October 12, 2023
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Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Death Toll from Hamas Onslaught Reaches 1,300 (Times of Israel)
    The Israeli death toll from the Hamas attack has reached 1,300.
    3,300 have been injured, including 28 in critical condition and 350 in serious condition.

Number of U.S. Citizens Killed in Israel by Hamas Rises to 22 - Matthew Lee (AP)
    The number of U.S. citizens killed in the Hamas attack on Israel has risen to at least 22.
    The State Department said at least 17 more Americans remain unaccounted for, and that a "handful" of U.S. citizens are among the hostages captured by Hamas.

Israeli Woman Led Team that Saved Kibbutz from Hamas - Yaron Steinbuch (New York Post)
    Inbar Lieberman, 25, the security coordinator of Kibbutz Nir Am, heard sounds that were different from the usual rocket attacks and coordinated the response of the local 12-member security team amid the unfolding attack.
    She placed her squad in strategic positions across the community and set up ambushes that caught the gunmen off guard.
    Lieberman killed five terrorists by herself, while the others gunned down 20 more over four hours as they turned Nir Am into an impenetrable fortress - while nearby kibbutzim suffered heavy losses, Walla News reported.

Local Security Teams Defended their Gaza Border Homes - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
    Security units made up of local residents in the communities around the Gaza border fought with valor to defend against the invading Hamas terrorists on Saturday as their communities were overrun.
    Many gave their lives after fighting on even when the battle seemed lost.
    At Kibbutz Zikim, members of the security team opened fire and, despite being attacked by grenades, succeeded in repelling the terrorists. Just two of them were wounded in the attack.
    At Netive Ha'asara, the security team of local residents engaged a terror squad that entered the community, losing three of its members. 21 members of the community were murdered.
    At Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, named after a Jewish resistance fighter who fought the Nazis during the Holocaust, the security team came out of the gate to engage with approaching terrorists, and chased them towards the fields, saving residents. None were murdered.
    At Erez, the local security team identified approaching terrorists and conducted an hours-long battle, losing one of their members.
    30 terrorists attacked Kibbutz Miflasim. The local security team killed three of the invaders.
    At Kfar Aza, all members of the resident's security team are believed murdered. Over 70 people perished.
    At Kibbutz Alumim, a terror squad murdered 20 foreign agricultural workers from Thailand and Nepal. The resident's security team fought off the invasion for six hours. Five of its members were wounded.
    At Be'eri, at least five of the 10-member security team were killed by dozens of invading terrorists.
    At least 70 terrorists invaded Kibbutz Kissufim. The head of the local security team was killed along with at least three others. 15 residents were murdered and at least four were abducted to Gaza.
    At Re'im, the six-man security team fought over 100 invading terrorists. Five residents were murdered and at least five were abducted to Gaza.
    At Nirim, the terrorists murdered five residents in their homes before the local security team was able to engage and chase them away.
    At Ein Hashlosha, the 15-member security team fought off terrorists for six hours. The team's leader, in his 60s, was killed.
    At Kibbutz Nir Oz, all members of the security team are missing. At least 35 of its residents were murdered.
    At Kibbutz Magen, terrorists reached the perimeter and blew up the fence but the security team repelled them. One member was killed.
    At Kibbutz Sufa, 12 terrorists infiltrated the community. Three residents were killed, including one member of the security team.
    At Nir Yitzhak, two members of the security team were killed after engaging with invading terrorists and four others are missing. Many residents were abducted to Gaza.
    At Kerem Shalom, the 10-member security team killed at least 20 invading terrorists. Two of its members were killed.

First Planeload of American Ammunition Lands in Israel - Rob Crilly (Daily Mail-UK)
    The U.S. has promised to surge ammunition and interceptors for Israel's Iron Dome after Hamas terrorists swarmed out of Gaza, killing at least 1,200 people.
    The first load of American weapons landed in Israel on Tuesday.

Israel Names 189 Soldiers, 41 Police Officers Killed since Saturday - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Defense Forces has published the names of 189 soldiers killed during fighting with Palestinian terrorists since Saturday.
    The Israel Police has listed 41 officers who were killed confronting the terrorists.

Between Evacuation and Courage in Wartime - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    Sderot, a city of 30,000, was raided by the Hamas terrorists. Dozens entered the police station and killed police. They were then killed, and the station was destroyed.
    The nearby kibbutzim, some 20 communities along the border, have all been evacuated.
    A sense of unease is now everywhere. But so is the sense of Israeli strength. Long lines of military vehicles were streaming toward the south.

Scene of Massacre Becomes Staging Ground for Israel's Invasion of Gaza - Dion Nissenbaum (Wall Street Journal)
    Kfar Aza, a small farming community near Gaza that was the scene of one of Saturday's deadliest attacks by Hamas, is now a staging ground for Israel's counterstrike.
    Hundreds of Israeli soldiers were assembling near bloodstained homes to prepare for what the military is calling a paradigm-changing offensive against Hamas' Gaza stronghold.
    "I'll give it to you straight," said a soldier. "I am looking for revenge. We are all out for revenge."
    Col. Liron Batito, commander of Israel's Givati infantry brigade, said Hamas fighters at Kfar Aza lay waiting for his forces when they arrived and used the kibbutz's rooftops to fire rocket-propelled-grenades at the advancing Israeli troops.

Fatah Calls on Palestinians to Escalate the Conflict with Israel Everywhere (MEMRI)
    On October 9, the Central Committee of Fatah, the faction headed by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, praised the Palestinian fighters involved in "attacking the enemy" in the West Bank, Gaza and elsewhere.
    The Committee called on the Palestinian public to "answer the calls to confront" Israel and escalate the situation on the ground "in every conflict area" in order to aid the Palestinians in Gaza.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Officials Confirm that Hamas Beheaded Israelis - Holly Williams
    Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Maj. Libby Weiss told CBS News on Wednesday, "We've found bodies of people who have been butchered. The depravity of it is haunting." Weiss said that the Israeli soldiers who first reached Kfar Aza reported finding "beheaded children of varying ages, ranging from babies to slightly older children," along with adults who had also been dismembered.
        Yossi Landau, the head of operations for the southern region of Zaka, an Israeli volunteer civilian emergency response organization, told CBS News he saw with his own eyes children and babies who had been beheaded. "I saw a lot more that cannot be described for now, because it's very hard to describe," he said, speaking of parents and children found with their hands bound and clear signs of torture.
        The IDF's Weiss added that Israel "must make sure Hamas cannot launch massacres and slaughter civilians as they did this past weekend. It's just a reality with which we cannot live anymore."  (CBS News)
  • Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu Forms Wartime Unity Government with Critic Benny Gantz - Patrick Hilsman
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Defense Minister and Israeli opposition politician Benny Gantz formed an emergency unity government Wednesday to address the ongoing conflict with Palestinian Hamas. (UPI)
        See also "A Time for Peace and a Time for War" - Carrie Keller-Lynn
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announcing Israel's national emergency government on Wednesday, said, "The Jewish nation is unified, and today its leadership is also unified."
        "We saw the barbarians that we are facing. We saw a cruel enemy. An enemy worse than ISIS. We saw boys and girls, bound, shot in the head. Men and women burned alive. Young women raped and slaughtered. Fighters decapitated....In one place, they set fire to tires around them and burned them alive. How staggering the atrocity. How great the pain." He also cited the acts of heroism of those who fought the terrorists.
        Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, "Hamas - the Islamic State of Gaza - will be wiped from the face of the earth. It will not continue to exist. There will be no situation in which Israeli children are murdered and we all go about our business."
        National Unity party head Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff and defense minister, said, "Our standing here, shoulder to shoulder, is a clear message to our enemies, and more important than that, a message to all of Israel, we are together, we're all enlisted in this." Gantz said that "extraordinary actions" will be taken, and that "this war will provide security for years ahead for all of Israel."
        "The enemy will be destroyed. Security will be restored. The killing grounds where our heroes fell will be rebuilt. The entire State of Israel will thrive again. There's a time for peace and a time for war; now is the time for war," Gantz said. (Times of Israel)
  • A Massive Show of Support for Israel on Capitol Hill - Marc Rod
    409 members of the U.S. House of Representatives - 93% - signed onto a resolution expressing support for Israel and condemning Hamas' large-scale attacks. The signatories include members who have been critical of Israel. (Jewish Insider)
  • Hamas Official: We Have Been Secretly Planning the Invasion for Two Years
    Senior Hamas official Ali Baraka said in an Oct. 8, 2023, interview on Russia Today TV that Hamas had been secretly planning the invasion of Israel for two years, even as it was making it seem like it was busy governing Gaza. He explained that this is the reason Hamas did not join Palestinian Islamic Jihad in its previous round of fighting against Israel.
        Baraka said that Hamas has a license from Russia to locally produce bullets for Kalashnikovs, that Russia sympathizes with Hamas, and that it is pleased with the war because it is easing American pressure on it with regard to the war in Ukraine. (MEMRI)
        See also How Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran Carefully Planned an Unprecedented Offensive in Israel - Mounir Rabih
    Hamas' Saturday offensive in Israel was months in planning in the Lebanese capital, L'Orient-Le Jour has learned from several sources within the "axis of resistance" (i.e., the Iranian Quds Brigades, Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad). Sources said a series of meetings took place between Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Iranian military officials, including Ismail Qaani, commander of the Quds Brigades of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to prepare an operation of this kind. The operation was prepared in a joint Hamas-Hizbullah-Iran military operations room in Beirut over several months. (L'Orient Today-Lebanon)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Recounting the First Hours of the Hamas Invasion - Yaniv Kubovich
    Senior commanders were killed in the first battles, soldiers arriving at kibbutzim were ambushed by Hamas, and the IDF was totally surprised by the number of Hamas combatants, Brig.-Gen. Dan Goldfus said Tuesday. Goldfus commands a reserve infantry division that has been engaging Hamas fighters. "This event is on a scale that we've never known before, very hard to witness. Mass killings of civilians, homes and situation rooms burned with people, both civilians and soldiers, inside....There were actual battles being waged inside the Gaza Division headquarters."
        "It was me and three or four of my men against dozens of Hamas fighters at every encounter....It's not one or two terrorists, it's dozens and hundreds, we're fighting under heavy fire." His division lost 30 of its soldiers, with 150 more injured. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Attacks Israeli Security Forces at Jerusalem Checkpoint
    A Palestinian who attacked Israeli security forces at the Tunnels checkpoint near Jerusalem on Wednesday was shot and killed. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel Is Prepared for Hizbullah in the North - Yaakov Lappin
    Hizbullah has initiated a series of fire exchanges with Israel, and is discovering a high degree of Israeli operational readiness. "We have Hizbullah and Palestinian factions in Lebanon, and we are prepared to deal with them. We have deployed forces and are on very high alert," Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the Research and Assessment Division of Israeli Military Intelligence, said Tuesday.
        When a fellow member of the Iranian terror axis - Hamas - is under pressure, "they feel committed to come to [its] support, and show that they care and want to help. They also want to kill Israelis and Jews no less than Hamas; they are part of the same ideology, the certain distorted interpretation of Islam. This is something that would give them a lot of joy."
        On the other hand, Hizbullah is hearing clearly from the rest of Lebanon that it does not want to get dragged into a war that would lead to country-wide devastation for the sake of Hamas. In addition, Hizbullah "can't catch Israel by surprise" at this stage after the IDF deployed considerable forces to the north in recent days.
        "With their capabilities, Hizbullah are supposed to be a shield for Iran in case Israel wants to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, so why use it now for the sake of Palestinians and then leave Iran helpless if Israel or the U.S. decides to operate against Iranian nuclear facilities?"
        "We definitely can handle two fronts once the military is deployed and mobilized; this is not a big issue. We already paid such a heavy price that you cannot threaten us with paying heavy prices."  (JNS)
  • A Plan to Get Israeli Hostages Back Alive - Ariel Whitman
    Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, former head of the Israel National Security Council, said, "Israel should completely shut down everything that happens economically in Gaza. Goods and gas, fuel and electricity and water and food. Not only to win the battle, but also because we have so many hostages there. If we ever want to see the hostages alive, the only way is to create a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza. When international institutions shout about a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and bodies are piling up in the hospital and they cannot treat them, we will reply, 'We have no problem solving the real problems of Gaza, but give us back our prisoners first.'"  (Globes)
  • Retired IDF General Recounts Harrowing Rescue of Family during Hamas Attack - Ronny Reyes
    Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Noam Tibon, 62, raced to rescue his son and his family, who were hiding in their home near the Gaza border as Hamas terrorists destroyed Kibbutz Nahal Oz. "Trust me, I will come. This is my profession. Nobody, nobody, can stop me," he told his son when he called from the home's safe room. Tibon raced from Tel Aviv to Nahal Oz, about an hour and a half away, stopping along the way to help survivors of the Nova music festival massacre who were running away barefoot. After delivering as many people as he could to a safe location, Tibon arrived at the outskirts of Nahal Oz, where he pulled out a pistol to join IDF fighters chasing away Hamas forces.
        Spotting injured soldiers, Tibon stopped to help them retreat to a hospital. Although he gave up his car to help transport the wounded, Tibon enlisted the help of another retired general, Israel Ziv. The two men drove into Nahal Oz and joined the IDF in fighting Hamas terrorists in order to free the families barricaded inside their homes.
        Approaching his son's house, one of his granddaughters recognized his voice on the other side of the armored window, alerting them that he had finally arrived. "Grandfather is here," she shouted. (New York Post)
  • Elderly Couple, Abducted by Hamas, Tell How They Refused to Be Taken to Gaza - Stuart Winer
    Moshe and Diana Rosen, who were injured and abducted by Hamas terrorists marauding through Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, told Israel's Channel 12 how they refused to be taken captive in Gaza on Saturday. The couple said they could hear the terrorists tearing their home apart, smashing glass, overturning tables. "With a tremendous effort" the couple managed to prevent the invaders from opening the door to the sealed safe room, "but they shot the lock and the door opened. We were injured in our hands when we were hit by a volley of bullets as we tried to stop them coming in."
        Five terrorists grabbed the couple and began walking them toward Gaza. As they were brought into Gaza, "we dared to tell the terrorists that we simply aren't going to Gaza," Moshe said. "We told them we are injured, bleeding, and need to go to a hospital." Then, as the standoff continued, the terrorists abruptly told the couple in English, "Okay, go." "We turned around and walked. During those long moments, we feared they would shoot us."  (Times of Israel)
  • The Whole Middle East Is Counting on Israel to Destroy Hamas - Evelyn Gordon
    Saturday's horrific attack on southern Israel was made possible by Israel's 2005 pullout from Gaza. Terrorism from the West Bank has never approached this scale; the Second Intifada (2000-2004) didn't achieve in four years what Hamas did in two days from Gaza - over 1,200 fatalities (civilians and soldiers). And the key difference is Israel's military presence. Israel's presence in the West Bank makes it much harder for Palestinian terrorists to build up massive arsenals. That's why virtually no missiles are fired at Israel from the West Bank even as Hamas fires thousands from Gaza every few years.
        After Israel's pullout from Gaza, a new theory arose: yes, Hamas is a nuisance, but a small terrorist organization can't really do Israel much harm from across a well-guarded border. That theory collapsed completely on Saturday.
        Despite Gaza's ongoing humanitarian nightmare under Hamas rule, polls consistently show that its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, would trounce Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas if Palestinian elections were held today. Its enduring popularity is precisely the result of its single-minded focus on Israel's destruction, a goal that most Palestinians - including Fatah members - unabashedly share. In the context of these widespread Palestinian beliefs, Hamas' attack makes perfect sense. Many Gazans described the attack "as the beginning of the liberation of Palestine," Ha'aretz reported.
        The future of Israel's relations with the Arab world depends on its response. The Abraham Accords, the possibility of normalization with Saudi Arabia, even the peace with Jordan and Egypt all rest on one fundamental belief: Israel is a regional power, both militarily and economically, and it isn't going anywhere, so relations with it make more sense than vain dreams of its destruction. If Hamas can deal Israel a blow of this magnitude and emerge only slightly damaged, the Arab world will conclude that Hizbullah's leader Hassan Nasrallah was right: Israel is just a spiderweb, too frail to contribute anything to its regional partners. (Mosaic)
  • Hamas and Iran: Slaughtering Jews for Decades - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Why are Hamas terrorists labeled "militants" while ISIS members are called "terrorists"? It is because of the identity of the victim. When the victim is a Jew, then the perpetrator is a "militant." Yet when the victim is a non-Jew, the Muslim extremist is called for what he really is: a terrorist.
        Attempts by some Westerners to whitewash Hamas and portray it as a small group of fighters challenging Israel have continued in spite of the atrocities committed by the group over the past 35 years. Bizarrely, the attempts have continued even while Hamas leaders themselves were stressing that their group has not changed and remains committed to slaughtering Jews and eliminating Israel.
        Hamas did not carry out the Oct. 7 massacre because Jews were living in the West Bank or Gaza. The Jews who were butchered on that day lived inside Israel. Hamas launched its attack on Israel because it does not see a difference between a Jew living in the West Bank and a Jew living inside Israel.
        Iran, since its 1979 Islamic revolution, has vowed "Death to Israel" and "Death to America." Why would anyone think they do not mean it? It is time for the international community to wake up and realize that Iran and its Palestinian proxy terrorists are as determined as ever to wipe Israel - and America - off the map. Those who continue to defend Iran and Hamas are complicit in their campaign of genocide against Jews. (Gatestone Institute)
  • The Moral Duty to Destroy Hamas - Walter E. Block and Alan G. Futerman
    A mob of Islamist Arabs incited by Jew-hatred went door to door, broke into the homes of their victims, and slaughtered innocent men, women and children. These gangs raped, mutilated and tortured them while screaming "Kill the Jews!" That was 94 years ago, on Saturday, Aug. 24, 1929, in Hebron, when Arab riots ended with 133 Jews murdered.
        The events are virtually the same as Saturday's Hamas attack on Israel. Why? There was no state of Israel in 1929. There were no "occupied" territories, no "settlers," no "blockade," no security fence, no checkpoints, nothing. The excuses of today's murderers did not exist at that time. What did exist? A deep, maniacal, murderous hatred of Jews - the same essential factor operating today, to which all other excuses are subservient.
        The videos showing mass murder are there for the world to see, propagated by the assassins themselves. They use them to show their strength and prove Israeli weakness. To demonstrate to the Palestinian Arab population that the Jews can be killed like flies.
        What does it say of a society that these monsters think this is a good way to mobilize the population? It screams of a deeply perverse and murderous culture, in love with death and destruction. It is the same culture that teaches toddlers to hate. The same society that pays wages to mass murderers and celebrates on the streets with sweets and shooting when Jews get killed.
        Hamas needs to be destroyed for the same reason and by the same method that the Nazis were. Israel is entitled to do whatever it takes to uproot this evil residing next to it. Israel has a moral right to finish the job, and the West has a moral duty to support it. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Support for Hamas Is Despicable - Editorial
    Demonstrations and declarations of support for Hamas in Canada are despicable. Celebrating the murder and kidnapping of innocent Israeli civilians by Hamas - classified as a terrorist organization by Canada since 2002 - is immoral. There is no "nuance" about Hamas, no "context" in which its atrocities can be justified. (Toronto Sun-Canada)
  • We Are Seeing Who Believes that Jewish Lives Matter - Mitchell Bard
    After the Hamas attack on Israel, we are seeing who believes that Jewish lives matter. The masks of the antisemites have come off. The usual pundits bloviate about a "cycle of violence," equating the arsonists of Hamas with the Israeli firefighters. They pontificate about ending the "occupation" and implementing a two-state solution. They are lunatics.
        Have they learned nothing from the repeated slaughter of Jews by Palestinians? More than 1,400 were killed between 2000 and October 6, 2023. Nearly that number was murdered last weekend. How many Jews must die before everyone recognizes that the Palestinians do not want a state; they want the Jews to disappear?
        You'll soon see the scoreboard of Palestinian versus Israeli casualties. The media will repeat whatever fictitious number the Hamas health authorities give them, making no distinction between the terrorists and their human shields. Israel will be accused of using "disproportionate force," as if the world would prefer that Israel engage in a proportional response by butchering Palestinians and taking their women and children hostage.
        The writer is Executive Director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE). (JNS)
  • What I Learned at Harvard - Sarah Boxer
    As a second-year Harvard Law student immersed in international law and human rights courses and dialogues, I let things slide when acquaintances and friends dabbled in antisemitic rhetoric while supporting Palestinian human rights. I suppressed parts of myself completely so I could fit into spaces that would not want someone proud of their Israeli-Jewish identity to be a part of their organization.
        October 7th was a rude awakening. We are living in a nightmare and experiencing our worst fears in real time. As I was sitting in shock, my peers at Harvard were drafting a statement rationalizing the massacres, rapes, and torture without so much as a sentence expressing empathy or condemnation.
        Educated "human rights defenders" that I share classes with, people in the human rights student organizations I am a part of, and those who call themselves my friends, celebrated publicly as my people are being slaughtered, tortured, and brutalized in cold blood in their homes. They are cheering on documented, transparent war crimes. I have never felt so angry or betrayed in my life.
        No longer will I sit quietly. No longer will I shy away from sharing my identity or heritage. No longer will I give people the benefit of the doubt when they dip into antisemitic tropes and rhetoric. No longer will I welcome into spaces I hold dear people who want me, my family, and my community dead. I refuse to sanitize my identity and my family's history to make others more comfortable. (Times of Israel)

A Wake-Up Call for the Entire Free World - Amb. Dror Eydar (Israel Hayom)
  • The war in Israel is the free world's war. What happened on Saturday on Israel's border with Gaza is genocide. The response should be accordingly. Hamas is not a normal political entity. The gangs that infiltrated Israel on Saturday surrounded the young people who were partying, tortured them, and then executed them, raped our daughters on the bodies of their dead friends, decapitated heads, and paraded them throughout Gaza.
  • They entered synagogues and family homes and executed children in front of their horrified parents, then murdered them too. They abducted babies and children, the elderly and the infirm, and paraded them while being locked up in cages, with the crowds cheering them in Gaza and distributing sweets for the "great" victory.
  • The death toll is over 1,000 in a single day. This is akin to having 40,000 Americans killed in one single terrorist attack. It is a genocide. Had the terrorists been able to, they would have executed all the remaining millions of Israelis as well.
  • Israel's enemies are closely monitoring the democratic West to determine whether it supports Israel - namely, does it understand that this is also a war over its future? What unfolded in Israel on Saturday is just a preview to what will happen - God forbid - all across the West, if we do not sober up and destroy the very last of them.
  • The spirit of Nazi Germany has risen from the dead and it threatens all of us. During World War II, the Allies did not send money and equipment to the citizens of Nazi Germany. This approach should apply today.
  • Israel rose from the ashes of the Holocaust so that scenes like these do not happen. We swore this won't happen, and as such, we must prosecute a long and patient war that culminates with the total destruction of Hamas. Israel will have to take control of Gaza and make sure this disgrace will not repeat itself. What happened in Israel is a wake-up call for the entire free world.

    The writer served as Israel's Ambassador to Italy.

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