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Israel At War: Week Eleven Coverage



Day 77 — Friday, December 22

Israeli-US Dual Citizen, 73, Taken Hostage By Hamas, Becomes First American To Die In Captivity

A US-Israeli dual citizen taken into captivity by Hamas during the October 7 terrorist attacks has become the first American hostage to die, a group representing hostages’ families said on Friday.

Gadi Haggai, 73, who also held Israeli citizenship, had not been seen since the brutal attack that claimed the lives of over 1,200 people, when he was taken with his wife Judi on a morning walk around the kibbutz.

According to Israeli outlet Haaretz, Judi was able to call a kibbutz member for help after their abduction, and told them she had been shot in the arm while Gadi had been shot in the head and was ‘critically injured.’

His body has remained in Gaza since, and although the couple were initially presumed to be held hostage, it is now believed that Haggai may have been killed during the October 7 blitz.

President Joe Biden issued a statement to say he was ‘heartbroken’ by the news that Haggai is believed to have been murdered.

Judi, who is also an American citizen, remains in captivity in Gaza.

Day 77 — Friday, December 22

Iran 'Provides Houthis With Tracking Info To Target Ships In Red Sea' — Report

Iran is providing real-time intelligence to Yemen’s Houthis that the jihadists are using target ships passing through the Red Sea, according to a report published on Friday in The Wall Street Journal.

“The Houthis don’t have the radar technology to target the ships,” an unnamed security official was quoted in the report as saying. “They need Iranian assistance. Without it, the missiles would just drop in the water.”

Thus, tracking information gathered by an Iranian surveillance in the Red Sea is being used by the Houthis, who have launched drones and missiles on commercial vessels passing through the Bab el-Mandeb strait.

On Thursday, the Pentagon said that over 20 countries have joined the US-led coalition to protect Red Sea shipping from Houthi attacks.

Day 77 — Friday, December 22

Hamas Releases Video Of Three Gaza Hostages Killed In Captivity

Hamas released a video on Thursday of three hostages killed in Hamas captivity and who had their bodies recovered by the IDF from the Gaza Strip last week.

In the video, the three hostages – Elia Toledano, Nik Beizer, and Ron Sherman, are seen holding up pieces of paper with their names and personal information. 

In a statement posted alongside the video, Hamas claimed that “they tried to keep them alive – but Netanyahu insisted on killing them.”

The video then adds visual effects of shots and animated blood. They are shown in captivity smiling and speaking to each other.

The three were taken captive during the October 7 massacre against southern Israeli communities.

Day 76 — Thursday, December 21

Israel Has Killed More Than 2,000 Terrorists Since The End Of Cease-Fire, IDF Says

Israeli forces have killed more than 2,000 “terrorists” since the end of a brief cease-fire with Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces said Thursday.

“Since the end of the operational pause on ground operations in Gaza, our forces have eliminated over 2,000 terrorists from the air, sea, and land,” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said during a press briefing.

Hagari also said the IDF had destroyed a tunnel network in the “Hamas Elite Quarter” in the heart of Gaza City.

“This is a complex network of tunnels connecting hideout apartments to various facilities and bunkers of senior members of the Hamas terrorist organization, which we revealed to the world yesterday,” he said.

Israel and Hamas resumed military operations earlier this month after a brief pause in fighting to exchange hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

Israel is facing growing pressure from its citizens to ensure the release of the remaining hostages being held captive in Gaza. Hamas has rejected Israeli proposals for a week-long truce in exchange for hostages.

The terror group reportedly declared it will no longer discuss releasing any hostages until Israel ends its military campaign In Gaza.

Day 76 — Thursday, December 21

IDF Says It Demolished Gaza City Tunnel Network Where Sinwar And Deif’s Offices Were Located

The IDF has demolished a major Hamas tunnel network hidden under Gaza City’s Palestine Square.

On Tuesday, the IDF gave the media, including The Times of Israel, a tour of the square and the entrances to the tunnels.

According to the IDF, Hamas’s senior officials hid underground in the tunnel network when the terror group launched the October 7 onslaught on southern Israel.

The underground network connected to the homes, offices and hideout apartments of senior Hamas officials, including Muhammad Deif, the elusive leader of the terror group’s military wing, and Yahya Sinwar, the top Hamas official in Gaza.

The IDF scanned inside the tunnels and obtained intelligence from them in recent days.

The military says the demolition of the tunnels was carried out in a controlled manner by the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit and the 401st Armored Brigade.

Day 76 — Thursday, December 21

Gallant: If Houthis Keep Attacking, We’ll Know What To Do

If the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen continue to attack Eilat with missiles, the State of Israel will “know what to do,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said during a visit to the Red Sea city on Wednesday.

The minister was briefed on operational and intelligence activities as well as the navy’s preparations in the face of aerial and maritime threats in the Red Sea, Gallant’s Office stated. He was accompanied by Israeli Navy commander V. Adm. David Saar Salama and boarded a Sa’ar 6-class corvette that was recently deployed to the area.

“The threat to freedom of navigation in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait [between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden], 2,000 kilometers from the State of Israel, is not only a threat to traffic to Israel, but also to international freedom of navigation in waters belonging to all countries,” said Gallant.

He thanked U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, whom Gallant recently hosted in Israel, for leading a multinational force tasked with ensuring freedom of navigation in the Bab el-Mandeb.

“I have met the men and women in our navy, the officers and commanders. We will not tolerate threats against the State of Israel. If they continue to provoke us, try to attack Eilat with missiles or by other means, we will know what to do. We are preparing—the troops here are ready for any mission and any command. The State of Israel, through the navy and the air force, will know how to defend itself,” Gallant warned.

When announcing the establishment of the task force, Austin stated on Tuesday, while in Bahrain, “This is an international challenge that demands collective action.”

Day 76 — Thursday, December 21

Officials And Experts Sign Letter Calling US To Support Israel In The Eradication of Hamas And Other Terrorist Proxies Of Iran

US elected officials, as well as national security and military experts have signed a letter calling for America to stand with Israel as it works to eradicate Hamas.

“We are all individuals who devoted significant portions of our lives to the national security of the United States. Some of us served in senior positions in the US military, some of us in policy departments and agencies, and some of us in the intelligence community. Some of us were political appointees, and some of us were career officials. Many of us worked for presidents of both political parties,” the signatories wrote.

They added that they all believe “that Israel’s victory in its war to eradicate Hamas and other terrorist proxies of the Islamic Republic of Iran is critical for Middle East peace and stability”, adding that “the success of Israel’s efforts is vital to the interests of the United States and all other countries that cherish life and liberty.”

“On October 7, 2023, Hamas and its Gazan camp followers broke a long-standing ceasefire to engage in mass kidnapping, rape, murder, and unspeakably depraved torture in southern Israel. Since that date, Hamas has continued its genocidal mission of eradicating the Jewish state by firing thousands of rockets into Israel, directly threatening millions of civilians. Hamas, like ISIS before it, worships the most barbaric forms of violence, rooted in a perverse Islamist ideology,” the letter says.

The letter notes Hamas’ continued usage of Gazans as human shields and as propaganda swords. “Notwithstanding Hamas’s depravity and the direct complicity of many Gazans in the atrocities of October 7, the Israel Defense Forces comply with the rules of war, the Geneva Convention, and otherwise, taking extraordinary measures to mitigate harm to civilians,” it adds.

“With the aim of freeing scores of hostages, including American citizens, and eliminating Hamas, the IDF are neutralizing terrorists and systematically destroying Hamas’s multibillion-dollar military infrastructure, including tunnels, weapons factories, training facilities, and command centers, much of it hidden within civilian areas, the letter continues.

It also notes that Hamas used humanitarian aid from Western governments, including the United States, to subsidize the construction of terrorist infrastructure, and that it uses international aid to support its military operations.

“Accordingly,” the letter continues, “we believe that the United States Government must provide the IDF the time, resources, and diplomatic support necessary to utterly defeat Hamas – dismantle its operational capability, eliminate its leadership, and discredit its ideology. This is in the national security interest of the United States.”

They also said they “Support Israel’s military goal that the war will end only when Hamas no longer maintains the capacity to murder. We urge US policymakers to reject, in absolute terms, any prolonged ceasefire without the unconditional surrender of Hamas and release of every hostage held by Hamas.” “And we strongly encourage the President and other senior government officials to speak out with absolute moral clarity – Israel’s war is just.”

They urged President Biden, in his role as the Commander in Chief, “to immediately restore global deterrence against Iran, which directly threatens America and Israel alike. Similarly, we urge President Biden and his administration to refrain from imposing strategically damaging constraints on Israel’s defensive military and security activities or imposing post conflict conditions.”

Signatories to the letter include Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Congressman Michael Waltz (R-FL), Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL), former Secretary of Veterans Affairs and former Under Secretary of Defense Robert Wilkie, former United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, former United States Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman, Congressman Allen B. West (R-GA), Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY), former Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ezra Cohen, former Deputy National Security Advisor for the Middle East and North African Affairs Victoria Coates, former Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords and former Senior Advisor to the United States Ambassador to Israel Aryeh Lightstone, and Mark Dubowitz, who has served as an advisor to the last four Presidential Administrations, the including Biden Administration.

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Day 75 — Wednesday, December 20

‘Not Your Fault’: Mother Of Hostage Slain In Error Sends Love, Support To Soldiers Who Mistakenly Killed Him

Iris Haim, whose son Yotam was shot dead in error by IDF troops in northern Gaza on December 15, records a message for the soldiers who killed him, telling them that she and her family love them and do not blame them for his death.

Yotam, 28, was abducted by Hamas terrorists from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7. He was shot dead, together with two other hostages, Alon Shamriz and Samar Talalka, by IDF troops who mistakenly identified them as a threat, in a tragic incident that is the subject of an ongoing IDF investigation.

Addressing herself to the soldiers of the Bislamach Brigade’s 17th Battalion, Yotam’s mother says: “This is Iris Haim. I am Yotam’s mother. I wanted to tell you that I love you very much, and I hug you here from afar.

“I know that everything that happened is absolutely not your fault, and nobody’s fault except that of Hamas, may their name be wiped out and their memory erased from the earth,” she continues.

“I want you to look after yourselves and to think all the time that you are doing the best thing in the world, the best thing that could happen, that could help us. Because all the people of Israel and all of us need you healthy,” she says.

“And don’t hesitate for a second if you see a terrorist,” she urges. “Don’t think that you killed a hostage deliberately. You have to look after yourselves because only that way can you look after us.”

“At the first opportunity,” Iris Haim continues, “you are invited to come to us, whoever wants to. And we want to see you with our own eyes and hug you and tell you that what you did — however hard it is to say this, and sad — it was apparently the right thing at that moment.

“And nobody’s going to judge you or be angry. Not me, and not my husband Raviv. Not my daughter Noya. And not Yotam, may his memory be blessed. And not Tuval, Yotam’s brother. We love you very much. And that is all.”

Day 75 — Wednesday, December 20

Inside Hamas Leaders' Subterranean City; IDF Takes Control Of Hamas' 'Elite Quarter'

The IDF announced on Wednesday that its troops secured control over Hamas’ “Elite Quarter” in the center of Gaza City, including the area of the ‘Palestine Square’, from where Hamas’ administrative and military leadership operated.

The complex includes a large network of tunnels that connects terrorist hideouts, bureaus, and residential apartments belonging to Hamas’ senior leadership. This complex, both above and below ground, was a center of power for Hamas’ military and political wings.

In recent weeks, the 401st Brigade in the 162nd Division, along with forces from the Shaldag Unit, Shayetet 13, and the Yahalom Unit, have been operating in the area of Rimal in Gaza City, where ‘Palestine Square’ is located. The forces carried out a combined and coordinated offensive on ‘Palestine Square’ and took operational control over the area. Over the last few days, the area was completely secured. During the battles to secure the area, IDF forces eliminated approximately 600 terrorists in both ground and aerial operations.

‘Palestine Square’ was a center of Hamas’ military rule and is surrounded by buildings that served as command and control centers, terror tunnel shafts, and strategic buildings belonging to the organization. This military infrastructure was located in the direct vicinity of commercial stores, government buildings, civilian residences, and a designated school for deaf children. The square is the center of the strategic tunnel network of some of Hamas leadership’s strongholds and connects to the underground infrastructure in the area of ​​the Rantisi Hospital and the Shifa Hospital.

After securing the area, a “sweep and clear” operation revealed the underground terrorist city, which is part of Hamas’ tunnel system and includes a strategic tunnel route connected to other significant underground infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Tunnel shafts leading to the network of tunnels are located in the residences and offices of senior officials and allow for a covert descent through designated elevators and stairs. This enabled Hamas operatives to both escape and remain in hideouts for extended periods. The underground tunnel network includes blast doors and hideouts. In some cases, food products, water, and electrical infrastructure were found that allowed for prolonged stays. This network was used by the organization’s senior officials, Ismail Haniyeh, Yahya Sinwar, Muhammad Deif, and others, to direct Hamas’ operational activity. It was also used for protected daily movement through the heart of Gaza City.

In the vicinity of these buildings, Hamas established a specialized workshop for digging and building the underground network. A tunnel shaft used for logistics and tunnel construction equipment, including tunnel walls and concrete arches that make up the tunnel ceilings, were found inside the workshop. Next to the workshop is a shaft 20 meters deep, with descending spiral stairs, as well as a blast door and forks in the tunnel’s pathway. The tunnel shaft was demolished by explosives embedded by Hamas there, and numerous weapons and technological devices were found nearby.

Day 75 — Wednesday, December 20

Michele Bachmann Revisits Site of Hamas Atrocities Where She Lived Nearly 50 Years Ago

Kibbutz Be’eri was one of the hardest-hit locations in the Hamas attacks near Gaza on October 7th. It also personally touched the life of Michele Bachmann, former congresswoman and current dean of the Regent University School of Government. She was once a resident of the kibbutz.

“I came here the day after I graduated from high school,” she recalled. “Never been to Israel. It was my first time to come to Israel. And I lived and worked here at Kibbutz Be’eri.”

Bachmann told CBN News, “I remember it was a happy home where twelve hundred people lived.  And people wouldn’t believe this (scene today). There’s whole roofs missing, and RPGs were fired through the sides of houses  No one could ever live in these homes again. They’re completely totaled   And so they’ll all have to come down, all have to be destroyed.”

On this tour of Be’eri, she also learned that people she knew were among those raped and murdered.

“Horrible.  I just was devastated,” she said.

She continued, “And it’s incredible to think that human beings would come and do this kind of damage just to get to Jews. The hatred for Jews is so vitriolic, they would even burn a house down so they could watch a Jew jump out of a window so that they could shoot them. And the horror is that about 80 percent of the people who were killed here were tortured. So, this is as devastating as it gets.”

Day 75 — Wednesday, December 20

Gaza Hospital Manager Admits During Interrogation That Hamas Turned Facility Into A Military Installation

Israel’s Army Radio reported Tuesday that the manager of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza told interrogators that Hamas terrorists had commandeered the hospital and forced staff to do its bidding, believing that the IDF would not strike there.

An interrogation tape of Ahmed Mohammed Hassan Al-Kahlot, the manger of the hospital, apparently released by the Israel Security Agency (ISA), was the source of the report.

In the video, Kahlot is seen saying that he had joined Hamas in 2010 and attained a high military rank within the organization.

Kahlut is seen on the video telling an interrogator that Hamas used to hide its fighters in the hospital, convinced that they would not be targeted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Kahlut also said that hospital staff members joined Hamas, and that the hospital had effectively been transformed into a military installation for the organization, including for holding hostages. He also admitted that Hamas had used private ambulances to transport hostages and to transport the bodies of Hamas terrorists.

He added that the leaders of Hamas had turned out to be “cowards” who had abandoned Palestinians to fend for themselves while they themselves hid. “They destroyed us.”

As Breitbart News noted, 70 terrorists in the hospital surrendered to Israel after a firefight last week, and Israeli soldiers discovered weapons inside the hospital — including guns that were hidden inside the NICU unit.

Day 74 — Tuesday, December 19

South Africa Says Its Citizens Serving In IDF Could Face Prosecution Back Home

South Africans fighting for Israel in Gaza could face prosecution at home, the government warned on Monday, as President Cyril Ramaphosa once again denounced the conflict in the Palestinian territory as a “genocide.”

The foreign ministry said it was “gravely concerned” by reports that some Israeli soldiers who are also South African nationals have joined the IDF to fight in Gaza, or are considering doing so.

“Such action can potentially contribute to the violation of international law and the commission of further international crimes, thus making them liable for prosecution in South Africa,” the ministry said.

It did not specify how many South Africans are thought to have enlisted. The government has previously said the State Security Agency (SSA) was tracking them down.

South Africans need prior government approval to fight legally in Israel, the ministry said. Naturalized citizens are at further risk of being stripped of their South African nationality for engaging in a war that the country “does not support or agree with,” the foreign ministry added.

South Africa has long been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party often linking it to its own struggle against apartheid.

It has strongly condemned Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks and has recalled all its diplomats from the country.

On Monday, Ramaphosa denounced the “genocidal onslaught and slaughter of the people of Palestine” at a press conference with representatives of pro-Palestinian groups in Johannesburg.

Day 74 — Tuesday, December 19

IDF Recovers Bodies Of 5 Hostages And Soldiers During Military Operation In Jabaliya

The 162nd Division of the IDF is currently engaged in military operations in the Jabaliya area in Gaza. As part of their activities in the area, the soldiers eliminated hundreds of terrorists in encounters and battles while directing artillery fire and airstrikes at terrorists in the area.

As part of several special operations carried out by the division, five bodies of soldiers and hostages were recovered and returned.

Now the forces of the division are operating in what has been called ‘Hamas’ most important center of gravity’, both on the ground and underground.

In one Hamas outpost in Jabaliya, soldiers from the division found documents with maps of the Israeli communities in the Gaza Envelope and on them with markings of vulnerable points such as schools and dining rooms.

At the same time, one of the main Hamas training bases was located between Jabaliya and the center of Gaza City, and intelligence materials were seized that significantly aided the Israeli forces in the course of the battles.

In one of the raids on the Rantisi hospital, it emerged that hostages were being held underground at the hospital – but were moved away before IDF forces entered the complex. During combat activities in the surrounding neighborhood, the bodies of five civilians and soldiers who were kidnapped on October 7 were found and returned to Israel.

The IDF stated that about a thousand terrorists have been killed during the fighting in Gaza, over 3,000 were taken prisoner – some of whom took part in the massacre on Simchat Torah.

About 500 terrorist suspects surrendered in the Jabaliya area, many of whom were confirmed to be affiliated with the Hamas or Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations, and some of whom were confirmed to have taken part in the October 7 massacre.

Some of the surrendered terrorists barricaded themselves among the civilian population in hospitals and schools. During the soldiers’ operations, much enemy infrastructures was destroyed, including training complexes, underground and command and control complexes, and factories for the production of rockets.

Day 74 — Tuesday, December 19

IDF Uncovers 5 Million Shekels And An Array Of Weapons During Raid On Senior Hamas Member

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) uncovered a substantial amount of cash and an array of weapons during a raid on the Jabaliya home of an unnamed senior member of the Hamas terror group.

Two suitcases containing around 5 million shekels (over $1 million) were seized, marking the largest sum found in the Gaza Strip since the ground incursion began.

The IDF, withholding the identity of the Hamas member, revealed that in addition to the cash, troops discovered various weapons in the senior member’s residence.

The sum of money discovered in this operation alone equaled the total amount found by the IDF in Gaza during the first month of the war.

According to the Defense Ministry, the funds recovered included Iraqi and Jordanian Dinars, as well as U.S. dollars, found in Hamas strongholds and the homes of wanted terrorists.

The revelation of substantial cash holdings in Gaza has raised questions about the funding sources of the terror group, contributing to its ability to increase strength and execute acts such as the October 7 massacre.

Day 74 — Tuesday, December 19

WATCH: Hamas Produces New Hostage Video; IDF Condemns ‘Atrocious Terror’

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas released a new hostage video on Monday, showing three elderly male hostages who appear, under duress, to demand that Israel pay any price necessary to secure their release.

The hostages were identified by the Jerusalem Post as Chaim Peri, 79; Yoram Metzger, 80; Amiram Cooper, 85. Peri, ironically, was a peace activist who had volunteers to take Palestinians from Gaza to Israeli hospitals, during peacetime.

The video was released as Israeli negotiators met in Warsaw, Poland, with representatives of the Qatari government, who mediate on behalf of Hamas, to discuss a possible new deal to exchange Israeli civilian hostages for Palestinian terror convicts.

The Times of Israel noted that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) condemned the hostage video as “atrocious terror.”

Hamas and a fellow Iranian-controlled terror organization, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said over the weekend that they would not accept any deal with Israel that did not involve a complete and permanent ceasefire — meaning that Israel would have to accept defeat in its objective of destroying the groups.

Day 74 — Tuesday, December 19

Students Rejecting Early Harvard Acceptance As Antisemitism Stigma Plagues Ivy League Institution

A place at Harvard used to be something to boast about — now students fear it’s a stigma.

Early applicants who received acceptance letters from the university last week are considering applying elsewhere, The Post has learned.

Some are citing concerns about experiencing campus antisemitism, while others worry a Harvard degree could hurt job prospects as employers pledge not to hire its graduates because of the university’s handling of anti-Israel protests.

This year, the school reported a 17% drop in early applications, representing a four-year low. And their acceptance rate creeped up to 8.7% from 7.6% last year.

One driver, according to college admissions consultant Christopher Rim, is students concerned that they may get tainted by the storm around the college’s antisemitism problem.

“I think it’s current events at play,” Rim told The Post. “They’re getting the worst PR ever right now.”

Thirty Harvard student groups sparked outrage in October by signing a letter saying Israel was “entirely responsible” for the October 7 attacks, while the university’s president Claudine Gay has faced pressure to resign after she testified to Congress about campus antisemitism and was forced to apologize afterwards for her disastrous performance.

Rim, who is the founder and CEO of Command Education, says every single one of his clients who applied early to Harvard this year were accepted — but that not all of them are satisfied.

“Normally, once you get into Harvard, my team and I are done. We’re like great, it’s a success, congratulations, goodbye,” Rim said.

But one particular client’s family wasn’t celebrating. Instead of taking their offer from Harvard, the student is now scrambling to send applications to the remaining Ivy League schools, Stanford, MIT, and Emory.

Day 73 — Monday, December 18

Woman Injured In West Bank Shooting Attack; IDF Searching For Terrorists

A 27-year-old woman was moderately injured in a shooting attack on Monday morning near the Palestinian city of Rawabi and the Israeli settlement of Ateret in the central West Bank.

In the attack, Palestinian terrorists fired at least six bullets at two Israeli vehicles, a preliminary investigation into the incident showed. The woman, named in media as Mevaseret Cohen, was determined to be in stable condition by Magen David Adom medics at the scene and was transferred to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for further treatment.

Her husband and the couple’s six-week-old baby were in the car with her at the time of the attack, but both were unharmed. The husband, Yishai Cohen, is a reservist soldier who was on leave from fighting in the Gaza Strip and used his weapon to fire back at the terrorists, forcing them to break off the attack.

Yishai told media at the hospital that their car became caught in a traffic jam due to a slow-moving truck. After the terrorists opened fire from a passing car, they stopped and a gunman got out, approaching their vehicle on foot.

At that point, Cohen returned fire from the driver’s seat.

“My wife was covered in blood,” he said, according to the Ynet outlet.

Cohen said he wanted to exit the car to better fire at the terrorists “but it was more important to protect the life of my baby in the car.”

Mevaseret Cohen’s mother, Tamar Amar, told media at the hospital that the baby boy was born while his father was serving in Gaza. Her own son, an officer in the elite Maglan commando unit, was injured on the first day of the war in October but has since returned to the front.

Amar lamented that the security situation in the West Bank “is exactly what they are doing to us in Gaza,” referring to the spike in violence in the region.

The IDF said that it was conducting a manhunt for the gunmen, who fled the scene of the shooting.

In a statement, it said that forces “have launched a pursuit after the terrorists and are placing roadblocks in the area.”

Day 73 — Monday, December 18

A Time Of High Anxiety For American Jews: Jewish Institutions Receive 199 Threats In Just 24 Hrs, Causing Evacuations

Hundreds of synagogues and Jewish institutions across the United States received bomb threats by email this weekend, in a substantial acceleration of a months-long spree of hoax threats.

The Secure Community Network, which coordinates security for Jewish institutions nationwide, said early Sunday that it had tracked 199 threats over the past 24 hours, with nearly 100 in California and 62 in Arizona. Synagogues in at least 17 states plus Washington, D.C., were affected, according to local media reports.

None of the threats were deemed credible after local investigations. But some of them caused significant disruption: A Boulder, Colorado, synagogue evacuated its Shabbat morning services on Saturday, for example, while a congregation in western Massachusetts canceled its Sunday religious school.

In Alabama, the state’s only Jewish lawmaker, Philip Ensler, posted a video to social media showing the moment that the Torah reading at his synagogue was interrupted and everyone in attendance was ushered outside.

“This is exhausting,” he tweeted. “I pray for the day that we can worship and live in peace.”

Ensler, who is also executive director of the Jewish Federation of Central Alabama, later said in a federation statement that six of seven Jewish institutions in his area had received the threats.

The surge in threats comes at a time of high anxiety for American Jews amid a spike in reports of antisemitic incidents amid the Israel-Hamas war. It also follows multiple arrests of people who have been charged with sending bomb threats targeting Jewish and other institutions, including a minor in California last week and a man in Peru in September.

Hundreds of synagogues have received bomb threats since the latest spree began over the summer, including during the High Holidays. The arrests do not appear to be blunting the threats.

“Unfortunately, there is reason to believe that this nationwide trend will continue in the foreseeable future,” the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey told community members in an email on Sunday afternoon sharing news of at least five threats in the area.

Day 73 — Monday, December 18

Freed Israeli Hostage Warns Soldiers Not To Go Into Hamas Tunnels: ‘It’s A Colossal Danger’

A group of recently released hostages and their relatives met with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and war cabinet minister Benny Gantz Saturday evening.

One of the freed hostages, quoted by The Times of Israel, relayed the fear that captives endured daily and the lingering trauma they’ve experienced since their release.

“Every passing day is terrifying. You have no idea what kind of monsters we are dealing with. If they’re feeling threatened, they will use the captives. They scared us that the IDF would use the Hannibal Directive on civilians, and therefore we were scared when the [IDF] bombings were close,” the unnamed individual was quoted as saying, referring to the IDF’s use of heavy fire if a soldier is abducted – even at the risk of killing the soldier.

“They were so close that we begged them to take us [from the building in which we were held] into the tunnels [for safety], and at one stage, they did,” the subject said, before warning the soldiers: “Don’t go into the tunnels. They are moving around in there in vast numbers. It’s a colossal danger to soldiers and to hostages.”

Day 72 — Sunday, December 17

Gallant Warns Hezbollah: Israel Can Do In Beirut What It Is Doing In Gaza

If Hezbollah wants to step up attacks on Israel, the IDF will preemptively increase its operations fivefold, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned in a visit to reservists stationed in the northern city of Metula on Sunday.

In his visit to the 91st Division, Gallant stressed that the Israeli government will do everything in its power to bring civilians back to their homes in northern border communities, saying that “we will not allow their displacement for much longer.”

The defense minister said that Israel “will bring everyone back, whether it is through force or a [diplomatic] agreement. We do not want war but we will not keep this situation going. If Hezbollah wants to take this up a level, we will take it up five levels,” he added, in a direct warning to the Lebanese terror organization.

Gallant told reservists that Israel can “copy and paste” what it is doing to Hamas in Gaza onto Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“What we are doing in Gaza, we can do in Beirut,” the defense minister said in Metula. “If we will be dragged into a violent conflict, a war, [Hezbollah] will pay a heavy price.”

Day 72 — Sunday, December 17

Analysis — Is It Ever ‘Contextually Justified’ To Mass Murder Jews?

One would have to live in a cave, ignoring current events, not to be aware of the massive surge in global antisemitism. People are not even hiding behind any sort of narrative to cloak their Jew hatred anymore. It’s out on the streets, out in academia, out in Hollywood and definitely out on university campuses. The most arrogant display of antisemitism on campus is, without a doubt, what just took place at Harvard recently. It was not an isolated incident since it also occurred at the University of Pennsylvania, where its president was forced to resign and at MIT. The president for all three schools appeared before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce to answer some questions about the alarming rise in campus antisemitism. All three presidents couldn’t find it in themselves to condemn Hamas for its murders of Jews.

Unfortunately, in the case of Harvard, the outcome was very scary, at least for the time being, and it is concerning for Jewish people on three levels. On that topic, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz wrote“The recent spate of rabid anti-Semitism on so many campuses has posed enormous challenges to this new breed of university presidents. For the most part, they have failed miserably to meet these challenges, as reflected by the big three who testified so ineptly.”

We live in the postmodern era punctuated by DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion). It seemingly promotes fair treatment of all people, especially those who have a history of being misrepresented, under-represented or even abused. DEI happens to be discrimination in the cloak of equality, and somehow, the Jewish people usually get the short end of the stick.

Day 71 — Saturday, December 16

Netanyahu Warns That Terrorist Riddled Gaza Is A Picture of What A Palestinian State Would Be

At the Tel Aviv press conference, Netanyahu is asked by a reporter why he did not withdraw from the Oslo Accords, given that he keeps criticizing them.

“I inherited the Oslo Accords,” he says. “The decision to bring the PLO from Tunis, and plant it in the heart of Judea and Samaria [West Bank], and in Gaza, was a decision made and implemented before I became prime minister. I thought it was a terrible mistake and I still do.”

Turning on the reporter, he says: “You and your journalist friends have been blaming me for almost 30 years for putting the brakes on the Oslo Accords, and preventing the Palestinian state. That’s true,” he says.

“I’m proud that I prevented the establishment of a Palestinian state because today everybody understands what that Palestine state could have been, now that we’ve seen the little Palestinian state in Gaza. Everyone understands what would have happened if we had capitulated to international pressures and enabled a state like that in Judea and Samaria, surrounding Jerusalem and on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant describes his own role in the 1990s as a senior IDF officer in Jenin tackling terrorism, and reducing it to a low. Then came the Oslo Accords, “and after a short time, 500 armed Palestinian policemen landed” in the Jenin area, “another 5,000 elsewhere in Judea and Samaria and 7,000 in Gaza.” That started a process with dire consequences, including the vast proliferation of weapons. “The Oslo Accords started that process” and the accords were rife with errors, Gallant says.

Day 71 — Saturday, December 16

Israel's War Cabinet Set To Discuss Gaza Hostage Release Deal

Israel’s war cabinet is set to convene on Saturday evening to discuss a reported deal to rescue more hostages from Gaza captivity, Israel media reported.

According to the report, the deal discussed in talks between Mossad chief David Barnea and Qatar includes the release of elderly men and civilians in exchange for ‘senior’ Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel.

jerusalem post

Day 71 — Saturday, December 16

'Elaborate Hamas Ambush' Used Dolls, Children's Backpacks, Crying On Speakers To Lure IDF Toward Explosives

Israeli soldiers foiled “an elaborate Hamas ambush” that used dolls and children’s backpacks rigged with speakers playing sounds of crying to lure them into a terrorist tunnel in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said Friday.

Footage released by the IDF showed the alley where the ambush would have been staged.

“Here in every corner were … explosives,” an IDF soldier explained in an official video.

The forces subsequently found children’s dolls and backpacks with speakers to imitate crying sounds and songs, the footage showed.

“The goal is to draw us in to look for, to see these things … they play voices in Hebrew so we’ll think there are hostages and missing persons here. In order to draw us into the area that’s rigged with explosives,” the soldier explained while gesturing at the pile of troubling objects.

“There’s ammunition and weapons here, explosives hidden in UNRWA bags,” he added, referring to the UN agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees.

“Hamas anti-tank and intelligence positions were also located in the area, along with an extensive network of explosives aimed at targeting IDF troops,” the statement concluded.

The footage of the scuttled ambush was released on the same day that the IDF shared graphic footage of a Hamas terrorist being killed inside a tunnel in northern Gaza.

new york post

Day 71 — Saturday, December 16

Analysis — Amir Tsarfati: The Fig Tree Is Alive: Are We Among The Generation That ‘Shall Not Pass Away’?

Heaven and earth will pass away, but Jesus’ words will not pass away. Just like God said through Isaiah: “The flower fades, the grass withers, but the Word of God stands forever” (40:8). Wow!

So, Jesus stopped His entire description of the end times of Israel to tell His disciples, “Now listen. I want to talk to you now, not as Israel, but as My followers. If you follow Me, you can escape destruction. And, if you’re following Me and alive to see the fig tree blooming… that’s it! That’s the last generation.” Wow!

Before we talk about the fig tree, let’s talk about the word “generation.” Scholars, theologians, teachers, and pastors have pondered and debated about the timeframe of a generation. Some say it’s 20 years, some 30 years, some 40 years, others say longer.

But none of those answers are correct. We need to understand that biblically, a generation has always referred to the longevity of mankind. That means the time between conception and natural death. So, the average lifespan of a group of people living at about the same time constitutes the length of a generation. Before the Flood, the Bible tells us the average lifespan of a man was over 900 years. Today, if a man makes it to 100, he’s a celebrity.

So, which generation was Jesus talking about when he said, “this generation shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:34)? He was speaking of the generation that will see the fig tree come back to life. Wow!

I believe He is referring to believers who witness the most significant end-time prophecy: the “rebirth” of the fig tree—the rebirth of Israel.

Day 71 — Saturday, December 16

UK Government Launches Probe, After School Asks Students If Hamas' Oct. 7 Attack On Israel Was 'Fair'

A school is being investigated after its teaching material asked pupils if Hamas‘ terror attack on Israel was ‘fair’.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said she was left horrified to see educational material attempt to ‘justify’ the murderous attacks on October 7 which left more than 1,400 dead and hundreds kidnapped.

In slides that were shared on Mumsnet, pupils at the unnnamed school were asked if it was ‘fair for Hamas to attack’ the Jewish state, and were then invited to give their opinions on the conflict.

Ms Keegan said: ‘I’m horrified to see this. Hamas are terrorists. Their actions are indefensible and anyone encouraging support for them should feel the full force of the law.’

The Education Secretary added: ‘Extremism has no place in education and I have launched an urgent review.’

The Mumsnet user who first shared the material  said their child was shown 11 slides on Israel taking land and Palestinian suffering.

In posts seen by MailOnline, the parent claimed the material built up a very ‘one-sided’ picture of the conflict.

‘By contrast, there is one line on the Holocaust and two lines on the October 7 attacks.’, they added.

They then claimed to have demanded a meeting with the head, adding: ‘To me, this is inviting students to justify terrorism.’

Ms Keegan has previously been dragged into discussing the issues surrounding the war in Gaza after pupils were found to have missed lessons and were instead participating in protests backing a ceasefire.

The Education Secretary said schools should treat such classroom absences ‘with the utmost seriousness’.


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