October 11, 2023
Special Report
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Death Toll from Hamas Onslaught Passes 1,200 - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The death toll from Hamas' attack on Israel on Saturday surpassed 1,200 on Wednesday.
    The Israel Health Ministry said 3,007 people had been injured, including 28 critically and 345 seriously, with almost 500 still hospitalized.
    Terror groups have fired more than 5,000 rockets at Israel since Saturday.

40 Babies and Small Children Murdered in Kfar Aza - Nicole Zedek (i24 News)
    Kibbutz Kfar Aza, less than a quarter of a mile from Gaza, was invaded by 70 armed Palestinian terrorists.
    IDF soldiers say they found babies with their heads cut off, entire families gunned down in their beds. The bodies of about 40 babies and young children have been taken out so far.
    Terrorists burned down houses to drive the civilians sheltering inside to come out.

Hamas Executed Kibbutz Children - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    In one kibbutz home, the commander of an infantry brigade found the body of a 1-year-old girl, shot in the head.
    The safe room was locked. After many efforts, soldiers opened the door. Inside, they found to their horror eight bodies of children, tied up and shot.
    There are some kibbutzim where a large proportion of members were murdered.
    At the outdoor festival near Kibbutz Re'im, the terrorists piled up the bodies of the young victims using a tractor, with a later attempt to set them on fire.
    At one army base, dozens of defenseless female soldiers from a unit charged with camera surveillance were murdered.
    What happened in the Gaza border communities was not an expression of a struggle for national liberation, but a terror attack by a Islamic fundamentalist organization, highlighting that it has no intention of holding negotiations with Israel in the future.
    This will require new thinking among those who hoped that the murderous intentions of Hamas could be curbed.
    Some consolation can be found in the huge motivation shown by reserve forces, as well as by Israeli civil society. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers showed up immediately.

Israeli Couple Hid Their Two Babies before Being Murdered by Hamas - Holly Evans (Independent-UK)
    Itay and Hadar Berdichevsky, an Israeli couple in Kibbutz Kfar Aza concealed their 10-month-old twins in a shelter after Hamas terrorists broke into their home on Saturday.
    Both parents were shot dead, while the babies remained alone for 12 hours until they were rescued by Israeli soldiers, the Israeli outlet Walla reported.

Brandeis Professor Listened, Helpless, as Hamas Closed In on His Family - Frances Vinall (Washington Post)
    Ilan Troen, a professor emeritus of Israel Studies at Brandeis University, answered a call from his daughter, Deborah Matias, at about 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.
    She could hear gunshots and glass breaking, she told him.
    He next heard from his 16-year-old grandson, Rotem.
    Deborah, 50, and her husband, Shlomi, 49, were dead. Rotem was injured.
    His parents had saved him using their own bodies to protect him, but militants were still searching Kibbutz Holit, where the family lived near the border with Gaza.

Hamas Murders Israel Hayom Cameraman, His Wife, and Daughters - Ilya Yegorov (Israel Hayom)
    Israel Hayom cameraman Yaniv Zohar, 54, was murdered on Saturday in the brutal Hamas attack on Kibbutz Nahal Oz, along with his wife, Yasmin, and two daughters, Keshet and Tchelet.

Taken Captive by Terrorists in Kibbutz Be'eri - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
    A survivor's story.

The Testimonies Archive: Eyewitness Audio Accounts from the Hamas Massacre in Israel (Tablet)
    These are firsthand testimonies of those who survived the massacre, those who risked their own lives to save others, and those whose lives were changed forever when they lost loved ones.

Overview of the Hamas Invasion (Israel Defense Forces)

Hamas Attacked Israel's Communications Towers - Aric Toler (New York Times)
    Hamas fighters launched coordinated attacks on at least four communications towers close to the Gaza border in the initial phase of their cross-border assault on Israel on Saturday, alongside strikes on observation towers, according to a New York Times analysis of propaganda videos and satellite images.

Israelis Who Can't Fight Find Other Ways to Help - Uriel Heilman (JTA)
    When Israel's national emergency service, Magen David Adom, opened a mobile blood donation site in Modiin on Tuesday, 650 volunteers showed up and within an hour staffers said they had reached their blood-collecting capacity.
    At a shopping center in Maccabim, volunteers were collecting supplies for soldiers. Community members dropped off items they'd brought from home or stores, teenagers sorted them, and volunteers loaded them onto trucks.
    Four days after Hamas launched a brutal attack against Israel, most Israelis were either mobilizing to fight or trying to support the soldiers and the victims.

At the El Al Counter at JFK - Avi Mayer (Twitter)
    An El Al crew member reported that an Orthodox Jewish man stood quietly near the El Al counter at New York's JFK Airport on Monday.
    Anyone who showed him an IDF call-up notice got his ticket paid for. He paid for 250 tickets.
    The writer is editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post.

Israel at War: Daily Zoom Briefing
by Jerusalem Center Experts
View Daily Briefing at 4:00 p.m. (Israel), 9:00 a.m. (EST)
    View recent briefings

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden: Israel "Has a Duty to Respond" to Hamas Massacre
    President Joe Biden said Tuesday: "There are moments in this life - and I mean this literally - when pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world. The people of Israel lived through one such moment this weekend. The bloody hands of the terrorist organization Hamas - a group whose stated purpose for being is to kill Jews. This was an act of sheer evil. More than 1,000 civilians slaughtered - not just killed, slaughtered - in Israel. Among them, at least 14 American citizens killed."
        "Parents butchered using their bodies to try to protect their children. Stomach-turning reports of babies being killed. Entire families slain. Young people massacred while attending a musical festival to celebrate peace. Women raped, assaulted, paraded as trophies. Families hid in fear for hours and hours, desperately trying to keep their children quiet to avoid drawing attention. And thousands of wounded, alive but carrying with them the bullet holes and the shrapnel wounds and the memory of what they endured. You all know these traumas never go away."
        "The brutality of Hamas - this bloodthirstiness - brings to mind the worst rampages of ISIS....So, in this moment, we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel....Like every nation in the world, Israel has the right to respond - indeed has a duty to respond - to these vicious attacks.... Our hearts may be broken, but our resolve is clear....Let there be no doubt: The United States has Israel's back."  (White House)
        See also Video - Biden: Hamas Attack on Israel Is "an Act of Sheer Evil" (CNN)
  • Netanyahu Tells Biden "We Have to Go" into Gaza - Barak Ravid
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Biden on Sunday that Israel does not have any choice but to unleash a ground operation in Gaza. "We have to go in," he said. Netanyahu told Biden that Israel had no choice but to respond with force because a country can't show weakness in the Middle East. "We need to restore deterrence," he said. Biden did not try to convince Netanyahu not to go through with a ground operation. (Axios)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two Killed in Hamas Rocket Strike - Emanuel Fabian
    Two foreign workers were killed in a Hamas rocket strike in the Eshkol Region opposite southern Gaza on Tuesday. A third foreign worker is in serious condition. A woman was injured in a rocket attack on Ashkelon. Ali Muhammad Elyan, a Palestinian from the West Bank town of Baqa al-Sharqiya, north of Tulkarem, was killed from a missile launched from Gaza that struck the village.
        On Tuesday, at least nine Hamas terrorists were killed in Israeli territory, including one near Kibbutz Sa'ad, four near Zikim, two near Sderot, and two near Re'im.
        In a video statement on Tuesday, Maj.-Gen. Ghassan Alian, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, addressed a message to Gaza residents and the Hamas leadership. "Kidnapping, abusing and murdering children, women and elderly people is not human. There is no justification for that. Hamas has turned into ISIS, and the residents of Gaza, instead of being appalled, are celebrating. Human animals must be treated as such. There will be no electricity and no water [in Gaza], there will only be destruction. You wanted hell, you will get hell."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Strikes Hizbullah Targets after Rockets Fired from Lebanon
    Israeli tanks targeted Hizbullah observation points in southern Lebanon on Tuesday after 15 rockets were fired into northern Israel. Hamas claimed responsibility for firing the rockets. An IDF helicopter attacked another Hizbullah observation post after an anti-tank missile was launched at Israeli forces. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Defense Minister: Israel Moving to Full Offense, Gaza Will Never Return to What It Was - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told troops on the Gaza border on Tuesday, "I have released all the restraints, we have [regained] control of the area, and we are moving to a full offense. You will have the ability to change the reality here. You have seen the prices [being paid], and you will get to see the change. Hamas wanted a change in Gaza, it will change 180 degrees from what it thought. They will regret this moment, Gaza will never return to what it was. Whoever comes to decapitate, murder women, Holocaust survivors - we will eliminate him with all our might, and without compromise."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Now Comes the Test of Who Supports Israelis' Human Right to Self-Defense - Natan Sharansky
    World leaders have denounced Hamas' barbarism and affirmed the legitimacy of Israel's right to self-defense. But what about tomorrow? What will happen as the Palestinian death toll rises? Hamas has a powerful unconventional weapon: Palestinian civilians, used as human shields. The more Palestinians who die because Hamas terrorists cynically hide behind them, the more the free world will turn against Israel.
        It is only a matter of weeks, or days, or even hours, until articles will appear in major publications depicting the Israeli government as indiscriminately targeting innocent Palestinians, and the UN will pass resolutions demanding that we cease our war of self-defense.
        I was a member of Israel's security cabinet when we made crucial decisions about how to fight terror during the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, at a time when hundreds of Israeli civilians were targeted and killed simply for living in the Jewish state. In light of these experiences, I know with certainty that Israel expends more effort than any other country during wartime in trying to minimize harm to innocent civilians on the enemy side.
        The world would benefit immeasurably if Saturday's attack were to prompt free nations, together with leading human rights organizations, to finally unite completely in the fight against terrorism - and in the belief that every state, Jewish or not, has the right to defend itself against the indiscriminate murder of its citizens.
        The writer, a former Soviet dissident and refusenik, was an Israeli government minister and chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. (Washington Post)
  • The Hamas Einsatzgruppen Operation - Col. (ret.) Yigal Carmon
    On October 7, Hamas operatives invaded Israel and carried out an Einsatzgruppen attack. They hunted down Jewish women, men, children, the elderly, and murdered them with unspeakable cruelty. The number of Israeli dead - at last count, over 900 - is the equivalent of 34,000 American deaths.
        The real power that enabled this operation was the Aal Thani family that rules Qatar. The Aal Thani family is Hamas' enabler. Qatar funded the building of Hamas' military empire in Gaza: a huge underground city with military headquarters and connecting tunnels; a massive missile arsenal; and 30,000 killers and the munitions required for a long war.
        The Aal Thani family supported the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Qatar also supports the Taliban, ISIS, and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
        Qatar's latest support for the Hamas attack in Israel was also evident on its television channel Al-Jazeera, which is placed at the service of Hamas' leaders - commander Muhammad Deif and "military spokesman" Abu Ubaida - whose statements they have aired numerous times, just as they did with Osama bin Laden's speeches both before and after 9/11.
        The writer, former counter-terrorism advisor to two Israeli prime ministers, is founder and president of the Middle East Media Research Institute. (MEMRI)
  • Israel's Choices in Gaza All Lead to the Destruction of the Hamas Regime - Yaakov Lappin
    Israel's security cabinet will have to order a major ground maneuver in order to destroy the Hamas terror army and regime, following the horrific war crimes it rained down on Israeli communities. Any action short of this would undermine Israel's strategic standing in the Middle East and form a green light for Hizbullah, Iran and other adversaries to attack as well.
        The security cabinet released a statement on Sunday that its goal is "to achieve the destruction of the military and governing capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in a way that will preclude their ability and willingness to threaten and attack the citizens of Israel for many years." None of those goals can be accomplished from the air alone.
        The cleansing of Gaza will involve intense urban warfare, destroying Hamas' terrorist squads in their bunkers, tunnels and multi-story buildings. To put things in perspective, Operation Defensive Shield, launched by Israel in Judea and Samaria in 2002 following a murderous wave of Palestinian suicide bombings and shootings, took three years to complete. The option of withdrawing from Gaza in a number of months and enabling Hamas to rear its head again seems unfathomable after Saturday's mass slaughter. (JNS)
  • Hamas Has Lost the Right to Rule Gaza - Walter Russell Mead
    Hamas has lost the right to rule Gaza. It must be dismantled and disarmed, and neither Israel nor its neighbors can permit the group to return to power. In Gaza, more than two million people are crowded into a barren wasteland with few natural resources. A rational Palestinian leadership would understand that, so situated, the only hope for the people of Gaza lies in close collaboration with Egypt and Israel. Yet Hamas has done all it could to keep Gaza wretched while inculcating an ideology of genocidal rage.
        The writer, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, is Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Peace, Deterrence and Other Gods that Failed - Elliot Kaufman
    On Saturday, a jihadist invasion of Israel shattered as many illusions as it has lives. Israelis had learned to live with a genocidal terrorist group next door in Gaza that seeks to kill Israel's Jews any way it can. They took a series of defensive measures: a blockade to keep weapons out, a missile-defense system to shoot down rockets, and, when those rockets got out of hand, brief campaigns of targeted strikes to quiet Hamas down.
        To force out Hamas, Israel might have had to govern Gaza itself, and those in the safe Western democracies would have screamed bloody murder, deeming it "bad for peace." But as the Jewish tradition teaches, whoever is kind to the cruel will end up being cruel to the kind.
        A perverse alternative reality was constructed in which every Israeli response to the threat from Hamas was illegal, immoral and disproportionate, a war crime. The terrorists themselves - the ones live-streaming their slaughter and mutilation of defenseless Jewish civilians to shouts of "Allahu akbar" - were politely termed "militants." Israel was even condemned for using force to stop Hamas' previous attempts to rush the border. Gullible Western media described those would-be infiltrators as "protesters."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hamas' Miscalculation Will Come Back to Haunt It - Amb. Michael Oren
    Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have made a serious miscalculation. They became accustomed to the sleeping Israeli giant, and now they will have to deal with the awake giant in its full force. The people of Israel are strong and unified, and, above all, they are aware and alert to their mission to defend themselves and Israel's right to exist.
        The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. (Israel Hayom)
  • Pro-Palestinian Groups Celebrate the Murder of Hundreds of People in Israel - Bret Stephens
    On Sunday in midtown Manhattan, a rally of pro-Palestinian groups celebrated the murder of hundreds of people in Israel. I went to see the rally for myself. What I saw was giddiness and gloating, as if someone's team had won the World Cup. Hamas had perpetrated the largest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, and the crowd was euphoric. In London, 5,000 demonstrators gathered near the Israeli embassy and shot off fireworks toward the building. At Harvard, almost three dozen campus groups issued a joint statement holding "the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence."
        Give the protesters and manifesto writers points for honesty. "Pro-Palestine," to many of them, is pro-Hamas. "Anti-occupation" is opposition to Israel's right to exist in any form. Israelis are guilty by virtue of being Israelis, so their murder and humiliation is something to laugh at. (New York Times)
  • Hamas' Barbaric Attack - Gerard Baker
    We must recognize the carnage Hamas unleashed on Israel this weekend primarily for what it is - another attempt to annihilate the Jewish people. The spectacle of paramilitaries going house to house shooting Jews, dragging their dead bodies through the streets, and brandishing them as spoils is as shocking as it is familiar. For Jews, this is their history played out one more agonizing time. Another year, another place, another pogrom. (Wall Street Journal)
  • After the Bloodiest Massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, the International Community Must Approach This Moment with Moral Clarity - David Michaels
    Hamas, the jihadist group ruling Gaza, chose the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah for what has become a new level of carnage. The current attack has been unprecedented in its scope and barbarism, targeting civilians with mass hostage-taking, torture, apparent rape and slaughter.
        In a country of fewer than 10 million people - barely the size of New Jersey - the losses are profound and the sense of vulnerability well-founded. The enemy demands not limited territorial or political goals but the destruction of the "Zionist entity" completely.
        Over the past 75 years, Israel has repeatedly offered Palestinian statehood. The Palestinians answered by refusing to negotiate, empowering radicals and continually intensifying violence. The international community must approach this moment with moral clarity. There is no equivalence between terrorists and the only democracy in the Middle East, in Jews' only ancestral homeland.
        The writer is director of UN and intercommunal affairs at B'nai B'rith International. (Religion News Service)
  • Gaza Could Have Been Singapore. Hamas Turned It into ISIS - Bassem Eid
    Singapore and Gaza are both self-governing city-states located at key crossroads of world trade on the opposite ends of the Asian continent. Yet, due to differences in civil culture and governance, Singapore has been built into the trade hub of East Asia. Gaza has become a terrorist dystopia like the lands formerly under ISIS.
        Hamas' Taliban-like mini-emirate is a brutal tinpot dictatorship where anyone living other than a strictly Islamic lifestyle lives under terrible repression. This may help us understand the insanity and brutality of the organization that just conducted a wild raid into Israel, perpetrating the worst massacre of civilians in the history of Israel.
        The writer is a Palestinian political analyst and human rights pioneer.  (Newsweek)
  • From Dancing with the Torah to War in an Hour - Yael Eckstein
    One by one, as men were dancing with the Torah in celebration of the holiday of Simchat Torah on Saturday, the phones in their pockets began buzzing. Each one of them had the same response - they kissed the Torah, hugged their friends, then ran home to change into their army fatigues. In the span of an hour, nearly a dozen men in our tiny synagogue were called up to reserve duty in the Israel Defense Forces.
        In Israel, unfortunately, we have gotten used to things that no one should have to get used to: thousands of rockets being launched at our cities. Cafes being blown up. Stabbing attacks at bus stops. Terror tunnels being dug under our towns, even our homes. But we have never experienced anything like this. Watching a mother and baby being taken hostage by terrorists is a living nightmare.
        But no one should think that we have lost even a bit of hope. Israel is a nation born of hope in the face of disaster, a people of hope despite endless catastrophes. It embodies a spirit of hope that can't be extinguished - although many have tried. Am Yisrael Chai - the nation of Israel lives!
        The writer is President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. (Newsweek)

History Will Judge Those Who Fail to Stand Against Hamas - Israeli President Isaac Herzog (TIME)
  • Not since the Holocaust have more Jews been murdered on one day. Not since the Holocaust have we seen such images of innocent Jewish mothers and children, teenagers and old women loaded into trucks and taken away into captivity. Hamas has imported, adopted, and replicated the savagery of ISIS.
  • Whole families have been wiped out. Mothers and fathers, with babes in arms, murdered in cold blood. Massacred. A young couple, Tamar and Yonatan, murdered in their home along with their 6-year-old twin daughters Shachar and Arbel, and 4-year-old son Omer. A wheelchair-bound Holocaust survivor in her 80s who was taken into captivity by Hamas terrorists.
  • Israel will act firmly and with full force to defend its people and eliminate this threat. This is our solemn duty. However, the international community also has a duty to fulfill here.
  • For too long, when Israel has faced incursions or rockets from Gaza, elements of the international community have sought to justify Hamas' actions, swallowing their lies.
  • Over the next days and weeks, Israel will be doing all it can to secure its borders, to remove the threat posed by Hamas, and to return its captive civilians and soldiers. It will demand the support of the international community.
  • History will judge Hamas for its crimes against humanity, along with all those who fail to stand against them.

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