Tonight marks the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, November 9th/10th 1938
35 IDF soldiers have died since the ground invasion began a week and a half ago against an enemy that had 15 years to prepare its defences.
Rocket attacks on both southern and northern Israel continued today (Thursday), including a barrage fired towards Ashdod and surrounding areas plus incoming rocket alerts in Shtula & Even Menahem near the Lebanon border.(Times of Israel liveblog)
On Wednesday, around 50,000 Gazans crossed from the northern part of Gaza to the south. The IDF will continue to allow residents to move to the south on Thursday through “coordinated humanitarian windows that enable the Gaza population to organize and travel south safely.”
Over 240,000 Israelis have been internally displaced as a result of Hamas’ attack, with northern border communities joining Gaza border towns as closed military zones.
The IDF found a rocket and drone production site in the middle of a residential building in the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood in northern Gaza and published footage showing the weapons storage site next to rooms where children sleep.
An Israeli pilot revealed how targets are selected: “Gaza is a densely populated area; we only strike where necessary.”
UK journalist Nick Craven joined the IDF’s Negev Brigade in north Gaza.Report here
How a Gaza resident received an advance warning from Israel and led a mass evacuation of his neighbours.Report here
Israeli security services security service on Wednesday released further evidence of Hamas’s use of ambulances to carry out its operations, including footage from an intercepted phone call and the interrogations of terrorists who participated in the October 7 massacre. In the call, an apparent operative in the terror group can be heard speaking to a Gazan man, saying he “can leave with any ambulance” he wants. Report here
CNN has ‘suspended all ties’ with a freelance photojournalist who appears to have been embedded with Hamas on October 7 at the time of the terror group’s barbaric assault on Israel. Hassan Eslaiah is one of four photojournalists whose work has now come into question. Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud and Hatem Ali have also been providing western media outlets with photos of the conflict since October 7, working with CNN, The AP, Reuters and the New York Times.Report here& here
Police are investigating a blast in Eilat which damaged a school as a “suspected security incident.”Report here
Hamas-controlled heath authorities have been claiming for weeks that Gaza hospitals will have to close in a day or two due to lack of power, and this has been repeated by numerous media outlets.But thanks in part to a UN/WHO programme, Gaza hospitals have extensive solar power installations on their roofs, which can supply a substantial portion of their power needs.
A video, posted by Hamas media, of the scene outside Shifa Hospital on November 4th, showed the lights on in many rooms of the hospital, the entrance ablaze with light, and many spectators holding up working cell phones: Report & video here
Pro-Palestinian posters have shared an image of a two-month-old baby lying amid the rubble of a bombed-out building in Gaza Strip across social media platforms in recent weeks. The image itself, however, is fake, generated by an artificial intelligence-based image generator and first posted 9 months ago. Read more here
Israeli forces carried out a raid Monday in Tulkarem, killing four members of a terror cell that was planning to carry out major attacks on behalf of Hamas. The cell was working to arm itself and carry out bombing attacks, and had plans to launch rockets from the West Bank. Police and the Israel Security Agency said the cell had already carried out dozens of shooting attacks, and operated “under the guidance and funding” of Hamas in Gaza and abroad. Report here
After a masked Palestinian man wielding a knife approached soldiers near Ofra on Tuesday, Israeli forces killed the would-be assailant. Also Tuesday, a Palestinian woman wrapped in a Hamas flag and carrying a knife was shot and wounded by Israeli forces at a checkpoint near Jerusalem.Report here
Eight Palestinian terrorists were killed in armed clashes with Israeli forces in Jenin on Thursday. Report here
A young Israeli couple in their 20s were wounded in a shooting attack Wednesday night near the community of Gitit. A 5-month-old baby girl in the car was uninjured.Report here (paywall)
Stories of heroic acts on October 7 are still emerging. These four Israeli Bedouin men from Rahat saved dozens of Israeli lives while deployed by their uncle to evacuate his son Hisham from Kibbutz Be’eri. Report hereand here
The director of trauma and critical care surgery at Sheba Medical Centre said that all of the patients his hospital received after the Hamas atrocities (92 patients within eight hours on Oct. 7 and several more since) are still alive.
Many suffered from penetrating injuries, large amounts of internal bleeding and nerve damage.
He told of Amichai, who held the door of the shelter with both hands while the terrorists were targeting him, his wife, and his six kids.
He absorbed all the munitions and gunfire they were aiming at the door, and they just figured they were wasting too much time there and went to find families that were easier to kill.
He lost one hand and the other is severely damaged, but he saved his family. Report here
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told EU ambassadors in Brussels on Monday: “There is no justification for the horror that Hamas unleashed against innocent men, women, children and babies on 7 October. In the wake of the worst mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust, it is our moral duty to demonstrate our full solidarity with the people of Israel. Israel has the right to defend itself, in line with international law and international humanitarian law. This is and continues to be the essential starting point.”
“Supporting Israel is essential. Aiding civilians in Gaza is essential, too….Hamas is clearly using innocent Palestinians and hostages as human shields. It is horrific. It is pure evil….Every single hostage matters. Their captors should free them, and should free them now.”
“Gaza can be no safe haven for terrorists. We know what happened after the previous Gaza wars. Hamas immediately started rebuilding its arsenal and preparing for the next conflict. This cannot be the case any longer….The terrorist organization Hamas cannot control or govern Gaza.” Report here
The Commander of the German Air Force, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, and his staff donated blood at Sheba Medical Centre. He also met his Israeli counterpart and expressed his support for Air force operations to eradicate Hamas in Gaza.Report here
According to a report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, at least 14 teachers at Palestinian schools run by the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees celebrated Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre against Israel and are part of a “national strategy to commit acts of terror,”
One referred to Oct. 7 as an “unforgettable glorious morning”.Read more here
Israel last week used its Arrow missile-defence system to shoot down a ballistic missile outside the Earth’s atmosphere, in what is believed to be the first combat ever to take place in space. The missile was launched from Yemen by the Iran-backed Houthis, and flew almost 1,000 miles over the Arabian peninsula towards its target, the Israeli port city of Eilat.(paywall) Report here
The IDF used F-35I Adir fighter jets to shoot down a cruise missile last week launched from the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, the first known cruise missile intercept by the American-made stealth fighter.Report here
Douglas Murray (on the Gaza border) interviewed by Piers Morgan on Talk TV last night.
About 30 minutes. (skip the ads) View here
Eretz Nehederet Israel’s No 1 satirical programme mocks the support for Hamas on US college campuses. 2.5 mins View here
Maccabi Haifa is playing its first game since Oct 7 tonight Nov 9th but in Cyprus. Their opponents are Villareal in the Europa League.
Unusually sympathetic article from the Guardian: Article here
Maccabi Tel Aviv play Zorya Luhansk in the UEFA Conference League in Lublin. For the first time in a month, all of the players and the coaching staff came together in Poland to train as Robbie Keane, who had been watching the practices that were held in Israel online was finally able to see his charges in person.
The Israel National Team is preparing for its four 2024 European Championship qualifiers to be played between November 12-21.
First, the team will head to Kosovo and then will “host” Switzerland and Romania in Hungary followed by its last match at Andorra.
Israeli judokas were able to bring some pride to the nation last weekend as Gili Sharir and Raz Hershko both took home the silver medals while Inbar Lanir captured bronze at the European Championships held in Montpellier, France. Read more here
Israeli motor racing driver Ariel Elkin gained second place in the Formula 4 USA Championship Race in Austin.Source here
Jake Wallis Simons…people (have) become inclined to overlook the obvious fact that a genocidal terror group may also, on occasion, lie. They believe Hamas’s inflated death tolls, which are produced instantly without time for investigation and validation. They believe Hamas’s presentation of the deaths as entirely civilian, without asking any questions about whether any terrorists have perhaps been killed… And when the Israeli army points out the lengths it goes to in order to protect innocent life, and points out Hamas’s use of human shields, the Israelophobic public scoffs and turns away.
The battle of Mosul, which took place in 2016 and 2017, closely resembled the current Israeli offensive in Gaza. This was a city of a million inhabitants in which Islamic State terrorists were embedded, using them as human shields. First it was besieged and pounded from the air by the United States Air Force and the RAF. After that, Iraqi and Kurdish ground troops advanced, engaging in savage urban warfare. By the end, Mosul was flattened and 11,000 innocents lay dead.
Going by percentages, the civilian death toll was higher than that in Gaza (Israel’s track record of civilian-to-combatant casualty ratio has long been better than those of Britain or America in theatres of war)…But how many marches did we see through London demanding a ceasefire? How many allegations of war crimes were levelled at Britain and our allies in the halls of the United Nations? On the contrary: when Islamic State was vanquished, we breathed a sigh of relief… Nobody spared a thought for civilians.
One of the most telling moments of the past few days came mid-way though the speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, on Friday, when he saluted the hundreds of thousands of activists rallying on the streets of western capitals. Doubtless to (his) deep satisfaction, this Saturday London expects a bigger march than ever… In recent days, hoards of people across the west have swallowed and regurgitated the propaganda of Hamas, even though it is at best devoid of context and a sense of proportion, and at worst demonstrably false. Full article here (paywall)
Bassem Eid: It is Hamas that is holding its own people hostage as human shields. Hamas put up roadblocks to prevent Gazans from moving away from the area that Israel had called on them to evacuate. Hamas’ callous nature toward its people’s rights includes storing weapons and other targets of military value next to schools, hospitals, and mosques.
In the West Bank where I live, senior Palestinian Authority leaders praised the Hamas carnage of Oct. 7 as a “dream come true,” a “miraculous victory” and a “source of great joy.”… Let us not forget why my brothers and sisters in Gaza are in this situation in the first place. If Hamas had never violated Israel’s borders and butchered 1,400 Israelis, torturing and raping the massacred, there would be no fuel crisis in Gaza today. Please, remove Hamas from power and defeat these wicked terrorists who hold us captive.Article here
Editorial W.Post: A unilateral or unconditional cease-fire by Israel would be inconsistent with the country’s right to defend itself against the authors of the massacre on Oct. 7…Nor would it be morally and politically appropriate to put the entire onus of civilian casualties on Israel, since Hamas itself has consciously exposed noncombatants to danger by provoking Israel militarily – while protecting its own leaders and fighters in tunnels. At least some of the dead in Gaza have likely been killed by the militants’ own errant rockets. (paywall) Article here
Khaled Abu Toameh: Arab states express “brotherhood and solidarity” rhetorically while rejecting Palestinian refugees in reality, rationalizing their decision by saying that Gazans should hold their ground no matter what the consequences. The international community has not condemned these Arab states’ refusals…Not all Palestinians in Gaza support Hamas, though many do. Many are afraid to speak out but express dissent in private. Palestinians who condemn Hamas need to be empowered and engaged. Article here
Facing global criticism over its military campaign in Gaza, Israeli officials have turned to history in their defence, citing Western military actions in urban areas where innocent civilians paid the price for the defeat of enemies.
In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as many as 200,000 civilians perished after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs to force Japan’s surrender. In Iraq, hundreds of civilians were killed in Falluja as U.S. forces fought Iraqi insurgents, and thousands died in Mosul in Iraqi and American battles against the Islamic State.
…Israeli officials say Hamas is clearly guilty of intentionally murdering Israeli civilians. Israel says it is impossible to defeat its enemy without killing innocents – a lesson that Americans and their allies should understand.
(paywall) Article here
John Spencer, chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point, writes that Israel is upholding the laws of war.Article here
The Ruins of Kibbutz Kfar Aza by Deborah Danan.
Warning: a harrowing and graphic read.
I know members of the community are worried about the situation in Israel so thought you might be interested in a first-hand account of our experience on arriving back late on Monday night.
What moved me immensely was the walk from the plane to the exit from the airport. On both sides of the walkway were pictures of the 240 known hostages. Each one had a short biography of the individual. The emotional impact of seeing their faces, the 9 month old baby, the 3 year old twins, the old men and women – it really brought home the personal tragedy and suffering these people and their families are going through.
Many of us are writing to the International Committee of the Red Cross (https://www.icrc.org/en/contact ) to complain at their failure to visit the hostages after over a month.
As soon as we entered the taxi, the driver went through what we needed to do if there was a siren. I asked if he had needed to implement the measures and he said only once so far.
The next night our phones and the sirens went off at 9pm giving us 90 seconds to dash for our safe room. We then realised we hadn’t closed the metal shutters on the window, and we had insufficient time, so had to lie on the floor in case a blast shattered the window. (We have now closed it!). At our age getting up off a hard floor having been there for the requisite 10 minutes is no easy task.
Poor Ella, our 6 year old granddaughter, threw a fit at being woken up and dragged out of their flat to stand in the stairwell. She refused and insisted on going down 4 floors to the shelter (not do-able in 90 seconds with a baby and young child). Fortunately, there was no damage. We didn’t hear any explosions but Samuel and his children, who are only a kilometre away, heard several loud booms, one of which shook the building. It completely spooked Ella who refused to go to bed unless her Daddy stayed with her for the night. Poor Daddy!
Today I volunteered at the local Shul where the hall is full of goods donated for the army and refugees from the northern and southern borders. Many of them are staying in the hotels around us and it is clearly a challenge to keep the children occupied.
The streets are quieter than usual, the shops that are open are closing earlier, but the sun is shining and surely Hamas must run out of rockets some time – it’s over a month and they are still coming. The shared feelings (achdut) of everyone we have met are palpable and inspiring.
Despite everything it’s good to be back (we think).
9 November 2023