November 5, 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:

After Nasrallah's Friday Speech, Israeli Military Sees Diminished Hizbullah Threat - Ben Caspit (Al-Monitor)
    "Everyone talks about the intensity of the air force attacks on Gaza," a senior Israeli security source said Friday.
    "But the truth is that the force is only operating at 40% of its capabilities, because all eyes are on [Hizbullah leader] Nasrallah's north. If the northern arena ignites, Hizbullah will feel the full capability of the air force."
    Hizbullah should know that Israel's capabilities have been significantly upgraded since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, he added.
    A senior Israeli military source said that Nasrallah's Friday speech suggested that he was not willing to significantly up the ante of rocket attacks on Israeli targets.
    "He apparently understood that this event was too big for him. The American presence here also helped," the source said, referring to the two U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups deployed in the Mediterranean.
    The disagreements between Israel and the U.S. on the humanitarian issue in Gaza are not believed to be serious. Israel understands President Biden's domestic political needs.
    Israeli forces have encircled Gaza City, the heart of the Hamas military command, and is operating within the city.
    "The progress is better and faster than planned, but Hamas resistance is stubborn and difficult," a senior war cabinet source confirmed.
    "We have sustained losses and will likely sustain more, but what we see now on the ground is what we said in advance: When the IDF exerts its full strength, there is no stopping it."
    Fighting at the current level of intensity is expected to last one to two months.

U.S. Official: Hamas Tried to Sneak Its Fighters Out of Gaza with Wounded and Foreign Nationals - Ben Samuels (Ha'aretz)
    A senior U.S. official said Hamas tried to sneak its fighters out of Gaza in ambulances.
    Hamas provided a list of those seriously wounded that it wanted to evacuate, along with the thousands of foreign nationals looking to leave.
    U.S. and Egyptian officials found that a third of the names were Hamas fighters.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: "Death to America" Is Not Just a Slogan, It Is a Policy (MEMRI-TV)
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a Nov. 1, 2023, address on Channel 1 (Iran): "The situation between America and Iran is this: When you chant 'Death to America!' it is not just a slogan - it is a policy."

Campus Hamas Supporters Don't Just Hate Israel, They Hate Jews - Ariel Shenbal (Makor Rishon-Hebrew-3Nov2023)
    Antisemitic sentiments in parts of American academia are nothing new.
    What is new is the awakening of the Jewish community, which currently appears also in those seen as more liberal, who are beginning to understand that this isn't about anti-Israelism or anti- the specific government that rules in Jerusalem, but pure antisemitism.
    Social media is full of heartbreaking texts from Jewish students who are admitting that they were part of the "woke" movement - and that in the past month they understood that this outlook, that they were born into and grew up in, wants in effect to erase them off the face of the earth.
    Not the State of Israel - that's already clear from the antisemitic slogan "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," that has transformed into an anthem on a few campuses - but rather them as Jews.

Couple Seriously Injured at Music Festival Go to Rehab Together - Raanan Ben-Zur (Ynet News)
    Ben Binyamin, 29, and Gali Segal, 26, a couple who were at the music festival in Kibbutz Re'im that was attacked by Hamas a month ago, didn't think they would make it out alive.
    They were running to protected areas when they were seriously injured by a grenade. Both had to have their right legs amputated.
    During their hospitalization, Gali and Ben stayed in beds next to each other in the ward. On Sunday they moved on together to rehabilitation at Sheba Medical Center.

Israel at War: Daily Zoom Briefing
by Jerusalem Center Experts
View Daily Briefing at 4:00 p.m. (Israel), 10:00 a.m. (EST)
    View recent briefings

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Tells Israel to Use Smaller Bombs Against Hamas - Adam Entous
    U.S. officials have privately outlined several steps to Israel to reduce civilian casualties in its military campaign in Gaza, including using smaller bombs when going after Hamas leaders and infrastructure. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday Israel could put in place the American recommendations "while still achieving its objectives of finding and finishing Hamas terrorists." Israel has over the years built up stocks of larger bombs, intended to target hardened Hizbullah military positions in Lebanon. The U.S. is now trying to send more of the smaller bombs to Israel, said a senior U.S. military official.
        Arab leaders met with Blinken in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday, and demanded an immediate cease-fire. But Blinken publicly rebuffed the idea, saying, "It's our view that a cease-fire now would simply leave Hamas in place, and able to regroup and repeat what it did on October 7."
        U.S. officials have been encouraging the Israelis to model their ground campaign against Hamas leaders on an approach employed by U.S. Special Operations forces against al-Qaeda in Iraq that targeted key leaders using small teams of commandos, combined with precision strikes from drones and manned aircraft. Israeli officials have said the situation in Gaza is very different. None of the special operations raids the Americans carried out in Iraq took place in urban areas as dense as Gaza City. Hamas leaders are hiding in a vast tunnel network and Israel believes sending commando units into those tunnels would be a suicide mission. (New York Times)
        See also Blinken Urges Humanitarian Pauses; Netanyahu Rejects any Halt without Release of Hostages - Jacob Magid
    Speaking during a visit to Israel Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed Washington's desire to see humanitarian pauses in the fighting in Gaza. At the same time, he reiterated that Israel has a "right and, indeed, obligation to defend itself and to do everything it can to make sure that October 7th never happens again. No country should or could tolerate the slaughter" of its innocents.
        Blinken said he was shown "additional images, additional footage...[from] communities that were attacked. He said the clips are "almost beyond the human capacity to process." Blinken called it "shocking" that the brutality of the slaughter had "receded so quickly in the memories of so many," adding that 33 Americans were killed in the massacres.
        Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while Israel appreciates and values the support of President Joe Biden and the U.S., "Israel refuses a temporary ceasefire that does not include the release of our hostages. Israel will not enable the entry of fuel to Gaza and opposes sending money to the Strip."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel Pushes Back on U.S. Advice for Reducing Gaza Civilian Casualties
    Israeli officials see much of the U.S. advice for reducing Gaza civilian casualties as irrelevant. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi told Secretary of State Blinken on Friday that there would be even more casualties if the military took the advice of American generals sent to advise Israel, Israel's Channel 13 reported. (Times of Israel)
  • Top U.S. Law Firms Urge Tougher Stance on Student Antisemitism - Andrew Ross Sorkin
    Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the largest law firm in the world, together with two dozen major Wall Street firms, have written to some of the nation's top law schools to crack down on discrimination and harassment targeting Jewish students and warning that the rise of antisemitism on campus could have corporate consequences.
        "We look to you to ensure your students who hope to join our firms after graduation are prepared to be an active part of workplace communities that have zero tolerance policies for any form of discrimination or harassment, much less the kind that has been taking place on some law school campuses."
        "It is imperative that you provide your students with the tools and guidance to engage in the free exchange of ideas, even on emotionally charged issues, in a manner that affirms the values we all hold dear and rejects unreservedly that which is antithetical to those values."  (New York Times)
        See also A Warning to the Law Schools on Antisemitism - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hizbullah's Nasrallah Says He Won't Sacrifice Lebanon for Gaza, Leaving Hamas to Fend for Themselves - Jack Khoury
    In a lengthy speech on Friday, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah indicated that Hizbullah would not lead a front against Israel and that Lebanon would not be destroyed for the sake of Gaza. He praised the Hamas attack on Israel while emphasizing repeatedly that this was an independent decision made by Hamas, unrelated to any other group. Nasrallah clarified that his organization cannot embark on a broad campaign since he was not a full partner to the decision.
        Nasrallah claimed that Hizbullah was deeply involved in the battle and that, following incidents along the border with Israel, Israel has had to deploy large forces along its northern front instead of focusing on Gaza, and had to evacuate tens of thousands of people from their homes in northern Israel.
        All the factions in Gaza, including Hamas, realize that Nasrallah's decision was not his alone, but was based on Iran's intervention. Nasrallah first met with several senior Iranian figures, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, who came to Beirut. (Ha'aretz)
  • The IDF's Progress in the War with Hamas - Meir Ben Shabbat
    The ground operation of the IDF is achieving its objectives. The first line of defense of the enemy in the Gaza City area has been breached. Extensive aerial and artillery attacks have preceded the ground forces and have accompanied their movements. In close combat with Hamas terrorists emerging from tunnels, mosques, and hidden locations prepared in advance, our soldiers have had an upper hand. Effective cooperation between ground, air, and naval forces, with intelligence and the Israel Security Agency, significantly enhances defense capabilities and serves as a force multiplier.
        The siege on Gaza has a dual purpose: to exhaust the enemy and limit its capabilities, and to contribute directly to Hamas' loss of control over the population. A siege that allows for exceptions is not a siege. There is a need to rebuff demands of expanding humanitarian aid, fuel supplies, or ideas regarding a humanitarian ceasefire. Anything that enters Gaza will be used by Hamas for fighting Israel. As long as Hamas holds hostages and ignores all humanitarian values, a tough policy should be maintained, allowing goods into Gaza only as required, and only to the southern part, under strict supervision.
        Disrupting the internet and communication in Gaza is crucial to disrupting Hamas' control and preventing the flow of information that could hinder our forces' operations. Though there may be advantages to keeping the internet on, they are outweighed by the disadvantages.
        The writer, head of the Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy in Jerusalem, served as Israel's national security advisor and head of the National Security Council. (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • An Israeli "Pause" Would Help Hamas - Editorial
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken went to Israel on Friday and presented "humanitarian pauses" as critical to getting aid to Gazans and freeing Israeli and U.S. hostages. It strains credibility to think Hamas wouldn't use a pause to its advantage. Nor is Hamas likely to release all hostages and forfeit its best leverage.
        The way to help Palestinian civilians isn't to slow the Israeli advance. The less control Hamas has over Gaza's streets, the more civilians can escape the fighting and the more aid can be brought in securely. The ground invasion has already allowed humanitarian assistance to ramp up, with more than 100 truckloads now arriving each day.
        Pushing for pauses in Gaza could backfire by keeping Hamas afloat and dragging out the conflict - to the detriment of Israeli and Palestinian civilians. The U.S. interest is in a swift and decisive Israeli victory. (Wall Street Journal)
  • What Some Gazans Think about Hamas - Joseph Braude
    Since taking power in a 2007 coup, Hamas has violently repressed all opposition to its rule. Recent Palestinian survey data shows most Gazans distrust Hamas, want an alternative government, and prefer economic development over war. But those who speak out face prison and torture.
        Earlier this year, the Center for Peace Communications released a series of testimonies called "Whispered in Gaza," interviewing Palestinians about their travails and aspirations. Following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, we reconnected with these and other Gazans to understand their reaction to the Hamas assault and their views of the developing war, in a new series called "Voices from Gaza."
        One resident of Gaza City notes that "When Hamas distributes the aid, only Hamas members get the aid." The same applies to Gaza's healthcare system, where "Hamas loyalists are treated first."
        One woman said, "My older brother was murdered by Hamas in front of our eyes. Fifty-four gunshots all over his body, his blood spilling in front of his children....Ending Hamas is the demand of young and old alike in Gaza." Ashraf, 28, saw his brother murdered by Hamas as well. Both had been involved in peaceful demonstrations against Hamas. "We welcome any change that will save us from this indignation called Hamas," Ashraf says.
        In drawing attention to Gazan voices opposed to Hamas, we aim to show that a different future is possible because of the Palestinians in Gaza who yearn and strive for it. (Free Press)

This Is Not a Battle Just between Israel and Hamas - President of Israel Isaac Herzog (New York Times)
  • I write these lines after spending time with the families of some of the 240 people kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. The hostages now held in Gaza include Jewish Israelis, Muslim Israelis and foreign citizens of different ethnicities. In all my years of public life, the meetings with these families were the most difficult I've ever held.
  • I've also spoken with families of some of the more than 1,400 of my people who were killed that day, many of them murdered in their living rooms and kitchens or dancing at a music festival. When I returned from one kibbutz devastated in the attack, I had to wash the blood off my shoes. Tragedy is part of Israeli life, but none of us imagined a tragedy like this.
  • Against our will, we in Israel find ourselves at a tipping point for the Middle East and for the world. This is not a battle between Jews and Muslims. It is between those who adhere to norms of humanity and those practicing a barbarism that has no place in the modern world.
  • Almost as disturbing for me is the realization that many in the world, including in the West, are willing to rationalize these actions or even support them outright. In the capitals of Europe, we've seen rallies supporting the total destruction of Israel. Professors and students at American colleges make speeches and sign statements justifying terrorism, even glorifying it. It would have been unthinkable to hear such moral confusion uttered after the Sept. 11 attacks or after bombings in London, Barcelona and Baghdad.
  • The terrorist ideology threatens all decent people, not only Jews. History has taught us that foul ideologies often find the Jewish people first - but tend not to stop there. We find ourselves on the front lines of this battle, but all nations face this threat, and they must understand that they could be next.
  • Palestinian civilian casualties are encouraged by Hamas in order to draw global sympathy and blunt Israel's response. But anyone who thinks the cynical exploitation of civilian suffering will tie our hands and save Hamas this time is wrong. For us and for the Palestinians, the suffering will end only with the removal of Hamas. Anyone trying to tie our hands is, intentionally or not, undermining not only Israel's defense but also any hope for a world where these atrocities cannot happen.

Daily Alert is published from Sunday through Friday during the war.
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.