November 10, 2023
Special Edition
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Drone from Syria Hits School in Eilat - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    A drone that crashed into a school in the southern city of Eilat on Thursday was launched from Syria, the IDF said Friday, adding that it had carried out airstrikes in response to the attack.
    40 students were in the basement of the school when it was hit.
    The drone, launched from southern Syria, traveled across Jordan.

IDF Intercepts Houthi Missile Targeting Eilat - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News-Times of Israel)
    The IDF spokesperson said Thursday that a surface-to-surface missile targeting the city of Eilat was intercepted by the Arrow defense system at a long distance away from Israel.
    It was the first time that Israel's most advanced air defense system, the Arrow 3, made a successful interception of a missile, the Defense Ministry said.
    Previous interceptions with the Arrow system in recent weeks - a Houthi ballistic missile from Yemen and a long-range rocket from Gaza - were downed using the older Arrow 2 missile.

9,500 Rockets Fired on Israel since War Started - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    9,500 rockets have been fired on Israel by Hamas and Hizbullah since Oct. 7, the IDF said. 3,000 were fired in the first four hours by Hamas.
    IDF air defenses shot down the vast majority of rockets which threatened a civilian population. 12% of Hamas rockets, some 900, have fallen in Gaza.

No Power in Gaza Hospitals? Watch This Video - Alex Safian (CAMERA)
    Hamas-controlled health authorities have been claiming for weeks that Gaza hospitals will have to close in a day or two due to lack of fuel, and this has been repeated by numerous media outlets.
    The Wall Street Journal wrote on Nov. 4 that: "At Gaza's biggest hospital, Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, there's only enough fuel to power the neonatal intensive-care unit, said Marwan Abusada, a senior surgeon there."
    "Electricity was switched off in most of the rest of the hospital on Thursday, leaving 205 injured patients in wards with no light or power, he said."
    How then to explain this video, posted by Hamas' Gaza Now Telegram channel, of the scene outside Shifa Hospital on Nov. 4, showing a thousand people watching and cheering projected videos supposedly showing Hamas destroying IDF vehicles, with the lights on in many rooms of the hospital, the entrance ablaze with light, and many of the spectators holding up working cell phones?

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Video: Alina Master's Journey of Survival on Oct. 7 (Channel 11-Israel)
    Alina Master escaped from the Nova music festival in Re'im, was injured by a rocket, and hid in a bomb shelter where she was shot by a terrorist.
    Three people who had hidden with her shielded her with their bodies and were subsequently killed. Alina survived.

IDF Combat Engineers Search for Hamas Tunnels - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Defense Forces Combat Engineering Corps does not have plans to engage in tunnel warfare, as the passages are likely to be booby-trapped. Instead, it is demolishing the tunnels as they are being found.
    Combat engineers have found 28 rocket launch sites - including dozens of launchers and rockets - and 91 tunnels in northern Gaza within the first 10 days of the ground offensive. Another 40 tunnels and dozens more rocket launchers were located south of Gaza City.
    Lt.-Col. "A" said that most of the tunnels and rockets they had found were deep within civilian sites.
    "We encounter a lot of weapons, a lot of tunnels. Here you saw one under a children's room. We found them in playgrounds, we found them in kindergartens, and in mosques. Tomorrow morning someone will say, 'Why did they attack a mosque?' This is why."
    The neighborhoods along the northern coast of Gaza are ghost towns. "A" said that his unit had not encountered civilians at all in its area of operations.
    "I know there were other areas where there were civilians." He had heard of an incident in which civilians who approached troops to ask for water had been used as cover for gunmen to open fire at the soldiers.

U.S. Army's Iron Dome Batteries Leased Back to Israel - Ashley Roque (Breaking Defense)
    The U.S. Army's two Iron Dome batteries are in transit to Israel, according to a senior official.
    The fastest way to get Israel the Iron Dome batteries and the missiles was to lease them.
    For now, the deal is for 11 months and involves a "small amount of money...with pay back to be determined," Army acquisition head Doug Bush said Tuesday.
    The arrangement could be extended "depending on factors on the ground."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Netanyahu: A Ceasefire Means Surrender to Hamas - Peter Aitken
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News on Thursday: "A ceasefire with Hamas means surrender to Hamas, surrender to terror and the victory of Iran's axis of terror, so there won't be a ceasefire without the release of Israeli hostages."
        "We're doing everything in our power to reduce civilian casualties: We've managed safe zones and safe corridors so civilians can hear our call to leave, even though Hamas is trying to keep them in." He said 70,000 people departed Gaza City for the southern safe zone on Thursday.
        Netanyahu credited the support from President Biden and the U.S. Congress as "very, very important" to the overall success of the IDF operations. He said Israel does not "seek to govern Gaza." "We don't seek to occupy, but we seek to give it and us a better future in the entire Middle East. That requires defeating Hamas....It'll take a little time, but we're proceeding step by step, reducing our casualties in the process, trying to reduce and minimize civilian casualties and maximize the casualties of the Hamas terrorists."  (Fox News)
  • Backing Israel Helps Biden in 2024 - Mark Penn
    Supporting Israel over Hamas is one of the most popular things President Biden has done. By 84% to 16% in the latest HarvardCAPS-Harris poll, Americans support the Jewish state over the terror organization and roughly as many believe Israel is justified in its response. It's true that the 16% who support Hamas include many 18- to 24-year-olds. But in taking a strong stand on behalf of Israel, Biden is appealing to swing voters who have a high propensity to vote over young people who have the lowest.
        The writer, a pollster and adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton (1995-2008), is chairman of the Harris Poll. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Raids Hamas Military Quarter in Gaza City, Kills 50 Hamas Terrorists - Alex Winston
    Israeli troops have cleared significant areas in the center of Gaza City that were part of Hamas military headquarters, the IDF announced on Thursday. IDF soldiers raided the military quarter located near Shifa Hospital and killed 50 Hamas members during fierce combat. Israeli forces destroyed several underground tunnel access points, factories for the production of anti-tank missiles, and anti-aircraft rocket launch sites.
        The military quarter of Gaza City consists of strategic Hamas installations, including the central intelligence headquarters as well as Hamas government offices, including the Interior Ministry. The area also contains the largest training facilities in Gaza for urban warfare, military outposts, warehouses, and munitions factories which have been used to produce rockets and UAVs. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Rocket Fire from Gaza Has Diminished - Amos Harel
    After 34 days of war, the rocket fire into Israel from Gaza was very much reduced this week. 15 battalion- or equivalent-level Hamas commanders have been killed and in some cases their deputies were also killed. Hamas is disseminating fake news about the killing of senior IDF officers and massive destruction of armored vehicles, apparently attesting to difficulties in displaying genuine achievements.
        The evacuation of Gazan civilians to the south and the immense destruction that has occurred in northern Gaza will preclude normal life there for a lengthy period. Israel will likely prevent the return of people as long as the confrontation with Hamas continues. This is part of the message that Israel is sending to the region following the blow it sustained. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Agrees to Daily 4-Hour Pause to Allow Gaza Civilians to Relocate - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israel has agreed to a daily four-hour pause in the fighting in northern Gaza, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Thursday. "We've been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas over the duration of the pause. This process is starting today."
        Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated, "We are undertaking localized and pinpoint measures to enable the exit of Palestinian civilians from Gaza City southward so that we do not harm them."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Formalizes Daily Humanitarian Pauses in Gaza - Jacob Magid
    Israel has agreed to formalize and broaden localized pauses in IDF fighting in Gaza, a senior Israeli official said Thursday. Since Sunday, the IDF has been holding its fire along the humanitarian corridor on most days for four to six hours to allow Gazans to evacuate south. The new four-hour pauses will take place in a different northern Gaza neighborhood each day. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News, "We want to facilitate a safe passage of civilians away from the zone of fighting, and we're doing that."
        Israel also agreed to open a second north-to-south humanitarian corridor along the Gaza coast in addition to the one further inland on Salah a-Din road, a White House official said. (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. Returns Munitions Taken for Ukraine War, Delivers 2,500 Tons of Military Equipment - Yossi Yehushua
    The U.S. has returned thousands of artillery shells that had been stored in Israel and were taken for use in Ukraine. A navy ship delivered the 155 mm shells earmarked for use by the IDF in Gaza and south Lebanon. The ship also delivered 2,500 tons of military equipment for the IDF in 170 containers. (Ynet News)
  • PA Says 14 Killed in Jenin Clashes with IDF - Emanuel Fabian
    14 Palestinians were killed and more than 20 wounded during clashes with IDF troops inside the Jenin refugee camp, the Palestinian Authority reported Thursday. The IDF confirmed troops had killed at least 12 gunmen. The IDF said it carried out a drone strike against a group of armed Palestinians who were shooting at Israeli forces.
        The IDF said armored D9 bulldozers uncovered and destroyed dozens of makeshift bombs. More than 20 wanted Palestinians were detained. Since Oct. 7, 1,430 wanted Palestinians have been arrested across the West Bank, including 900 affiliated with Hamas. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Why Israel Can't Agree to a Ceasefire - Ron Ben-Yishai
    On August 1, 2014, an hour after a cease-fire with Hamas came into effect, terrorists came out of a tunnel near the city of Rafah and killed IDF Maj. Bnaya Sarel, Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Liel Gideoni. They grabbed Goldin's body, lowered it into the tunnel, and his body was never returned to Israel. This event demonstrates why Israel today opposes the world's demand for a ceasefire. A ceasefire is merely a recommendation for Hamas, while the IDF sees itself obligated to uphold it.
        Israel can agree at most to a "pause" lasting 4-5 hours to provide the civilian residents of Gaza with humanitarian aid for the displaced, the wounded and the sick. Ceasefires allow the enemy to significantly improve his condition for continuing the fighting. Hamas fighters would be able to reload rocket launchers, replenish their supplies, restore communication lines, and clear damaged passages in the tunnels.
        Israel has nothing to gain from a ceasefire except for a few approval points from international public opinion, which fades rather quickly as we have seen from past experience. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Is Projecting Strength in War with Hamas - Meir Ben Shabbat
    At the end of the second week of the ground attack in Gaza, the IDF continues to advance toward its goals. Accompanied by artillery and air support, the IDF has deepened its activities in captured areas, purging the terrain so that it can no longer serve enemy combatants or be used for production and storage of weapons. Simultaneously, the air force has been carrying out targeted strikes based on intelligence from the IDF and the Israel Security Agency.
        The IDF's conduct so far has radiated power. There's also optimism regarding the attainment of the overarching goals. But for all the gains thus far, there is still far to go before achieving the war's objectives. The campaign is not designed to simply exact a price or establish deterrence; the expectation is victory.
        The guiding principles for Israel's policy include maintaining Israel's security operational freedom without any constraints, preventing Hamas from ruling Gaza, preventing the formation of a military threat, and relieving Israel from responsibility for civilian issues.
        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)
  • Iran-Backed Hamas Terrorists Must Be Eradicated - Daniel Pipes
    Hamas, the jihadi organization that has ruled Gaza since 2007, became the focus of global attention after massacring 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7. For 15 years, it has sacrificed civilians for public relations purposes. The more misery endured by the Palestinians in Gaza, the more convincingly Hamas can accuse Israel of aggression, and the wider and more vehement the support it wins from antisemites of all persuasions. Hamas actively wants Gaza residents to be bombed, hungry, suffering, homeless, injured and killed. It bases troops and missiles in mosques, churches, schools, hospitals and homes.
        The writer is president of the Middle East Forum. (Washington Times)
  • Lessons Israelis Learn from the Hamas Attack - Bret Stephens
    Not the least of Hamas' aims was to kill Jews for its own sake, to instill a sense of terror so visceral and vivid that it would imprint itself on Israel's psyche for generations. In that, it has succeeded. Israelis are under no illusions that had the Hamas terrorists been able to kill 100 or 1,000 times as many of them as they did on Oct. 7, they would have done so without hesitation.
        Hamas' goal is fundamentally homicidal: to end Israel as a state by slaughtering every Jew within it. How can critics of Israeli policy insist on a unilateral ceasefire if they can't offer a credible answer to a reasonable Israeli question: How can we go on like this?
        The issue of Israel's internally displaced people gets short shrift in most news accounts. But it's central to the way in which Israelis perceive the war. There are now more than 150,000 Israelis - proportionately the equivalent of 5.3 million Americans - who were forced out of their homes by the attacks of Oct. 7. Small cities like Sderot, near Gaza, and Kiryat Shmona, near Lebanon, are now mostly ghost towns.
        Israeli military planners have been war-gaming an invasion of Gaza for decades and have tools and tactics that can flush Hamas fighters out of their maze of tunnels. The Israeli public is not likely to be swayed by civilian casualties into supporting any kind of ceasefire in the military campaign until Hamas is defeated and the hostages are returned. Israelis spent 18 years watching Hamas turn to its military advantage every Israeli concession - including free electricity, cash transfers of Qatari funds, work permits for Gazans, thousands of truckloads of humanitarian goods. Israelis won't get fooled again.
        I went to see Amir Tibon, a correspondent for the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. Tibon became internationally famous last month after his family's rescue by his 62-year-old father, Noam (a retired general), when his kibbutz was overrun by Hamas terrorists. I asked Amir what needed to change going forward. His first answer: More people would need permits to carry personal sidearms. (New York Times)
  • Why Anti-Zionists Are Antisemites - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Efforts to call out those who call for Israel's destruction and in favor of terrorist atrocities against Jews are being resisted by those who claim that doing so is an unconstitutional and unethical effort to silence free speech or to enforce a pro-Israel version of cancel culture. Any effort to punish or subject to public opprobrium those who engage in such vicious behavior is evidence of intolerance of legitimate political opinions. That includes those individuals who feel more than comfortable tearing down posters with the images of men, women and children being held captive in Gaza by Hamas.
        Nobody is repealing anyone's First Amendment right to freedom of expression, no matter how hateful. But that doesn't mean that the rest of society is obliged to treat those engaging in open antisemitism as respectable members of society. In the wake of Oct. 7, as expressions of hatred for Jews and Jewish safety are becoming so widespread, it is more important than ever that those who are behaving in this fashion are treated in the same way society disdains neo-Nazis or avowed racists like members of the Ku Klux Klan.
        Had a member of Congress expressed open racism against African-Americans, Hispanics or Asians, as well as supported violence against these groups, there would be no hesitation within either party about not just censuring but expelling them. But when it comes to those engaging in antisemitism, it appears any thought of public ostracism is controversial.
        The reason why anti-Zionists are antisemites, regardless of whether some can claim Jewish ancestry, is that they advocate for treating Jews differently than any other people. They say that only Jews have no right to life and sovereignty in their ancient homeland, and as such, should be denied the right to self-defense against those seeking to slaughter them. That is what those demanding a ceasefire in Gaza so as to allow Hamas to survive are doing. (JNS)

The Secret to Israel's Success Is a Sense of Service and Belonging - Dan Senor and Saul Singer (New York Post)
  • In the Oct. 7 war, Israel has a secret weapon: the spectacular solidarity of its people. The roots of this societal resilience are the product of a culture of service unique in the West, a culture that carefully nurtures a sense of belonging and purpose. Everyone is doing their part, embracing the families of the killed, wounded, kidnapped and evacuated.
  • In most meritocracies, the criterion to reach the pinnacle of merit is individual academic excellence. In Israel, the most meritorious are those who seek and are chosen for the most challenging military service.
  • This changes everything. It means merit is determined by something that is not about you, but about how you can contribute to your society and country. Soldiers must be willing to sacrifice everything for something larger than themselves.
  • A society that selects for service changes what young people aspire to as they grow up and how they structure their lives throughout adulthood.
  • The IDF values many traits and talents, such as high motivation, problem-solving skills, determination, the ability to self-criticize, and a capacity to work in teams. There are many stories of young people who were given challenges and responsibilities that they could never have imagined.
  • Humans need to be part of something larger than themselves. Israel has perfected the art of making people feel part of a larger whole, and that they are needed to play their part.

    The writers are the authors of Start-up Nation (2011) and The Genius of Israel (2023).
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