November 7, 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:

U.S.-Born Border Police Officer Injured in Jerusalem Stabbing Attack Dies - Liran Tamari (Ynet News)
    Elisheva Rose Lubin, 20, a Border Police officer who was critically injured in a Palestinian stabbing attack in Jerusalem, succumbed to her wounds on Monday.
    Sgt. Lubin was a lone soldier who moved to Israel from the U.S. in 2021 and joined the Border Police as part of her military service. She lived in Kibbutz Sa'ad near the Gaza border.
    Her friends in the Border Police described her as "a courageous, professional, values-driven, social, cheerful, and kind-hearted soldier who was always willing to help everyone. She was the first to volunteer for any mission in order to protect the country."
    See also U.S.-Born Israeli Cop Defended Her Kibbutz from Hamas - Meir Turgeman (Ynet News)
    On Oct. 7, as Hamas terrorists were conducting their massacre in communities on the Gaza border, Elisheva Rose Lubin, a trained officer in the Border Police, grabbed her weapon and joined others defending their community from attack.
    She then rushed to assist neighboring communities, removing the injured to safety and fighting the terrorist onslaught.
    Her commander said, "We offered to allow her time off to recuperate but she insisted on resuming her duties and said she was more motivated to protect civilians."

It's Very Personal: Inside Gaza with Israeli Soldiers Whose Lives Changed on Oct. 7 - Anshel Pfeffer (Ha'aretz)
    The writer was embedded with forces in the Israeli army's ground operation in Gaza.
    The maze of tunnels under Gaza forces the soldiers to continually sweep the territory from every angle so gunners and the commanders can constantly look at every point where they think a tunnel could open up and to try and spot it before it's used to launch a missile against them.
    For the soldiers inside Gaza, their lives changed on Oct. 7. Many of them know people who were killed, who were taken hostage, or wounded. Some of them are from families which have been forced to leave their homes because of the war. It's very personal for everybody.
    The soldiers on the ground are very focused on their mission.

Video: Israeli Arabs Risked Their Lives to Save Israeli Jews on Oct. 7 (Israel Foreign Ministry)
    This is the story of a group of heroic Israeli Arabs from the Bedouin city of Rahat who risked their lives to save Israeli Jews on Oct. 7.

Video: A Quarter of Kibbutz Nir Oz Was Either Murdered or Abducted by Hamas - Michaela Hazani (Ynet News)
    Before Oct. 7, there were 400 people living in Kibbutz Nir Oz. During the murderous terrorist attack by Hamas, more than 100 members were murdered or abducted into Gaza.
    Kibbutz member Sigal Hadar lost more than 80 relatives, friends, acquaintances, and people who shaped her life on the kibbutz.
    Within a few hours, an entire community was all but wiped out: the kindergarten teacher, the postman, the therapist, the nanny, the mechanic, and many more are no longer here.
    In the video, Sigal names those murdered and speaks about the people who were an inseparable part of her life and the kibbutz.

Brandeis U Bans Students for Justice in Palestine that Openly Supports Hamas - Jacob Gurvis (JTA)
    Brandeis University on Monday revoked recognition of the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, saying the group "openly supports Hamas." The group will no longer receive university funding or be able to hold activities on campus.
    Brandeis said support for Hamas, which the U.S. has designated as a foreign terror group, is not protected by the university's free speech principles.
    See also Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked - Dan Diker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Doctor in Israel Tells How "Miracles" Help Save Lives of Hamas Victims - Dr. Marc Siegel (Fox News)
    Dr. Yoram Klein, director of trauma and critical care surgery at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv told me that all of the patients his hospital received after the Hamas atrocities (92 patients within eight hours on Oct. 7 and several more since) are still alive.
    Many suffered from penetrating injuries, large amounts of internal bleeding and nerve damage.
    Klein told of Amichai, who held the door of the shelter with both hands while the terrorists were targeting him, his wife, and his six kids.
    He absorbed all the munitions and gunfire they were aiming at the door, and they just figured they were wasting too much time there and went to find families that were easier to kill.
    He lost one hand and the other is severely damaged, but he saved his family.

How Israel Shot Down a Ballistic Missile in Space for the First Time - Harriet Barber (Telegraph-UK)
    Israel last week used its Arrow missile-defense system to shoot down a ballistic missile outside of Earth's atmosphere, in what is believed to be the first combat ever to take place in space.
    The missile was launched from Yemen by the Iran-backed Houthis, and flew almost 1,000 miles on its way to the Israeli port city of Eilat.
    "The successful interception is about much more than protecting the residents of Eilat," an Israeli defense official said.
    "Primarily, it proves to Iran, which was behind the launch and supplied the missile, that Israel has the ability to act against its missile program."

Israel Is First to Use F-35 to Shoot Down Cruise Missile - Seth J. Frantzman (Breaking Defense)
    The Israel Defense Forces said it used F-35I Adir fighter jets to shoot down a cruise missile last week launched from the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, the first known cruise missile intercept by the American-made stealth fighter.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Urges Netanyahu to Declare Humanitarian Pause in Gaza - Vivian Salama
    President Joe Biden, in a phone call on Monday, urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare a humanitarian pause in Gaza, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
        Israel has set the release of all 241 hostages taken by Hamas as the condition for any pause in its military operations. In talks with Egypt and Qatar, Hamas political leaders at times expressed willingness to release some civilian hostages, while leaders of the group's military wing opposed the idea.
        Israeli military spokesman Lt.-Col. Richard Hecht said the Israeli military had already destroyed large portions of the two Hamas brigades that are defending Gaza City. Hamas has an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 fighters, divided into six brigades. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Netanyahu: No Cease-Fire without Release of Hostages - Alexandra Hutzler
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News on Monday: "There will be no cease-fire, general cease-fire, in Gaza without the release of our hostages. As far as tactical little pauses, an hour here, an hour there. We've had them before....But I don't think there's going to be a general cease-fire. I think it will hamper the war effort. It'll hamper our effort to get our hostages out because the only thing that works on these criminals in Hamas is the military pressure that we're exerting."
        Netanyahu added, "I think Israel will, for an indefinite period, have the overall security responsibility [over Gaza] because we've seen what happens when we don't have it. When we don't have that security responsibility, what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn't imagine."
        National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, "What we support is that Hamas can't be in control of Gaza anymore. We can't go back to Oct. 6. We are having conversations with our Israeli counterparts about what governance in Gaza should look like post-conflict."  (ABC News)
        See also Family Members of Israeli Hostages Demand No Humanitarian Aid to Gaza without Release of Captives - Jessica Steinberg
    Dozens of family members and friends of those missing or held captive by Hamas gathered near the Knesset in Jerusalem on Monday to mark 30 days since their loved ones were abducted. They expressed their strong concerns that the government would agree to international demands and offer humanitarian aid to Gaza without the concurrent release of any hostages. The Red Cross hasn't been able to check on the hostages.
        Nir Meir, secretary general of the kibbutz movement, spoke about the more than 300 members of kibbutzim near the Gaza border who were killed, including 71 in Kibbutz Nir Oz and more than 120 in Kibbutz Be'eri. "They're not just numbers, they're friends, they're family," said Meir. (Times of Israel)
  • Jewish Man Dies after Altercation at Israel-Palestinian Protests in California - Daniel Trotta
    Paul Kessler, 69, died of blunt force head trauma on Monday after an altercation on Sunday amid pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian street protests in Thousand Oaks, California. His death was determined to be a homicide, law enforcement said.
        Rabbi Noah Farkas, president and chief executive of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, said a pro-Palestinian protester had struck Kessler on the head with a megaphone. He said investigators have identified the person but have not made an arrest. (Reuters)
  • EU President: Hamas Cannot Govern Gaza
    President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told EU ambassadors in Brussels on Monday: "There is no justification for the horror that Hamas unleashed against innocent men, women, children and babies on 7 October. In the wake of the worst mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust, it is our moral duty to demonstrate our full solidarity with the people of Israel. Israel has the right to defend itself, in line with international law and international humanitarian law. This is and continues to be the essential starting point."
        "Supporting Israel is essential. Aiding civilians in Gaza is essential, too....Hamas is clearly using innocent Palestinians and hostages as human shields. It is horrific. It is pure evil....Every single hostage matters. Their captors should free them, and should free them now."
        "Gaza can be no safe haven for terrorists. We know what happened after the previous Gaza wars. Hamas immediately started rebuilding its arsenal and preparing for the next conflict. This cannot be the case any longer....The terrorist organization Hamas cannot control or govern Gaza."  (European Commission)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Forces Push Further into Gaza City - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli forces on Monday pushed further into Gaza City and were reportedly nearing Shifa Hospital, the location of Hamas' command center. IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said ground forces were "deepening the pressure on Gaza City," and killed several Hamas field commanders during overnight airstrikes and operations, which "significantly harms Hamas' ability to carry out counterattacks." Combat engineering forces were demolishing each and every tunnel they come across.
        The IDF published a video showing dozens of rocket launchers and more than 50 rockets found inside a building used by the Palestinian Scout Association. Another video showed a number of empty underground rocket launchers adjacent to a mosque, with the launchers' electrical wiring running inside the mosque, from which they are activated. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas Terrorist Called His Commander in Gaza from the Massacre, Described the Murders He Committed - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF spokesman on Friday provided a recorded conversation between a terrorist from Hamas' special forces and his commander in Gaza on Oct. 7 in which he describes the murders he committed inside Israel. "Tell everyone in the house that we are inside. I swear to Allah we will destroy them."
        The terrorist turned to his friend: "Search inside, inside the house. Move forward. Whoever is caught, kill him." He then tells his commander: "We are inside. The bastards live happily and we are displaced. I will curse their honor one by one. Hear the shooting, listen to the shooting." (Ynet News)
  • 30 Rockets Fired from Lebanon at Israel - Emanuel Fabian
    Terrorists in Lebanon fired 30 rockets at northern Israel on Monday. The IDF responded with artillery shelling at the sources of the fire before later announcing airstrikes on sites belonging to Hizbullah. There were no reports of injuries or damage. Hamas claimed responsibility for some of the rocket fire. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Eliminates Palestinian Terror Cell in Tulkarem - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli forces carried out a raid Monday in the West Bank city of Tulkarem, killing four members of a terror cell that was planning to carry out major attacks on behalf of Hamas. The cell was working to arm itself and carry out bombing attacks, and had plans to launch rockets from the West Bank. Police and the Israel Security Agency said the cell had already carried out dozens of shooting attacks, and operated "under the guidance and funding" of Hamas in Gaza and abroad. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • To Leave This Iranian-Backed Terrorist Organization Intact Would Reward Hamas' Aggression - Editorial
    A unilateral or unconditional cease-fire by Israel would be inconsistent with the country's right to defend itself against the authors of the massacre on Oct. 7: Hamas. To leave this Iranian-backed terrorist organization intact and in charge of Gaza would be untenable, not only for Israel but also for the region. It would reward Hamas' aggression, which means it would encourage more of it.
        Nor would it be morally and politically appropriate to put the entire onus of civilian casualties on Israel, since Hamas itself has consciously exposed noncombatants to danger by provoking Israel militarily - while protecting its own leaders and fighters in tunnels. At least some of the dead in Gaza have likely been killed by the militants' own errant rockets.
        A case can be made for a cease-fire to facilitate possible hostage releases along with humanitarian aid for Gaza's civilians. But that would have to be on the basis of a verifiable pledge by Hamas to free all of its 240 captives and to stop indiscriminate rocket fire at Israeli civilians - two blatant, unjustifiable violations of international law. Oct. 7 showed fair-minded citizens of both the real dangers Israel faces and the character of its enemies. (Washington Post)
  • Agreeing to a Ceasefire Will Reduce Israeli Deterrence to Zero - Amb. Michael Oren
    Israel cannot agree to a ceasefire. A ceasefire means a victory for Hamas, which will immediately begin planning its next terrorist attack. It means death for Israel, which won't be able to restore basic security to its border residents, or even to those in the central region. It means that Israel's deterrence will be weakened and reduced to zero.
        Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel last week to propose a "humanitarian pause." The Israeli government responded that they could not agree to a limited humanitarian ceasefire without the early release of the captives. The Israeli public has not seen any humanitarian aid for its captives in 30 days. Moreover, Israel is aware that Hamas will exploit such ceasefires to reorganize and seize a significant portion of the aid being sent to Gaza.
        At the same time, there is a strategic need to maintain a united front with the U.S. So far, President Biden has supported Israel, both in words and deeds. Israel will soon need another supply of munitions from the U.S. Hamas doesn't deserve a ceasefire, not even for a few minutes. Nevertheless, to maintain U.S. support for our security mission, we must seriously consider the demands of the Americans and work to find common ground for agreement.
        The writer was Israel's ambassador to the U.S. and a deputy minister of diplomacy in the prime minister's office. (Israel Hayom)
  • Under Scrutiny over Gaza, Israel Points to Civilian Toll of U.S. Wars - Michael Crowley
    Facing global criticism over its military campaign in Gaza, Israeli officials have turned to history in their defense, citing Western military actions in urban areas where innocent civilians paid the price for the defeat of enemies.
        In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as many as 200,000 civilians perished after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs to force Japan's surrender. In Iraq, hundreds of civilians were killed in Falluja as U.S. forces fought Iraqi insurgents, and thousands died in Mosul in Iraqi and American battles against the Islamic State.
        Israel insists that it is trying to limit civilian casualties in a war which began when Hamas killed 1,400 people on Oct. 7 in Israel, most of them civilians. Israeli officials say Hamas is clearly guilty of intentionally murdering Israeli civilians. Israel says it is impossible to defeat its enemy without killing innocents - a lesson that Americans and their allies should understand. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told PBS on Oct. 24 that Israel's ratio of Hamas fighters to civilians killed "compares very well to NATO and other Western forces" in past military campaigns. (New York Times)
  • Hamas' Regional Allies Remain as Bystanders in Gaza War - Khaled Al Hroub
    The quick and astonishing success of Hamas' Oct. 7 strike fueled initial speculation that it was a first phase that would be followed by subsequent phases of a larger regional plan involving Iran, Hizbullah and the resistance factions. However, the lack of such anticipated phases, so far at least, attests to the analysis that the strike was a purely Palestinian initiative.
        Hamas' regional allies, Iran and Hizbullah, did not respond "seriously" to the subsequent Israeli onslaught and remained almost bystanders. Hizbullah border skirmishes in the north of Israel remained limited to face-saving, small-scale engagements.
        The writer is a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Northwestern University in Qatar. (Al-Monitor)
  • Praising the Slaughter of Babies, the Rape of Women and the Beheading of Civilians Is a Stain on Humanity - Ephraim Mirvis
    There is an inescapable moral chasm between those who publicly rejoice in the purposeful massacre of innocent civilians and those who seek to avoid harming them. There is a moral chasm between those who use non-combatants as human shields and those who are deterred by their use. There is a moral chasm between those who proudly broadcast their desecration of life for all the world to see, and those who unequivocally lament the inadvertent loss of any innocent life as a tragedy.
        There is a moral chasm between those who positively celebrate the inhuman war crimes of rape, torture, mutilation, burning alive and child-killing, and those who would immediately prosecute any person found to have committed such heinous crimes. The contrasting world views are presented nowhere more starkly than in the rallying call of Hamas leaders themselves: "We love death as our enemies love life."
        It is a stain on our common humanity that so many seem to have lost sight of the moral distance between Hamas and Israel. Advocating for the welfare of innocent Palestinians must go hand in hand with a clear-eyed condemnation of the barbarity of Hamas.
        The writer is Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. (The Times-UK)
  • Hamas and Israel Live in Different Worlds - Yehuda Bauer
    Hamas is an Islamist fundamentalist movement, whose ultimate aim is the conversion of all of humanity to its version of Islam. The method it advocates to achieve its aim is armed struggle. In its armed struggle, Hamas is not bound by what in the West may be called liberal and humanistic conventions. Israel faces the extremely difficult position of having to fight Hamas, while avoiding as much serious harm as possible to the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza.
        In Israeli society, the responsibility of the community for each of its members is a highly-prized value, and an abandonment of hostages held by Hamas is simply out of the question. There is no demand by the Israeli public to simply capture a number of Palestinian-Gazan Arabs and say that they will be released only in an exchange. Hamas could not care less.
        Any compromise, temporary as it may be, actually weakens the liberal world of which Israel is a part. The call of a well-meaning U.S. government for calm and negotiations is totally misplaced. The issue of Israeli (Jewish) hostages in Gaza is something on which the Israeli side cannot compromise. The taking of these people as hostages is another peak of Hamas barbarism which must be defeated.
        The writer is Professor Emeritus of History and Holocaust Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Academic Advisor to Yad Vashem. (Times of Israel)

Iran Might Have Miscalculated in Gaza - Walter Russell Mead (Wall Street Journal)
  • What really matters in the Middle East is the battle between Iran, increasingly backed by Russia and China, and the loose group of anti-Iranian powers that includes Israel and the American-backed Arab states.
  • So far, Iran isn't getting what it wanted from the war. Iran's objective in arming, training and encouraging Hamas wasn't solely to cause Israel pain. The real goal was to disrupt the gradual deepening of strategic ties between Israel and its most important Arab neighbors.
  • Iran's rulers, believing that controlling the Middle East's energy resources and religious sites would make the country a world power, want to establish themselves as the dominant force in the region.
  • Sunni Arabs have long viewed Iran as a religious rival and a security threat. More recently, as Iran's march to hegemony left a trail of ruined countries and bloody corpses, suspicion solidified into terror and loathing.
  • Tehran's support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria is responsible for many times more deaths and refugees than all the Israeli-Palestinian wars combined. Iran's support for Hizbullah converted once-prosperous Lebanon into a poverty-stricken Iranian satellite.
  • Tehran hoped that Hamas' dramatic attacks would electrify public opinion in the region against Israel, the U.S. and the Arab rulers willing to work with them, forcing these rulers to placate their angry publics by abandoning any plans to work closely with Israel. So far, Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have all signaled that they intend, once the storm has passed, to go on working with Jerusalem for a safer, more stable Middle East.
  • Instead of dividing Israel from the Arab states, the Hamas attacks reminded sensible people across the Middle East how important it is to hold Iran in check. Iran and its murderous proxies are mortal threats to the economic future that Arab rulers want and their people need. The Israeli-Palestinian problem, while real and consequential, pales before Iran's unappeasable drive for power as the region's leading cause of war and unrest.

    The writer, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, is Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College.

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