Israel Office Daily Update: October 10, 2023
- More than 900 Israelis have been killed; Some 2600 are wounded, 600 of which are still hospitalized; 5,000 rockets fired at Israel; and an estimated 150 Israelis being held hostage in Gaza
- The IDF does not currently regard the situation as a multi-front conflict despite skirmishes in the North
- The IDF has stated that they have sufficient supplies. There are some temporary delays in distribution, but are asking that people not send in supplies
- Some terrorists may still be at large despite Israeli retaking control of territory and border fence
- Israeli media are reporting that all of the major political parties are close to an agreement for a broad emergency national coalition government.
- This morning, President Herzog met with our own Eric Fingerhut and Rebecca Caspi and UJA-Federation of New York’s Eric Goldstein, and thanked “the North American Jewish community for standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel in its hour of need.”
On Day 4 of Israel’s war with Hamas the casualty rate has again risen significantly. Despite several skirmishes in the North, the IDF does not regard the current situation as a multi-front conflict at this stage.
The Home Front
The IDF declared that it has regained control of all cities in the country’s south, and has also secured the entire border fence with Gaza, preventing additional terrorist infiltrations. At the same time, the military warned that some terrorists may remain inside Israel from earlier incursions. On Tuesday afternoon, members of an elite IDF unit killed four terrorists on Zikim Beach. The military says it spotted four armed men and “exchanged fire with the terrorists in the area and eliminated them.” The IDF confirmed that no terrorists have successfully managed to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza since yesterday.
All the Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza border have been evacuated except for individuals who opted to remain in their homes. Most of the population is now staying either in hotels around the Dead Sea or in the center of the country.
Last night, the IDF located 30 missing people near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha in the south, three days after the initial attacks. The group of 16 Israelis and 14 Thais, who were all in good health, had been hiding, having run from Hamas gunmen.
In an indication of the scale of the terrorist invasion that took place on Saturday, the bodies of at least 1500 Hamas militants have been found inside Israel.
The Israeli Government last night also confirmed that it knows the names of all those who are being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza and that at least 50 families have been informed. Watch the disturbing testimony of Avital, an Israeli mother who was kidnapped with her neighbor Adi Kaplon-Vital and her two children. Hamas terrorists took Adi to Gaza and gave the children to Avital who was released and is interviewed here. Adi is still being held by Hamas.
Intensive rocket fire continued throughout the day yesterday, but the frequency of attacks dropped overnight. On Tuesday afternoon, significant barrages have been fired at cities in the center of the country, including Tel Aviv and Herzliya.
For a third straight day, millions of Israelis ran to shelters as sirens blared, and schools and many businesses remained shuttered across the country. The Home Front Command advised all Israeli citizens to keep at least 72 hours’ worth of dry food and water in their shelters. Parents of school-aged children have been advised to remove social media apps from their kid’s cell-phones as Hamas is expected to release graphic videos of some of the hostages shortly, in order to avoid additional trauma.
The death toll, mainly from the first day of fighting, continued to rise dramatically and has now surpassed 900 victims. Of these, some are Arab and Druze Israelis, at least 11 have US citizenship and 2 are Canadian. In addition, 2 Canadians are among the missing. Citizens from other countries have also been killed, including 12 from Thailand and others from the UK, Germany, France and numerous other nations. (See more about American and Canadian victims here).
As is often mentioned, Israel is a small country where “everyone knows everyone.” As a result, it is rare to find an Israeli who does not know at least one person who has been killed. The country is also physically small, and the sounds of fighting and explosions can be heard by vast swathes of the population, on an almost constant basis
Television stations have been broadcasting news 24 hours a day since early on Saturday morning with no commercial or other breaks. During the news and discussions by military and other experts, the names and photos of those killed scroll down the side of screen. Among the dead are the son of the former Superintendent of Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services, the sister of a prominent TV anchorwoman, the son of a former government minister in Naftali Bennett’s cabinet, the Fire Chief of Kiryat Gat, the Mayor of Sha’ar Hanegev, and people’s friends, neighbors and others. Watch here the extremely difficult footage of a young woman explaining how the terrorists live-streamed the murder of her grandmother on the victim’s own Facebook page.
Above all, Israelis are haunted by the almost incomprehensible images of some 260 youth who were slaughtered at a rave party.
Tragically, six close relatives (four young children and their parents) of Doron Almog, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, were murdered in their home by the terrorists. Almog sent the following message to Jewish communities:
“We are in the midst of a war on the state of Israel. A war that was forced upon us by complete surprise, much like the Yom Kippur war. It is a very complex situation that we have never seen before. In all my years in Israel and in the IDF, I never believed that we would reach such a terrible scenario, in which hundreds of innocent civilians are on the front line, many of them murdered and kidnapped, including babies, children, women and the elderly. We are exposed to videos and pictures that show an unprecedented level of brutality of the enemy.
“These are horrific scenes from dark times. Yesterday evening I was informed that six of my family members were murdered in Kfar Gaza: Chen Almog Goldstein, Nadav Goldstein, their daughters: Yam and Agam and their sons: Tal and Gal. The grandfather of the family, Chen’s father, Giora Almog who for over 30 years raised generations of children in the kibbutz, just two weeks ago presided over the memorial service for the five members of our family who were murdered at the Maxim Restaurant in Haifa 20 years ago.
“We are facing a long military campaign, the extent and severity of which we still do not know, so I am asking you to stand by our side and as much as you can. The State of Israel is the state of the entire Jewish people. Those in Israel and those in Jewish communities everywhere.
“Our strength is in our unity” is now not just a slogan.
“I see you and your wonderful dedication. The WhatsApps, the phone calls, the messages, the reporting for duty and the solidarity – it is incredibly moving. The sense of shared responsibility, love and togetherness inspire pride and hope.
“Am Yisrael Chai.”
On Monday morning, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant imposed a complete siege of Gaza, including cutting electricity to the region. And early Tuesday morning, the IDF called on any Gazan resident who can leave for Egypt to do so. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt remains open.
At least 360,000 soldiers have been called up in the largest recruitment of reserve troops in decades. In addition, yesterday the Israeli Air Force airlifted hundreds of troops who were out of the country, in order for them to rejoin their units. The military says C-130 and C-130J heavy transport planes flew to various countries in Europe to bring the off-duty soldiers back to Israel.
Overnight, the IDF struck more than 200 Hamas targets in Gaza, including a weapons storage site in a mosque, an apartment used by Hamas’ anti-tank guided missile forces, and a high-rise tower used by the terror group. See footage of IDF attacks last night here. Earlier in the evening, the IDF said that it has hit 1,707 targets in Gaza since Saturday, including 475 rocket systems, 73 command centers, 23 strategic infrastructure sites and 22 underground targets.
See here for footage of IDF strikes on Hamas naval terrorist targets, as well as photos of IDF Naval Forces in front of the Gaza Strip coast over the last few days. The IDF also believes says that at least 800 terrorists have been killed in the air strikes on Gaza.
In the country’s north, a small armed group of terrorists crossed the border from Lebanon where a gun battle took place with Israeli forces. An IDF helicopter was deployed during the fight where one Israeli commander was killed, and others injured. Hezbollah denied responsibility for the attack. Some Israeli media is reporting that Israel sent a message to Hezbollah (through France) warning that if they attack Israel, the US will retaliate against them and against Syria’s Assad regime. According to that report, President Biden is preparing the ground for Congressional approval of possible action against Hezbollah.
Last night, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the nation and later added remarks in English, which can be viewed here. A short while later, President Isaac Herzog addressed the international community. His remarks can be viewed here. This morning, President Herzog met with President and CEO of Jewish Federations of North America Eric Fingerhut, along with the CEO of UJA Federation New York Eric Goldstein, and Jewish Federations Senior Vice President Rebecca Caspi, to discuss the emergency situation in Israel. In the meeting, President Herzog said, “Israel is under attack and its people are grieving. But the Jewish state has always shown incredible resilience under fire and today is strong, determined and united.” The President specifically mentioned his thanks to global Jewry, “and all the North American Jewish community for standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel in its hour of need.” President Herzog said, “Thank you for all you are doing to speak up, support and defend Israel on the global stage: In the corridors of power, the press, social media and throughout the public arena. We in Israel feel greatly comforted by the fact that the entire Jewish People is with us at this fateful hour.
Israeli media are reporting that all of the major political parties are close to an agreement for a broad emergency national coalition government.
Partners on the Ground
The Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC):
Comments by Taly Levanon, ITC’s CEO:
“We are facing something we never faced before. I’m an old-timer and yet I’ve never seen anything like this,” While some have compared the current war to the surprise Yom Kippur attack that devastated Israel exactly 50 years ago, Levanon says this is worse. “On Yom Kippur, the attack was aimed at the army. This is the first-time civil society has been targeted with the purpose of harming civilians.
“The impact, is huge because people are witnessing terrible things they have never witnessed before, not only in real time in their own communities, but also in extremely disturbing footage on social media showing the mistreatment of captives. Adding to everyone’s anxiety is the lack of reliable information about how many Israelis have been kidnapped, and what’s happened to them.
“We are all preparing for unprecedented situations – hundreds of funerals, thousands of wounded. Breakdowns in the communication infrastructure are leaving Israelis scrambling to find information about their loved ones, while many wives and children are coping alone due to the national call-up of reserve soldiers.
“We are witnessing tremendous distress among first responders and emergency volunteer teams, especially where infiltrations occurred, and we are receiving requests for help in delivering tragic news [because] many paramedics and police officers have been injured or killed. Although we work with people in the South all the time, you never get used to it. There’s a lot of work ahead of us.”
The people of Israel are currently experiencing a terrible reality, filled with unbearable tragedy and uncertainty. We know that the hearts of our friends in North America are filled with hurt and worry and we know you are eager to step up and assist, because that is what we do at Federation. Jewish Federations’ Israel office is currently looking into volunteer opportunities for those who wish to come help out. We hope to have more information to share with you once initial situation and needs assessments have been made.
Meanwhile, Jewish communities around the world are expressing solidarity and support for Israel. See this article on “The many ways American Jews can help Israel right now.”
Nefesh B’Nefesh, in collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Health and the Israeli Medical Association, is creating a database of international physicians willing to volunteer in Israel during this challenging time. See here for details.
The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) is providing daily in-depth and inside analysis, sponsored by Jewish Federations and the Jewish Agency. A rotating team of top analysts of Israeli military affairs, the US-Israel relationship, Israel’s political system and the country’s diverse society, will speak Sunday to Thursday, 11:00 – 11:30a.m. EDT by Zoom. Join here.
Our Israel Office, having activated emergency protocols, is working closely with our partners on the ground, and is close contact with the Government of Israel and the IDF. We will continue to update as the situation develops.