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Israel Update 11.5.23


(The operation continues at the time of writing, Thursday early evening)


An Israeli man in his 70s was killed today Thursday when a rocket launched from Gaza, hit an apartment building in Rehovot. At least ten other people were moderately and lightly injured and taken to hospital.Read more here



After Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fired 104 rockets at Israeli civilians last week on May 2 and 3, the Israeli Air Force surprised PIJ on Tuesday with a series of airstrikes in Gaza in an effort by Israel to re-establish deterrence. All of the PIJ operatives targeted had recently engaged in terrorist activity and had also been planning attacks on Israelis in the near future. Read more here



Those killed included the terrorist responsible for planning the 2004 murders of Tali Hatuel a pregnant 34-year-old mother, and her four daughters. Read more here



Between Tuesday morning 9/5 and 7 a.m. Thursday morning 11/5, Islamic Jihad had fired 507 rockets on Israel and the IDF had undertaken 158 airstrikes on the terror group.Read more here



The PIJ head of the group’s rocket forces, responsible for directing and carrying out rocket fire at Israeli territory, including the recent barrages,was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Thursday.    As of Wednesday evening, 507 rockets had been fired toward Israel. 154 were intercepted by Israeli air defence systems, as Iron Dome recorded a 96% success rate. Another 108 crashed inside Gaza, killing four Palestinian civilians including 3 children. Read more here



The IDF waited two days to kill the deputy head of the rocket force on Thursday because he had been using human shields.  Read more here



PIJ rockets damaged Israeli homes in Sderot, Ashkelon, and Kibbutz Nir Am. No injuries were reported.   Read more here



The David’s Sling* air defence system  successfully shot down a rocket from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday afternoon, marking the first real-world interception for the battery. The rocket was one of three fired at Tel Aviv and the other two rockets landed in open areas. Read more here

* The system is designed to deal with significant threats such as heavy rockets and ballistic missiles in the layer between Iron Dome (which tackles short-range threats such as mortars, Qassams and grads) and the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems, designed against long-range missiles, mainly from Iran, that move outside the atmosphere.






U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reaffirmed the Administration’s ironclad support for Israel’s security, as well as its right to defend its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks.Read more here



In the UK’s House of Lords, Minister for the Middle East Lord Tariq Ahmad defended Israel’s “legitimate right to self-defence” and also said he welcomed signals that Hamas did not appear “involved in this current conflict.”
Lord Leigh noted the fact that 100 rockets had been fired towards Israel from Gaza before Israel launched its attack against three Islamic Jihad commanders, one of whom had been helping build a rocket launching facility in Jenin Read more here



The U.S. and Great Britain, blocked the UN Security Council from condemning the IDF’s military operation in Gaza. Their opposition meant the issue never came to a vote.Read more here






Stephen Daisley: If you get your news on the Middle East from the BBC, every so often Israel appears to go mad and begins lustily bombing Palestinian civilians. No rhyme or reason. Jerusalem is simply pummelling Gaza for the hell of it.

This impression is often created by the BBC’s approach to reporting on Israel and terrorism. The story invariably begins when Israel responds to attacks, with those original attacks deemed insufficiently newsworthy until then or reported as a retaliation to some provocation. Then, once Israel engages, the inciting incidents are quietly smuggled into the coverage but framed as just another round in the cycle of violence. Thus self-defence is cast as aggression, and aggression as tit-for-tat.

On Wednesday, the BBC World Service Newsday introduced an item thus: “…Palestinian officials say that two young men have been killed during an overnight Israeli army raid near Jenin in the occupied West Bank. It came hours after Israel carried out air strikes on Gaza, targeting militant commanders. Fifteen people were killed, including ten civilians”

Two ‘young men’ killed by Israeli soldiers. Gazan civilians killed by air strikes…If this was your first encounter with these events, you would probably come away from it with a less than sympathetic view of Israel’s actions.

Fortunately for Israel, and unfortunately for the BBC, Israeli journalist Lahav Harkov was on the line waiting to be interviewed on the situation about 6 min 30 sec into the programme: Listen here

She was asked if the timing of Israel’s operations was significant and responded:

‘It’s significant because of details that you left out in your introduction. For example, the two Palestinian men shot in Jenin overnight were shooting at IDF soldiers and the IDF soldiers shot them back… The operation in Gaza came after Palestinian Islamic Jihad shot 102 rockets towards Israeli civilian centres. Then Israel took a week or so to prepare its operation and use its intelligence and then, yes, retaliated. But retaliated in a way that was commensurate with international law because they (the terrorists) shot at civilians and Israel shot at the terrorists who were leading this organisation and this operation to shoot at civilians.’

In a 40-second burst, Harkov provided listeners with facts, context, chronology and background. This is what used to be known as ‘journalism’… Astonishingly, the presenter decided to have another go. ‘If the operation was to target the Islamic Jihad,’ she enquired, and ‘we have ten civilians dead’, did this ‘show us where the thought process of Mr Netanyahu and the coalition government and the leadership is at the moment’

Harkov knocked this one out of the park, too:

“Every civilian life lost is tragic. But, for a terrorist group that does not have its own separate military bases and hides out amongst civilians, that is not such a high number. When you look at photographs of the operation, you see that a specific apartment in an entire building is what was blown up. It’s not that they were taking down the whole building, hundreds of people, to get one person. It was a pinpoint operation.”

Harkov’s responses were a pinpoint operation too, a precision strike against the BBC’s singular and faulty approach to reporting on Israel.

The BBC’s flawed journalism makes a country trying to defend itself in a complex environment with very few options look like a bloodthirsty aggressor. At present, its coverage is sloppy, partial, hostile and distorting. Until it changes, the BBC’s coverage of Israel and the Palestinians will only continue to discredit itself. Read more here







Israel’s President Herzog and his wife Michal reportedly met several world leaders during a reception at Buckingham Palace including  handshakes with the leaders of Qatar and Oman, which don’t have formal diplomatic ties with Israel. Herzog was also said to have had warm talks with King Charles, Prince William, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Bahrain’s crown prince, the president of the UAE , US First Lady Jill Biden and the princess of Morocco.Read more here







Israel announced Wednesday the launching of a healthcare startup incubator in the Arab city of Sakhnin.
The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) said the new centre’s goal is to promote startup companies in Arab society, promoting tech-based projects in the fields of medical devices, digital medicine, food tech, and artificial intelligence for medical applications.
The centre is part of a programme aimed at increasing the representation and integration of the Arab population in Israeli hi-tech. Read more here








A Jordanian parliamentarian recently arrested by Israeli authorities for attempting to smuggle over 200 firearms into the West Bank was released to face trial back home. According to the Shin Bet investigation, al-Adwan had smuggled various types of contraband into the West Bank 12 times since February 2022, using his diplomatic passport. A surge in violence and terror attacks has hit the West Bank in recent months, aided by a flood of illegal weapons. Read more here







Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has introduced its BlueWhale Large Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.
The craft can perform a significant portion of the operations of a manned submarine, for periods of several weeks, at minimal cost and maintenance. Read more here







The World Health Organization announced last week that the “global emergency” created by the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. Meanwhile, Israel confirmed the death of its 12,500th victim. 225 coronavirus cases were reported in Israel last Thursday, bringing the number of currently active cases nationwide to 3,083. Over 200 people were hospitalized with the disease, including nearly two dozen who are hooked up to respirators, as of last Friday. Read more here






15 years ago, when she was 6 years old and started playing basketball, Noor Kayuf dreamed of the moment she would lift the championship plate in the Israeli Female Basketball Premier League.  That dream came true last week for the first female Druze basketball player. Read more here







An Israeli-designed missile detection system that would give Ukrainians more time to take shelter from Russian missile attacks is being tested in Kyiv and may be activated within two months, Read more here








Israel’s Minister of Economy Nir Barkat on Wednesday inaugurated the Israeli pavilion at the International Exhibition of Agriculture (SIAM) in Meknes and stressed his country’s willingness to collaborate with Morocco on agriculture and agrotech. He hopes Morocco will pave the way for Israel to share its water tech, agrotech, and desert tech expertise with countries across the world.    Read more here






Visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and his Indian counterpart, Dr. S. Jaishankar, signed an agreement in New Delhi on Tuesday that will allow 42,000 Indian workers to work in Israel in the fields of construction and nursing. Read more here







For the first time, the luxury ship MSC Musica has arrived in Israel. Carrying over 3000 passengers, it is the largest ship to sail from Israel this summer. Read more here



A recent article from Club Med, the French travel and tourism agency, named Israel, and specifically Jerusalem, the best destination for a summer vacation worldwide.Read more here