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) from all walks of life, representing communities from across the U.S., will join the FIDF Young Leadership (YL) Mission to Israel next month to show their appreciation for the brave men and women of the IDF.

The mission, taking place July 1-9, will bring members of FIDF’s Young Leadership Division together with the soldiers of the IDF. Mission participants will receive in-depth briefings by military officers, tour strategic IDF bases to get a behind-the-scenes look into the Israeli military, and experience Israel – from the mystical Safed to the beaches of Tel Aviv – in an entirely new way. The group of FIDF leaders will hear firsthand from the men and women of the co-ed Lions of Jordan battalion, meet the combat soldiers who stand watch over Israel’s border with Gaza, tour an Israeli Air Force Base and get an overview of the different aircraft that protect Israel’s skies, and visit many of Israel’s historic sites.

Joining the FIDF YL Mission will be FIDF Tri-State Development Associate Carly Billig and FIDF Mid-Atlantic Development Associate Rona Kassem.

“This Young Leadership Mission allows our young FIDF supporters to connect with the courageous soldiers who put their lives on the line every day to defend the Jewish State and the Jewish people,” said Billig. “We are looking forward to this incredible opportunity to see Israel in a whole new way and to learning how we can do more to support the well-being of Israel’s soldiers.”


IDF celebrates 68 years of Israel’s independence

Units throughout the IDF will held a variety of celebratory and educational events to celebrate Israel's 68th Independence Day, many of them will be open to the public

The IDF celebrate Israel’s Independence Day, May 12, by holding a variety of celebratory and educational events, many of which will be open to the public.

In honor of the holiday, private citizens are invited to visit many IDF bases throughout Israel. Bases of the various commands will held exhibitions featuring their vehicles and other technology. Additionally, the Ground Forces will display its different branches and the technologies they use - including tanks, artillery and camouflage means – in a multi-corps exhibition at the historic site of Latrun.

The Israel Air Force will wish Israel a happy Independence Day with its traditional fly-over on Tursday, May 12. The event, will take place from 10:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., featured F-16, F-16i, and F-15i fighter jets, as well as transport planes and helicopters. The aircraft flew over Israel’s largest cities, as well as many smaller communities.

Additionally, the IAF will open several of its main bases to the public. The Hatzerim, Ramat David and Tel Nof airbases and the Air Force’s technical school held presentations featuring a variety of aircraft used by the IAF in the past and in the present. The Air Force will display some of its weaponry and search and rescue equipment.

The Air Force Museum at Hatzerim (near Beer Sheva) will be opene, holding demonstration flights of aircraft from the 1950s, a concert of the Air Force’s band and a presentation of 150 aircraft from throughout the history of the IAF. The museum will feature a variety of activities for children.

The Navy also will open its Eilat base to the public in honor of Independence Day. An exhibition there will feature various ground and maritime forces that operate in southern Israel, including Magen David Adom as well as military and police forces. The Navy’s base in Haifa will screene movies on the history of immigration to pre-state Israel during the British Mandate, as well as films about its various seacraft.

New York Delegation attends FIDF National Gala

1,200 prominent leaders from across the U.S. and Israel gather for annual New York City event

New York, A select delegation from the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) New York Young Leadership Division attended the FIDF National NY Gala Dinner at New York’s landmark Waldorf Astoria tonight, where head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Hertzi Halevi said, in the gala’s keynote address, that Israel must be “prepared” on its northern border with Syria.

“Syria has long ceased to be the state we all knew four years ago. We call it ‘50 Shades of Black,’ though I must admit I haven’t read the ‘grey’ version. One needs to take only a glimpse at their inner executions to understand why we must be prepared in the northern border.”

The head of IDF intelligence also said that the so-called Arab Spring has turned into a wider religious war redrawing the Middle East. “The maps of our area have been changing in front of our eyes. Borders drawn more than a century ago are being recklessly erased. The upheaval in the Middle East has turned into a religious struggle among armed factions,” said Halevi.

Among the delegation members were FIDF National Young Leadership Director Dan Haskell; FIDF New York Young Leadership Chairman Jane Oster; FIDF New York Young Leadership President Lemor Bar-Or; and FIDF New York Young Leadership Vice President Stefanie Cohen.

More than 1,200 prominent business and philanthropic leaders from across the country gathered for the FIDF National NY Gala Dinner, demonstrating their love and support for FIDF and for the men and women who serve to protect the State of Israel.

FIDF National Board Member Rabbi Peter Weintraub served as Dinner Chairman. Weintraub, who specializes in rabbinic outreach, has been an avid FIDF supporter for 12 years and has sponsored academic scholarships for over 70 IDF combat veterans through FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program.

“Over the dozen years that I’ve been involved in FIDF, I’ve been privileged to see how this organization makes a powerful difference in the lives of the brave men and women who defend and protect Israel – and the Jewish People,” said Rabbi Weintraub. “This Gala provided a wonderful, stirring opportunity for us to say thanks, and to stand proudly with them.”

Special guests included 30 IDF soldiers of various ranks and military units, including 2nd Lt. Enbal Grintzvaig, an educational officer in the Artillery Corps, whose brother, 1st Sgt. Avi Grintzvaig, z”l, was shot and killed in Bet Hanoun, near Gaza, during Operation Protective Edge this past summer. Addressing the audience, 2nd Lt. Enbal shared her personal memories of her brother, who posthumously received a citation for his bravery. Most of the soldiers who attended the Gala received citations for heroism, including in Operation Protective Edge and Operation Pillar of Defense.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, greeted the audience via satellite, and thanked them for their invaluable support for Israel’s soldiers.

Funds raised at the gala will provide much-needed and well-deserved services such as academic scholarships to former combat soldiers, financial support for underprivileged soldiers and Lone Soldiers from around the world, crucial aid for wounded veterans, weeks of rest and recreation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities. The evening was a rare and exclusive opportunity to pay tribute to the State of Israel and the brave men and women in uniform. In 2014, for the first time in its history, FIDF raised over $100 million for the wellbeing of Israeli soldiers.

Distinguished guests included the author and nationally syndicated radio host, Dr. Monica Crowley, who served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies; IDF’s 19th Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi; Israel Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to the U.S. and Canada Maj. Gen. Yaacob Ayish; and Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni.

Other prominent guests included FIDF National Chairman Nily Falic; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; Rabbi Weintraub and his wife, Ellen; FIDF Chairmen Emeritus Arthur Stark, Larry Hochberg, and Marvin Josephson; FIDF National Director and CEO Emeritus Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon; and FIDF National Board Member and YL-NY President Emeritus Tony Felzen.


IDF Hosts Multinational Conference on Contemporary Armed Conflicts

For three days the IDF hosted a conference to discuss international law in contemporary armed conflicts with participants from across the globe. The international group – composed of military lawyers, experts in the field of military law, and legal advisors to international organizations – discussed operational difficulties and legal challenges posed by modern armed conflicts.

Asymmetric warfare, urban fighting, and an undefined enemy are some of the most pressing challenges in modern-day conflict. These issues are a common challenge faced by the militaries of different democratic nations engaged in conflict in different parts of the world.

To address these issues and discuss possible solutions, the IDF hosted its first International Legal Conference on International Law in Contemporary Armed Conflicts, led by the IDF Chief Military Advocate General, Maj. Gen. Dan Efroni.

Held over three days, the conference facilitated discussion between the participants about the challenges of modern armed conflicts and included a visit to Israel’s southern border with the Gaza Strip. About 700 individuals participated in the conference, including military lawyers from a collage of different nations.

“The objective of the conference is to shed light on the operational difficulties and legal challenges posed by modern armed conflicts,” stated Maj. Gen. Efroni. “We will focus primarily on the core issues that arise before, during, and after armed combat in densely populated areas and illustrate them through first-hand experiences.”

During Operation Protective Edge, the IDF faced many of the challenges discussed during the conference and worked hard to limit civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.

“There is no substitute for Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) as they represent basic values of any civilized nation when engaged in armed conflicts,” Maj. Gen. Efroni asserted. “As a military of a democratic state we are unequivocally obligated to the rule of law and consequently to LOAC. There is no substitute for LOAC as they represent basic values of any civilized nation when engaged in armed conflicts.”

Two Soldiers Killed in Hezbollah Attack, seven other were wounded, two of them moderately

Israel’s northern border has been highly unstable over the last months, an anti-tank missile was fired at a military vehicle near Mt. Dov in northern Israel. Several injured in the attack.
The IDF closed the site and evacuated civilians from the area.
The IDF holds Hezbollah responsible for the attacks.
The IDF responded to attacks with combined aerial and ground strikes at Hezbollah operational positions.

Rockets Fired from Syria Hit Northern Israel: Two rocket hits were identified in the Golan; IDF returned fire, fighter jets were sent forward

Alarm sounded in several towns near the border. Local residents were instructed to stay close to the protected spaces

Alarm sounded today (Tuesday) afternoon in the communities of: Redness, Al-Rom, Bukaata, Massadeh Majdal Shams, restaurant, Neve Ati''b, Nimrod and 'Ein Qiniya Golan Heights. The army said that four launches were identified from Syria, and that the two falls were located in northern plateau. The IDF returned fire and fired dozens of artillery shells at the area of Syria. At the same time, planes and helicopters were sent forward to the border area.

Home Front Command ordered the residents of the area to remain close to the protected spaces, and ordered farmers to move away from agricultural areas near the border with Syria. In addition, the police blocked main roads to avoid civilian vehicles to get to the border area.

Just last week, Lt. Gen. Benjamin “Benny” Gantz spoke of the situation in northern Israel. “IDF forces are closely monitoring the events taking place here [in northern Israel], and are prepared, alert, and ready to act if necessary,” he said.


IDF Chief of Staff: “Especially during difficult times- we will act humanely”

“The latest events [the recent wave of terrorism] are ones that may generate anger” 

During Operation Protective Edge, many of the IDF’s units worked 24/7 to ensure the safety of Israel’s civilians, but some units operated in order to ensure the safety of the Palestinian population in Gaza. One of these units is the Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories (COGAT). To thank the unit’s soldiers for their outstanding service during the operation, a special evening was held in their honor last week.

The COGAT unit is responsible for implementing the government’s policy in Judea and Samaria and vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip. As part of the unit’s responsibilities, it facilitates the activities of international organizations active in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip including in matters pertaining to infrastructure, education, health and housing projects and the implementation of humanitarian aid programs. In addition, COGAT leads the coordination and liaison with the Palestinian Authority and with the Palestinian population.

“The latest events [the recent wave of terrorism] are ones that may generate anger,” said IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. “Yet, precisely during these difficult times, we will not lose our humane values and we will continue to implement actions that cannot be taken for granted. These actions derive from dedication to our values, as well as from a strategic understanding.”

“We must continue to act as we did during the recent operations on every front, and we will continue to face every challenge with great determination,” he added. “We will not compromise when it comes to achieving our goals and to maintaining the security of Israel’s civilians, but as difficult as it may be, we must remember that there are human beings on the other side. The day we forget this will be the beginning of the end.”

During the operation, the COGAT unit coordinated between the IDF and the Israeli government, and Palestinians and international organizations. Civil Operations Officers joined IDF forces in Gaza in order to provide them with the civilian point of view, a crucial factor of urban warfare. “During the operation we saw the forces enter under fire, and then suddenly, a minute later, they would be dealing with civilians and humane situations,” said Lt. Gen. Gantz. “This is what makes the IDF so unique, and what makes your [COGAT soldiers and officers] jobs so important.”

The COGAT, Maj. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai also spoke to his soldiers throughout the evening, addressing the security situation. “Our preparations now will determine the future. We cannot rest because of the success of the operation. On the contrary; we must stand guard and continue to improve our capabilities, because the real test is during times of war. Time works against us, yet we are still invested in the most important task: saving human lives, both Israeli and Palestinian.”

Terrorist attack in Tel Aviv: A soldier was stabbed near a train station

The soldier was evacuated to Tel Hashomer hospital when in a critical condition. Police and civilians took over the terrorist, 18-year-old resident of Nablus, and he was arrested. Large police forces instead. "Pool of blood fell from him".

A soldier was stabbed today (Monday) Levinsky Street in Tel Aviv, near the train station defense. Paramedics and Magen David Adom paramedics gave him medical treatment on the spot and took him into hospital resuscitation Sheba when he was in critical condition, where he was taken into surgery.

A police investigation revealed that the suspect in the stabbing is staying illegally in Nablus, 18, no criminal record. Palestinian media reported that this Nur al-Din Alh'ashih.

The terrorist came to the railway station and the entrance to the station he stabbed the soldier several times. Two bystanders came to the aid of the soldier and managed to fight off the perpetrator of it. At this time the suspect tried to escape onto nearby Lavenda. Three civilians, including one carrying an ax, chased him. Riot police forces joined the chase, and in an abandoned building they were able to control him and he was arrested. The knife was found in his possession was used to stab. During the chase was slightly wounded by a man in his 50s. He was taken to Ichilov Hospital in the city, along with the woman was treated for shock.

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonvitch, and Tel Aviv District Police Commander, Commander Benzi Sau, arrived at the scene. District Commander instructed the Police prepare for riots in the southern neighborhoods of the city - Hope, Florentine and others. The main concern is the events of the "price tag." Even in the West Bank, the IDF increased vigilance in order to prevent the outflow of illegal aliens.

"The terrorist escaped a distance of 200 meters and tried to hide in a five-story building. He was caught after a chase fourth floor thanks to the rapid response of the police force," said Commander Sao. He called on citizens to report any suspicious behavior. "This is part of the Guide obvious these days. I urge everyone not to take the law into their own hands - we live in a state of law, the police should have to maintain order, it is our job as we do."

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