News Digest — 10/26/23

IDF Tanks, Troops Push Into Gaza Strip Ahead Of Ground Offensive

Israel Defense Forces deployed a limited ground incursion into Gaza overnight, sending infantry forces and tanks into the northern part of the Strip, the military said Thursday morning (26th).

The “targeted raid” appeared to be the most significant ground offensive into the Palestinian enclave since war broke out earlier this month, as the IDF prepares a full-scale invasion to eliminate the Hamas terror group that rules the Strip.

According to the IDF, the raid, led by the Givati infantry brigade – was part of preparing the border area for the “next stages of the war,” referring to the full ground offensive promised by Israeli officials.

Troops struck “numerous” terrorist infrastructure, and anti-tank guided missile launch positions, and operated to prepare the battlefield,” the army said.

Soldiers returned to Israeli territory after the raid.

The incursion went beyond near-daily “localized raids” soldiers have been carrying out on areas near the border to search for bodies of missing Israelis and to clear the ground of explosives left behind by Hamas terrorists from the October 7 onslaught.

Those raids are carried out with smaller numbers of forces and do not go deep into the Gaza Strip as Thursday’s (26th) raid did.

Israel says its war with Hamas is aimed at destroying the Iran-backed terror group’s infrastructure, and has vowed to dismantle the organization after the Oct. 7 massacres, while minimizing harm to Gaza’s civilians.

Led by Hamas and carried out with other terror groups, the assault saw some 2,500 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air, killing some 1.400 people and seizing at least 224 hostages of all ages, under the cover of thousands of rockets fired at israeli towns and cities.

The IDF has been calling on Palestinians to evacuate from northern Gaza southward, as it intensifies strikes in the Gaza City area ahead of the expected major ground incursion.

In the past day, Israeli jets struck over 250 sites belonging to Hamas including infrastructure, command centers, tunnels, and rocket launchers, the army said.

Navy forces also struck a Hamas surface-to-air-missile launch-position next to a mosque and kindergarten, in Khan Younis, the army said.



Binyamin Region: Jewish Shepherds Attacked By Arabs – One In Serious Condition

 Palestinian Arabs assaulted two Jewish shepherds with rocks on Thursday morning (26th) near the Rimonim junction in the Binyamin region.  One of the shepherds, approximately 25 years old, was seriously injured, and the second was lightly injured.

They were treated by Hatzalah medical teams and were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Volunteer EMT Netanel Bukaya, who was one of the first responders at the scene, said: “According to eyewitnesses, the two men were injured as a result of being struck by rocks that were thrown at them.  Together, with IDF medical teams, we treated them for their injuries, prior to being transported  to the hospital for definitive care.  One of the injured individuals was in serious condition, and the other was in moderate condition at the time of transport.”

Initial investigations by security authorities found that the shepherds were attacked by Arabs who were in the area under the guise of olive harvesters and waited for them.

The assailants, together with the olive harvesters, fled to the nearby village of Deir Jarir.



Prime Minister Netanyahu: ‘All Hamas Men Are Dead Men Walking –  In Gaza And Abroad’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the press following a meeting of the war cabinet at the IDF Central Headquarters Wednesday (25th).  “All Hamas men are dead men walking, above ground, below ground, in Gaza and abroad,” Netanyahu  said at the opening.

“Together with Defense Minister Gallant, Minister Benny Gantz, the Chief of Staff, and the heads of the Defense Branches, we are working around the clock to reach the goals of the war, until victory, without political considerations,” he added.

“We eliminated thousands of terrorists, and that’s only the beginning.  We are preparing for a ground incursion.  I will not specify how and how much, and what the considerations are,  most of which are not known to the public at all,” Netanyahu stated.

“When we enter Gaza, we will take the full price from the Hamas-ISIS murderers,” he emphasized.

For the first time, Netanyahu mentioned his responsibility for the failures that led to the war.  “Citizens of Israel, we will investigate what happened thoroughly.  The failures will be checked thoroughly.  Everyone will have to give answers   Myself included.   But that will happen afterward.  As Prime Minister, I am responsible for ensuring the state;s future.”

Regarding recompensation for Gaza envelope residents whose homes were destroyed by the terrorists, he stated: “We will not leave anyone behind financially, we will raise the villages from the dust, and we will rehabilitate the communities.”

Netanyahu declared the National Day of Mourning for the victims of the Hamas massacre will be set in the future.  “The soul of the nation is bleeding.  The destruction of the lives of 1,400 murdered is like a barrage of arrows in our hearts.  The government will set national days of mourning for the terrible tragedy.”



Hamas Launches Long-Range Rockets At Eilat And Haifa

Hamas expanded the scope of its rocket attacks Wednesday (25th), targeting the Israeli cities of Eilat and Haifa.

One long-range rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip Wednesday (25th) setting off the sirens in communities near Haifa, including in the towns of Daliyat al-Karmel and Kerem Maharal, the IDF said.

The IDF later confirmed the projectile had exploded in mid-air, preventing any damage or casualties.

The Hamas terror group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it launched a R160 missile, which is believed to have a range of 100 miles.

Hamas has launched long-range rockets several times during the war that began on Oct.7, setting off sirens in northern Israel. 

Hamas, accused by Israel of receiving direct support in the current conflict from Iran, also claimed responsibility for launching a long-range rocket Wednesday (25th) from the Gaza Strip towards Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city.  The rocket did not trigger sirens or cause any injuries or damage, as it landed in an open area.

These developments mark an alarming expansion of Hamas’ capabilities.

Historically,  the group’s rocket attacks have predominantly targeted Israeli towns and cities closer to the Gaza Strip or in central Israel.

However, these recent attacks on Eilat and Haifa represent a significant geographic expansion of the areas under threat from Gaza.

The situation is further complicated by rocket attacks from other neighboring countries, such as Lebanon and Syria.

In anticipation of potential conflicts reaching cities like Haifa, medics have prepared an underground hospital.

“Because now the tension in the north is building, we were asked by the Ministry of Health to prepare the underground facility,” Dr. Michael Halberthal, director general of the Rambam Health Care Campus that runs the operation, told Reuters.

A total of 2,000 beds have been laid out in the Sammy Ofer Fortified Underground Emergency Hospital on three floors. Each of them covers about five acres.  In peacetime, they are parking lots.



US House Of Representatives Approve Resolution On Support Of Israel 412-10

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday (25th) overwhelmingly approved a resolution expressing support for Israel in its war against Hamas.

The resolution, titled “Standing with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists,” passed by a majority of 412 to 10.

Nine of the ten “No” votes were by Democrats: Reps. Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Andre Carson, Al Green, Summer Lee, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Delia Ramirez, and Rashida Tlaib.

The lone Republican “no”vote was from Rep, Thomas Massie.

The resolution states that the House of Representatives “stands with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists, reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense and condemns Hamas’ brutal war against Israel.”

The resolution also calls on all countries to unequivocally condemn Hamas’ brutal war against Israel, and “calls on Hamas to immediately cease these violent attacks and safely release all living hostages and return the bodies of deceased hostages.”

It further “reaffirms the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security, including through security assistance in accordance with the 2016 US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding” and urges full enforcement of the “Taylor Force Act,” which cuts United States funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it continues to pay terrorists and their families.

The resolution also condemns Iran’s support for the terrorist groups and proxies, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, urges full enforcement of United States sanctions against Iran to prevent its funding of terrorist groups, and “stands ready to assist Israel with emergency resupply and other security, diplomatic and intelligence support.”

The resolution was the first one passed by the House after the election of Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) as its next Speaker of the House.



US Secretary Of State Asks UN Security Council: “Where Is The Outrage” Over Hamas’ Barbaric Attack Against Israel?

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the UN Security Council on Tuesday (24th): “We all recognize the right, and indeed the imperative, of states to defend themselves against terrorism.  That’s why we must unequivocally condemn Hamas’ barbaric terrorist attack against Israel – babies riddled with bullets; young people hunted down and gunned down with glee; young people beheaded; families burned alive in a final embrace; parents executed in front of their children; children executed in front of their parents; and so many taken hostage in Gaza.”

“It must be asked – where is the outrage?  Where is the revulsion?  Where is the rejection?  Where is the explicit condemnation of these horrors?  We must affirm the right of any nation to defend itself and to prevent such horror from repeating itself.  No member of this council – no nation in this entire body – could or would tolerate the slaughter of its people…. This council has a responsibility to denounce member states that arm, fund, or train Hamas or any terrorist group that carries out such horrific acts.” (US State Department)



Anti-Semitic Incidents Skyrocket In US, Europe, In Wake Of Gaza War

Anti-Semitic incidents have skyrocketed in both the United States and Europe in the wake of the war in Gaza precipitated by a Hamas invasion of Israel October 7, when terrorists murdered 1,400 men, women, children and babies and took 220 hostages.

The Center on Extremism of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which records anti-Semitic acts worldwide, reported Wednesday (25th) that there has been an almost 400% leap in hate crimes in the US, and a whopping 1,350% jump in London alone, in the UK, compared to the same time period last year.

Overall in Great Britain, the Community Security Trust that helps protect British Jewry has so far recorded 320 anti-Semitic incidents, which is a country-wide rise of 581% 

Germany has seen a 240% increase, and Austria 300%.  In France 588 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported to police, resulting in 336 arrests, the report added.

Venomous anti-Israel demonstrations have also taken place in the Arab world, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia.

In the US,  hate-filled actions were included in some 400 anti-Israel rallies across the United States that have taken place in the last two weeks, with support for Hamas war crimes and violence toward Jews expressed in those protests.

Some of those rallies have taken place on college campuses, where Jewish students are more fearful than ever for their safety, especially in institutions whose administrations have not strongly condemned the support for the Palestinian terrorists.

Another 203 incidents were recorded of physical assaults, harassment and vandalism.  Violent messages against Jews and Israel surged on the popular Telegram messaging app almost 1,000%.

An ADL “heat map” shows that a preponderance of hate acts has occurred in the northeastern US, where most American Jews live, with California taking second place.

“When conflict erupts in Israel, anti-Semitic incidents soon follow in the US and globally,” said ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt.  “From white supremacists in California displaying anti-Semitic banners on highway overpasses to radical anti-Zionists harassing Jewish people because of their real or perceived support for the Jewish state, we are witnessing a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic activity here while the war rages overseas.”

“It is incumbent on all leaders, from political leaders to CEOs to university presidents, to forcefully and unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism and terrorism,” he said.  “This isn’t hard.  Words matter, and while the war in Gaza escalates, we encourage all those in positions of power to use their platforms to condemn hate and terrorism, wherever it occurs.”