News Digest — 10/17/23

Israel Kills 4 Hezbollah Terrorists Who Attempted To Infiltrate North

IDF Chief Spokesman Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari on Tuesday (17th) said that the IDF used airstrikes to thwart an attempted penetration by Hezbollah forces into northern Israel, killing four of the terrorists.

The IDF struck military targets belonging to the Hezbollah terrorist movement on Monday night (16th), as Iran threatened Israel with strikes by Hezbollah and other proxy groups in the region.

The IDF said that the sites targeted were used by Hezbollah to direct terrorism.  The strikes came in response to attacks by Hezbollah against the IDF on Monday (16th).

The IDF strikes in Lebanon on Monday night (16th) came just hours after Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian warned that Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah could launch preemptive strikes on Israel “in the coming hours.”

“In the coming hours, any preemptive action against the Zionist regime is conceivable,” said Amirabdollahian while referencing his recent meeting with Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in an interview with Iranian television.  “The leaders of the resistance will not allow the Zionists to do whatever it wants in Gaza and then go to other fronts of the resistance.”

Former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal also referenced efforts to get Hezbollah to join the war more directly in an interview with Al-Araby TV on Monday evening (16th), saying “Hezbollah has thankfully taken steps, but the battle requires more, and it is in our interest to fight the war together.” 



Herzog At Knesset: ‘Our Enemies Are Looking For Any Hint Of Division Within Us’

Israeli President Isaac Herzog Opened the Winter Session of the 25th Knesset Monday (16th).

Against the background of the ongoing war with the terrorist organization Hamas, President Herzog said, “We are not alone in this war.  We are fighting the war of the family of nations –  of all those who seek justice, peace and liberty –  against an enemy which has made clear that its enemy is humanity itself.”

He added, “Members of Knesset,  there are few moments in the life of a nation when so much is at stake.  When such moments present themselves, they carry with them great responsibility.  The demands and expectations of the remarkable Israeli people are justified.  Expectations of us – the leadership.  Expectations of this House, the Knesset.  Simply put: At the end of this war, we cannot remain as we were at its beginning.  This is true at the political level, at the security level, at the internal Israeli socio-political level.  There is a clear, inherent, obligation to investigate, to review, to draw painful conclusions.  There is no doubt or question about this.  This is vital for any life-affirming country that has endured such an awful disaster.  This cannot, however, undermine the war effort.”

He said, “Even now, in the heat of the battle, as we are still burying our dead – I hear dangerous, increasingly loud voices, which weaken our entire country and place us near the brink – beginning to sow the seeds of hatred and division.  This must not happen.  It cannot.  Our enemies are eager for any hint of division among us.  This is a vital part of their strategy.  And you, ladies and gentlemen, have a critical role in the important duty of keeping us together.  This house must mirror the sense of unity in our nation at this time, the understanding that at this moment in time, there are matters that transcend division and disagreement.”

The Knesset session was interrupted by the firing of a barrage of rockets by terrorists in the Gaza Strip at Jerusalem Monday (16th). Causing the MKs to be evacuated from the plenum to a bomb shelter.  The Knesset session was resumed after about 10 minutes.



4 Rocket Barrages Launched At Tel Aviv In One Day

A barrage of rockets was launched by Gaza terrorists, shortly after 8 p.m. on Monday evening (16th), the third such barrage launched at central Israel Monday.  A fourth barrage was then launched at about 9:45 p.m.

A fire was started by a rocket strike in Beit Shemesh during the first barrage, and a 40-year-old woman was moderately wounded by rocket shrapnel in the Holon area.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Moshe Malka, who responded to the scene, reported, “The injured woman was lying on the road and had suffered injuries from shrapnel to her limbs.  She was given medical treatment to control the bleeding and then transported by ambulance to the hospital.”

No injuries were noted from the second and third rocket barrages, including the fourth.



PA To Give Hamas Terrorists’ Families Close To $3 Million In ‘Pay-For-Slay’

The Palestinian Authority will pay families of dead Hamas terrorists a combined total of around $2.8 million, according to a report by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a non-governmental organization and media watchdog group.

In the current “pay-for-slay” system, called the “Martyrs’ Fund” by the PA, terrorists receive monetary payments as a reward for acts of terror.  The more damage an attack causes, the higher the terrorist or the terrorist’s family is paid.  The PMW reported that a terrorist’s family would be rewarded around $1,500 initially and $353 allowance monthly for life.  The families that the terrorists marry into will receive an even higher amount, the report claims.

The PA will also pay $17,590 to approximately 50 new Hamas prisoners this month, the report said.

The PMW claims that the $2.8 million payments is a low estimate because there will be more “martyrs” and prisoners from the Hamas terror organization.

Furthermore, the PMW accuses the Palestinian Authority, in the report, of receiving funds from the European Union (EU) so that they can make the payments for the “pay-for-slay” program.



Hamas Uses Western Morality As A Weapon Against Israel – Alan Dershowitz

Israel has declared northern Gaza a war zone.   They have given its civilians the opportunity to move several miles south in order to protect themselves from Israeli bombing of legitimate military targets.  In giving civilians sufficient warning to leave, Israel has gone farther than other Western nations at war.  In World War ll, the U.S. did not warn the civilians of Japanese cities (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) that were about to be nuclear targets. Great Britain did not give the civilians of Dresden the opportunity to leave.

Israel is generally held to a higher standard of morality by other governments, the media, and academia.  Hamas knows this and exploits it as a weapon of war.  When dead children are shown on TV, many viewers fail to distinguish between deliberate targeting of civilians and unintentional collateral deaths. Hamas has named this misuse of morality “the CNN strategy.”

Israel must not permit itself to be limited in its preventive military actions by any double standard of morality.  It is an all-out war against Hamas-controlled Gaza, and Israel is entitled, by any fair reading of international law, to do to Gaza City what the U.S. did to Berlin and Tokyo in 1945.  It has warned civilians to leave.  The collateral deaths of Palestinian civilians, caused directly by the Hamas decision to use them as human shields, would be the moral, political, and legal responsibility of Hamas.

Israeli reluctance to violate the double standards imposed on it by friends and foes alike allowed Hamas to re-arm and re-coordinate its military to facilitate the recent horrible massacres.  These brutal attacks against Israeli civilians must change all that.  Israel should apply its own very high standards of morality in deciding how to balance the collateral deaths of Palestinian civilians against the need to prevent the intended deaths of its own civilians at the hands of Hamas.

The writer is emeritus professor of law at Harvard Law School. (Newsweek)



 Half Of Israel’s Hotel Rooms Filled With Gaza War Refugees

Half of Israeli hotel rooms are being used to house families evacuated from communities near the Gaza Strip, where an Oct.7 rampage by Hamas terrorists triggered a cross-border war, the head of the Israel Hotel Association said on Monday (16th.)

Israel has 56,000 hotel rooms and 28,000 are being provided to evacuees with the state footing the bill, said association chief executive Yael Danieli.

She told a parliamentary panel debating compensation for residents impacted by the war that an additional 27,000 from border towns near Lebanon were expected.  The Israeli-Lebanon border has seen an increase in hostilities as the Gaza war rages.

Foreign tourism has dried up since Oct. 7 with many countries operating flights to repatriate their citizens after most commercial airlines suspended flights to Tel Aviv. 

The Dan Hotel chain said its hotels in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Herzliya were being used for evacuees while rival Isrotel said its hotels in the Red Sea resort of Eilat were housing displaced families.

Yogev Gardos, Israel’s budget director, said the country’s initial response was to finance the military’s needs and now it would turn to the economy as a whole.

“Within a few days we will give very sweeping grants to the entire economy, with an outline that will not provide full compensation for 100% of the economic damage because the state cannot withstand this,” he told the committee.

The Jerusalem Post  and OneFamily are working together to help support the victims of the Hamas massacre and the soldiers of Israel who have been drafted to ensure that it never happens again. 

Anyone can be a partner in this project by donating to OneFamily.



NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers Hold Moment Of Silence For Israel

The NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday evening (16th) held a moment of silence for the victims of Hamas’ attack on Israel, before they hosted Israeli team Maccabi Ra’anana for a preseason game.

“Fans in attendance joined the Cleveland Cavaliers and Maccabi Ra’anana in a moment of silence and prayerful thought for the innocent lives lost in the heinous terrorist attacks that occurred last week in Israel,” the Cavaliers wrote in a post on X.

Maccabi Ra’anana is currently on a tour in the United States, playing several NBA teams in preseason action.  Last week Ra’anana visited the Brooklyn Nets, who similarly held a moment of silence for the victims of the Hamas attack in Israel.

“The Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center condemn the terrorist attacks and mourn the senseless loss of life in Israel.  We stand together against terror and our thoughts are with all who have been impacted by these tragic events,” the Nets wrote on X.

In addition, Israeli singer Noa Kirel, who represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest, sang Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, and concluded with the words “Am Yisrael Chai.”

The National Basketball Association (NBA) was one of several professional sports leagues which condemned the attacks in Israel.  The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)  said they “mourn the horrific loss of life in Israel and condemn these acts of terrorism.”

Maccabi Ra’anana will conclude its tour in the U.S. with a game in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night (17th).