Dispatches from Israel provided by Forbes Israel.
IDF claims significant achievements against Hamas as ground operation expands. IDF troops operating deep in Gaza have taken control of important Hamas government centers and military posts used for terrorist activities. Those facilities include Hamas’ government complex; the headquarters of the military police; the building of the “Hamas parliament,” the Legislative Council; the “Palestine” outpost, used for training, command and control of attacks and terror operations; and an outpost of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which housed a weapons manufacturing site.
The IDF also uncovered heavy long-range rockets, UAVs, many other warfare capabilities and intelligence materials, as described by IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari. Meanwhile, IDF troops searching the buildings and grounds of Al-Shifa Hospital have discovered tunnel entrances, weapons and other military equipment.
Israeli naval commandos have gained operational control over Gaza’s main and largest seaport. Until recently under Hamas control, the port served as a training facility for its “naval commandos,” who used it for terrorist purposes, including maritime attacks and landing terrorists on Israeli beaches on October 7.
On Saturday, the IDF responded to the Al-Shifa hospital director’s request to allow Gazans sheltering in the hospital who wished to evacuate to the humanitarian crossing in the Gaza Strip. The IDF emphasized that it did not request the evacuation and that it had offered other hospitals safe medical evacuation as well as food, water and humanitarian aid. The IDF delivered more than 6,000 liters (about 1,600 gallons) of water and more than 2,300 kg (about 2.5 tons) of food to Al-Shifa Hospital yesterday.
The IDF last Thurday announced the discovery of the body of Yehudit Weiss in a building near Al-Shifa hospital that also contained military equipment and weapons. Weiss, 64, who was informed a few months ago that she had cancer, was abducted from her home on Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7 and then was murdered by Hamas. Her husband, Shmulik Weiss, 65, was murdered in front of her eyes that Saturday. On Friday, the IDF announced the discovery of the body of Noa Marciano, a 19-year-old soldier also kidnapped on October 7. Pathology examination has established that she died from multiple bullet wounds inflicted after she was taken hostage.
Ninth birthday in Hamas captivity. As reports circulate of negotiations for a deal to release hostages, including 40 children, the family of one of those children, Emily Hand, recently marked her ninth birthday. Emily was staying at a friend’s house in Kibbutz Be’eri at the time of the terrorist attack during which 103 Hamas terrorists murdered more than 130 people and kidnapped 26.
Intense fighting with Hezbollah continues. The fighting along Israel’s northern border has intensified in recent weeks. The Hezbollah terrorist organization, aided by the Hamas branch under its control in Lebanon, has increased the scope of its attacks against both civilians and military positions, using anti-tank missiles, mortars, drones and rockets. IDF retaliatory fire destroyed an advanced surface-to-air missile system Friday and has killed at least 76 Hezbollah fighters since October 7, according to the terrorist organization.
Hijacking on the high seas. Following threats made last week by the leader of the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the pro-Iranian militia announced Sunday that it has seized a cargo ship in the Red Sea. At the time, there were 25 crew members of various nationalities on board, including Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Filipinos and Mexicans, but no Israelis. The ship, Galaxy Leader, flying the flag of the Bahamas and partially owned by an Israeli businessman and a British company, was chartered to a Japanese trading company. “This is another act of Iranian terror that reflects an escalation in Iran’s aggression against citizens of the free world and has international implications for the security of global shipping routes,” stated the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.
Unprecedented presidential support for Israel. In a speech delivered by US President Joe Biden at the end of a meeting with the President of China, Xi Jinping, the President again expressed his unwavering support for Israel: “Hamas has already said publicly that they plan on attacking Israel again, like they did before, where they cut babies’ heads off…. And so I just ask a rhetorical question: I wonder what we would do if that were the case?” Biden said at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference held in San Francisco.
Demonstrations of support for Israel and against anti-Semitism in the world. In Washington, about 300,000 people participated in a mass support rally, an initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America. At the rally, the largest held in the US in the last 40 years, the crowd called for the immediate release of the hostages, a persistent and real fight against anti-Semitism and the presentation of a bipartisan, united front of support for Israel.
A support performance in Berlin. Photos of more than 200 Israeli hostages held by the terrorist organizations in Gaza were screened on the building of the popular German newspaper, BILD. The 200-square-meter video display, which was projected on the facade of the Axel Springer Skyscraper in Berlin, is an initiative of the Axel Springer publishing house, one of the largest in Europe, known for its support of Israel. “With BILD today, we are sending a clear and visible sign of hope and a clear appeal against anti-Semitism,” said BILD CEO Claudius Senst on LinkedIn.
Tens of thousands participate in a protest march demanding the return of hostages. Approximately 25,000 people joined the final day of a march that began several days ago at “Hostages Square” in front of the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv and ended Saturday in front of the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The demonstrators, carrying Israeli flags and images of the hostages, marched alongside family members of the 236 hostages held captive for more than 40 days so far. On Saturday evening, a rally took place at the Tel Aviv Museum Square, where family members of the hostages urged the immediate release of their loved ones.
“Be’eri Gallery,” an art gallery that had operated in Kibbutz Be’eri since 1986, was burned to the ground during Hamas’ terrorist attack on October 7. The Tel Aviv Municipality is now working to provide the gallery a local cite early next year until completion of restoration work at Kibbutz Be’eri.
By Itai Zehorai, Alan Sacks