News Digest — 11/3/23
Nasrallah Builds Up Expectations Ahead Of Friday Speech
Interest increases ahead of a speech announced by Hassan Nasrallah, scheduled for Friday (3rd). This will be Nasrallah’s first public statement since the war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, and people are filled with theories about what he will say.
As Hezbollah has already been embroiled in low-key fire exchanges with the IDF for almost a month, many think he’ll announce an expansion of the conflict, while others believe that’s not possible, considering the USS Ford aircraft carrier is still resting in the eastern Mediterranean, looking to see if anything boils over on the Israel-Hezbollah front.
Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi on Thursday (2nd) said Israel was prepared for a fight on multiple fronts, and member of the war cabinet, Benny Gantz said he did not recommend to the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah, to begin a war with Israel. IDF spokesperson, Brigadier General Daniel Hagari warned that the IDF was on full alert and prepared for any development. “We will respond forcefully to anyone who tries to destabilize the northern front,” he said.
It appears that Hezbollah is going out of its way to ramp up expectations ahead of Nasrallah’s speech, presumably at his behest. A promotional video shows Nasrallah walking down a hallway with his back to the camera, with the Hezbollah symbol parading in the background. It announced Nasrallah will speak in a ceremony celebrating “Martyrs who died on route to Jerusalem.”
It bears mentioning Hezbollah has given plenty of clues about their intentions after Oct. 7, and Nasrallah has already met several Hamas and PIJ officials to stress the importance of unity among their ranks and the continued cooperation of the Resistance Axis.
A new document by Hezbollah released on Wednesday (1st), said: “This is part of our determination aside from Palestine, to support al-Aqsa – we’ve taken up arms. Victory is ours and a new morning beckons.”
However, Lebanon is apprehensive about going to war with Israel. “We’ve had enough of wars in Lebanon and we choose peace, yet the decision on whether we go to war lies with Israel,” Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Wednesday (1st).
The financial crisis plaguing Lebanon in the past few years has taken a toll on the population. Lebanese al-Akhbar said on Thursday (2nd) that should war break out, national institutions would be teetering on collapse, forcing the country to rely on UN assistance, just like they did after the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut in 2020.
Two Israelis Injured In Rocket Attacks From Lebanon
Two Israelis were wounded in the Upper Galilee city of Kiryat Shmona on Thursday afternoon (2nd) as terrorists in Lebanon fired a barrage of rockets across the border.
“IDF attack planes and helicopters struck targets of the Hezbollah terrorist organization in response to the rocket barrage that was carried out from Lebanon,” the Israeli military said Thursday (2nd).
Several rockets hit the city of Kiryat Shmona causing fires, according to Israeli police.
The Magen David Adom emergency medical service said that its paramedics evacuated two wounded Israelis to Ziv Medical Center in Safed. A 25-year-old man was moderately wounded and a 40-year-old sustained light injuries, MDA reported.
Hamas in Lebanon took responsibility for the attacks, saying it fired 12 rockets “in response to the massacre of our people in Gaza.”
Earlier on Thursday (2nd), Israeli forces struck a terror cell in southern Lebanon as Hezbollah continued its daily attacks across the border that began after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre.
On Tuesday (10/31), Amwaj.media, a website based in the United Kingdom, reported that the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force was on the ground in Lebanon.
The report cited multiple sources as saying that Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani arrived in Beirut on Oct. 8, left for consultations on Oct.16 and then returned on Oct. 20, and has remained in Lebanon ever since.
“The focus of his mission, informed sources say, is to help coordinate a possible broader confrontation with Israel,” according to the report.
IDF Chief: Israeli Forces Have Gaza City Surrounded
The Israeli Air Force is bringing less than half of its capabilities to bear in Operation Swords of Iron, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said in a televised statement on Thursday afternoon (2nd).
The IDF significantly advanced and is now “in the heart” of the ground operation of the northern Gaza Strip.
“Israeli forces have been operating in Gaza City.” Halevi said, adding, “that it has been surrounded and encircled by the forces.”
“Fuel will move into hospitals across the Gaza Strip only under strict Israeli supervision,” Halevi also said.
“We still haven’t allowed for fuel to go in,” Halevi said when asked by a reporter on the state of the fuel crisis in the Strip. “For over a week, they have been saying the fuel is about to run out and it has not run out yet.”
“Fuel will be sent to hospitals with supervision, we will do everything to make sure it is not used for Hamas military purposes.”
Later on Thursday (2nd), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a statement stressing that the Prime Minister/s Office had not approved any transfer of fuel into Gaza.
On Thursday evening (2nd), Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke about the Gaza tunnel system, saying, “Israel has ‘unique’ solutions to the problem of Hamas’ underground tunnel system inside Gaza, and has the capabilities to reach all the tunnels and destroy them underground.”
The defense minister further noted that Israeli forces are in the midst of “tough battles” inside the Strip but that Israel has a “distinct advantage.”
Terrorists Kill Father Of Three In West Bank Shooting Attack
A shooting attack on an Israeli vehicle in the West Bank Thursday (2nd) killed Sgt.-Maj. (res) Elhanan Ariel Klein, after his car overturned.
Klein, 29, was married with three children, and was from Enav in the West Bank.
One year ago, Klein received an excellence-award for killing a terrorist. While driving, he noticed a man throw a brick at an Israeli vehicle near Beit El, who then tried to open the doors of the vehicle. Klein neutralized the terrorist.
According to Ynet, he said at the time of the award ceremony: “I felt that I acted correctly and from wanting to protect my people. I am happy I prevented an incident that could have ended very differently.”
Thursday’s attack occurred near the Beit El intersection, close to Enav and Shavei Shomron. Klein was wearing his IDF uniform when the terrorists overtook his vehicle, and fired at it. Klein lost control, veered off the lane and the vehicle flipped over. He was declared dead at the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics.
The IDF began an immediate search for the killers, closing off roads in the area.
A security source told Ynet: “In a comprehensive operation to thwart terror attacks since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, we have succeeded in preventing dozens; unfortunately we did not succeed in preventing this one. Their hours are numbered, we will find them and those who helped them… and bring them to justice.”
Israel’s Multi-Level Air Defense Network
Israel’s Arrow air defense system successfully shot down a long-range missile from Yemen headed toward Eilat this week, while David’s Sling intercepted a medium range missile headed from Gaza to Haifa, and the Iron Dome continues to knock down shorter-range missiles in the south and center from Gaza.
The use of these systems during the current war has showcased Israel’s aerial, multi-tiered defense.
While the Iron Dome has received most of the media coverage this past decade, the Arrow is the top tier of Israel’s missile shield, according to the IDF.
Last week it was announced that the Arrow missile defense system shot down a ballistic missile for the first time, in this instance, fired at Israel by Houthi terrorists – Iran’s proxies in Yemen.
The Arrow system, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries in conjunction with the Israeli and US defense establishments “demonstrated today that Israel possesses the most advanced technology for defense against ballistic missiles at various ranges,” said IAI CEO and President Boaz Levy.
In 2017, it shot down a Syrian surface-to-air-missile that missed Israeli aircraft.
Uzi Rubin, “the father of the Arrow,” and a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Security and Strategy, said that the ballistic missile from Yemen was a more difficult target and was the quality of target for which the Arrow was produced.
Rubin, who is also associated with the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said that the Arrow’s use in 2017 was more of an out-of-the-box use of the Arrow, which had not really proven that it would be successful against a higher-quality threat, like ballistic missiles.
The Iron-Dome has previously been the main tool for shooting down lower-quality short-range rockets from Hamas, and occasionally from Hezbollah.
First developed in 2011, it is considered to be the most advanced air-defense system in the world.
David’s Sling, in the middle tier, can intercept a wide variety of airborne threats, in particular cruise missiles.
According to Rubin, Israel can now present to Iran and the rest of the region that it has a fully operational missile defense against ballistic missiles.
And Israel managed to shoot down the long-range missile while defending against threats on other fronts: the South, the North, and ongoing conflicts in Judea and Samaria.
Israel was recently forced to activate its David’s Sling medium-range air-defense system as well, having to expand beyond its frequent use of the Iron Dome. As sirens sounded in northern Israel communities near Haifa, residents nearby could hear the explosion of the intercepted missile shot from Gaza toward the coastal city.
Hamas launched at least one Ayyash 250 rocket – a two-year-old weapon believed to be the longest range projectile that the terrorist group possesses, with an operational range of 155 miles – according to local media reports.
Together these three defense systems protect Israel and its roughly 8,500 square miles of territory from artillery, drones, rockets and missiles.
Outside of these multi-range defense systems, Israel is also one of approximately 20 countries that operates the MIM-104 Patriot missile defense battery, which is a US-made truck-mounted surface-to-air missile system.
“Today, Israel is protected by a multi-leveled defense array, which includes the Arrow-2, Arrow-3, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome active defense systems,” according to the Ministry of Defense. “Together they defend Israel against various airborne threats.”
We Are Not Asking For Anyone’s Permission To Exist – Amb. Dror Eydar
Let’s talk about public diplomacy. We don’t have to apologize anymore. We will no longer allow anyone in the world to harm Jews. Period. Without trying to find the reasons for the rage of those who would harm us. We will not participate in this sickening game of attempting to understand evil. Those looking to understand the psychopathology of the Gazans are like those who look for reasons why the Nazis gassed Jews.
In the wake of Oct.7, the game is over: Anyone who harms Jews or Israeli citizens can have only one fate – to leave this world. A society that murders 1,400 Israelis in all sorts of cruel ways and holds hundreds of hostages should be under complete siege until the hostages are released. We are not asking for anyone’s permission to exist, nor are we asking for legitimacy to defend ourselves.
Few in Israel now talk seriously about a Palestinian state. No sane person would agree to allow a society that sees the genocide perpetrated by Hamas and the residents of Gaza against Jews as normal to establish an independent political entity on the mountain range that looks over Israel’s large population centers. Were we to do so, we would see in Judea and Samaria what happened in Gaza, multiplied a hundred-fold.
The writer served as Israel’s Ambassador To Italy.