Israel News

News Digest — 7/8/24

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

IAF Carries Out Massive Overnight Strikes On Gaza Strip, Ground Troops Kill Over 30 Terrorists

IDF ground troops killed over 30 terrorists in the Rafah area in the past day, while overnight, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out strikes in the center of the Gaza Strip, the military said on Monday (8th).

Following Palestinian reports of IDF strikes in Jabalya, the military confirmed at around 01:00 a.m. that it had attacked Hamas targets in the central Gaza Strip.

The Al-Ahli Baptist hospital in the Zeitun neighborhood located in the south of Gaza City, where the IDF has already operated in earlier stages of the fighting, was evacuated during the night.  Palestinian media and Al Jazeera reported unusual attacks in Mamdan in the city’s industrial area and also in the neighborhoods of Al-Tufah and Shejaiya.

The military said late on Monday (8) that during the overnight strikes, it had targeted Hamas terror infrastructures used by the terror group to carry out terror attacks against troops.

In one of the strikes, an aircraft targeted a Hamas sniper who took part in terror activities against IDF soldiers, the military added.

Later on Monday (8th),the IDF said that troops of the 162nd Division killed over 30 terrorists in the past day who posed a threat to troops in the Rafah area.  In addition troops located tunnel shafts and confiscated weapons.

In Khan Yunis and Gaza City, IAF aircraft struck two launch bases which were ready for launch, aimed at Israeli territory.

In Shejaiya, troops of the 98th Division destroyed terror infrastructure and eliminated dozens of Hamas terrorists who took part in anti-tank missile and rocket units of the terror group.

Early on Monday (8th), the IDF reported that a combat officer from the 82nd Battalion, “Golan Storm” Brigade 7, was severely wounded in combat in the northern Gaza Strip and was evacuated  for medical treatment.  His family was notified.

Later, the IDF reported that an Israel Air Force fighter jet had successfully intercepted a suspicious aerial target that had made its way toward Israel from the Red Sea.  The target did not cross into Israel, and no warnings were issued according to policy.



IDF Lieutenant In Rafah: Hamas Is Completely “Weary And Demoralized”

Lt. Oriel Mashiach, commander of the Sabar Battalion in the Givati Brigade, provided some insight to Maariv on Sunday (7th) into the combat operations in Rafah: “We are conducting very intense combat.  Rafah is devoid of civilians, and what we see are the terrorists.”

“We encounter a weary and demoralized enemy,” he emphasized.  “We have full control in the area and it seems that the enemy struggles to fight.  We face individuals who move independently.  They operate on their own, tired and exhausted; some surrender upon seeing us, while others engage in suicidal actions.”

Lieutenant Mashiach and his Givati soldiers  have been fighting since October 7.  However, he stressed that  “Every soldier understands the mission and its significance.  Our mission is to bring the hostages home.  This burns in every soldier.  We will continue the mission until we complete it, however long it takes.”

“Hamas has learned IDF tactics and attempts to ambush buildings,” he added on Hamas’ operations in Gaza.  “But we study the enemy well.  Through investigations after each battle, every activity, we learn a lot from attack to attack, do our homework, and operate in such a way that missions are carried out to protect our soldiers.”

The IDF’s ongoing operations in Gaza have significantly weakened Hamas’ military wing, prompting intense combat in Rafah as Israeli forces dismantle infrastructure and adapt to enemy tactics.

The IDF estimated that Hamas’ military wing suffered a particularly severe blow in the nine months of fighting, with many of its units disbanded and destroyed.  This is one of the factors affecting Yahya Sinwar’s conduct in negotiating a ceasefire and the return of the captives.

In Rafah, the IDF is poised to dismantle Hamas’ military operations.  Givati Brigade personnel, alongside combat engineers and Nahal infantry soldiers, have been actively engaged for over a month destroying Hamas’ military infrastructure.



4 Wounded, Including 2 Seriously  In Hezbollah Rocket, Missile Attack On North

Four people were wounded, including two seriously in a series of Hezbollah rocket and missile attacks on northern Israel on Sunday (7th), the military and medical officials said.  An American civilian was among those  seriously hurt. 

In the first attack, on Sunday morning (7th), an Israeli man was seriously wounded after Hezbollah launched a rare barrage of some 20 rockets from Lebanon to target the Lower Galilee, some of the deepest strikes yet into northern Israel.

The terror group claimed to have targeted an Israeli military base just west of Tiberias, some 18 miles from the Lebanon border, with dozens of rockets.

Rockets sirens sounded as far as Sde Ilan, a community located some 21 miles from the Lebanon border.

It marked Hezbollah’s deepest rocket attack in Israel amid the war.  The terror group has launched explosive-laden drones at further ranges previously.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said a 28-year-old man was taken to Baruch Padeh Medical Center in Tiberias with serious shrapnel wounds.

The rocket attack also sparked fires in several areas in northern Israel.  The Fire and Rescue Service said it was battling blazes near Kidmat Galil Industrial Park, Kfar Zeitim, Lavi , and Hazorim.

Hours later, a barrage of some 20 rockets was launched at the Mount Meron area, the IDF said.  Hezbollah took responsibility, claiming to have launched dozens of rockets at a sensitive Israeli air traffic control base atop the mountain.

Footage showed the Iron Dome air defense system shooting down some of the rockets, while others struck the mountain.

Sirens sounded in several towns surrounding the mountain amid the attack, including Beit Jann.

Hezbollah has attacked Mount Meron, located some 5 miles from the Lebanon border, several times amid the ongoing war, launching large barrages of rockets at it, as well as guided missiles at the air traffic control base.

The terror group said the barrages were a response to the assassination of one of its members in an IDF drone strike in northeastern Lebanon on Saturday (6th.

The strike on Saturday (6th) around 62 miles from the Israeli border, killed a key member of Hezbollah’s air defense unit, the military said.

Following the barrages, the IDF said it struck a building used by Hezbollah in Maaroub, in the Tyre district – around 12 miles from the Israeli border – and infrastructure in Naqoura.

In a separate attack on Sunday (7th) three people, including a soldier, were wounded by anti-tank guided missiles fired against an army post near the northern community of Zar’it.

The three victims were taken to Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, where one, an American civilian aged 31, was listed in serious condition.

The other two, an Israeli civilian and a soldier, were lightly hurt, according to the IDF and the hospital. 

In another barrage on Sunday (7th) at least 10 rockets were fired toward the northern city of Safed.  According to the IDF, all of the rockets landed in open areas, causing no injuries.

Earlier in another attack, two anti-tank missiles were launched from southern Lebanon’s Ayta ash-Shab at the Shtula area in northern Israel.

The IDF said no injuries were caused in the attack, and a short while later, fighter jets struck a building used by Hezbollah to carry out the missile fire.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

Israel has warned that it can no longer tolerate Hezbollah’s presence along the border,  with tens of thousands of Israelis displaced from their homes in the north due to the rocket and drone attacks and has warned that, should a diplomatic solution not be reached, it will turn to military action to push Hezbollah northward beyond the Litani River.

While the political leadership has not yet made a decision on launching an offensive in Lebanon and turning the Gaza Strip into the secondary front, the IDF said it continues to target Hezbollah commanders who were behind attacks on Israel.



The Israeli Spirit Is Unmatched Anywhere – Amichai Attali

Opinion: So many people here are willing to put everything aside, sacrifice their businesses and livelihoods, their family lives, vacations and holidays; they are ready, without hesitation, to lay down their lives for others, and this means one thing: We have the best people in the world here in Israel.

Last week,the conversation about emigration from Israel resurfaced.  You see good, efficient, productive and caring people who simply can’t bear what’s happening here any longer.  It’s understandable given what they are going through.  However, it’s worth reminding them of the UN’s World Happiness Report, published in March.  Astonishingly, Israel, even in the midst of war, still ranks in the second decile globally.  Without the war’s impact, we’d be in the top five.

Researchers from the UN broke down the components of happiness and found that belonging, mutual responsibility, meaning, and community are the most crucial elements.  These feelings of belonging and community that we have here can’t be found anywhere else by those who choose to leave.

The mutual responsibility for which Israelis are known – which have reached new heights since October 7 – is unmatched anywhere else.

One indicator examined is the willingness to help a stranger in need and the likelihood of receiving help if you are the one in trouble.  The late Captain Elchanan Kalmanson and Shlomi Kalmanson are a definite answer to this question.

Kalmanson went south on October 7 against every human instinct. While people worldwide flee disaster zones, Elchanan, his brother Menahem, and nephew Shlomi jumped into the fire, rescuing one family after another from burning homes in Kibbutz Be’eri before Elchanan Kalmanson was killed by the terrorists.  This is the level of help given in times of need in Israel during this time. 

The late Captain Adir Portugal is another example of why we stay here, why we will rebuild, and why we will undoubtedly succeed.  Portugal, a recently discharged officer from the Givati Brigade, was on a post-army trip on October 7.  He moved heaven and earth to return.  Because he was recently discharged, he didn’t even have a reserve unit assignment, so he joined a regular battalion and fell in combat in Gaza.

He wasn’t alone.  While young men of draft age in Russia do everything possible to leave the country to avoid being forcibly sent to fight in Ukraine, countless Israelis caught abroad at the outbreak of the war, returned on chartered planes to enlist.  Only in Israel.

Adir, Elchanan and others like them are why we stay here.  Not because we sanctify death, but because this is the human material that lives here and whom we want to be alongside.  So many put everything  aside, ready to sacrifice their businesses, livelihoods, family lives, vacations and holidays.  They are willing to sacrifice their lives, without hesitation for everyone else.

This means only one thing: We have the best people in the world here.  Israel isn’t a perfect place, but no other place has such raw material for work and building.  These months have taught us two main things about ourselves: On one hand, our collective complacency led to an unprecedented disaster.  On the other, we saw this pure Israel spirit that lifts us even from such a calamity.  The Israeli spirit that jumps in unconditionally, without asking questions, and does everything to lend a hand – in combat, helping evacuees, pampering soldiers, fundraising and countless other areas.

All of this compels us to take this enormous blow and turn it into rebuilding.  A national vow to ourselves and our children, that what was, will neve be again.  The mission of rebuilding will be the foundation of lives in the coming years.  We will rebuild Israel as a nation of living heroes, not those revealed only after their heroic deaths in a national failure.

We need everyone for this, including our Haredi brothers in the army and in the workforce – because we don’t have enough soldiers and taxpayers, and the liberal professionals and scientists consider leaving – because we need sharp minds, creativity and innovation.

Because a People with qualities found nowhere else in the world deserve to live in a country like no other.  And it will happen.  It must happen.  We will make it happen.



Can Israel Afford To Stand Up To America? – Melanie Phillips

• The Biden administration has made Israel slow down its attempt to destroy Hamas in Gaza, repeatedly forcing the Israelis into paralyzing ceasefire negotiations that have given Hamas the upper hand and insisting on humanitarian aid supplies, most of which were stolen by Hamas to strengthen itself.

• In addition, the U.S. forced Israel not to take early preemptive action against Hezbollah, in Lebanon, which has launched hundreds of missile and rocket strikes on northern Israel, displacing more than 60,000 Israelis from their homes while burning large swathes of the Galilee.

• Even when Iran fired a barrage of rockets and drones at Israel in April and America and others scrambled to help knock them out, the U.S. stopped Israel from responding “robustly.”

• Against this dire backdrop, Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to America in three weeks to address Congress.  Netanyahu has a moral duty to explain to Congress and the American people the dire consequences of the Biden administration’s appeasement of Iran, why Israel is fighting a war for its survival unlike any other since its foundation, and that the seven-front war against it is merely the opening shot in Iran’s war against America and the West.

• Netanyahu’s critics fail to acknowledge that he is a supremely cautious politician.  He rarely airs his grievances with the U.S. in public.  When he does so, it’s because he feels he has no other option.  That’s why he addressed Congress in 2015 in an attempt to head off President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.  It’s why he outed the Biden administration for holding up the delivery of weapons essential to the war effort.

• His intended audience isn’t just U.S. lawmakers and the American people.  It is also the Arab and Muslim world.  For what inspires aggression and war in the Middle East is above all, the perception of weakness.

• If Israel is seen to be bullied into surrender, the Arab and Muslim world will smell that weakness.  The Arabs may accordingly retreat from their recent historic overtures of friendship or Iran will move in for the kill.  It is therefore essential that Israel is seen to be standing up to America.

The writer is a columnist for The Times (UK)