Jewish Federations of North America 06.14.2024

War in Israel: Update on Current Situation
June 14, 2024 - Gaza War Day 252

The North

  • Following an Israeli strike that killed Taleb Sami Abdallah, a top Hezbollah commander, Hezbollah has launched unprecedented levels of rocket attacks against Israel, with hundreds fired on each of the last two days. Abdallah is the highest-ranking Hezbollah terrorist to have been eliminated in the war. Dozens more attacks have already been carried out today. Most of the rockets that were headed to population centers were intercepted by Iron Dome, but many others fell in open spaces, igniting several significant brush fires that caused extensive damage.
  • For the first time since October 7th, the city of Tiberias on the shores of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) was targeted by rocket fire.
  • Earlier in the week, a Hezbollah-launched drone carrying explosives was intercepted as it approached Haifa.
  • There are growing calls by both the IDF and political leaders in Israel for decisive military action against Hezbollah.

Gaza Fighting


  • Hamas is said to have rejected a new deal on hostages that was previously accepted by Israel, in coordination with the mediators, Qatar, Egypt, and the United States. The US has asked the international community to pressure Hamas to accept the deal. President Joe Biden specifically said, “The biggest hang-up so far is Hamas refusing to sign on.”
  • Last Saturday, the IDF rescued four hostages from Hamas captivity. Noa Argamani, 26; Almog Meir Jan, 22; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 41, were liberated eight months after being kidnapped from the Nova music festival on October 7th.
    • Sadly, Israel Police anti-terror commander Arnon Zamora was killed in the rescue operation.
    • The four hostages had been held in apartments in the middle of a neighborhood populated by families and other civilians. When rescuers entered the area, they were met by fierce resistance from hundreds of armed Gazans, some carrying RPGs and other heavy weaponry. In the ensuing firefight, dozens of additional Hamas fighters arrived, leading to a large death toll during the operation.
    • Three of the four hostages had been held in a room of the apartment of Palestinian journalist Abdallah Aljamal.
    • The mother of Noa Argamani, one of the hostages who was rescued, is suffering from the final stages of terminal cancer. Her wish to be able to “hug her daughter once more” before she died was fulfilled.
    • Tragically, the father of another of those who were rescued, Almog Meir Jan, died a few hours before his son was brought home. According to his family, he “never recovered from the shock of his son’s kidnapping, and died of a broken heart.”
    • Watch this dramatic footage, taken from one of the IDF rescuer’s body cameras, that depicts the fighting, followed by the moment of liberation. When the soldiers enter the room, the terrified hostages are reassured that they are being rescued and are asked to identify themselves.
    • Also, see this footage of three of the hostages boarding the IDF rescue helicopter, and this clip of the group on their way to the hospital.
    • Video of the four hostages being reunited with their families can be seen here.
  • The White House issued a statement commending the Israeli security services for conducting a “daring operation.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “I welcome the rescue of four hostages who have now been reunited with their families. We will not rest until every hostage is returned home.” 


Humanitarian Aid


  • Earlier this week, the IDF Chief of Staff Major General Hertzi Halevi visited Bahrain, where he met with US CentCom Commander Michael Kurilla and the top military commanders of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Discussions are said to have focused on the countries’ common enemy:  Iran. Of note was the fact that the head of the Saudi Army attended and was present in the room together with the IDF’s Halevi. 
  • Poll: Israelis across the board give the government low marks on its handling of the war. On a scale of 1 to 5, the government failed to receive a grade of 3 or higher on any of the issues surveyed, including the fighting in Gaza, relations with the US, treatment of evacuees from the South and North, and public diplomacy efforts. The index also found that Israelis are increasingly worried about what they perceive as the government’s lack of planning, with 79% of respondents believing that the country’s leaders “do not have a clear plan of action for the day after the end of the fighting in Gaza.”

Stories of Heartbreak, Heroism, and Hope

  • See the story of 36-year-old Israel Police Chief Inspector Arnon Zmora, a resident of  Sde David, a husband and father of two young boys. Hailed as a national hero, Arnon demonstrated tremendous courage as an officer in the elite Police Anti-Terror Yamam unit and served as a model to his comrades when he fought terrorists on October 7 and commanded troops during the hostage rescue operation. His wife eulogized him saying, “They [the children] will know how much of a hero their father was, how many lives he saved… but much more than that, they will remember how much fun they had with you. Riding bikes, playing the guitar, lighting a bonfire, eating ice cream, having fun together, and being a family.” 
  • Jewish Federations work with reGrow Israel in support of the residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz, replacing farm equipment that was destroyed or stolen by Hamas terrorists. As communities in Israel continue to rebuild after October 7th, Jewish Federations are there to help. Watch more here.
  • Read this incredible story of one man’s journey which saw him transform from a radicalized Muslim child in a Gaza mosque to an IDF soldier.