Chanukah greetings to all who are celebrating.
The IDF has announced the deaths of more soldiers killed during fighting in Gaza, bringing the toll during the ground offensive against Hamas since late October to 87.Report here
On Wednesday, the IDF found one of the largest weapons stockpiles in the history of its operations in Gaza, an arsenal containing hundreds of missiles, launchers, long-range rockets, anti-tank missiles, UAVs, and explosives. The massive weapons cache was located near a hospital and a school. Report here
IDF troops are engaged in combat in Gaza with the support of the Artillery Corps firing shells with pinpoint accuracy at targets radioed in from troops on the ground in Gaza City and Jabaliya with the aim to knock out both terrorists and rocket batteries that have been firing missiles into Israel in recent days. An IDF Major said “Morale is very high and, to tell you the truth, everyone is deeply motivated, not out of hate of Palestinians but by a deep feeling that we have no choice.”
“This war was brought upon us by Hamas who brought Hell into our communities and neighbourhoods….We all want to get home, but until we get all the hostages back and dismantle Hamas, then we won’t be going home.” Report here
An IDF Major was one of the first soldiers in Israel and the world to receive a lifesaving blood transfusion on the battlefield, instead of dried plasma. He had suffered life-threatening wounds from shrapnel from an intercepted anti-tank missile. Report here
The IDF said that it has seen a massive spike in female conscripts seeking to join combat units since the war began in October. Report here
The IDF has discovered documents and receipts totalling thousands of dollars from the purchase of luxury jewellery by the son of the head of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh. The amount of money shown on one receipt is equivalent to almost two years’ salary for the average Gazan resident. Report here
As part of its long-term plans to lull Israel into thinking it did not want conflict, the Hamas terror group reportedly gave Israel intelligence on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, during May’s Operation Guardian of the Walls clash between Israel and PIJ. Hamas stayed out of the fighting and was rewarded with increased economic incentives leading many in Israel to believe it was not interested in conflict with Israel and enabling the surprise October 7 assault. Report here
More and more evidence has emerged concerning the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli citizens and some foreign nationals. Many reports label what happened as the worst atrocities committed in modern times. I decided not to read some of these in many cases graphic and harrowing accounts in full, because journalists and others who have described them have indicated how traumatised they were by what they have seen. But I have included links to them for anyone wanting to understand the full impact this has had on Israel and why Israel has concluded that it must prevent Hamas from carrying out its declared intention to repeat these atrocities again and again.
Warning: This article describes deeply disturbing events and testimonials in graphic detail. Article here
At least 10 of the Israeli civilians released by Hamas, both men and women, were sexually assaulted or abused while in captivity… It is believed that 138 hostages remain in Gaza, including some 20 women. US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller suggested on Monday that Hamas is holding onto the hostages because it does not want them to testify about the sexual abuse they experienced in captivity. Article includes some of the eyewitness accounts, which include potentially disturbing descriptions of severe sexual assault and mutilation. Article here
Two months after the October 7th massacre, ZAKA search & rescue volunteers are still trying to locate and collect body parts from Gaza border communities. Facebook video here(graphic details)
Despite the alleged shortage of fuel in Gaza, terrorists continue to launch rockets. Short range rockets batter Israeli communities in the Gaza periphery daily, while southern cities Ashkelon, Ashdod & Be’er Sheva are also targeted.
Longer range missiles target central Israel including a barrage of 15 rockets fired at Tel Aviv on Tuesday afternoon.
This 14 second video shows two pedestrians experiencing a narrow escape as a large piece of shrapnel crashed down on a busy Tel Aviv street. Video here
The IDF spokesman released a recording of Hamas terrorists launching 12 rockets toward Beersheba. The rockets were launched near the tents of Gazans who were evacuated to the south for their protection and near UN facilities. One of the rockets misfired, putting many Gazan civilians at risk. Report here
2. From the North, Hezbollah
Daily missile attacks on Israeli border communities.
Anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon today struck and killed an Israeli civilian in the northern border town of Mattat. Report here
Earlier today Moshav Margaliot was targeted: Alert here
3. From Yemen in the South, Houtis
Israel’s Arrow missile defence system intercepted an Iranian ballistic missile launched from Yemen on Wednesday before it entered Israeli airspace. Since Oct. 7, the Arrow has downed four missiles launched from Yemen. The Houthi regime in Yemen has a large arsenal of cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and drones capable of reaching Israel, a distance of over 1,500 km. (over 900 miles). Report here (Paywall)
Hanna Katzir, who was recently released from Gaza is in serious condition after her health deteriorated while she was held hostage. Her daughter said: “She had no heart problems when she was kidnapped, but now she has severe heart problems due to harsh conditions and starvation” In an additional appeal for the return of all the remaining hostages, Katzir’s family said: “Our mother is proof that every day in Gaza is a life-threatening situation. The captives’ time is running out.”Report here
Before the release of Israeli captives by Hamas, terrorists forced them to swallow tranquilizers like Clonex (Clonazepam) and vitamins “so they would look happy,” according to the head of the Health Ministry’s nutrition department.Report here
Doctors at Schneider Children’s Hospital commented on the condition of released child hostages. Inter alia, one child was confused to see people waiting for her because she was told that no one was looking for her, that no one cared for her, and that there would be no Israel left for her…When given food, many children took a few small bites, only to put the food to the side. When asked why, they responded, “So the food will last for the rest of the day.”… On Monday, after sirens went off in Petah Tikva, sending a girl and her mother to a hospital safe room, the girl asked her mother if they were going back to the tunnels. (paywall) Report here
Stories of the Hamas hostages. The IDF estimates that 138 people are still being held hostage in Gaza. Stories here
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said (inter alia): “You have to step back and remember that the Israeli military is one of the most professional militaries in the world.. They go through procedures where they weigh civilian harm when they conduct…strikes…they are going about this with a certain degree of deliberateness to try to minimize civilian harm.”
“The underlying problem of this entire situation…is that Hamas has embedded itself inside civilians – inside civilian homes, inside its mosques, in schools….It is Hamas that is putting these civilians in harm’s way….I’m surprised I don’t hear more people saying, why doesn’t Hamas lay down its arms? Why doesn’t Hamas move out of schools? Why doesn’t Hamas take additional steps to protect civilians? Because we think they should…They absolutely can. They could do it today if they cared at all about civilian life.”
“We support Israel’s right to continue to take action to ensure that Hamas can never conduct terrorist attacks like it did on October 7 again….” Press briefing here
On Tuesday, senior Hamas officials including Basem Naim, a former Hamas health minister in Gaza, and Khaled Qaddoumi, the terror group’s representative in Iran joined the family of Nelson Mandela to mark the 10th anniversary of his death.Report here
Israeli Taekwondo fighter Asaf Yasur won a gold medal at the final (para) grand prix event of the year,despite losing his hands in a terrible electrocution accident before his 13th birthday.photo here
Last Thursday, Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Breidablik 2-1 in Iceland in the UEFA Europa Conference League.Video here
Israel’s Women’s football team beat Estonia 4-1 in the UEFA Women’s Nations League on Tuesday. stats here
Salo Aizenberg: A close review of Gaza casualty figures reported by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), based on daily Hamas Ministry of Health numbers, proves they are falsified, with the numbers of women and children grossly inflated.
On Oct. 19, Hamas reported 3,785 deaths vs. 3,478 the previous day or +307. But the number of children killed magically moved up from 853 to 1,524 or +671. The Oct. 18 report said deaths were 25% children, but next day the figure jumped to 40%.
On Oct. 26, Hamas reported 481 new fatalities. Remarkably, the number of women and children killed jumped by 626 that same day. Apparently no men died that day. On Oct. 29, 302 new fatalities were reported, which somehow comprised 199 women and 129 children, which totals 328, 26 more than total fatalities.
On Oct. 31, 216 new fatalities were reported. Fatalities of women and children were 210, which means only 6 men were killed that day. On Nov 7, Hamas reported 306 new fatalities, 302 of whom were women and children, which means only 4 men were killed. Tweet/X
Seth Mandel: Israeli columnist Nadav Eyal points to a new study by Tel Aviv University, as part of the Konrad Adenauer Program for Israeli-Arab Cooperation. There has been a decrease in the percentage of Israeli Arabs who describe their most important identity factor as Arab since the Hamas Oct. 7 attack, down from 37% to 32%.
Additionally, there’s a striking increase in Palestinians who say the most important part of their identity is Israeli citizenship, which now stands at over 33%, surpassing all other factors (religious affiliation, Palestinian identity, and Arab identity). The least popular choice? “Palestinian,” with 8%. Full article hereTweet/X
Dr. Michael Milshtein: Since the round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in May 2021, Israel conducted a strategic experiment in Gaza. At its core was an attempt to improve the conditions of life there, mainly through the promotion of civilian projects, allowing for the flow of money into Gaza and more Gazans to work in Israel. All this was driven by the basic assumption that these were means to prevent escalation and create for Hamas a disincentive for war. The steady rise in the quality of life would over time lead to the transformation of Gaza’s rulers. In hindsight, this was a fundamentally false conceptual framework.
While Israeli decision-makers focused on promoting civilian advancement for Gaza, Hamas leaders were busy at the very same time planning the most painful attack ever launched by the Palestinians against Israel. Analysts and pundits still fail to understand that for Hamas, the duty of Jihad is paramount. Hamas’ purpose is to undermine the foundations of Israeli existence, paving the way for its utter elimination. Full article here
Gil Troy: For decades, the world has absolved Palestinians of responsibility for the violence they keep encouraging.
This morally idiotic free pass continues, even as Palestinians worldwide cheer Hamas, even as we hear reports of doctors and UNWRA teachers holding innocent Israelis hostage, even as polls show that 75% of Palestinians support Hamas, especially the October 7 massacre, which Gazans facilitated. Just last week, Gazans threatened to lynch the hostages being freed…Even before the polls proved it, Gazans shared videos of themselves celebrating the violence and following the terrorists into Israel to rape, pillage, and murder.
Raided kibbutznikim recognized workers whom they had befriended participating enthusiastically, sometimes directing the evil. That’s why Western leaders who pretend that only Hamas committed these war crimes sound naive to their Arab interlocutors in Dubai, let alone to Israelis…The campuses were calm in 2017 when America helped liberate Mosul from ISIS, despite killing 10,000-plus innocent, nonhostile civilians as “collateral damage.” And the firepower America and the Allies unleashed against civilians to defeat Nazi Germany and fascist Japan in World War II shows how surgical Israel’s assault is.Full article here
Allan Stratton: The massacre was a life-changing gut punch to liberals like me, many of whom were once sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.Full article here