News Digest — 1/26/24

Israel Estimates Temporary Ruling From ICJ Won’t Demand An End To Fighting

The International Court Of Justice (ICJ) is expected on Friday (26th) to announce its decision on South Africa’s lawsuit demanding that Israel end its war against the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

The war dubbed “Swords of Iron,” began on October 7, after thousands of Hamas terrorists and Gazan civilians infiltrated Israeli territory, murdering 1,200, kidnapping over 240, and raping, murdering, dismembering, beheading,, and torturing their Israeli and foreign victims.

The Friday (26th) decision, the first in a process which is expected to last years, has no real influence on the war, but could deal severe damage to the international support Israel has received from its Western allies.

Meanwhile, Israel estimates that the ICJ will take some sort of position on the matter, but that it is very possible that the ICJ will not demand a cessation of the fighting.

However, Israel is preparing for all possibilities, including an order to collect and preserve evidence, an order to allow an external investigation of the fighting in Gaza, and an order which would demand increased humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in Gaza.

On Thursday (25th) The New York Times reported that Israel declassified War Cabinet protocols to prepare its response to the ICJ ruling.

Also on Thursday (25th) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, about the conflict in Gaza.

Meanwhile, in a statement,  State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller reaffirmed support for Israel’s right to ensure the terrorist attacks of October 7 can never be repeated. 



Gallant Tells IDF Soldiers: ‘Hamas Is Collapsing In Its Own Gaza Tunnels’

“Hamas is collapsing within its own tunnels,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said to soldiers of theYahalom unit of the Combat Engineering Corps in a visit to the unit training base on Thursday (25th), according to the Defense Ministry Spokesperson’s Unit.

The Defense Minister debriefed with Chief Engineering Officer Lt. Col. Yoav Turkansky and the Commander  of the unit, Lt. Col. A., on the unit’s activities in the war to locate and destroy terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

After the debriefing, Gallant expressed his appreciation to the soldiers in active duty and reserve units for their efforts in the ongoing war.

“There is no place I go in Gaza – the central camps, Khan Yunis, wherever I go, I meet the fighters – and they talk to me about Yahalom,” he told the soldiers.  “The commandos of the battalions, brigades, and divisions, and this is due to your presence everywhere and at the forefront of the operation.”

“”Unfortunately, this operation has costs, and the unit has paid a heavy price,” he continued.  “On the other hand, the results are clearly seen – Hamas dug tunnels to use them against us with all kinds of methods – but in reality, Hamas is collapsing into its own tunnels that it dug with great effort.  Every place they thought would be a trap for IDF soldiers became an area where we defeated them in various ways.”

Hamas has suffered hundreds of casualties underground as a result of your and your friends’ operations.  And besides, we’ve only been here for a day and a half, yet we have had over 100 terrorists who have come out, surrendering, some of them underground, in the Khan Yunis area, and in other places – because they understand that they can’t fight against the IDF.  It’s thanks to you and your friends.”

“This is an expression of the need for our systematic and strategic operations,”  he stated, lamenting October 7 and reaffirming the IDF’s mission. “We have not forgotten what happened on the seventh of October; whoever killed our children, raped our women, and kidnapped our elders, we will take their heads.”

“We will not be able to strike everyone in Hamas, but we will reach a point where we dismantle this organization; it will not control Gaza, and it will not have military force,” he assured them.

“Persevere, do your work, and we will bring the result.  There is a lot of appreciation for what you are doing throughout the state of Israel, in the public, and certainly in the security establishment and the IDF.  I thank you very much friends; I wish you all much success,” he concluded his statement.



IDF Strikes Iran-Hezbollah Airport

The IDF on Thursday (25th) attacked a key Hezbollah-Iranian airstrip in Kilat Jaber, Lebanon, that was used for launching aerial attacks against Israel, in a major escalation between the sides.

Last September, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant revealed pictures showing the joint Hezbollah-Iranian terrorist airbase in southern Lebanon about 12 miles from the Israeli border.

“The Iranian flag can be seen flying on the runways at the terrorist airbase, which the ayatollah’s regime is using to plot against us,” he said at the time.

“Put differently, the land is Lebanese, the control is Iranian, but the target is Israel,” Gallant said.

“Israel must remain aware and at the ready, with our eyes set on the binoculars and our fingers on the trigger,” he said.

“Iran remains the greatest threat to Israel, although it sometimes uses Hezbollah and other proxies to fight its wars against the Jewish state,” Gallant said.

Last week The Jerusalem Post was present when top defense officials were asked about when the base would be struck, and they dropped hints that such an attack might not be far off, without committing to any timeframe.

The IDF also attacked a series of Hezbollah targets in the areas of Tzur and Mahira in Lebanon.

Earlier Thursday (25th), Hezbollah launched two “hostile aerial objects” into Israel that fell harmlessly near Kfar Blum, the IDF said.

In addition, the IDF attacked other Hezbollah locations in Lebanon using artillery and mortars.

There were no rocket sirens in the North on Thursday (25th), and as of press time, Hezbollah had not yet responded to the IDF’s major power move against its airstrip.



85 Years Later, President Herzog  Hosts Kindertransport Survivors – Draws Link To October 7

Dozens of people braved the miserable weather on Wednesday night (24th) to attend a ceremony at the President’s Residence commemorating 85 years since the initiation of the Kindertransport operation, alongside President Isaac Herzog and the Kindertransport survivors.

Few of the attendees, including the children and grandchildren of survivors, would have been there in Jerusalem on the cold rainy evening had it not been for the Kindertransport, which smuggled nearly 10,000 children out of Nazi-controlled Europe to great Britain via train and boat after the Kristallnacht pogrom on November 9, 1938.  The transports ended with the outbreak of war in September 1939.

The children who escaped were placed in British foster families, schools and hostels all over the country.  They were able to grow up in peace and safety and, in the cases of those gathered around Herzog on Wednesday (24th), move to Israel and establish homes in the Jewish state.

The survivors who attended the event, which was held in partnership with the Holocaust education program International March of the Living only three days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day (which is the 27th), were Miriam Szpiro, Aliza Tenenbaum, Tova Gorfine, Henry Foner, Walter Bingham, Prof. Daniel Reis, Paul Alexander, Freida Schalkowski, George Shefi, along with Barry David, the son of Ruth David, who died three weeks ago.

The ceremony was originally scheduled for early November, to coincide with the anniversary of Kristallnacht, but was delayed due to the Israel-Hamas war, which broke out one month earlier on October 7 when Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel and killed some 1,200 people – the most Jews killed in one day since the Holocaust.

Herzog noted the connection between the Holocaust and the horrors of the October 7 massacre: “We have with us survivors of the Holocaust…who to our great sorrow were also witnesses to the horrors of October 7, and were once again, displaced from their homes.  This day is about educating the whole world about the dangers of hatred and anti-Semitism in particular.  We have seen where this can lead – and on October 7, we got a terrible and painful reminder.”

“This is a truly moving event,” continued Herzog.  “It is moving to see survivors after 85 years, to hear the personal stories of each and everyone of you, and the Zionist story of each and every one of you.  But it is especially moving because of the period in which we find ourselves.  International Holocaust Memorial Day is not only about remembering the past, it is about our shared responsibility to the present and the future.”

To that end, three of the survivors traveled with the International March of the Living to retrace their journeys from Germany to the Netherlands and finally to England.  The trip, which took place immediately after the atrocities of October 7, was filmed for a special documentary that was screened at the President’s Residence.

“The news and the horrific sights from Israel accompanied us all throughout the journey, “said Walter Bingham, who made the journey along with George Shefi and Paul Alexander.  “We never dreamed that in our lifetime we would see such a terrible pogrom against Jews, and in the Land of Israel.”

“The generation of the Holocaust, those who saw with their own eyes the horrors of Nazism, we owe you a debt of gratitude for your resilience and hope,” Herzog told the survivors.

“We are here to say clearly, to you, dear children of the Kindertransport, we will never forget your heroism.  We will never forget your bravery and resilience, and how you built your lives, and helped build the State of Israel.  May the memory of the six million of our sisters and brothers be eternally etched on all your hearts.”



Why Are People More Agitated By The Gaza War Than By Any Other? – Brendan O’Neill

This week, Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said there is a dearth of political concern for the poor people of Gaza.  I’m sorry, what?  There have been more public displays of sorrow for the people of Gaza than for any other people caught up in a war as far back as I can remember.  Solidarity with Gazans is virtually mandatory at dinner parties across the land.

We’ve seen think-piece after think-piece about the pain of the Palestinians.  Bourgeois youths have hit the streets every weekend to register their compassion for Gazans and their hatred for Israel.  MPs have made tub-thumping speeches on the need for a ceasefire.  Palestinian flags fly from lampposts .  The keffiyeh has become the fashion item du jour for the ostentatiously virtuous.

The real question is not why people are silent on Gaza (they’re not), but why they seem so much more agitated by this war than by any other in recent times.  There’s been a tsunami of media coverage on Gaza.  Far more than there was  for the Saudi-Yemen war, every African war of recent years, or the horrific return of Azerbaijan-Armenia hostilities last year.  Our activist class have obsessively devoted themselves to the cause of Gaza, to the exclusion of every other issue on earth.

Where were these people when tens of thousands of Muslims, including Palestinians, were slaughtered in the war in Syria?  Or when the mullahs of Iran massacred hundreds of their own citizens for the sin of standing up for women’s rights?  Do the lives of young women in Iran who want to show their hair in public have a “different value” to the lives of people in Gaza?  The lives of Syrian dissidents?

Why did they not make as much noise over those violent assaults on Muslim life as they have done over Israel’s war against Hamas?  Because it is only when the Jewish state is involved in the loss of Muslim life that people take to the streets in vast numbers. 



Israel’s Arab Citizens Feel Lucky – Bassam Tawil

Hamas’ October 7 atrocities did not distinguish between Jew and Arab.  At least 20 Arab-Israeli citizens were murdered by Hamas terrorists on that day or by Hamas rocket attacks in the ensuing days.  Moreover, several Bedouin men and women were abducted by Hamas.  It is no wonder, then, that an overwhelming majority of the Israeli-Arab public opposed the Hamas attack.

A study conducted by Nimrod Nir of the Adam Institute and Dr. Mohammed Khalaily among the Arab public showed that most Arabs support Israel’s right to defend itself and even expressed a willingness to volunteer to help civilians who were harmed during the Hamas attack.  The study showed that almost 80% of Israeli-Arabs opposed the Hamas attack and 85% opposed the kidnapping of civilians.

IDF Sgt. 1st Class (res,) Ahmed Abu Latif, 26, a Muslim citizen of Israel, was killed on January 22 during the fighting in Gaza.  Abu Latif represented a shining example of coexistence and unwavering love for Israel.

Israeli Arab Blogger Nuseir Yassin, popularly known as “Nas Daily,” posted two days after the Oct.7 massacre: “I realized that if Israel were to be “invaded” like that again, we would not be safe.  To a terrorist invading Israel, all citizens are targets…And I do not want to live under a Palestinian government.  Which means I only have one home, even if I’m not Jewish: Israel.”  

The Palestinians living under the corrupt Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza can only envy Israeli-Arab citizens who live in Israel, where they enjoy democracy, freedom of expression, access to superb healthcare, educational institutions and careers, as well as a thriving economy.