News Digest — 3/4/24

Defense Minister: ‘We Will Not End This War Without Eliminating Hamas’

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday (3rd) visited IDF troops on the Gaza border, and heard from the division commander about the ground operation in Khan Yunis and the destruction  of terror infrastructure above and below ground.

“As the result of the extended fighting being carried out on the ground, we are even making contact with eliminated enemy forces, even with the terrorists who are captured and who tell us a great deal, and also with information –  computers, communications rooms, and so on.  This information is examined, investigated, and sends us on to the next locations,” he said.

“We are dismantling neighborhood after neighborhood, and one thing is clear: Every place where the IDF decides to act, the division and the command, does its work, and at the end the result is clear.  There is no one who will help the terrorists.  It is only a matter of our decision regarding what we will deal with first and what we will deal with second.  We will not end this war until we eliminate Hamas,  There will not be such a situation.  There will not be Hamas as a ruling organization no matter how long it takes.

“The entire IDF is experimenting here with things that it did not do for many years, and we are in the middle of this issue.

“The IDF machine is working.  Do your work – you are making an important contribution to this matter, and we have the obligation and the merit, each one in his position, to carry out this task, and afterwards to return home and complete everything after it is all ended.”



Report: Nasrallah’s Grandson Killed By Drone Strike In Southern Lebanon

The grandson of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Abbas Ahmed Halil, was one of the three Hezbollah terrorists killed on Saturday (2nd) by an IDF strike in Naqoura in south Lebanon, according to a report by the Syrian radio Channel Voice of the Capital on Sunday (3rd).

This is yet to be confirmed by official sources, but the report cites the same attack in which the IDF announced that three Hezbollah operatives were killed in a vehicle in southern Lebanon after it was attacked by an Israeli drone strike.

The Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper Al Manar also reported the airstrike in the village of Kila in southern Lebanon and artillery strikes in the villages of Aitaroun and Belida, which are close to the border with Israel.

Israeli strikes since October have killed more than 200 Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon, while attacks from Lebanon into Israel have killed a dozen Israeli soldiers.  Tens of thousands of Israelis and Lebanese have fled villages on both sides of the frontier.

Hezbollah signaled this week that it would halt its attacks if Israel’s Gaza offensive stops,  but it is also ready to keep on fighting if the Gaza war continues.  

Also, on Friday (1st), Hezbollah announced the deaths of four of its members killed in Lebanon.



Hamas Collects $100 Million A Year From Iran

Hamas collects about $100 million a year from Iran and roughly $600 million a year in taxes in Gaza, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday (3rd).

The report noted that Israel’s military operation in Gaza has deprived Hamas of the tax funds, its biggest resource of funding, and as a result, foreign funding, including from charities, is now critical for the group, Western officials said.

Israel and the US are at odds, however, over which charities are linked to Hamas and which are funded purely for humanitarian work in Gaza.  One example cited by The Wall Street Journal is Michigan-based LaunchGood, a nonprofit that crowdsources funding for some of the largest Muslim charities in the world.  Israel’s National Business Bureau for Counter Terrorism Financing lists a number of fundraising campaigns hosted by LaunchGood which Israel says are tied to Hamas.

The US hasn’t taken action against any of the campaigns or charities on the fundraising platform.  LaunchGood, which disputes Israel’s allegations, said it has established a vigorous compliance program in part because of the special scrutiny that Islamic groups have come under in the US.

As for Iran, it has long been known that it is one of the main benefactors of Hamas and has transferred hundreds of millions of dollars to the group and its leader Yahya Sinwar.

After years of strained ties between Hamas and Iran, the relations appeared to have improved in 2017, when Hamas leader Ismail haniyeh thanked Iran for its “unlimited” support for the Al-Qassam Brigades and its contribution to the development of Hamas’ military capabilities,

Former Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri, who was eliminated in Lebanon not too long ago, made several visits to Iran in recent years in which he met with senior officials including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, another indication that the rift is over.



 House Bill Proposes Official U.S. Recognition Of ‘Judea And Samaria’ Instead Of ‘West Bank’

A new bill in Congress aims to stress the holiness and ancient Jewish history of the Holy Land,

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) introduced the “Recognizing the Judea and Samaria Act” on Feb. 29th.  The legislation would require all official U.S. documents and materials to reference “Judea and Samaria” rather than the West Bank.

“The Israeli people have an undeniable and indisputable historical and legal claim over Judea and Samaria, and at this critical moment in history, the United States must reaffirm this,”Tenney stated.

The congresswoman , whose bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Randy Weber (R-Texas) and Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), said that the Biden administration was “misguided” to “revoke the Pompeo Doctrine,” a decision which “undermines our greatest ally in the Middle East.”

“This bill reaffirms Israel’s rightful claim to its territory.  I remain committed to defending the integrity of the Jewish state and fully supporting Israel’s sovereignty over Judea and Samaria,” Tenney stated.

The NY Republican noted that the terms “Judea and Samaria” date to ancient times, to the Kingdoms of Judea and Samaria.

“In 1967, after Israel’s Arab neighbors launched the Six-Day War, Israel reclaimed Judea and Samaria from Jordan.  The term “West Bank” is used to delegitimize Israel’s historical claim to this land,” she stated.

In November 2019, then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria.

“Recently, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reversed this position stating the Biden administration’s disappointment in Israel’s recent decision to expand its settlements in the region,” Tenney stated.  “This condemnation comes in spite of the fact that under the Oslo Accords, in a bilateral agreement between Israel and Palestinian representatives, Israel was granted full military and civilian control over the majority of Judea and Samaria.”

On Oct. 8, the day after Hamas’ terrorists attacked Israel, Tenney introduced the “Operation Swords of Iron” Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act.

“Fifty years ago, the US was reluctant to support Israel during the Yom Kippur War.  We can not make the same mistake today,” she stated at the time.



An Immoral Hostage Deal – Jonathan S. Tobin

For nearly five months, the Jewish world has been calling for the release of hostages taken by Hamas during the October 7 massacres in Israel – all of them.  But as ongoing negotiations for the release of the more than 100 Israelis still being held captive by Hamas in Gaza continue, something is missing from the discussion of the proposed terms for such a deal – a moral compass.

Trading the lives of innocent Israeli civilians who were kidnapped from their homes on Oct. 7 for the release of Palestinians who have been convicted of acts of violence against Jews, including murder, is a bizarre and immoral concept.

The hostage releases are supposed to be strung out over weeks as part of a process in which Hamas can play with the emotions of Israelis families as they hope and pray that their relatives will be let go – and that they are among those still alive.  Hamas doesn’t want to include captured soldiers, particularly female soldiers, in the early stages of the deal, preferring to hold them as bargaining chips for even higher prices.

President Biden’s talk of the need for a holiday pause in the Gaza fighting for Ramadan is off-base since no one in the international community seems to think it was wrong for Hamas to start a war on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah.  (Israel Hayom – JNS)



Why Does The World Tolerate Barbaric Hamas? – Arnie Singer

When ISIS conquered large parts of Iraq and Syria, the U.S. led a coalition to defeat ISIS.  They did not quit until they defeated ISIS because everyone understands that ISIS is a threat to freedom and its tactics were barbaric and inhuman.  The same thing should be happening against Hamas, which is as barbaric and vicious as ISIS.  There’s no difference between them.

Why isn’t the world forming a coalition to defeat Hamas, even diplomatically, to try to stop Hamas, cut off all their funding, cut off all their supplies, cut off all their support, and bring them to their knees?  Instead, the world is supporting negotiations with Hamas and is condemning Israel.  They are demonstrating against Israel and trying to force Israel to cease fire, to let Hamas continue as a viable terrorist organization that can repeat the attacks of Oct. 7

Why is the world doing that?  Because, in this case, it’s the Jews  who are the targets of the barbarity.  And when Jewish lives are at stake, apparently Jewish lives don’t matter.   (Times of Israel)



Jewish Man Attacked Outside Paris Synagogue; Another Stabbed In Zurich

French authorities were searching for an assailant who attacked a man leaving a synagogue in Paris, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said late Saturday (2nd).

Darmanin said the attack on Friday evening (1st), allegedly targeting a man in his early 60s, was “a new antiSemitic attack that occurred in Paris.”

“Everything is being done to apprehend the perpetrator of this unspeakable act,” Darmanin said in a post on X, Saturday evening (2nd).

A statement from the Paris public prosecutor’s office said an assailant was seen physically and verbally assaulting a 62-year-old man, wearing a Jewish skullcap, as he was leaving a synagogue Friday (1st) at around 5: 30 p.m. local time in Paris’ 29th arrondissement.

A witness saw an assailant hit the victim, who fell on the ground and briefly lost consciousness, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement emailed to the Associated Press.  A witness reported to the police that the assailant shouted  an ethnic slur at the man under attack.

The victim was transported to a hospital for treatment, the statement said, adding that the perpetrator fled on foot.

The attack came hours after Darmanin said he had ordered police prefectures around the country to “immediately strengthen protections” of Jewish communities, particularly around schools and places of worship.

A sharp rise in anti-Semitic acts in France has been reported in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza.  Data from the French Interior MInistry and the Jewish Community Protection Service watchdog  showed that 1,676 anti-Semitic acts  were reported in 2023 compared to 436 the previous year.

The number of such attacks are on the rise across Europe.

In Switzerland, a 15-year-old was arrested on suspicion of stabbing and critically wounding an Orthodox Jewish man on the streets of Zurich, police said Sunday (3rd).

Police said they have stepped up security measures at Jewish sites in the city following the attack.

The extra security was put in place for “specific locations with a Jewish connection,” police said, following discussions with local Jewish organizations.  They gave no further details.

Jonathan Kreutner, general secretary of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG), told Swiss television that physical attacks on Jewish people in the country are rare.

“A case like this is really a new dimension,” he said.

Last month, the SIG raised concern about attitudes toward Jewish people after local media reported police had opened an investigation into a sign in Hebrew displayed by a business in Davos that declared “Jews are barred from renting ski gear.”