25 days into the war with Hamas and our progress continues. Israeli troops have moved further into northern Gaza and, according to reports, have now surrounded Gaza city. Some senior Hamas commanders have been neutralized and large portions of the far northern strip have been cleaned of terrorists although some still literally “pop up” from time to time. The incursion seems to be moving forward with strong air and sea support as well.
Overnight, Hamas released a propaganda video of three female hostages. Only one of them spoke and related how they are being treated after which she went on a rant about her anger with the Israeli government in not protecting them and not getting them out of captivity. She closed with an emotionally laced attack on the Prime Minister as well. Hamas repeated its offer to release all (now) 240 hostages if Israel will agree to the release of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Israel has said this is not acceptable without unconditional surrender on the part of Hamas.
As of today, there are over 250,000 Israelis who have been displaced by the massacre and subsequent fighting. All are being housed in hotels around the country which are, of course, bereft of tourists at this time.
Rocket barrages continue to emanate from Gaza into the south and center of Israel. On the northern border there were 6-7 interchanges during the day, mostly mortars from the north to which Israel responded with artillery fire. In other developments, Israeli fighter jets shot down drones over the Red Sea that were directed at Eilat from Yemen. This is the first time that Israeli aircraft, using the Arrow missile system, have engaged Yemeni weaponry.
On the issue of humanitarian aid to Gaza, today 80 truckloads of inspected and approve supplies were let in to Gaza from Egypt via the Rafah Border Crossing. Israel has demanded and certified that no fuel was included in those trucks. The hope is that by tomorrow or Thursday the transfer will reach 100 trucks per day which is the maximum capacity that the crossing can handle.
On the US side of regional action, there was a rocket attack on a US based in Iraq to which the American troops responded.
Worldwide the level of antisemitic attacks continues to rise. College campuses across America seem to have become hotbeds of anti-Jewish activity masquerading as anti-Israel activity. On some campuses locations like Hillel where Jewish students gather, have been shuttered for the safety of the community. In Turkey a sign in a restaurant in Istanbul that boldly states “No Jews Allowed” is reminiscent of the worst experience of Jews in Europe in the 1930s and 40s.
Some solace about our present situation can be gleaned from Exodus 17:14-16 which reads: “Then the LORD said to Moses, write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD Is My Banner, saying, a hand upon the throne of the LORD! The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
I heard Rabbi Aharon Adler, Rabbi Emeritus of our congregation here in Jerusalem opined that the by the good LORD saying that we will have war with Amalek or his kindred spirits in every generation is a signal to us that we will survive each one and will live to fight the next incarnation of our enemy symbolized by Amalek. So, we will win this one as well but we know this will not be the last war we will have to fight.