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Israel Update 17.1.24




100 days since the atrocities of Oct. 7, 132 Israeli hostages remained captives in Gaza.Ten are over the age of 75. One, Kfir Bibas, turns one this week and has spent a quarter of his life in captivity – if indeed the baby is still alive. Of all those still in captivity, little is known of their condition and treatment.Article here



London’s Trafalgar Square hosted a rally in support of Israel and in solidarity with the hostages. Here’s the text of Eylon Levy’s speech.



Statement by President Herzog: (EXTRACT) Together, as one nation, we will overcome the darkness, we will create a future of hope and prosperity – one that is worthy of the sacrifice of the fallen, boosts the morale of the wounded, and reflects our commitment to establishing a beacon of hope for ourselves and all of humanity. Our enemy got it wrong; the spirit of the people of Israel has always won. It will win again this time.Full statement here






Edna Blustein, 79, was killed, and 17 people were wounded on Monday in a ramming and stabbing attack in the central Israeli city of Ra’anana. Three of the wounded are in serious condition. Two Palestinian suspects were arrested. (paywall) Report here





As at 14 Jan, more than 9,000 Hamas operatives and members of other terror groups have been killed by the IDF in Gaza, in addition to 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on Oct. 7. In Lebanon, the IDF has killed more than 170 terror operatives, mostly members of Hizbullah.

Since Oct. 7, 9,000 rockets  have been fired from Gaza into Israel, as well as 2,000 from Lebanon and 30 from Syria.
Hundreds more launched from Gaza misfired and landed inside the Strip.

522 Israeli soldiers, reservists and local security officers have been killed and another 2,536 have been wounded since Oct. 7. Of them, 188 were killed and 1,113 were wounded during the ground offensive in Gaza. Article here






Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Monday that the “intensive phase” of Israel’s ground offensive in northern Gaza has ended, and it will soon be over in the Khan Yunis area in the south as well…He said only continued military pressure on Hamas would bring about a new hostage deal.Report here



Israeli officials and soldiers say the scope, depth and quality of the tunnels built by Hamas beneath Gaza have astonished them. They currently estimate the network is between 350 and 450 miles long, with 5,700 separate shafts leading down to the tunnels. The tunnels are the core of Hamas’ ability to survive.(Paywall) Article here



50 rockets were fired at  Netivot on Tuesday. Following the attack, IDF troops located the compound in Gaza from which the rockets were fired and discovered three launchers, each equipped with ten barrels, some of which were loaded with rockets. The launchers were promptly  destroyed. Report here



IDF soldiers located 100 rocket launchers and 60 rockets ready for launch in the Beit Lahia area of Gaza, the IDF said Tuesday. During the operation, the soldiers killed dozens of Hamas terrorists. In central Gaza on Friday the IDF  located two Hamas rocket launching sites, with projectiles prepared for immediate launch and destroyed them.. In northern Gaza, troops destroyed a number of rocket launching positions. Report hereand here



Hamas has been working with criminal elements to procure drones for planned attacks on Israeli, Jewish, and Western targets across Europe and the Middle East. In December, the security services and police in Denmark and Germany announced the arrest of an extensive network of Hamas operatives. Further arrests came last week in Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Targets included the Israeli embassy in Sweden. Report here




Vehicles damaged during the Hamas attack are kept in one scrapyard. Many cars were death traps for their passengers, who were caught in Hamas ambushes at junctions or tried to escape the massacre in a hurry. 280 cars were burnt to a crisp. A few days ago the remains of a small child were found in one of the cars.Report here





A 7 minute summary of the war against Hamas: View here






Barak Ayalon, 45, part of Kfar Yuval’s emergency response squad, and his mother Mira, 70, were killed on Sunday by a Hizbullah antitank missile fired from Lebanon. His father was also seriously injured. Report here



Four terrorists who infiltrated into Israeli territory from Lebanon on Sunday were killed by Israeli troops. Five IDF soldiers were wounded in the incident. On Saturday, the IDF carried out a wave of airstrikes on Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon in response to attacks on the border. On Friday night, the IDF struck three terror cells in southern Lebanon which were preparing to carry out attacks.Report here



The list of communities hit by antitank missiles spreads along the entire length of the Lebanese border. Scores of homes, public buildings, chicken coops, businesses and vehicles have been hit. Since the start of the war, four Israeli civilians and two soldiers have been killed by direct antitank missile fire, and many others wounded.
50,000 Israelis have been evacuated from communities located within 3.5 km. of the border. But the recent strike on a base on Mount Meron revealed that Hizbullah has antitank missiles with a 10-km. range, which puts more communities within a direct-line-of-sight from Lebanon that have not yet been evacuated. Israel has no countermeasure that would give residents even five seconds’ warning to seek shelter, or intercept incoming missiles. Article here (paywall)



At least seven people were wounded after Hezbollah fired a barrage of rockets last Thursday, damaging a building and a school. Power outages were also reported.Report here






Three Palestinian terrorists infiltrated the Israeli community of Adora on Friday night, armed with an M-16 rifle, an axe, knives and firebombs. They were killed in an exchange of fire with the IDF. One Israeli reserve soldier, 34, was injured.Report here (paywall)






Reports of last week’s terror shooting, when East Jerusalem resident Amar Mansou was killed, referred to a “Palestinian” woman who was seriously injured. She is in fact an Israeli-Arab. The three suspects arrested are two doctors and a male nurse working for the P.A. Dr. Eyser Barghouti, an anesthesiologist,  Dr. Khaled al-Haruf and male nurse Murid al-Atri. Report here






Dairy farms along Israel’s Gaza border have been supplying milk uninterruptedly since the outbreak of the war on Oct. 7 owing to a small cadre of staff that remained behind, as well as university students from Africa and Asia.  “Without our agricultural interns from Ghana and Tanzania we would have had a hard time milking our cows and feeding our calves,” says Gabo Altmark, the manager of the Kibbutz Zikim dairy farm. The students were offered the opportunity to relocate, but unlike Zikim’s foreign workers who were quick to leave, the students insisted on remaining.. More than 3,200 university students from 30 countries in the developing world are training at farms across Israel, including 92 from Indonesia, which does not yet have diplomatic ties with Israel. About 250 were on farms near Gaza. Article here



Czech President Petr Pavel when meeting Israeli counterpart Herzog in Jerusalem said to him “You can always rely on the Czech Republic” . Report here



The Finnish government has signed an agreement to donate $1 million to Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance, blood bank and breast milk bank service.Report here






Israel denounced South Africa’s claim that it is committing genocide against Palestinians, telling the ICJ  that it was outrageous to liken their  military response to Hamas attacks launched from Gaza to Nazi Germany’s systematic extermination of six million Jews during the Holocaust. Tal Becker, chief lawyer of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said South Africa’s recitation of the destruction in Gaza ignored that Hamas provoked the war, continues to attack Israel, and locates its personnel and armaments in civilian facilities.
“The absurd upshot of South Africa’s argument is this: Under the guise of the allegation against Israel of genocide, this court is asked to call for an end to operations against the ongoing attacks of an organization that pursues an actual genocidal agenda,” he said. Report here (paywall)

Full opening statement of MFA Legal Advisor Dr Tal Becker here




The German government sharply rejected allegations before the ICJ that Israel is committing “genocide” in Gaza and warned against “political instrumentalization” of the charge, announcing it would intervene as a third party. Report here




The United States, Canada and the UK have all stated their opposition to South Africa’s action. Report here






The Israeli-Christian population is growing rapidly and continues to enjoy high educational and professional attainment levels, according to numbers recently released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Data has shown that Arab Christian women have some of the highest educational attainment levels in the country. Article here





The good news:


British Tour de France winner Chris Froome (who currently rides for Israel Premier-Tech) was among tens of thousands of people taking part in a mass solidarity bike ride around the world last Sunday  to mark the 100th day since the kidnapping of hundreds hostages. Report here View video here



Israeli tennis player Orel Kimhi won the Mandya Open in India. Report here



Mikhail Yakovlev became the first Israeli cyclist to win a medal at the European Track Championships, finishing 3rd in the individual sprint and winning bronze.Report here



And the bad



Celebrating a goal he scored for Antalyaspor, his Turkish team, Israeli football player Sagiv Yehezkel displayed a wristband with a message in solidarity for the Israelis who had been held hostage by Hamas for the past 100 days. He was sacked by his club, arrested and held in custody by Turkish police before being deported to Israel.comment hereReport here



Former England footballer turned TV pundit Gary Lineker reposted a call to suspend Israel from international sporting bodies and, after criticism, deleted the post, claiming there had been a “misunderstanding”. Meanwhile, his original action was hailed by The Quds News Network, an agency affiliated to Hamas. Article here



The Ice Hockey Federation of Israel is filing a claim with the Court of Arbitration for Sport over Israel’s expulsion from the  ice hockey world championships, allegedly due to concerns over “safety and security,” Report here




David Teeger, a rising star on South Africa’s cricket scene, has been removed as Under-19 team captain on the eve of the world championship competition. Cricket South Africa cited threats to Teeger, who is Jewish, and the team over Israel’s war against Hamas. An executive at the South Africa office of the sportswear maker Diadora said that the company would not sponsor events featuring David Teeger.Report hereand here







D.Tel editorial: It has now been 100 days since the depraved terrorists of Hamas broke the ceasefire with Israel and committed the worst anti-Semitic massacre in almost 80 years. The actions of Hamas are morally grotesque, an abandonment of all civilized norms. Israel has had no choice but to defend itself. Yet the last 100 days have also seen a shocking attempt to distort the truth by far too many in the broadcast media, international organizations, and by politicians to make out as if the Israelis are the aggressors. (paywall) Article here




Roi Yanovsky: While Gaza is perceived by the world as an overcrowded, third-world territory, I saw a wholly different picture during 100 days in the reserves inside Gaza. Gaza City is a modern, well-developed city. Big houses, a big plaza, parks, well-maintained walkways right on the beach and so much more. The world’s “most crowded”? Not by a long shot. Homes are loaded with fancy belongings, furniture, and appliances. Most places are bigger than my Tel Aviv apartment… Not only is Hamas embedded within the Palestinian population, the population is embedded within Hamas. Its ideology can be found in practically every home. Hamas would never have become this powerful without active assistance from the locals. Article here




Wall St Journal Editorial: … the PA’s newspaper, announced 23,210 additional “martyrs,” using the Hamas-supplied Gaza casualty figure that includes every dead Hamas terrorist. The PA pays a one-time lump sum plus a monthly stipend for life to the families of any “martyr” killed in a confrontation with Israel. The PA also recognized 3,550 new prisoners held by Israel since Oct. 7. Most were arrested in the West Bank, though 661 are Hamas terrorists from Gaza. They, too, will receive PA salaries. All are to be compensated by the PA, whose activities are subsidized with Western aid.(paywall) Article here




Wall St Journal Editorial: The UN has done little while Russia has slaughtered innocent Ukrainians…Where was South Africa’s moral outrage when the country tolerated Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, or when it opposed the indictment of Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir for killing 200,000 people in Darfur?… If the UN wants to find genocidal intent, try the Hamas charter(paywall)Article here




Nadav Shragai: More and more joint terrorist cells shared by Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP are being uncovered. The fathers of four of the nine Palestinian terrorists killed recently in Jenin and Tulkarm serve as officers in the PA security forces, and two of the six terrorists killed in the Israeli air strike in Jenin were members of Fatah. The rest were Hamas operatives.
In 2023, Palestinian policemen and security forces carried out more than 100 terrorist attacks and attempted attacks.  Article here




Gerard Leval:It would be comforting to think that, as the mainstream media often portrays, the people of Gaza are prisoners of Hamas and that the acts perpetrated against Israel and its citizens are aberrational – the crimes of a few terrorists.
Recent events inform us of the opposite. Reports regarding the comportment of Gaza residents strongly suggest tacit if not express complicity by many and perhaps by the preponderance of the Palestinians there with the vicious actions and intentions of the Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.
Many of the attackers had maps prepared by Palestinians who had been working for Jewish residents. These people had been invited into the homes of Israelis to work at jobs paying salaries that permitted them to live far better than the average Palestinian in Gaza.    When other “innocent” Palestinians saw that Hamas terrorists had broken into Israel, they chose to join the effort and to help themselves to whatever they could find in the villages that had been attacked.
Other Palestinians joined the fray to seize hostages, while many who did not enter Israel cheered those who had done so. Article here





Michael Mandelbaum: All this makes Palestinian nationalism the only one that has as its aim not the creation of its own nation-state but rather the destruction of the state of another people…Palestinian rejection of Israel is the essential, animating cause of the conflict between the two peoples. Israelis do not have the power to change it; they can only respond to its consequences. Article here




Bassam Tawil: In Syria, Palestinians are worried about a new government law that considers them “foreigners,” which would deprive them of the ability to purchase real estate. In Lebanon, Palestinians are also considered to be foreigners and are “prevented from employment in 39 professions such as medicine, law and engineering,” according to UNRWA.
Arab citizens of Israel, by contrast, have Israeli citizenship, can own, buy and sell property, can vote and run in national and local elections, and have equal access to public healthcare and education. Many serve in senior positions in hospitals, universities and colleges, courts, the civil service, and even in the Israel Police and the IDF.
Those who are condemning Israel for defending itself against the savagery and terrorism of Hamas care nothing about the plight of the Palestinians in Syria or any Arab country. So-called pro-Palestinian groups in the U.S. do not speak out against Arab crimes against the Palestinians; they are too busy unjustly demonizing Israel. Article here



Bret Stephens: The U.S. and Britain killed a staggering number of German and Japanese civilians on the path to defeating the regimes that had started World War II. Events such as the bombings of Dresden or Tokyo, to say nothing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were far more indiscriminate than anything Israel stands accused of doing. But no serious person holds Franklin Roosevelt to be on a moral par with Adolf Hitler. What the Allies did were acts of war in the service of a lasting peace, not genocide in the service of a fanatical aim. (paywall) Article here



Amir Taheri: The BBC has already sent the 7 October attack by Hamas on Israel to its dead archives and gives massive coverage to so-called diplomatic initiatives to bring about a ceasefire… Forgetting that fire is coming from both sides, even now, the BBC wants only Israel to rein in its furies, never mentioning that Hamas, too, could help by stopping rocket attacks on Israeli civilian targets…If you follow the BBC, you may get the (false) impression that the only victims in this war are unarmed people of Gaza, especially women and children, old men and journalists, and that Israelis are mainly bombing schools, hospitals shopping malls, and cultural centres. That helps sustain the narrative of victimhood by Hamas and its apologists. Article here