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Israel Update 30.11.23

Today, 30th November, Israel commemorates the mid-20th century mass displacement of Jews from Arab lands when some 850,000 Jews either fled or were forcibly expelled from countries where they had lived for hundreds or even thousands of years.

 

JERUSALEM TERROR ATTACK

 

 

Three Israeli citizens were killed and six were wounded, two of them seriously, in a terror shooting attack, later claimed by Hamas, at the entrance to Jerusalem on Thursday morning. The victims were named later as Livia Dickman, 24, Ashdod rabbinical judge Elimelech Wasserman, 73, and Hannah Ifergan, 67. Two off-duty soldiers and an armed civilian returned fire, killing the two East Jerusalem terrorists who were Hamas members and had been previously jailed for terror activity. Report here

 

 

HOSTAGES

 

 

As the daily, often delayed, release of hostages continues, details of the conditions under which they were held emerge:

 

 

Making the point that ordinary civilians were complicit, one recently released hostage, revealed that he was locked for nearly 50 days in an attic by a teacher working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA) with minimal food and no medical attention. Another was held captive by a Gazan doctor.

These stories were published on X by Channel 13 journalist Almog Boker.Report hereTwitter post (HEBREW)

 

 

Elderly women who were abducted to Gaza by Hamas and returned to Israel in the first two days of the hostage deal experienced an average weight loss of 8 to 15 kg. in captivity.  Michal Levi, a clinical dietitian, said this represents a decrease of at least 10-20% in weight over a month and a half. “A 10% weight loss in three months is considered rapid.”
A doctor who treated several captives said, “the amount of food the captives received each day was very small. In terms of food, most of them received half a slice of bread twice a day. Report here

 

 

Deborah Cohen, the aunt of 12-year-old Eitan Yahalomi, said that when he and his captors arrived in Gaza, “all the civilians, everybody, beat him.” Any child who cried was threatened with a gun to make them quiet. Eitan had been forced to watch videos of atrocities against Israelis committed in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Esther Yahalomi, Eitan’s grandmother, said that her grandson had been kept alone in a closed room for the first 16 days of his captivity. (paywall) Report here

 

Interview with Thomas Hand following Emily’s release Emily can hardly speak, she can’t stop crying, she thinks she was held for over a year, her second mother was murdered. (4.5 mins) view here

 

 

 

Women hostages were kept in cages, according to reports and  videos from Hamas’s Telegram channel showed child hostages being kept in cages for the majority of their time in captivity. Report here

 

 

 

A Thai foreign worker recently released from Hamas captivity has testified that Israeli hostages with whom he was held, were treated extremely harshly, more so than the foreign nationals they were held with and were beaten by their captors.  39 Thai workers were murdered on Oct 7 and 32 Thais taken hostage.Report here

 

 

 

Recently released Ditza Heiman, 84 was one of many elderly captives deprived of medicines for 53 days, despite the fact that her medication list was already with the Red Cross 2 days after her capture.Report here

 

 

Among the hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza are four children: Ariel and Kfir Bibas, aged four years and ten months respectively, and siblings Aisha and Bilal Ziyadne, from the Bedouin community of Ziyadne, named after their family. Both of them are under 19 — Aisha is 17 and Bilal is 18 — and according to the terms of the truce between Israel and Hamas, they are eligible to be freed during the current halt in fighting. Report here

 

 

 

As at Thursday afternoon, 159 hostages including children remain in captivity, 210 Palestinian security prisoners have been released (most arrested for terrorism offences) while 97 Israeli & foreign hostages have been freed from Gaza. Stats here

 

 

 

PAUSE IN FIGHTING (so-called  “Ceasefire”)

 

 

Israeli forces in northern Gaza were targeted by three explosive devices in two separate incidents on Tuesday in violation of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said. Shots were fired at Israeli forces in one of the incidents. Several soldiers were lightly wounded in the attacks and IDF soldiers returned fire. Report here

 

 

THE IDF killed three Palestinian gunmen in Gaza on Wednesday after they had “violated the ceasefire and were a threat to our forces.” Report here

 

 

IRANIAN THREAT

 

 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 700 pro-Iranian fighters of “Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian, and other nationalities,” trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hizbullah, have been deployed in Syria’s Quneitra Province immediately adjacent to the Golan Heights with some groups  trained on how to carry out drone and rocket attacks.    Multiple elements of a pro-Iran regional alliance are now engaged against Israel and the U.S. on a near daily basis: from Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and the West Bank, as well as from Gaza. Article here

 

 

DETERRENCE

 

 

Britain is sending a second warship the destroyer HMS Diamond to the Gulf after the “unlawful and brazen” seizure by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels of an Israeli ship in the Red Sea and the increase in activity by Somali pirates, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said. The destroyer will join the UK’s maritime presence in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean to help ensure freedom of navigation.Report here

 

 

VOLUNTEERS

 

 

Emergency-room physician Dr. Dov Frankel, 50 and Dr. Anne Montal, 36, a surgical resident (both American) are volunteering at Barzilai Medical Centre in Ashkelon. Some of the people are filling jobs left vacant by Israelis who have joined the war effort. Glenn Grossman, 69, who recently returned home to Florida after working on a farm in the Negev Desert picking olives and grapes, said, “You feel that you’re filling a void.”Report here (paywall)

 

 

Inside a 3-acre greenhouse less than 3 miles from the Israel-Gaza border, an army of volunteers snips ripe tomatoes from vines. The city dwellers-turned-farmworkers say the day’s labour gives them a sense of solidarity with fellow Israelis in an area devastated by the brutal Hamas assault on Oct. 7. Within days of the Hamas rampage, a region that furnishes 75% of Israel’s domestically produced vegetables, 20% of its fresh fruit, and nearly 10% of its milk was deteriorating into a wasteland. The thousands of migrant farmworkers who normally tended the fields, mostly from Thailand, had fled home. Some were killed or taken hostage by Hamas.Report here

 

 

 

FOREIGN WORKERS

 

 

A first flight carrying 221 young men left Malawi for Israel on Saturday and more are to be sent soon. Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, Israeli farms have lost thousands of labourers. Some were foreign workers who returned home and some were Palestinians from Gaza. Malawi’s Secretary for Labour emphasized that the men will work at locations classified as “safe.”Report here

 

 

To address the current shortage of workers in the construction industry due to the war, a groundbreaking bilateral agreement between Israel and India was presented in the Knesset last week to bring 40,000 Indian workers to Israel, with their arrival expected within a matter of weeks.Report here

 

 

 

WOMEN’S FOOTBALL

 

 

Guaranteed to cheer you up – inspiring team talk given by Israeli player Marian Awad before a recent match against Kazakhstan. Marian scored the opening goal in a 2-0 win. These are her words:

“I expect from myself and from us all, first of all, I want us to fight on the field like our army is fighting there. I want us to play and enjoy like the little kids who were kidnapped and murdered used to play and enjoy at kindergarten. I want us to dance and smile together, after we win like we’re at a party. Together and only together.”  An Israeli Arab from Haifa, Marian plays as a midfielder for Turkish club for ABB FOMGET Genclik as well as for Israel’s national team.   Video here

 

Israel beat Armenia 4-0 in the Women’s Nations League.View goals here

 

Israel’s U17 team defeated Andorra 7-0, and Latvia 2-0 in the 2024 Euro qualifiers.Stats here

 

 

OTHER SPORT

 

 

Israel’s Jujistu team at the European championships. They won 12 medals, 4 of each colour and were the best team.Hatikva video here

 

Monia Heno won a silver medal at the World kickboxing championships. On advancing to the semi-finals she proudly waved both the Druze and Israeli flags.  She said: “This competition has a different meaning for all of us, I wanted to bring honour to the country and the community more than ever and to prove to the whole world that we continue to be strong despite everything, each in his own field. It was important to me to raise the flag of the Druze community in memory of our sons who recently fell in the war, we will remember them and the rest of the victims forever.”  Report herePicture here

 

 

Suff Sela won the Super Enduro World Championship junior category round held in France.Video here

 

 

A glimpse of the Israeli team at the aesthetic gymnastics World Championships.short video here

 

 

COMMENT & OPINION

 

 

Susie Linfield: In recent years, you won’t find many defenders of al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban, or Boko Haram. The notable exception has been groups devoted to the destruction of Israel: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations swept through the capitals of the West before Israel dropped a single bomb on Gaza.
Horrific massacres of unarmed civilians are taking place right now in South Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia, Syria, and Darfur. The international community usually ignores them. But none inspires cries of esteem for the perpetrators and acclaim for their crimes. And nowhere are the victims blamed for being murdered.
Those who imagine that Hamas’ slaughters may have promoted “liberation,” “justice,” and “freedom” for Palestinians have a big surprise in store. There’s no mystery as to what kind of state Hamas aims to create; we need only look at what it already has created. There’s little liberation, justice, or freedom to be found in Gaza, where there are no opposition political parties, no elections, and no freedom of religion, the press, or protest. Opponents are arrested, tortured, and sometimes executed. Aside from the Taliban, Hamas has established the least progressive pseudo-state on Earth.Article here

 

 

 

Dr. Raphael BenLevi: Since the beginning of Israel’s war with Hamas, some prominent figures…have raised the idea of installing the Palestinian Authority as the governing body in Gaza for civilian affairs. However, such a course of action would inevitably result within a few years in the emergence of a new terrorist state hostile to Israel, possibly even under the control of a re-emerged Hamas. The most feasible alternative is an autonomous Arab civilian entity in Gaza, with Israel maintaining overall security responsibility for as long as required by the security situation and threat assessment.
In Gaza today lives an entire generation that has been indoctrinated into Hamas’ genocidal ideology. The only way to create a political entity in Gaza that is not hostile to Israel will be for the public to undergo a deradicalization process, similar to the de-Nazification process carried out in postwar Germany, during which civil society underwent a profound transformation.Article here

 

 

 

Daphne Lazar Price: I’m shocked and horrified by too many national and global women’s and children’s advocacy groups – none worse than UN Women. After remaining virtually silent since the Oct. 7 atrocities, it published an Instagram post saying they “remain alarmed by the reports of gender-based violence on October 7 and call for rigorous investigation.” An investigation? What happened to “believe women?” There is video footage and survivors’ testimonies. When did it become OK for women’s groups to become rape apologists? article here

 

 

 

Brendan O’Neill: It is historical revisionism in real time, with the naked aim of questioning the victimisation of Israeli Jews in order to sanctify the hallowed victim status of Palestinians. It seems clear to me that the reason so many in the Western left are screaming ‘Genocide!’ and ‘Murderers!’ at Israel is in order that they will not have to reckon with the racist barbarism of 7 October, and the fact it was carried out by ‘their side’, and the truth of their own snivelling failure to condemn it early and forcefully. They rage against Israel to try to wash away the moral stain of their own cowardice and their abandonment of the Jews. Article here

 

 

 

 

JPost Editorial: Hezbollah has said in the past that it intends to invade the Galilee and take over Israeli communities. After October 7, no one can dismiss those threats as empty bluster. Hezbollah terrorists have once again menacingly reappeared directly on the border…This is something that Israel simply cannot tolerate. While it is true that Jerusalem needs to focus on the war inside Gaza – dismantling Hamas’s capabilities and gaining the release of the hostages – it cannot permit a situation where Hezbollah, under cover of the truce in Gaza, once again takes up positions directly overlooking Israel’s communities in the north… in the long term, Israel – either through military force, diplomacy, or a combination of the two – needs to ensure that UN Security Council Resolution 1701 is honoured and that Hezbollah does not have armed personnel, assets, or weapons south of the Litani. Editorial here