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Interim Israel Update 13.11.23




The IDF on Monday morning reported that two more soldiers had been killed fighting in Gaza bringing to 44 the number of soldiers who had fallen since the start of the ground war. A soldier working in the Oketz canine unit was seriously injured in Gaza on Sunday. Report here



Today, several terrorists with two RPG launchers shot at IDF soldiers from the midst of civilians in front of the Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City.  The combat brigade responded with live fire and shell fire, with the assistance of the air force. About 21 terrorists were killed, the IDF said, with no Israeli casualties. Video here



Israeli security forces delivered 300 litres of diesel fuel to Shifa Hospital in Gaza Sunday morning and later received intelligence indicating that Hamas had intercepted the delivery, according to a Sunday night IDF statement. The IDF released three separate recordings of the event. Report here




On Friday, the IDF’s Arabic spokesperson Avichay Adraee said that a blast at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City was caused by an errant missile launched by a Palestinian terror group after the medical centre’s director blamed Israel. Citing “an analysis of the IDF’s operational systems” he said that the terrorists were trying to target Israeli forces operating near the hospital, but missed. Report here



As at Friday, 9,500 rockets have been fired on Israel by Hamas and Hizbullah since Oct. 7, the IDF said. 3,000 were fired in the first four hours by Hamas. IDF air defences shot down the vast majority of rockets which threatened its civilian population. 12% of Hamas rockets, some 900, have fallen in Gaza. Report here



Six weeks after Israel’s war against Hamas broke out and while the IDF is deeply situated in the Gaza Strip, the rate of rocket fire launched (from Gaza) towards Israel is decreasing. On Friday, the lowest number of alerts was registered since the beginning of the war, with 21.Report here





VIDEO from Yoseph Haddad*: “Hamas uses the residents of Gaza as human shields, prevents them from going south, and shoots those who try to escape. Compared to them, this is how the IDF takes care of them. If someone tells you the IDF is harming the innocent residents of Gaza, send them this video.”

*He is (inter alia) an Arab-Israeli advocacy activist for Israel and journalist. Short video here (might need to try twice)



Last Thursday, Israel agreed to a daily four-hour pause in the fighting in northern Gaza.Defence Minister Yoav Gallant stated, “We are undertaking localized and pinpoint measures to enable the exit of Palestinian civilians from Gaza City southward so that we do not harm them.Report here



During one of the battles with the terrorists, IDF soldiers of the Givati Brigade Combat Team identified civilians located in a building in the area. The IDF secured an evacuation route for the civilians and, as the civilians were evacuating, terrorists fired at the troops from the outskirts of the area.  In order to protect the evacuation route, IDF troops responded with light weapons fire and tanks to kill the terrorists. Report here





The past few days have seen an escalation in Hezbollah rocket and mortar attacks on communities in northern Israel.


Yesterday, 14 Israeli civilians were wounded in a Hezbollah anti-tank guided missile attack. near the community of Dovev, close to the border. One of the victims has since died. Mortars were launched from Lebanon near Menara and Yir’on and seven IDF soldiers were wounded.Report here



After a series of rocket, missile and mortar attacks on northern Israel today (Monday) the IDF carried out strikes against a series of Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon including Hezbollah infrastructure, compounds with weapons depots, and a command centre. Report here






At the Max Rayne Hand In Hand Jerusalem School where Jewish and Arab students learn together in both Hebrew and Arabic, has been crowned winner of the T4 Education World’s Best School prize for overcoming adversity. (TY Michael O)
Report here
Football teams from the Israeli-Arab villages of Umm Al Fahm and Kafr Qasim observed a 1-minute silence for the victims of Oct 7 prior to a recent match. A statement from Umm al-Fahm team owner Muhammad Abu Alam said “Wishing for better and beautiful days, for Arabs and Jews alike” (TY Michael O) Report here







Most of the states present at a recent Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) emergency summit in Riyadh sought to impose measures to militarily and economically isolate Israel. According to Israeli media reports, the move was blocked by Israel’s Abraham accords partner states the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. They were joined by Egypt and Jordan, two countries with long-standing peace agreements with Israel. Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Djibouti also opposed the measures.Report here






European leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and prime ministers from Spain, Denmark, Romania, and Malta, issued a joint statement that “unequivocally condemns Hamas for the brutal terrorist attacks” it launched on Israel on Oct. 7. The statement, part of the summary of the gathering of 32 socialist parties in Europe (PES) that took place this weekend in Spain, does not limit Israeli army activity in Gaza. It also says: “We demand that Hamas releases the hostages immediately and unconditionally. Israel has a right to defend itself.”  Report here (paywall)



“The EU condemns the use of hospitals and civilians as human shields by Hamas,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Sunday in a statement issued on behalf of the 27-nation bloc. Report here



UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC on Sunday. “If Britain had been subject to an attack of terrorists coming and murdering [1,200] people and cutting off heads, and we knew where those terrorists had gone, no one would say to Britain stop going after them.”
Shapps said that it was important to note that Israel was taking steps to prevent civilian deaths and that its actions must be placed within the larger context of how nations act in wartime. He compared the IDF bombings of Gaza with the British and American bombing of the German city of Dresden during World War II. “We have forgotten that in war, very sadly, people lose their lives. When Britain bombed Dresden, 35,000 people lost their lives,” he said noting that Israel was pursuing terrorists within tunnels in which thousands of rockets were stored. “How can we ask Israel not to go and destroy those bunkers?” Shapps asked. In this war, Britain “should absolutely be on the side of right, and right is going after Hamas.”   Report here






Israel Ministry of Defence director on Sunday signed a contract for the sale of the Israeli David’s Sling air defence system to Finland, designed to intercept medium- to long-range missiles, in a deal worth $330 million.Report here






Israeli Daniel Bluman riding Gemma W won the Longines FEI (International Equestrian Federation) Jumping World Cup in Toronto. Video here




Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Zorya Luhansk 3-1 in the Conference League in Lublin. Their captain Eran Zahavi said: “This victory is dedicated to the entire Israeli nation”. Report here




In Larnaca, Maccabi Haifa were playing for more than three points in their Europa League group. That they almost got them on a night laced with emotion, pushing Villarreal to the limit before the Spanish team fought back from a goal down to win 2-1, mattered less than remembering the 1,400 innocent people murdered by Hamas on 7 October…While the memory of the atrocities committed by Hamas are raw, the trauma still present, the spirit remains strong, the symbolism of those balloons capturing it. With the colours of the Israeli flag on show and the Star of David proudly displayed in the middle of the arrangement, Haifa made sure to deliver their message. (Another sympathetic Guardian article) Report here




Israel lost 1-0 to Kosovo in their rescheduled European Championship qualifier in Pristina on Sunday. Report here




Israel’s first, and only, professional rugby team defeated Portuguese side Lusitanos 31-23 in Lisbon in their opening game in the Rugby Europe Super Cup. Their director of rugby said:“We are fortunate to have the world’s most diverse rugby team. We have all denominations and religions – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists – across the team and management. The team went on to beat Castilla Y Leon Iberians 38-20 advance to the semi-finals on 18 November. (paywall)Report here (paywall)and here









Prof. Kobi Michael (Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs)

The Palestinian Ministry of Health (PMH) in Gaza is tightly controlled and operated by Hamas, a barbaric radical Islamic terror organization whose charter calls for the mass murder of Jews. Any report by the ministry, by definition, is a Hamas report.


The PMH reports on Palestinian casualties with attribution exclusively to IDF strikes. Reports of Hamas fighters’ casualties are noticeably absent. In short, five weeks after the outbreak of the war, neither the Hamas leadership nor the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported a single casualty among Hamas forces.


According to PMH reports, there are already more than 13,000 Palestinians dead.


Due to the zero reliability of Hamas and its strategic manipulations, we offer an alternative analysis to help determine an objective measure of casualties in Gaza. It starts from a number of dead and wounded which is about half of the number reported by Hamas, although it is possible, and even with high certainty, to assume an even lower number.


At least half of the number of dead and wounded are probably Hamas members, whether armed terrorists, whose identity is disguised as civilians by Hamas, or members of the Hamas establishment. A significant number of the “children” reported as killed or wounded are young people aged 13-18, who were in Hamas facilities or even took an active part in the fighting. (Israeli Minister Ron Dermer, in an interview with Sky News, reported 3,000 Hamas members killed.)


From the remaining number, a significant number of Palestinian dead and injured resulting from nearly 1,000 failed rocket launches that landed short must be subtracted, such as the one that fell on the al-Ahli hospital. From the remainder one must subtract all the Palestinians who fled northern Gaza for the safe zone in the south and who were killed by Hamas.


The small balance of casualties is indeed comprised of unarmed civilians who were regretfully and unintentionally killed by IDF attacks. But compared to every other war in the last hundred years, the collateral damage caused by the IDF is low compared to other Western military campaigns, particularly by the UK or U.S. military.


This relatively low civilian collateral damage is the result of Israel’s strict adherence to the international laws of war and the utmost efforts made by the IDF to convince the Gaza civilian population to evacuate battle zones while opening humanitarian corridors and securing safe civilian passage. Full text here






ESSAY BY Yossi Klein Halevi


EXTRACTS: But for all the complexity of the Palestinian-Israeli tragedy, this is not a complicated moment. No, we patiently explain, the massacre was not in response to anything Israel does but to what Israel is. And yes, the suffering of innocent Gazans deserves the world’s urgent humanitarian attention, but not at the expense of moral clarity about the justness of this war… This is not a political conflict, we remind the world, but an outbreak of evil. Just like ISIS, we note, recalling the terrible devastation caused by the necessary American assault in Mosul and Raqqa.  But increasingly, we sense that we are talking to ourselves… We watch the mass marches against Israel with astonishment. What may well be the most horrific massacre of our time, outdoing even the atrocities of ISIS, has resulted in the unprecedented popularity of the Palestinian cause. Has the world lost its mind, we ask, even as we feel our own grip on reality faltering. Full essay here




Ron Ben-Yishai: On August 1, 2014, an hour after a cease-fire with Hamas came into effect, terrorists came out of a tunnel near the city of Rafah and killed IDF Maj. Bnaya Sarel, Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Liel Gideoni. They grabbed Goldin’s body, lowered it into the tunnel, and his body was never returned to Israel. This event demonstrates why Israel today opposes the world’s demand for a ceasefire. A ceasefire is merely a recommendation for Hamas, while the IDF sees itself obligated to uphold it.
Israel can agree at most to a “pause” lasting 4-5 hours to provide the civilian residents of Gaza with humanitarian aid for the displaced, the wounded and the sick. Ceasefires allow the enemy to significantly improve his condition for continuing the fighting. Hamas fighters would be able to reload rocket launchers, replenish their supplies, restore communication lines, and clear damaged passages in the tunnels.
Israel has nothing to gain from a ceasefire except for a few approval points from international public opinion, which fades rather quickly as we have seen from past experience. Article here




Bret Stephens: Hamas’ goal is fundamentally homicidal: to end Israel as a state by slaughtering every Jew within it. How can critics of Israeli policy insist on a unilateral ceasefire if they can’t offer a credible answer to a reasonable Israeli question: How can we go on like this?
The issue of Israel’s internally displaced people gets short shrift in most news accounts. But it’s central to the way in which Israelis perceive the war. There are now more than 150,000 Israelis – proportionately the equivalent of 5.3 million Americans – who were forced out of their homes by the attacks of Oct. 7. Small cities like Sderot, near Gaza, and Kiryat Shmona, near Lebanon, are now mostly ghost towns….

The Israeli public is not likely to be swayed by civilian casualties into supporting any kind of ceasefire in the military campaign until Hamas is defeated and the hostages are returned. Israelis spent 18 years watching Hamas turn to its military advantage every Israeli concession – including free electricity, cash transfers of Qatari funds, work permits for Gazans, thousands of truckloads of humanitarian goods. Israelis won’t get fooled again.
(paywall)Article here




Daniel Pipes: Hamas, the jihadi organization…for 15 years has sacrificed civilians for public relations purposes. The more misery endured by the Palestinians in Gaza, the more convincingly Hamas can accuse Israel of aggression, and the wider and more vehement the support it wins from antisemites of all persuasions. Hamas actively wants Gaza residents to be bombed, hungry, suffering, homeless, injured and killed. It bases troops and missiles in mosques, churches, schools, hospitals and homes. Article here