Jewish Federations of North America 05.30.2024

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Activities

  • Three soldiers fell in battle in Gaza yesterday and another soldier was killed today, as fighting remains intense at numerous points across the Strip. Reports suggest that the IDF is expanding its operation in Rafah as it advances towards the west.
  • Two soldiers were killed overnight in a ramming attack by a Palestinian terrorist near Nablus (Shechem) in the West Bank. Following a manhunt, the assailant later turned himself into Palestinian police.
  • On Sunday, the IDF carried out a targeted strike on a Hamas compound in northwest Rafah with the use of precise munitions. The strike eliminated two senior Hamas terrorists who were responsible for executing attacks against Israelis and who were actively commanding operations aimed at killing Israelis. 
    • The IDF is now investigating the cause of a fire that erupted following the strike and that tragically killed dozens of Palestinian civilians who were sheltering in a safe zone about one mile away.
    • The IDF Spokesperson gave this press briefing on the incident. Contrary to accusations made by Hamas and repeated on social media, the military strike was not aimed at the IDF-designated Al-Mawasi humanitarian zone but targeted a closed compound one mile away.
    • The IDF is investigating the cause of the fire, including the likelihood of a secondary explosion caused by weapons stored in a compound next to the target it struck. The IDF released an intercepted phone call between two Gazans explaining that an ammunition warehouse exploded.
  • The IDF announced yesterday that it now has “full operational control” of the Philadelphi Corridor, which runs along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Israel is hopeful that control of the strategic slice of land will allow the IDF to clamp down on the weapons flow to Hamas from Egypt. In recent days, troops have located 20 tunnels crossing the border near the Corridor and uncovered 82 tunnel shafts.
  • Israel’s central bank has warned that the war could cost close to $70 billion. See more here.

Humanitarian Aid

  • The new floating pier built off the northern coast of Gaza, built by the US military, has been badly damaged by rough sea conditions and dismantled for urgent repairs. It is unclear how long the pier will be out of action, and when the humanitarian activity will resume.
  • According to UNRWA, as Israeli forces advance in Rafah, one million Palestinians have evacuated the city, mostly headed to humanitarian zones set up by Israel, containing tents, food, medications, and other important supplies. 
  • See more figures on humanitarian aid here.


  • Another video of a hostage has been released, this time of Sasha Tropanov from Nir Oz. On October 7 Tropanov was kidnapped with his girlfriend, mother, and grandmother. The three women were released 54 days later in a hostage exchange but Sasha was kept in Gaza. For the first time, this video was released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and not Hamas.
  • Hostage negotiations are set to recommence today. See this article from Israel Democracy Institute - "A Majority of Jewish Israelis See a Hostage Deal as a Higher National Priority than Military Action in Rafah."

International Response

  • An Egyptian soldier was killed in an exchange of gunfire across the border at Rafah. An initial investigation suggests that the soldier opened fire from the Egyptian side at Israeli forces on the Gaza side of the border. The IDF soldiers then fired back, killing the Egyptian soldier. Egypt and Israel seem to be downplaying the incident to minimize any fallout or escalation. Read this analysis: Egypt’s Perspective on Israel’s War against Hamas in Gaza.
  • Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant met with former Governor Nikki Haley who is currently visiting Israel. According to Gallant, the two spoke about “the importance of strong U.S.-Israel ties in the face of our common enemies, led by Iran. Hamas and Hezbollah not only attack Israel, they attack our shared values and way of life.” Gallant added, “Nikki, thank you for your leadership and friendship.”


  • Rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza seems to have slowed, after having been on the rise in the last few weeks. Recent weeks have seen regular fire at Sderot and other locations near the Strip, and one barrage aimed at central Israel, including Tel Aviv. Some commentators speculate that as Israel advances on Rafah, Hamas may be trying to use its rocket supplies before the IDF captures them.
  • In the north, Hezbollah continues to fire at Israeli targets, triggering significant Israeli retaliations. In recent weeks, there has been a marked increase in rocket fire in the area, and in response, the IDF has been hitting Hezbollah targets deeper in Lebanon.
  • In the Red Sea, the US, the UK, and Israel continue to defend against attacks by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Similarly, the US military continues to strike at pro-Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq. 

Stories of Heartbreak, Heroism, and Hope

  • Read the story of 59-year-old Michel Nisenbaum, a Sderot resident who immigrated to Israel from Brazil as a teenager. Michel was a popular trail guide and volunteer ambulance driver in the south of Israel, but his main love was his two children and six grandchildren. On October 7, Michel left his home and managed to help others flee to safety before he was killed by terrorists near Mefalsim and his body taken to Gaza. Last week, the IDF recovered Michel’s body and brought it back to Israel for a dignified burial. At the funeral his loved ones eulogized Michel, calling him a hero. 
  • Staff Sgt. Yair Nifousy, 20, a sniper in the Paratroopers Brigade from Adi, died on November 1 from wounds he sustained while fighting in the northern Gaza Strip a day earlier. His family was told by the IDF that Yair was shot in an accidental friendly fire incident. His parents said they hold no anger toward those involved and are comforted by the fact that he was killed by those who were seeking only to protect the State of Israel.