Nineteen days into the war the Israeli government has released updated statistics on the conflict. To date 1,400 Israelis have been killed, 5,240 have been injured and Hamas has taken 223 hostages of which just four have been released.
7,840 rockets have been launched against Israel of which 550 fired by Hamas have landed in Gaza itself, thereby killing their own citizens. If we assume that 50% of the rockets fired at us were not neutralized because they were not headed for populated areas, and that the Iron Dome protective system is just 90% effective, that means that we took out 3,528 rockets. Each time we fire an interceptor rocket it costs us $50,000. The cost to us is $176.4 million in just 19 days. That is, of course, an academic figure, as the US has kept us supplied with replacement materiel as needed without immediate cost. Bless them for that.
Speaking of US support for Israel, US MM-104 patriot missiles were deployed in all areas of Israel over the past days. These systems will augment the Iron Dome capability and US military personnel oversaw the strategic placement of those units throughout the country.
Finally, the Defense Department in a briefing earlier announced that in addition to the two aircraft carriers positioned off Israel’s coast, the 119th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron of the New Jersey Air National Guard has been deployed to the region adding additional F-16 fighter strength to the US presence here. It would certainly be appropriate for those of you living in the US and inclined to do so, to send a letter of thanks to President Biden for his unflinching and consistent support of our efforts here without which we would have trouble maintaining he fight against Hamas.
The Israel Defense Forces continue to encounter Hamas terrorists within Israel or trying to get into Israel. Yesterday IDF naval forces neutralized 10 Hamas terrorists attempting a landing near Zikim in the south of Israel. The terrorists entered the water from underground tunnels and as soon as they were spotted by the IDF they were killed and their equipment destroyed.
Over the last 24 hours the IDF targeted Syrian mortar launch positions and launched attack drones directed at Lebanese positions. Earlier today Hamas launched longer range rockets aimed at Eilat and Haifa which both reached the cities but thankfully, there were no casualties.
Ordinarily, I don’t post social media material. However, there was a delegation at the United Nations on Tuesday of Israeli families who have relatives who are hostages in Gaza. The following video is of the parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who is being held in Gaza by Hamas, and who, it is believed, was grievously wounded by terrorists before he was kidnapped. His parents, Rachel and Jon, who live near me in Jerusalem and are also originally from my North Suburban Chicago area community where I lived from 1964-1984 have asked that this video be shared far and wide. Please take the six minutes to watch it.
Finally, the ground incursion still remains on hold. The Chief of Staff of the IDF said at a press conference earlier that it was still being planned but was being delayed for strategic reasons.
On Sunday evening in San Antonio, Texas, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest Zionist organization in the US with 11 million members, held its 49th annual night to honor Israel. The Israeli Consul General to the Southwest and the Israeli Ambassador to the UN both participated. The overflow audience demonstrated their support for Israel and, in addition to the speeches and appropriate songs, prayers were recited by clergy of both communities for which we here are all grateful. To date CUFI has raised over $2m in relief funds for Israel during this period.