December 6, 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:

House Passes Resolution Equating Antisemitism with Anti-Zionism - Ron Kampeas (JTA)
    The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution saying that anti-Zionism is antisemitism by 311 to 14.
    95 Democrats voted in favor of the resolution, introduced by Jewish Republicans Max Miller of Ohio and David Kustoff of Tennessee, while 92 voted "present."
    They introduced the resolution to affirm U.S. support for Jews in the wake of the spike in antisemitic rhetoric and actions spurred by the Israel-Hamas war.
    Kustoff said, "We have seen an explosion, an absolute explosion, of antisemitic incidents, attacks, and harassment, in Israel, here in our own nation, and across the world."

Israeli Hostages Given Tranquilizers to "Look Happy" upon Release from Captivity - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    Before the release of Israeli captives by Hamas, terrorists forced them to swallow tranquilizers and vitamins "so they would look happy," Prof. Ronit Endevelt, head of the Health Ministry's nutrition department, told the Knesset Health Committee on Tuesday.
    The tranquilizer given relaxes skeletal muscles and works as a sedative. Effects begin within 60 minutes and last between six and 12 hours.

Israeli Doctors Help Child Hostages Return Home - Talya Minsberg (New York Times)
    Doctors at Schneider Children's Medical Center in Petah Tikva were part of the team responsible for the intake of child hostages returning to Israel.
    To the initial surprise of many, the children were quick to speak freely about their experiences. One child asked a flurry of questions: "Are we allowed to look out the window? Are we allowed to open the door? Can we walk outside the room?"
    Another child was confused to see people waiting for her because she was told that no one was looking for her, that no one cared for her, and that there would be no Israel left for her.
    "They spoke about death as if they're going down to the grocery and speaking about which ice cream they will buy," said Dr. Yael Mozer-Glassberg.
    When given food, many children took a few small bites, only to put the food to the side. When asked why, they responded, "So the food will last for the rest of the day."
    On Monday, after sirens went off in Petah Tikva, sending a girl and her mother to a hospital safe room, the girl asked her mother if they were going back to the tunnels.

Poll: Israeli Optimism about the Future on the Rise despite War - Prof. Tamar Hermann (Israel Democracy Institute)
    Since the beginning of the war in Gaza, the Israeli Voice survey has found a rise in public optimism regarding the future of Israel's security.
    In a Nov. 27-30 survey released Tuesday, 49.5% of Israeli Jews said they are optimistic about the future of national security, compared with 39% in September.
    Among Israeli Arabs, 32% were optimistic about national security, compared with 15% in September.
    87% of Jewish Israelis supported the resumption of the fighting in Gaza after the ceasefire.

From Which River to Which Sea? - Ron E. Hassner (Wall Street Journal)
    250 college students were asked if they sympathize with Palestinians' chant "From the river to the sea." Most said they supported the chant, 32.8% enthusiastically and 53.2% to a lesser extent.
    But only 47% of the students who embrace the slogan were able to name the river and the sea.
    Less than a quarter knew who Yasser Arafat was (10% thought he was the first prime minister of Israel).
    There's no shame in being ignorant - unless one is screaming for the extermination of millions.
    When 80 students who were shown on a map that a Palestinian state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea left no room for Israel, 75% changed their view.
    Many students reduced their support for the slogan when they learned it would entail the subjugation, expulsion or annihilation of seven million Jewish and two million Arab Israelis.
    In all, after learning a handful of basic facts, 67.8% of students went from supporting "from the river to sea" to rejecting the mantra.
    The writer is a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Presses Assault on Hamas' Last Major Gaza Bastion - Dov Lieber
    Israeli forces pressed forward into the Hamas stronghold of Khan Yunis, a city of over 400,000 before the war. In close-quarters combat, Hamas fighters are defending their last major bastion in Gaza, home to its leader, Yahya Sinwar, and the location where Israel believes the group's other leaders are hiding and holding hostages. An Israeli victory in Khan Yunis would likely corner remaining Hamas fighters in small areas.
        "If Hamas loses Khan Yunis, they are done. They may have some enclaves there, but they will lose their centers of gravity," said Kobi Michael, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
        Israeli forces told residents of Khan Yunis on Tuesday to urgently evacuate its eastern and northern neighborhoods, using leaflets, phone messages and social media. Israel is encouraging civilians to move to Rafah on the border with Egypt, or to a "humanitarian zone" in Al-Mawasi, along the Mediterranean Sea. "The best [thing] for them to do is to always move to the Mawasi, it will be safe for them," said IDF spokesman Lt.-Col. Richard Hecht.
        Michael Horowitz, head of intelligence at Le Beck International, a security and risk management consulting firm, said the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, along with attacks by other Iranian-backed groups in Lebanon, Yemen and the West Bank, have made Israelis determined to win the war, no matter the price. "Israeli society understands we are in front of two options: to be or not to be," he said.
        The Biden administration, while pressing Israel to do what it can to avoid civilian casualties, has supported its ally's goal of defeating Hamas, which the U.S. designates a terrorist organization. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also IDF Penetrates to the Heart of Khan Yunis - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The IDF has penetrated to the heart of Khan Yunis, which is itself the heart of Hamas in southern Gaza, the military announced Tuesday. At the same time, the IDF sent a large force into Shejaia, Hamas' greatest remaining stronghold in northern Gaza. The IDF also attacked parts of Jabalia and Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.
        Several hundred Hamas terrorists were killed on Sunday, bringing the number of dead Hamas forces to around 6,000, with thousands wounded as well.
        IDF Southern Command head Maj.-Gen. Yaron Finkleman said, "We are in the heart of Jabalia, the heart of Shejaia, and as of last night, the heart of Khan Yunis. We are in the most intense day since the start of the invasion - in terms of the number of killed terrorists, the number of battles, and the volume of fire brought to bear by ground and air forces."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel: "We Have to Fear" for Safety of Americans Held Hostage by Hamas in Gaza
    Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Fox News on Monday: "We have still got about 130 [hostages] being held, including the Americans. And we have to fear for them because we have been interviewing the people who have come out and they went through a living hell....I can't be confident that anyone is alive, unfortunately. We are dealing with a brutal terrorist group that has no qualms whatsoever about butchering people. We saw that on October 7th, when they entered Israel and they massacred our people."  (Fox News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Overwhelming Force Against Hamas Is Quickest Way to End Gaza War - Tovah Lazaroff
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday: "I say from here to our friends in the world who are pushing for a quick end to the war: our only way to end the war, and to end it quickly, is to use overwhelming force against Hamas - and destroy it. If our friends want to help shorten the war, which is also their war against the barbarism that threatens to sweep the world, they simply have to stand firmly by our side."
        Once the war is over, Gaza must be demilitarized and remain under IDF security control, he said. "No international power can be responsible for this. We have seen what happened in other places that brought in international forces. I am not ready to close my eyes and accept any other arrangement."
        Netanyahu noted the failure of human rights groups and the United Nations to immediately condemn Hamas' acts of rape and sexual mutilation of female victims on Oct. 7. "Where the hell were you?...Were you quiet because we were talking about Jewish women?...I expect all civilized leaders, governments, nations to speak up against this atrocity."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Shows Photo of Hamas Commanders in a Tunnel, Says 5 Were Killed - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF has revealed a photo showing the senior command of Hamas' northern Gaza brigade inside a tunnel. The IDF said five of those pictured have been killed in Israeli airstrikes. A video released shows Wael Rajab, the deputy commander of Hamas' northern Gaza brigade, walking through a tunnel. (Times of Israel-X)
  • IDF Officer in Gaza Saved by Battlefield Transfusion - Yoav Zitun
    Maj. Or, an officer from the Givati Brigade, survived a life-threatening injury in Gaza. He was serving as commander of an armored personnel carrier and was half exposed as he looked out for terrorists trying to attach IEDs to the vehicle. When an anti-tank missile was launched at the APC, it was intercepted by the Trophy system. However, the interception seriously wounded the officer as 60 pieces of shrapnel pierced his upper body and ruptured his arteries.
        "The paramedic who received me in the field pressed on my central artery and then her friends added two more pressure points, also in the neck, to stop the bleeding," he said. "She gave me a morphine candy to relieve the pain and above all began a blood transfusion." Brought by helicopter to Sheba Hospital, he was put to sleep for three days.
        Miraculously, there was no fatal damage. "I came out relatively well thanks to the treatment in the field. The doctors took out 10 fragments, I will have to live with the majority. I believe that I will still return to Givati, in uniform," the soldier said.
        Maj. Dr. Stas, the battalion medical officer who gave the blood transfusion to Maj. Or, explained: "Blood loss from an injury in battle is a major cause of death. We improved the treatment and did not settle for a dried plasma transfusion. We are the first army in the world to do this on the battlefield. I saw with my own eyes how the officer came back to life, how his condition improved."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Hamas Is Energized by Support on American Campuses - Alan Rosenbaum
    A Jerusalem Post panel of experts debated the best way to fight antisemitism and anti-Zionism on campus and in society on Dec. 4, 2023.
        Dan Diker, President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, who authored the 2018 book, Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked, stated that SJP's ideology, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," is a "clarion call for genocide against the Jews." He added that "The Hamas leadership in Gaza is energized and encouraged by the fact that they have the unqualified support of thousands of university students across 200 North American campuses that legitimized the mass murder of Jews."
        Diker said that many people misunderstood the nature of the BDS movement and that rather than a peaceful, grass-roots expression of political criticism, it is a terror-affiliated movement. "The best way to fight it is to expose it for what it really is."
        Returning to the origins of contemporary anti-Israel thought, Diker said that the root of the problem dates back to the 1960s, when Israel was branded as an imperialist, colonialist power due to its attachment to the U.S. "We failed to pay attention to that. We have decades of work to catch up. The war for international legitimacy is no less important than using F-35s against the Iranian regime." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Read the Report: Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked - Dan Diker and Jamie Berk (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • A View from Cairo: Hamas Are Nothing but Terrorists - M. A. Al-Asqalani
    My family fought in Egypt's many wars against Israel. My grandfather, an infantry officer, fought in 1956, 1967, and 1973. My uncle, a fighter pilot, fought in 1967 and 1973.
        On Oct. 7, Hamas launched an attack against Israel from Gaza, killing more than a thousand innocent civilians and taking more than 200 hostages back to Gaza. In response, Israel declared war against Hamas.
        Around the world, pan-Islamist organizations mobilized large demonstrations to erode public support for Israel's right to defend itself. Their talking points are not about defending the Palestinian right to self-determination. They have descended into an outright defense of Hamas, including rampant justifications of the atrocities of Oct. 7.
        As someone whose family fought Israel valiantly on the battlefield, this cannot stand. It is not a defense of Palestinian rights to justify atrocities.
        The writer is a Cairo-based national security and open source intelligence analyst. (Newsweek)
  • How Oct. 7 Made Me a Zionist - Allan Stratton
    Before Oct. 7, I was a typical '60s social democrat. Born shortly after the Holocaust, I grew up with Israel as a fact, not a dream, and considered ongoing Zionism the chief obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Oct. 7 changed that. It is a day and demarcation as seismic as 9/11. It wasn't just the gleeful depravity of the Hamas murders, rapes and burnings that changed the world. It was also the celebration of savagery by intersectional apologists.
        Anyone who doubts the Jewish need for Israel, and the elimination of the death cult on its doorstep, is delusional. Look at the mobs attacking Canada's Jews, along with their gathering places and businesses. Listen to the words of union leaders, academics and politicians. Imagine being a Jew in a Canadian university, union or NGO, much less one wearing a yarmulke or a Star of David. These aren't Israelis being targeted - they're Canadians. If Jews can't feel safe in a country as diverse and progressive as Canada, where can they feel safe? How can they not have a state devoted to their protection?
        A Zionist believes in the necessity of a Jewish homeland. That necessity became obvious after millennia of global pogroms and ethnic cleanings that climaxed with the Holocaust. It is impossible to forget that history when we see Jew-hate on our streets today. Knowing what we know and seeing what we see, how can a decent person not be a Zionist? (National Post-Canada)

Why the U.S. Approach Endangers Israeli Troops - Meir Ben Shabbat (Israel Hayom)
  • "The center of gravity is the civilian population and if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat," U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Saturday, referring to Israel's need to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza. His comments showcased how perceptually divorced the U.S. is from the actual reality on the ground.
  • The Biden administration's support for Israel is commendable. Still, it appears that they are oblivious to the widespread support Hamas enjoys in Gaza and the solidarity the people there have with it.
  • The U.S. assumes that Hamas imposed itself on Gaza's population and, if its grip on the population was removed, they would turn their backs on it. Yet recent public opinion polls indicate continued public support in Gaza for Hamas and its armed struggle against Israel. In its 17-year rule, Hamas has permeated the education system to spread its ideas and imbue public consciousness with its values.
  • Israeli action won't lead the civilian population into the arms of the enemy; much of it is already there by choice. Humanitarian generosity will also not change the public's preferences. The main beneficiary of any aid will be Hamas.
  • American expectations that Israel reduce the intensity of the fighting and increase humanitarian aid will only prolong the conflict and endanger the lives of our soldiers. It would be wiser to avoid imposing additional restrictions and allow the IDF to operate with high intensity until Hamas is toppled and its capabilities are eliminated.
  • Dealing with the complex challenge of de-radicalization in Gaza will preoccupy the region for many years after the war.

    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.

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