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IDF vets train NY Jewish paramilitaries

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    IDF vets train NY Jewish paramilitaries By HAVIV RETTIG Jul 25, 2008 http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2008
      IDF vets train NY Jewish paramilitaries
      By HAVIV RETTIG
      Jul 25, 2008
      http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?
      pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1215331093729


      Yonatan Stern, the "Sgan Mefaked Hakita" (deputy squad commander) of
      Kitat Konenut New York, insists his "paramilitary emergency armed
      response team" is no "group of vigilantes or a JDL [Jewish Defense
      League]."

      Members of Kitat Konenut New York pose in a photo posted on the
      group's Facebook page.
      Photo: Courtesy


      "The goal of the organization is to have a competent and
      professional group of armed volunteers ready to respond to a threat
      at a moment's notice in any area where Jews reside," explains the
      Israeli combat veteran. "We do not carry out demonstrations or
      political activity of any kind as we have no political agenda. Our
      agenda is to protect Jews wherever and whenever necessary and by any
      means needed."

      On Friday, the third session of the group's training camp will begin
      in the Catskills woodlands of upstate New York, on land belonging to
      a Jewish supporter of the organization. With tuition at $400, the
      group expects 15 participants and five instructors for the 10 days
      of training. Participation has doubled since the group began three
      years ago.

      Kitat Konenut New York is modeled on the rapid response teams in the
      West Bank settlements that are often the first to act when terrorist
      attacks or other emergencies take place. The group bills itself as
      religious-Zionist but nonpolitical.

      American Jews have "felt a false sense of security in the United
      States," Stern believes, "because historically there has been less
      anti-Semitism than in other countries. But there have been
      incidents - neo-Nazi terrorist attacks, Arab terrorist attacks. Jews
      have to be vigilant."

      "The threat is not from the American people or government," he adds,
      but from "terrorist sleeper cells that want to target Jews. These
      people are very dangerous and the FBI issues warnings against them
      very often," he said, citing the FBI's warning, after the killing of
      Hizbullah operations chief Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in February,
      that the Lebanese group might carry out terror attacks on Jewish
      communities.

      "The average American is friendly to Jews, but we're worried about
      those individuals on the periphery of society," Stern says.

      The group was founded in the summer of 2006 in response to the
      shooting attack at the Jewish federation of Seattle premises by
      local Muslim Naveed Haq.

      "We realized there is a need for this kind of organization, and as
      Israeli combat veterans living in the US, we have the skills and
      ability to respond to this," Stern says.

      The group's MySpace page details the camp's regimen, which includes
      training in the IDF's Krav Maga martial art, use of non-lethal
      weapons and identification of suspicious objects, but also
      sharpshooter and assault rifle training, infantry exercises and
      endurance marches. Explanatory literature lists a large number of
      weapons with which participants can expect to train.

      "We believe all Jews in the US must be legally armed and trained,"
      Stern says, "and towards this goal we hold paramilitary training
      camps to train and equip Jewish American youth."

      The group's literature notes emphatically that all firearms used in
      training "are 100% legal and in compliance with all federal, state
      and local laws."

      "We strongly believe in the constitutional right to bear arms and we
      express this right to its fullest," it adds.

      The group claims to be "well-connected with the New York police and
      fire departments" and it invites "all members of the law enforcement
      community to join in our life-saving activities."

      Stern says, "We are all legally armed and carry radios and
      cellphones" during all hours of the day, and even on Shabbat, "as we
      need to be constantly ready to respond to any incident."

      The camp literature also promises discussions on Torah and Halacha,
      understanding and confronting terrorism, fighting anti-Semitism, the
      history of the Zionist movement in the Land of Israel, and
      encouraging participants to "know your rights and learn how every
      American can and must be legally armed and how to express the Second
      Amendment" - the right to bear arms.

      Funded by tuition money and a handful of private donors, the group
      does not exclude secular Jews, Stern says, but asks that they
      respect the Orthodox nature of the camp by observing Shabbat in
      public and refraining from bringing non-kosher food.

      "We wouldn't have a problem with non-Jews coming either," says
      Stern, "but no non-Jew has applied thus far."

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