October 24, 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:

Captured Terrorists Say Hamas Promised $10,000 and an Apartment for Each Hostage - Maya Zanger-Nadis (Jerusalem Post)
    Footage from the interrogation of six detainees from Gaza who participated in the mass murder of Oct. 7 was released on Monday by the Israel Security Agency and Police.
    All the Hamas terrorists were given explicit instructions to kill and kidnap civilians including the elderly, along with women and children.
    One said, "whoever brings a hostage back [to Gaza] gets $10,000 and an apartment."
    The plan had been to take over the towns they attacked and hold positions there once they finished killing and kidnapping the residents.

Americans' Support for Israel Is Growing amid War with Hamas - Kathy Frankovic (YouGov)
    After Hamas' recent attack on Israel, nearly half (48%) of U.S. adult citizens say they are more sympathetic toward the Israelis in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, compared to just 10% who are more sympathetic toward the Palestinians, according to the latest Economist-YouGov survey conducted Oct. 14-17, 2023.
    It's also significantly above the 31% who backed Israel in March 2023.
    The increased support for Israel is driven by people coming off the fence about the conflict. Since March, the share who sympathize about equally with both sides has fallen from 27% to 23%, and the share who aren't sure which side they back has dropped from 30% to 19%.
    The share of Americans who say Israel is either a friend or an ally is up 10 percentage points since July, to 74%.
    75% of Democrats now see Israel as a friend or an ally, up 18 percentage points from 57% in July.

Strong Majorities of Americans Support Israel Against Hamas - Harris Poll (PR Newswire)
    84% of American voters support Israel over Hamas and 88% believe Israel has a right to respond militarily against Hamas, according to the latest Harvard CAPS-Harris poll, released on Oct. 20.
    "95% of seniors (65+) support Israel, while support drops to only 52% among the youngest voter group (18-24)," said Mark Penn, co-director of the poll.
    84% believe Israel has the right to defend itself by launching air strikes in heavily populated Palestinian areas with warnings to those citizens.
    70% think Israel should eliminate Hamas, not end its campaign against Hamas now.
    63% believe it was right for Israel to cut off power, water and food to Gaza until its hostages are returned.
    61% say there is no moral equivalency between Hamas' murders and Israel's actions.
    64% say the U.S. has a responsibility to militarily support Israel while it is under attack by terrorist groups.
    However, significant numbers of young Americans have their own facts. 32% of those aged 18-24 think it is a false story that Hamas terrorists killed 1200 Israeli civilians by shooting, raping and beheading people.
    53% of those aged 18-24 say that Israel, not Hamas, rules Gaza.
    45% of those aged 18-24 think the explosion at a Gaza hospital was caused by an Israeli airstrike rather than a terrorist rocket that went off-course.

More than Half of House Democrats Endorse Biden's Backing of Israel in Hamas War - Ron Kampeas (JTA)
    More than half of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Joe Biden endorsing his policy of backing Israel in its war against Hamas, mounting a firewall against calls to pressure Israel into a ceasefire.
    The signatories include several outspoken critics of Israel, as well as all 24 Jews in the House Democratic caucus.
    The letter, dated Friday, was spearheaded by Jerry Nadler and Dan Goldman of New York and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and was signed by 131 lawmakers.

I Lost 1400 Family Members - David Suissa (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
    I haven't slept much since Oct. 7. It's the nightmares. I can't unsee the images, even when I sleep. They're too stark. The babies. The dancers in the desert. The families in safe rooms. The hostages.
    Maybe grieving over these images is the only way I have of connecting to my "Jewish family" in Israel. Am Yisrael Chai.
    The writer is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Tribe Media-Jewish Journal.
    See also Video: Body-Cam Footage from the October 7 Massacre (Israel Defense Forces)

278 Still Hospitalized since Hamas Assault on Israel - Renee Ghert-Zand (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Health Ministry reported Tuesday that 278 people injured in the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas and the ensuing war are in hospital, including 40 in serious condition.

New York Times Apologizes for Gaza Hospital Coverage (New York Times)
    On Oct. 17, the New York Times published news of an explosion at a hospital in Gaza City, leading its coverage with claims by Hamas government officials that an Israeli airstrike was the cause and that hundreds of people were dead or injured.
    American and other international officials have said their evidence indicates that the rocket came from Palestinian fighter positions.
    The early versions of the coverage - and the prominence it received in a headline, news alert and social media channels - relied too heavily on claims by Hamas, and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified. The report left readers with an incorrect impression.
    Times editors should have taken more care with the initial presentation, and been more explicit about what information could be verified.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Soldiers Poised to Attack Hamas - Isabel Kershner
    For 17 days, Israeli ground troops and tanks have been on standby in the dusty fields around Gaza. Their stated mission: to invade the Palestinian coastal enclave and destroy the military capabilities of Hamas. Many Israelis have been asking what the government is waiting for.
        "It's a delicate balance between the advantage of letting the air force do what they do best, and how long you can delay the ground offensive," said Ehud Yaari, an Israel-based fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The more tunnels the air force destroys, he said, "the easier it will be for the forces on the ground."
        Beyond that, Yaari said, Israel has been using the time to expand its roster of targets in Gaza by gathering more intelligence and interrogating the scores of Hamas operatives who were captured in Israeli territory. "This is not something that can go on and on endlessly," he said. (New York Times)
  • Israel Shows Journalists Raw Footage of Hamas Attacks - Eliyahu Freedman
    On Monday, the Israeli army disseminated images and recordings of the Oct. 7 attacks to the international media. In the middle of the screening of the attack footage, Roxane Runel, a reporter for France's M6 television, was one of a number of journalists who stepped out early. "It was too much," she said. "I knew coming here that the hardest thing for me would not be the images but the sound, because you can close your eyes if the images are too much."
        In addition to clips of Hamas attackers shooting people, taken from the terrorists' body cameras and phones, the 43-minute compilation contained graphic images of children being murdered, bodies burned, civilians being mowed down and other atrocities. The Israeli government's decision to show the footage came as it is increasingly concerned that people are questioning the scale and depravity of Hamas' massacre.
        Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said, "We are witnessing a Holocaust denial-like phenomenon evolving in real time as people are casting doubt on the magnitude of the atrocities that Hamas committed against our people, and in fact recorded in order to glorify that violence." Chief IDF spokesperson Adm. Daniel Hagari said, "We will not let the world forget who we are fighting," adding that the footage helps Israelis "to understand ourselves what we are fighting for." IDF Maj.-Gen. Mickey Edelstein said the Israeli military has evidence it cannot show of sexual violence committed by the Hamas terrorists.
        Runel said her personal limit was reached when listening to an audio clip of a call between a Hamas terrorist and his parents, made via the stolen cellphone of an Israeli victim. "He tells them on the phone - with a voice that is so ecstatic - ...over and over again, 'I killed 10 of them.' He was saying this as something he was really proud of." The man's father reacted with praise. (JTA)
  • U.S. Navy Destroyer Shot Down Missiles, Drones over Nine Hours - Nicholas Slayton
    A U.S. Navy destroyer shot down multiple drones and cruise missiles off the coast of Yemen on Oct. 18, several more than the Navy originally reported. The USS Carney, a guided-missile destroyer, opened fire with SM-2 surface-to-air missiles on four cruise missiles and 15 airborne drones for nine hours, far longer than the military first said. The missiles were fired by the Houthi rebels in Yemen and CNN cited an American official saying the path and trajectory of the missiles had them en route to Israel.
        The details come after two days of drone attacks on American installations in Iraq and Syria. (Task & Purpose)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Foils Hizbullah Missile Squads in North - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF on Monday intercepted two drones launched from Lebanon at northern Israel, while striking four Hizbullah cells planning to carry out attacks on the border.
        Also on Monday, police said two people in Kiryat Shmona were wounded by shrapnel and a house suffered damage after a missile attack. (Times of Israel)
  • Two Elderly Israeli Women Released from Hamas Captivity after 17 Days - Yael Freidson
    Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, and Nurit Cooper, 79, who were taken hostage by Hamas terrorists from Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7, were released from captivity on Monday. Their husbands, Oded Lifshitz, 83, and Amiram Cooper, 80, were not released. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel, Hamas in Negotiations to Release 50 More Gaza Hostages - Jacob Magid
    Israel and Hamas are in advanced negotiations through Egypt and Qatar for the release of 50 more hostages who were taken captive into Gaza on Oct. 7, a senior diplomatic official said Monday. The Wall Street Journal reported that Hamas has conditioned the release of 50 dual nationals on Israel allowing fuel into Gaza. Israel responded that it will only allow fuel into Gaza if all of the 220 hostages are released. Israel feels certain that any fuel will be commandeered by Hamas to use for military purposes.
        Not all of the hostages may be in Hamas captivity. Palestinian Islamic Jihad claims to hold 30 hostages and unaffiliated Palestinians reportedly took captives as well. (Times of Israel)
  • The Israeli Arab Community Stands Against Hamas - Neville Teller
    On Oct. 7, as the full scale and brutality of Hamas' incursion into Israel became clear, Knesset member Mansour Abbas, leader of the Islamic party Ra'am, wrote to his 300,000 followers on social media: "I call on Arab citizens...to maintain restraint and behave responsibly and patiently, and to maintain law and order."
        Referring to the "unfortunate, tragic, and reprehensible events" still in progress, he called on the leadership of the Palestinian factions in Gaza to "release the captives in your hands. Islamic values command us not to imprison women, children, and the elderly."
        When Hamas leaders began calling on Israel's Arab citizens to join the fight, Knesset member Ayman Odeh, head of the Hadash-Taal political faction, said: "Any call for militant actions and igniting a war between Arabs and Jews inside Israel is something we will not accept."
        The two Israeli Arab politicians were speaking for the vast majority of their community, not least because Arabs were also killed, abducted, and injured in the Hamas raid and as a result of its continuous rocket barrages. Former Knesset member Walid al-Hawashla told of 18 Bedouin killed in the region, "six because of rockets that hit their houses, and 12 who were working in agriculture in the area around Gaza on the first day of the Hamas attack."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Gaza's Population Actively Abetted Hamas - Nadav Shragai
    Some 20,000 Palestinian workers from Gaza used to enter Israel every day until the slaughter on Oct. 7. They worked in the Israeli communities near the Gaza border, in Sderot, and in Ofakim, and some of them took detailed notes about their destinations: how many houses there were, how many family members lived in each house, whether they had a dog, where their cars were parked. They documented everything. And all of it went to Hamas.
        The so-called "uninvolved" residents of Gaza, many thousands of them, "demonstrated" at the border fence on the eve of the massacre. They planted explosive charges along the fence and marked off the weak points. Their hearts seethed with hatred and entertained a dream - to replace us.
        The "uninvolved" danced around the trucks that hauled away the abducted children, the old men and women, and the young men and women, crying "death to the Jews" and helping Hamas to place them in hiding. "Uninvolved" mothers proclaimed that they were proud to send their children into battle in order to turn them into martyrs. "Uninvolved" teachers taught the children of Gaza that it's a religious obligation to kill Jews.
        Hamas and the Gazans are one and the same - in elections, in their hearts, in their actions, and in their assistance. Many of them knew about the war preparations, furthered them, and kept them secret. (Israel Hayom)
  • Who Says Hamas Does Not Represent the Palestinians? - Bassam Tawil
    The Biden administration's assertion that Hamas is an insignificant group of terrorists that does not enjoy the support of many Palestinians contradicts the reality, which proves that Hamas actually does represent a significant portion of the Palestinians. This inconvenient reality is based on public opinion polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) and the results of elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council and university student councils and professional unions. It is also based on mass demonstrations and rallies in support of Hamas.
        The most recent PSR poll, published in September, showed that if new presidential elections were held today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would win 58% of the vote, while Mahmoud Abbas would receive 37%. Hamas' "armed struggle" (terrorism) against Israel was supported by 58% of the Palestinian public, the poll showed. Another PSR poll, published last June, found that 66% of Palestinians believe that Israel will not celebrate its 100th anniversary and 51% believe that the Palestinian people will be able to "recover Palestine in the future" (i.e., destroy Israel).
        In 2021, Abbas cancelled elections he had called for the Palestinian Authority presidency and parliament after realizing that his Fatah faction was poised to lose to Hamas. The September PSR poll showed that 78% of Palestinians do not have faith in Abbas and want him to resign. Abbas has not condemned the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7. Both Hamas and Abbas represent a majority of Palestinians whose goal is to murder Jews and destroy Israel. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Gazans Aren't Innocent, They Are the Water Hamas Swims In - Don Feder
    One of the most persistent myths of the Arab-Israeli conflict is that residents of Gaza are held captive by Hamas. This is light-years removed from reality. The time for pretending there's any daylight between Hamas and the people of Gaza is over.
        Hamas recruits are drawn from the local populace. Like other Palestinians, Gazans are born and bred to hate Jews. For them, antisemitism is mother's milk. It saturates their media. It's taught in their schools and preached in their mosques. Palestinian textbooks call for the total destruction of Israel and the annihilation of Jews. Maps show Palestine encompassing all of Israel.
        Texts describe Jews as the enemies of Muslims dating back to Muhammad. Zionists are charged with planning the mass murder of Palestinians, a classic case of Freudian projection. The murderers of Israeli women and children are described as heroes and martyrs.
        The civilian population of Gaza is the water Hamas swims in. Civilians who support butchers brought the Gaza war on themselves. Israelis understand that their survival depends on the outcome of this conflict. (Washington Times)
  • Israel vs. a Death Cult - Victor Davis Hanson
    During peace and on a holiday, between 1,500 and 2,500 gunmen of the Hamas death squads entered Israel in a long-planned hit operation to murder civilians and take captives, focusing specifically on butchering the most vulnerable and in the most grotesque fashion imaginable.
        Gaza is not anyone's "colony." It has been autonomous since 2006-7. No free Israeli Arab Muslim citizen would willingly emigrate there to live under the dictatorship of Hamas. Gaza has been the recipient of billions in cash from the Gulf monarchies, Europe, the U.S., and the UN. The more money came in, the less Hamas had any intention of using it to serve its people. Most of the gifted funds were used to build the world's largest subterranean city of death, to buy drones and rockets, and to pay gunmen to kill Jews.
        Essentially, Hamas is an enormous mafia-like, shakedown and hostage-taking operation that threatens the general peace, the moderate Arab nations, the Western democracies, and Israel with terrorist operations and kidnapping unless sufficiently bribed to behave.
        Only Hamas is deliberately targeting civilians. Hamas fires its rockets at Israeli civilians from hospitals, schools, UN facilities, and mosques. Hamas assumes that Israel fights wars more humanely than Hamas itself does, and so will try to avoid Hamas' Palestinian human shields.
        The writer is a historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. (X)
  • It's Time to Take a Stand for Civilization - Allison Pearson
    Over the past few days, with a small group of friends and colleagues, I have helped set up British Friends of Israel and gathered support for The October Declaration. Signatories include members of the House of Lords, MPs, celebrated historians, professors and journalists like me.
        We all stand in support of British Jews and their right to live their lives in this country without fear. We unequivocally condemn the horrifying terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel on 7 October and the suffering Hamas has brought on the Palestinian people. We deplore the subsequent increase in antisemitism. We ask the media, members of all political parties and the general public to call Hamas what it is - a terrorist organization - and we demand that the police use the full force of the Terrorism Act against its supporters.
        As TV presenter Rachel Riley said: "What has been so hurtful here at home has been the denial of the atrocities, the tearing down of posters of the abducted children, and the willingness of so many to side with Hamas....We are seeing how little some people care about Jewish lives."
        The destruction in Gaza is horrible, undoubtedly, but it is not in the same league of depravity as going into a kibbutz, tying the hands of children behind their backs, throwing them on a pile and setting fire to them.
        Hamas apologists were given airtime in which they explained that the group had "not killed any civilians." Israelis contended that the denial of the Oct. 7 massacre, its rapid downplaying by the media, amounted to "Holocaust denial in real time."  (Telegraph-UK)
  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE Want to Keep Links with Israel
    In the war between Israel and Hamas, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates want to weaken Hamas. The UAE, which in 2020 became the first Gulf state to recognize Israel, responded to the Oct. 7 attack with sympathy with Israel, and its leaders made multiple condolence calls to their Israeli counterparts. They loathe political Islam, which they see as a threat, and in private are scathing in their criticism of Hamas.
        On Oct. 17, Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, who led Saudi Arabia's intelligence service from 1979 to 2001, spoke in English to an American think-tank and denounced Hamas for killing civilians.
        On Oct. 18, Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned news channel, interviewed Khaled Meshaal, the former head of Hamas. Rasha Nabil, the presenter, asked him repeatedly how Hamas could expect support from other Arab countries after it made a unilateral decision to go to war, pressed him to condemn the murder of Israeli civilians, and needled him on whether Iran's help had "lived up to your expectations." Clips of the interview were widely shared on social media and even on Israeli television.
        For Qatar, a supporter of Hamas, those ties have become a source of embarrassment. Some of Hamas' leadership lives in Doha, the Qatari capital, and the emirate donates up to $30 million a month to Hamas-run Gaza. (Economist)

Why We Must Prevent the Enemy from Rising Again - Rabbi Yuval Cherlow (Times of Israel)
  • Israel is now facing growing criticism from the global community over questions of the humanitarian toll on the enemy. Such criticism demands that we re-explore the notion of a "just war" and strengthen our resolve for why this campaign is both necessary and ethical from the perspective of Jewish tradition.
  • For centuries, a long history of victimhood largely placed the Jews on the losing end of battles and the very question of Jewish just wars from a position of any military supremacy had no practical application.
  • A milchemet mitzvah is a war that is mandated as just and necessary by both Jewish law and most advanced perspectives in our modern world. As described by Maimonides, it is "a war fought to assist Israel from an enemy which attacks them."
  • Apart from the most virulently anti-Israel critics, there is almost absolute consensus that the current war that Israel is fighting with Hamas fits into this category, and every Jew - and civilized human - is justified in supporting and participating in it.
  • The current war is by every estimation just and demands the full and unwavering moral and practical support of our entire nation and all peoples who believe in a world defined by goodness and ethical practice.
  • We are dealing with an enemy who has made it clear that their intent is on our complete destruction, and we are therefore permitted and commanded to do everything necessary to achieve our military objective and completely prevent the enemy from being able to rise again.

    The writer is Director of the Tzohar Center for Jewish Ethics.

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