October 8, 2023
Special Edition
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

At least 300 Israelis Murdered, Dozens Abducted to Gaza - Attila Somfalvi (Ynet News-Times of Israel)
    Israeli authorities confirmed Sunday that at least 300 people were killed and dozens were captured in the Hamas attack on Israel on Saturday. The numbers may be much larger.
    The Israel Health Ministry announced that 1,854 people were injured, with 19 in critical condition and 326 in serious condition
    More than 3,000 rockets from Gaza have been fired into Israel, including on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
    Early on Sunday, hostages held in Kibbutz Be'eri and in Ofakim were freed after Israeli forces killed their captors.

Palestinian Terrorists Still Operating inside Israel - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    Gun battles between Israeli troops and Palestinian terrorists continued Sunday in the town of Magen, close to the border with Gaza. IDF forces are continuing to clear the area near the border of terrorists.
    IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said sweeps for terrorists were still being carried out in Sderot, Zikim, Re'im, and Sufa.
    "There are hundreds of dead terrorists. There are dozens of terrorists captured," Hagari said.
    He added that residents of some communities close to Gaza will be evacuated.
    Hagari said there are now "tens of thousands" of Israeli combat soldiers in the area. "Hundreds of thousands" of reservist soldiers have been called up.

15 Moshav Residents Murdered near Gaza, IDF Brigade Commander Killed - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    15 residents of Moshav Netiv Ha'asara, bordering Gaza, where fewer than a thousand people live, were murdered on Saturday by Palestinian terrorists.
    The commander of the Nahal Brigade, Col. Yonatan Steinberg, 42, was killed in an exchange of fire with a Palestinian terrorist near Kerem Shalom on Saturday.
    Magen David Adom senior medic and ambulance driver Aharon Chaimov, 25, of Ofakim was shot to death Saturday on his way to treat the wounded. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
    Fire station commander Reshef Shalom Tsavan and Chief Firefighter Yevgeni Galinsky, both residents of Sderot, were murdered on Saturday. Tsavan, 60, served in recent years as commander of the Kiryat Gat station. Galinsky, 34, served at the Netivot fire station.
    Israel Amichai Witzen and Moshe Yedidia Raziel (Rosenberg), residents of Kerem Shalom, were killed in the attack.
    At least 9 Bedouin Israelis were killed in Hamas rocket attacks on Saturday.

Head of Regional Council Bordering Gaza Killed Fighting Palestinian Terrorists - Yanir Yagna (Walla-Jerusalem Post)
    Ofir Libstein, head of the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council which borders Gaza near Sderot, was killed in an exchange of fire with Palestinian terrorists on Saturday.
    Lipstein was killed as he defended his community against the terrorists who infiltrated Kfar Aza.

IDF Names 26 Soldiers Killed in Fighting - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)

"I Saw My Wife and Daughters in Terrorists' Videos" - Raanan Ben-Zur (Ynet News)
    Yoni Asher, a resident of central Israel, said on Saturday that his wife and two daughters, age 3 and 5, were visiting his mother-in-law at Kibbutz Nir Oz for the Simchat Torah holiday.
    Asher said he saw that his wife and daughters had been captured in videos that Hamas had distributed from Gaza.

2 Thai Workers Killed, 11 Captured by Hamas - Wassana Nanuam (Bangkok Post-Thailand)
    2 Thai workers were killed and 11 others were captured during the Hamas attack on Israel, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Sunday.
    There are about 25,000 Thai workers in Israel.
    See also 9 Nepalese Injured in Hamas Attack in Israel (Press Trust of India)
    The Nepali Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that when Hamas launched an attack in Israel, "a farm where 14 Nepalese were working was also under attack. Nine of the Nepalese have been reported injured, while two of them are in serious condition."
    See also Cambodian Student Killed in Israel (Phnom Penh Post-Cambodia)

Israel Strikes Lebanon after Hizbullah Fires Mortars - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Israel fired barrages of artillery into southern Lebanon on Sunday after Hizbullah targeted three Israeli military positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms.

Israelis Rush Back from U.S. to Join the Fighting - Daniel Edelson (Ynet News)
    Israelis were rushing to fly from the U.S. back home to join the fighting against Hamas.
    Eviatar Shamsayev, 35, a teacher, recalled that "at the outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, then too, people did whatever they could to get back."
    "We are a group of 50 people who have not been in the reserves for years because we've been living abroad, but now everyone will be volunteering for service. This is a fight to protect our home. My blood boils."

More than 100 Killed in Drone Attack on Syrian Military Academy (Reuters)
    More than 100 people were killed on Thursday and 125 injured in a drone attack on a military academy in Syria. Syria's Defense Ministry blamed "terrorist" groups.
    In response, Syrian government forces carried out heavy bombing attacks on the opposition-held Idlib province.

Special Zoom briefing by Jerusalem Center experts
on the Iran-Hamas war on Israel
Sunday, Oct. 8 - 6pm (Israel), 11am (NY), 8am (LA)
Click here to join the Webinar

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas Launches Surprise Attack on Israel - Dan Williams
    A surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, which combined gunmen breaching security barriers with a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza, was launched at dawn on Saturday during the Jewish high holiday of Simchat Torah. The attack began with a rocket barrage that served as cover for a multi-pronged infiltration of Palestinian gunmen into Israel. Most fighters crossed through breaches in security barriers separating Gaza and Israel, but at least one was filmed crossing on a powered parachute.
        Israel's military said at 10 a.m. that Palestinian fighters had penetrated at least three military installations around the frontier - the Erez border crossing, the Zikim base and the Gaza division headquarters at Re'im. Several captured Israeli military vehicles were paraded in Gaza. Palestinian fighters raided the Israeli border town of Sderot and other border communities. Israel's Foreign Ministry said Hamas gunmen had gone house-to-house killing civilians. (Reuters)
  • President Biden Condemns Hamas Attacks on Israel
    President Joe Biden said Saturday: "Today, the people of Israel are under attack, orchestrated by a terrorist organization, Hamas. In this moment of tragedy, I want to say to them and to the world and to terrorists everywhere that the United States stands with Israel."
        "Hamas terrorists crossing into Israel killing not only Israeli soldiers, but Israeli civilians in the street, in their homes. Innocent people murdered, wounded, entire families taken hostage by Hamas....It's unconscionable."
        "The United States stands with the people of Israel in the face of this terrorist assault. Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. Full stop....This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage. The world is watching."  (White House)
  • Israeli Ambassador Calls Hamas Attack on Israel: "Our 9/11" - Andrea Vacchiano
    After Hamas' attack on Israel, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan told Fox News on Saturday, "Babies, women, the elderly were dragged outside of their homes, were taken hostage. Civilians were shot and most were massacred in cold blood walking on the streets."
        "This is our 9/11. We are committed to change the equation, to shatter the old paradigm. These animals will pay a heavy price and they will learn that these atrocities cannot be committed again against our civilians."  (Fox News)
        See also Former NATO Commander James Stavridis: Hamas Attack on Israel "Truly a 9/11 Level Event" - Thomas Kika (Newsweek)
  • Adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Expresses Support for Palestinian Attacks on Israel
    Yahya Rahim Safavi, an adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, on Saturday congratulated Palestinian fighters for launching the biggest attack on Israel in years, the semi-official ISNA news site reported. "We congratulate the Palestinian fighters," he said. "We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem."
        Iran's state television showed parliament members rising from their seats on Saturday to chant "Death to Israel" and "Palestine is victorious, Israel will be destroyed."  (Reuters)
  • Israeli Families and Survivors Describe the Horrors of Hamas' Invasion - Ron Kampeas
    Hamas fired thousands of rockets and sent infiltrators across the border starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday, the Jewish sabbath and the holiday of Simchat Torah. The attackers invaded, at least temporarily, at least 14 villages and towns near the border. In some cases, Hamas terrorists had barricaded themselves inside homes in Israel and were holding people hostage. About 1,000 youths at an outdoor overnight party at Kibbutz Re'im were surrounded by armed terrorists who opened fire indiscriminately and tossed grenades into tents. One survivor described watching Hamas terrorists dragging bodies away.
        A wounded man at Soroka Hospital near Beersheba described how he was traveling with his wife and child when he saw a group of 15 riders on motorbikes. They pulled alongside him and opened fire and his wife died immediately. One woman said the last time she heard from her daughter she could tell she was in a car and there were male voices speaking Arabic. (JTA)
  • German Woman Killed by Hamas at Music Festival, Terrorists Claimed She Was Israeli Soldier - Caroline Graham
    A woman whose body was paraded in the back of a Hamas pick-up truck as militants sat on top of her and jeered was identified as a German citizen, Shani Louk, 30. She was attending a music festival for peace when she was seized by terrorists as they attacked Israel. (Daily Mail-UK)
  • Israeli Recounts How Terrorists Invaded His Village - Patrick Kingsley
    Amir Tibon and his neighbors in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, a village that stands a few hundred yards from Gaza, have become accustomed to frequent rocket fire from militants in Gaza. But soon after he took shelter on Saturday with his wife and two young daughters, he knew something was very different about this attack. The sound of gunfire.
        "There were terrorists inside the kibbutz, inside our neighborhood and - at some point - outside our window. We could hear them talk. We could hear them run. We could hear them shooting their guns at our house, at our windows." Neighbors were posting frantic messages. "People were saying, 'They are in my house, they are trying to break into the safe room!'"  (New York Times)
  • Policeman in Egypt Kills 2 Israelis at Tourist Site
    An Egyptian policeman opened fire on Israeli tourists in Alexandria, killing at least two Israelis and one Egyptian, according to Egypt's Interior Ministry. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu: Israel Is at War
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel's Security Cabinet on Saturday: "Since this morning, the State of Israel has been at war. Our first objective is to clear out the hostile forces that infiltrated our territory and restore the security and quiet to the communities that have been attacked. The second objective, at the same time, is to exact an immense price from the enemy, within the Gaza Strip as well. The third objective is to reinforce other fronts so that nobody should mistakenly join this war. We are at war. In war, one needs to be level-headed. I call on all citizens of Israel to unite in order to achieve our highest goal - victory in the war."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Israel Calls on UN to Condemn Hamas War Crimes - Lazar Berman
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan on Saturday called on the UN Security Council to immediately condemn Hamas. "It is now time for the international community including the Security Council to unequivocally condemn the appalling terror attacks carried out by Hamas and all terrorist organizations against the civilians of Israel."
        "Israel expects and demands the solidarity and support of all those in the international community who oppose this barbaric terrorism and the targeting of innocent men, women and children for slaughter. It will not tolerate moral equivalence between those defending against this terrorism and those perpetrating it. There can be no option other than zero tolerance for Hamas' war crimes and genocidal agenda."
        "The State of Israel will act in any way necessary to protect its citizens and sovereignty from the ongoing terrorist attacks originating from Gaza and carried out by Hamas and other terrorist organizations. We will not stand idly by as Israelis are attacked and killed."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Navy Kills Dozens of Gazan Terrorists Attempting to Infiltrate by Sea - Emanuel Fabian
    The Israeli Navy killed dozens of Palestinian terrorists who attempted to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza on Saturday. A video showed three sea vessels, as well as a tractor, attempting to breach Israel's security barrier near Zikim beach on the border, being targeted. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Kills Terrorist in His Home - Matan Tzuri
    A resident of Nirim on the Israel-Gaza border shot and killed a terrorist who had entered his home on Saturday while his two daughters were hiding in the shelter. (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Forces Regain Control of Sderot Police Station
    Israeli security forces took back control of a Sderot police station that was overrun by Hamas terrorists on Saturday. At least 10 terrorists were killed in the operation. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Forces Kill Terrorists Heading to Ashkelon - Emanuel Fabian
    A car with Palestinian terrorists from Gaza was headed toward Ashkelon on the Route 4 highway on Sunday. Israeli security forces chased after the terrorists and killed at least three. (Times of Israel)
  • Video: Palestinian Shoots at Israeli Family Driving through Huwara - Elisha Ben Kimon
    A video shows a Palestinian gunman in Huwara on Thursday running up to an Israeli car carrying a couple and their young child and firing a pistol, shattering the rear windshield. On Wednesday, the IDF closed Route 60 to traffic for three hours after Palestinian rioters hurled stones at Israeli cars. Huwara has been the scene of numerous terror attacks in recent months.
        The Palestinian assailant was shot dead by troops several hours later. (Ynet News-Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • A Wakeup Call for Israel - Lt.-Col. (res.) Peter Lerner
    The Hamas land invasion is a wakeup call. Terrorist organizations and many in our region have still not come to terms with Israel's existence. Many of them, like Hamas, are bent on Israel's destruction. This war underscores the timeless lesson that no matter how advanced or prepared a nation believes itself to be, there's always room for improvement, always a blind spot, and always an evolving threat lurking in the shadows. The cost of overlooking these lessons is tragically high.
        The writer is a former IDF spokesperson to the foreign media. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas' Surprise Attack a Reminder of Israel's Existential Peril - Editorial
    The scenes of Israeli civilians gunned down in the streets, children and grandmothers taken hostage, and Palestinians cheering it all are awful to behold. Israel is on the front lines, but all of the democratic world is a target.
        One myth busted is that Palestinians will live in peace with Israel if they get a state of their own. Not as long as Hamas and Islamic Jihad can terrorize and dominate Palestinians. Israel ceded Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005, but Hamas took over in 2007 and assassinates anyone in the territory who challenges its goal of expelling the Jews from all of Israel.
        And please no more condemnation of Israel's "blockade" or "occupation." Israel has been allowing 17,000 Gazans to work in Israel each day and would like to allow more. No Israeli government can afford to give up control of more territory that could become a launching point for Hamas attacks.
        The temptation at the White House will be to give Israel a week or so to respond with a free hand, and then lean on the Netanyahu government to stand down. That is always the U.S. pattern, but it shouldn't be this time.
        The attacks on Israel, horrible as they are, at least provide some moral clarity about the stakes in the Middle East. One side seeks the destruction of Israel and the Jews. The other arms itself to protect its citizens and state from that destruction. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hamas Attack an Act of Medieval Barbarism - Noah Rothman
    In the invasion of Israel by the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hamas, Israeli seniors were slaughtered while waiting for the bus. Concert-goers were fired upon. People were gunned down in their cars. Citizens were hunted down from house to house, murdered while trying to protect their families. Throats were slashed. Structures were torched. This was a massacre. The surprise attack was pared with a barrage of thousands of missiles originating in Gaza, which rained down on Israeli civilian targets across the country.
        When the initial shock of Hamas' horrific attack has worn off, you're sure to hear false equivalences and fallacies designed to stay the hands of officials in Jerusalem. Acts of medieval barbarism like these are, if not excused, rationalized away by those who insist the occupation Israel dissolved painfully in 2005 persists insofar as Gaza is "besieged." Hamas, the terrorist group that ascended to power in the wake of Israel's withdrawal, transformed its stronghold into a fortress, the foremost purpose of which was to wage war on the Jewish state.
        There will be calls for Israelis to observe proportionality. But what would that look like? What is a proportionate response to the deliberate slaughter of civilians and hostage-taking designed to free more terrorists who would soon be returned to the fight against Israel? There will be those who think there are shades of grey, sprawling trans-generational grievances to account for, and regional dynamics that complicate this situation. They are wrong. (National Review)
  • Israel Faces Its 9/11 - Gil Troy
    Death, destruction and mayhem rained down on the Jewish state. But so did a moral clarity and resolve that characterizes democracies under attack - and that terrorists always underestimate.
        A functional nation is most responsible for protecting its own citizens, especially when threatened by adversaries who respect no rules of war or simple decency. Israel needs to fight this latest battle with a clarity that its many previous conflicts with Gaza lacked and do what it takes to protect its citizens.
        Israel may have brutal enemies and continuing political challenges. But Israelis rank as among the world's happiest people, because they share a sense of common destiny, a sense of community, and a sense of purpose that gives their lives meaning amid the danger.
        The writer is a distinguished scholar of North American history at McGill University. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Barbaric War Against Israel - Melanie Phillips
    Dozens of Israelis including elderly people, women and small children were abducted from their homes or dragged out of cars, forced into Hamas vehicles and are now being held as hostages in Gaza. This is unthinkable and unspeakable. It is wrong to call this terrorism. It is all-out war against Israel. This was a lethal and overwhelming onslaught aimed at Israeli civilians. Every one of those attacks was therefore a war crime.
        Whenever Israel has launched military operations in Gaza - which it does only when attacks from there have become intolerable - some in the West complain that its response is "disproportionate." What they mean is that not enough Israelis have been killed. (Substack)

A Wounded Israel Is a Fiercer One - Haviv Rettig Gur (Times of Israel)
  • It was a horror. Hour after hour, families sat huddled in their homes awaiting rescue from the Hamas fighters streaming through their towns and villages. Families were butchered in cold blood. In one home, a terrorist shot the parents dead, took a child's cellphone and started broadcasting it all in a livestream on their Facebook account.
  • Grandmothers were pulled in wheelchairs to waiting vehicles ready to carry them as hostages into Gaza. Then came the mothers carrying babies. Footage circulated on social media, put there by Hamas, of an Israeli child asking his mother if the gunmen that surrounded them were going to kill them.
  • A tectonic shift has occurred in Israel's psyche. Where Hamas had always seemed an implacable but ultimately containable enemy, it had now proven it could bring the danger into Israeli homes, could slaughter children and kidnap grandmothers. Hamas was once a tolerable threat. It just made itself an intolerable one.
  • Analyst Avi Issacharoff tweeted, Hamas "success may turn into a Pyrrhic victory. It seems to me there's now a consensus in the Israeli elite and among the public that what was won't be anymore."
  • As a result of the raw cruelty of the assault and the impossibility of ever satisfying the assailant's demands, Israelis are uniting, from left to right. None of the political problems have been resolved, but Hamas brought home to Israelis the intolerable weakness of a divided Israel.
  • Israelis believe they have been left no choice but to fight desperately to ensure Saturday's images never return. These heirs of a collective memory forged in the fires of the 20th century cannot handle the experience of defenselessness Hamas has imposed on them.
  • A safe Israel can spend much time and resources worrying about the humanitarian fallout from a Gaza ground war; a more vulnerable Israel cannot.

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