January 25, 2024
- Jewish Federations have produced a new backgrounder that details our emergency allocations in the area of Young Children.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Activities
- With the death of 21 IDF soldiers on Tuesday, Israel suffered its worst loss of life incident since October 7. The troops came under attack in the southern Gaza Strip when an explosion destroyed two buildings with soldiers inside them. The buildings, close to the border with Israel, were being rigged for demolition by IDF troops when Palestinian gunmen fired an RPG at a tank securing the forces. A second blast then occurred in the buildings, possibly as a result of a second RPG, leading to their collapse. The soldiers were destroying structures and Hamas sites as part of the army’s efforts to establish a buffer zone to allow residents of Israeli border communities to return to their homes. See the names of all 21 who fell, as well as the reactions of Israeli leaders here.
- While fighting has subsided in much of the Gaza Strip, large battles continue in the city of Khan Younis where many believe that the hostages, as well as senior Hamas leadership, are located. The IDF killed dozens of terrorists in the city during raids on military sites, uncovered tunnels, and eliminated terror cells. Earlier today, troops in the area killed numerous terrorists in the area by sniper fire and also destroyed terror infrastructure and weapons.
- Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met yesterday with newly graduating IDF commanders, and discussed reports in the media that victory in Gaza was “not achievable.” In response, he said, “My main expectation is nothing less than total victory. There is no substitute for victory. I hear in the studios, analysts, and all kinds of commentators: 'It is impossible' and 'It is not necessary.' It is possible and it is necessary, neither do we have a choice. Total victory. These monsters will be thoroughly defeated to the end.…What is important, in my view, is your spirit. Your spirit is the spirit of the people of Israel, of the citizens of Israel. I want you to know that I rely on you and I believe in you.... [E]ach one of you carries on your shoulders the destiny of the people of Israel and the State of Israel.”
- The number of Hamas rocket attacks on Israel remains low; it has not exceeded ten rockets in over a week. Today, the first rockets were fired in four days. They caused neither damage nor injuries.
- In the north, Hezbollah continues to fire at Israeli targets. According to many reports, in response, the IDF has killed numerous senior Hezbollah and Iranian figures in both Lebanon and Syria. Israel has not confirmed that it was responsible for those attacks.
- In the Red Sea, the US, the UK, and Israel continue to defend against attacks by the Iran-back Houthi rebels in Yemen.
- For the second straight day, protesters, including relatives of hostages held in Gaza, have gathered at the Kerem Shalom crossing to try to prevent relief trucks from entering the Strip; they are demanding that aid be cut off until the captives are freed.
- Conflicting reports suggest that Israel and Hamas could be on the verge of a new deal that would see a staggered release of hostages alongside a break in fighting for two months, as well as a mass release of Palestinian prisoners. However, other reports deny that such a deal is close.
- It is believed that 132 hostages remain in Gaza. The IDF, citing intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza and elsewhere, has confirmed the deaths of at least 28 of them, Hamas has also been holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands plans to issue its ruling in open court on Friday at 7 am ET on South Africa’s request that it order Israel to stop its war in Gaza. See more here.
- Meanwhile, new evidence has revealed what appears to be a network of several South African organizations and straw-man companies that are deeply involved with funding Hamas activities through the Al-Quds Foundation, an international group that has been both sanctioned by the US and outlawed by Israel. They are using accounts registered in major local South African banks, including Standard Bank, Nedbank, and Absa.
- British Foreign Secretary David Cameron told Prime Minister Netanyahu that more aid trucks must be able to enter Gaza and that an immediate humanitarian pause is needed to help those who are now trapped in a “desperate situation.” Cameron, who is presently on a visit to the Middle East, during which he has met separately with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, announced that Britain and Qatar are working together to get more aid into Gaza. They are sending an initial joint consignment of tents; they are being flown into Egypt today before traveling by road to Gaza.
Stories of Heartbreak, Heroism, and Hope
- “No one recognized me,’ Fauda actor Idan Amedi said as he was released from hospital following the severe injuries he sustained in Gaza.
- “It could have been us.” Jon Polin and Rachel Goldberg fight for the release of their son Hersh, who was badly injured before being taken hostage by Hamas on October 7. Watch here.
- Noa Farage, 22: Surfer who was ‘the most magical person’