News Digest — 11/15/23

5 Terrorists Killed At Al-Shifa, Weapons Found In Hospital

IDF ground troops are currently carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the al-Shifa Hospital.  The activity in this specified area is based on operational necessities, as well as intelligence information that indicates Hamas terrorist activity is being directed from the area.

Before entering the hospital, IDF forces encountered explosives and terror squads and a fight ensued in which multiple terrorists were eliminated.  At least 5 were killed.

In addition, weapons were found in the hospital.

IDF troops have also delivered medical supplies to the hospital, including baby food and incubators for newborns.  IDF soldiers who speak Arabic and IDF medical teams are working to ensure that the supplies reach those who need them.

According to the security authorities, there is no indication that any of the hostages are in the hospital.  The security authorities claim that there is no friction with either the patients or the medical staff in the hospital, and that the attack did not damage the hospital’s electrical grid or communications equipment.

The Qatari publication Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports that the IDF has begun concentrating all occupants of the hospital in a single courtyard for evacuation, and has brought electronic gates and facial recognition cameras to the area to screen all those being evacuated.

In addition,on Tuesday (14th), IDF ground troops located a Hamas training camp containing terror tunnel shafts, classrooms, intelligence material, and dozens of different types of weapons – including rockets and loaded RPGS.

Furthermore, an IDF UAV identified a terrorist cell that exited a building with an anti-tank missile launching post in the northern Gaza Strip.  The terrorists were carrying suspected IEDs, which they planted in the area.  The UAV monitored the terrorists, and struck two of them.



Netanyahu Responds To Trudeau: ‘Hamas, Not Israel Is Deliberately Targeting Civilians’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night (14th) responded to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had blasted Israel earlier saying that  the “killing of women, of children, of babies” in the Gaza Strip. must end.”

“It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust,” Netanyahu wrote in a statement posted to X and in which he tagged Trudeau.

“While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm’s way,” he added.

“Israel provides civilians with Gaza humanitarian corridors and safe zones, while Hamas prevents them from leaving at gunpoint.  It is Hamas, not Israel, that should be held accountable for committing a double war crime – targeting civilians while hiding behind civilians,” wrote Netanyahu.

“The forces of civilization must back Israel in defeating Hamas’ barbarism,” he concluded.

The Canadian Prime Minister had said earlier, “I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint.  The world is watching, on TV, on social media – we’re hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who have lost their parents.”

“The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies.  This has to stop,” the prime minister was quoted as having told a news conference in the western province of British Columbia.

Trudeau spoke to Netanyahu at the beginning of October, a day after Hamas’ murderous attack on Israel, telling Netanyahu that he unequivocally condemned Hamas’ large-scale attacks against Israel and expressed his deep condolences to Prime Minister Netanyahu for the hundreds of lives lost.

The two spoke again at the start of November, when Trudeau “expressed Canada’s support for Israel and its right to defend itself in accordance with international law, in the face of Hamas’ brutal attacks,” said a statement from the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office.

The Canadian Prime Minister was also a signatory to a joint statement by the leaders of several countries who expressed support for Israel’s right to self-defense, while reiterating the need to protect civilians.



Am Yisrael Chai: Israeli President Isaac Herzog Addresses Washington, DC Israel Rally

“In the State of Israel’s darkest moment you stood up and declared: Hineini, I am here.  We are here.  There is no greater and and more just cause than this,” President Herzog said.

Speaking to the attendees of the massive pro-Israel rally in Washington, DC from the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Tuesday (14th), President Isaac Herzog expressed his appreciation and admiration for the Jews and non-Jews around the world who have stood and continue to stand for Israel in the wake of Hamas’ brutal massacre on October 7th.

“Sisters and brothers, I am speaking to you from the single most sacred place in the Jewish world – the Kotel – the Western Wall in Jerusalem,” President Herzog began.  “The Kotel that reminds us that Am Yisrael (The people of Israel), we the people of Israel, are eternal and no one will break us.”

Herzog went on to emphasize the plurality of voices that have spoken up for the Jewish people and the Jewish State.

“Thank you, all people of good will, friends from different communities, faiths and denominations, who have gathered today for this massive show of solidarity.  In the State of Israel’s darkest moment you stood up and declared: Hineini, I am here.  We are here.  There is no greater and more just cause than this.”

Herzog hailed those marching in support of Israel as one giant “mishpacha” (family), dedicated to those hostages being held by Hamas and for every Jewish person’s right to live safely, no matter where in the world they reside.

“Above all, we come together to march for good over evil, for human morality over bloodthirst.  We march for light over darkness,” he said.  “Eighty years ago, Jews came out of Auschwitz and vowed ‘never again.’  As the blue and white flag was hoisted over our ancient homeland, we vowed ‘never again.’’

In the wake of Hamas’ vicious assault in southern Israel, he continued, the world should once again vow “Never again.”

“Since October 7th, Israeli society and the Jewish People have truly come together in unison.  We feel our hearts beat as one.” Herzog declared, “Once again in Jewish history, we demand: Let our people go,” and we’ve labeled the rising tide of anti-Semitism experienced all around the world as “an embarrassment to all civilized people and nations.”

He continued, again demanding that Jews all over the world be able to live in safety and again thanked all the people whether in “communities or on campuses” for opposing hatred.

“Just as you stand with us, we stand with you,” Herzog said.  “Dear friends, as President of the State of Israel, I vow to you from Jerusalem, from the Kotel, that we will heal, we will rise again, and we will rebuild.”

Concluding, the Israeli President added, “Together we pray for the safe return of our hostages.  Together we pray for the full recovery of the wounded.  And together we pray for our beloved sons and daughters in the IDF.  May God bless them and keep them.  Together we grieve and together we shall overcome.  Am Yisrael Chai.  God Bless Israel.  God Bless America.”



Aliyah Applications See Massive Uptick In Some Countries In Wake Of War

The number of requests to begin the process of aliyah among Jews in the United States and Canada has nearly doubled following the outbreak of the Oct. 7 war and the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the West, Israel Hayom has learned based on information gathered by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and the Jewish Agency for Israel, indicating a clear markable boost in interest to immigrate to Israel.  According to the information, in the first five weeks of the war, 791 new files were opened, compared to 427 in the same period last year.

A significant jump was noted in the aliyah requests submitted by French Jews: 465 applications in France compared to 98 in the equivalent period in 2022.  The data amount to an overall rise of almost 400% in applications.  It is worth noting that an “aliyah file” is typically open for an entire family seeking to immigrate to Israel, so the actual number of prospective immigrants is even higher.  However, not everyone who opens a file ultimately makes aliyah.  In some countries, the figures point to a drop in aliyah trends, including Argentina, Brazil and Russia.

Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer, who provided a government briefing on the state of the Jewish diaspora this week, noted that the increasing interest in aliyah is due to a wave of anti-Semitism sweeping many countries.

“In the early days of the war, the world was exposed to horrors and the murder of 1,200 innocent people by one of the cruelest terrorist organizations that the world has known,” he said.  “But with the start of the war in Gaza, there has been a particularly harsh wave of anti-Semitic incidents worldwide.  Following the dramatic increase in these incidents around the world, we see a rise in requests for immigration to Israel from many Jews,” Sofir continued.

Sofer also told ministers, “We believe there is an unprecedented opportunity to help Jews who want to come to Israel through a special program that will encourage them to immigrate and integrate here.”

Among the steps already planned by the ministry in response to the expected immigration-wave are various housing solutions and targeted programs for those interested in agricultural occupations, where there is a shortage of labor.

“A Jew should feel safe everywhere, but at the same time, we are preparing because Israel is the home of the Jewish people,” said Minister Sofer.



Arab Druze Village Proud To Serve In Israel’s War

In the Druze village of Hurfeish, near Israel’s border with Lebanon, mostly women remain after many men had left to join the front lines of war.  This community in Galilee, brightly adorned with Israeli and Druze flags, has been flush with patriotic fervor since Oct. 7.  The unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel galvanized Hurfeish into action to support the troops.  A local factory was refitted to produce military uniforms.  Cars are dotted with blue and white stickers – the colors of the Israeli flag – bearing Arabic script.

Of the 7,000 villagers, nearly “80% work in national defense.” in the army, police, intelligence, or penitentiaries, said Hassan Rabakh, leader of an armed self-defense group formed after the Hamas attack.  “We are very close to the Lebanese border, at four km. as the crow flies, and in our village we have no fence.  So we have two vehicles constantly patrolling,” Rabakh said.

In the Druze village of Yanuh-Jat, neighboring Hurfeish, hundreds took part in a religious ceremony to honor Lt.-Col. Alim Saad, killed in clashes on Oct.9 with Hezbollah just a few km away.  “He evacuated his soldiers and went back alone,” his brother Kamal Saad, also a soldier, said.  “He sacrificed himself so they wouldn’t do to us like they did in the south.”



US Evangelicals Are Sending Money And Manpower To Israel – Cathryn J. Prince

High above Times Square the images flash: a bloodied pacifier, rope-bound hands, an empty wheelchair, pictures of 240 Israeli people taken hostage by Hamas.  The images are part of Don’t Look Away, a campaign launched by Christians United for Israel (CUFI).  Over a month into the Israeli-Hamas war, American Evangelicals are providing moral and material support to Israel, hosting fundraisers and poster campaigns, and sending volunteers and supplies.

“We have 10 million members.  So many people want to help in a physical way to give Israel and the Jewish people some sense that they are not alone,” said CUFI’s co-executive director Shari Dollinger.  CUFI, founded in 2006, has so far raised $2.65 million for Israeli charities, primarily first responders.  On Oct. 15, member churches shared the same talking points  to their congregations.  CUFI is selling yard signs and unity pins showing an American and Israeli flag together – all proceeds go to Israeli charities.

On Oct. 11, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention issued an “Evangelical Statement in Support of Israel” signed by 2,000 pastors, theologians, and academic leaders across denominational lines.  It said, “In keeping with Christian Just War tradition, we also affirm the legitimacy of Israel’s right to respond against those who have initiated these attacks as Romans 13 grants governments the power to bear the sword against those who commit such evil acts against innocent life.”