Police struggle to hold back anti-Israel protesters on UCLA's campus. Source: YouTube.
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At least 25 anti-Israel protesters arrested at UCLA
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The student protesters had set up an “unlawful encampment” on campus, complete with "wooden shields and water-filled barriers," according to police.
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Some 25 anti-Israel protesters were arrested on Monday at the University of California, Los Angeles, after setting up an "unauthorized and unlawful encampment" on campus.

About 100 UCLA students marched on campus around 3:15 p.m. and set up “and set up...tents, canopies, wooden shields and water-filled barriers,” the public university’s police department stated.

The students violated university policy by blocking access to parts of campus, and used “amplified sound” to disrupt final exams, according to police. 

After officers warned the group, the students relocated to another site on campus, where they were asked again to disperse. The same thing occurred at a third location, where police officers made arrests around 8 p.m.

Those students arrested were barred from campus for two weeks. 

“Approximately 150 protesters remain in the area as of the latest update,” according to police.

Protesters damaged a fountain, “spray-painted brick walkways, tampered with fire safety equipment, damaged patio furniture, stripped wire from electrical fixtures and vandalized vehicles,” police said.

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  • Words count:
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    July 15, 2024

It is with profound concern that I address the recent plans for an anti-Israel protest in front of the Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

This deeply disturbing and offensive protest desecrates the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Drawing false parallels between Israel's defensive actions and the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators is not only historically inaccurate but also promotes dangerous antisemitic rhetoric.

The anti-Israel Coalition Against Genocide, its partner Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and other Palestinian groups are spreading vicious falsehoods accusing Israel of committing genocide. JVP attributed the Oct. 7 massacre to "Israeli apartheid and occupation and United States complicity in that oppression."

On Oct. 7, Israel was invaded by 3,000 Hamas terrorists and Gazan civilians who slaughtered 1,200 Israelis simply because they were Jewish. Women were raped and mutilated in front of their families, some are being kept as sex slaves in Gaza. Babies were burned in ovens and decapitated while Hamas terrorists laughed. The massacre was reminiscent of the Hebron massacre of 1929, in which Jews were slaughtered simply for being Jewish, long before the establishment of the State of Israel.

Kenneth Levin, a Harvard University psychiatrist, has said that there are two reasons for Jewish self-hatred: One is a type of Stockholm Syndrome in which “population segments under chronic siege commonly embrace the indictments of their besiegers, however bigoted and outrageous.” The second is that Jews may blame themselves for their predicament: “Everyone hates us so we must be doing something wrong.”

The Holocaust is a reminder of the consequences of unchecked hatred and violence. Exploiting this sacred memory to push a political agenda disrespects the victims and diminishes and trivializes the gravity of their suffering. The actions of these groups feed into the narratives of antisemites who seek to delegitimize and demonize Israel, further endangering Jews worldwide. As a child of Holocaust survivors and proud Zionists, I find these actions despicable.

Accusations of genocide against Israel are a gross misrepresentation of reality. Israel's military actions are defensive measures against terrorist organizations, including Hamas, which continuously threaten the safety and security of Israeli civilians. By equating these actions with genocide, protesters ignore the legitimate right of a nation to protect its people.

Protests at Michigan’s largest Holocaust museum justify violence against Israelis and Jews by falsely portraying them as perpetrators of heinous crimes. This dangerous rhetoric incites hatred and violence, contributing to rising antisemitic incidents globally. These libelous protests distort historical facts and promote a false narrative that fuels antisemitic sentiments, misuses the memory of the Holocaust to criticize Israel unjustly and feeds into dangerous and false allegations of genocide.

The Coalition Against Genocide, JVP and their supporters are morally corrupt. All community members and leaders need to denounce this protest and its sponsor groups. It is our collective responsibility to protect the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to ensure that their suffering is not trivialized or misused. Let us stand together against antisemitism, for truth and for Israel’s right to protect itself.

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Minouche Shafik, president of Columbia University, should either step down or be fired by the school’s board, the Coalition for Jewish Values says.

The group, which represents 2,500 Orthodox rabbis, noted that Shafik allowed a dean to remain in his role after exchanging text messages mocking the panelists during an event on Jew-hatred. Three other Columbia officials involved lost their administrative roles, but remain on the payroll and the faculty.

“The bigotry and double standards are blatant, and entirely at odds with the experiences that I and others had at Columbia in the past,” said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, an alumnus of the university and the coalition’s Israel regional vice president. “Imagine if something like this had happened during a session when black, Latino, Pacific Islander or LGBTQ faculty and students were speaking about hostility they faced on campus.”

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Iranian President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian spoke on Monday with Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas terrorist movement's political bureau, the Tehran regime's state media reported.

Haniyeh “expressed gratitude towards the Islamic Republic of Iran over its support for the Palestinian cause and called for stepped-up diplomatic efforts to end the Israeli regime’s aggression against Gaza,” according to the IRNA news agency.

For his part, "The Iranian president-elect stressed that his country will never stop backing the Palestinian people at these difficult times."

Pezeshkian on Sunday praised Iran's Yemeni terrorist proxy the Houthis "for their courageous measures to support the Palestinians in war-ravaged Gaza, in reference to Yemen’s months-long military operations targeting Israel-linked ships in the high seas over its war in the besieged territory," IRNA reported.

He made the comments during a phone call with Houthi military leader Mahdi al-Masha, chairman of Yemen's Supreme Political Council.

Last week, Pezeshkian reaffirmed Tehran’s dedication to destroying Israel, saying its proxies across the region will not allow the Jewish state’s “criminal policies” to continue.

“The Islamic Republic has always supported the resistance of the people of the region against the illegitimate Zionist regime. The support of the resistance is rooted in the fundamental policies of the Islamic Republic,” Pezeshkian wrote to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

“I am certain that the resistance movements in the region will not allow this regime to continue its warmongering and criminal policies against the oppressed people of Palestine and other nations of the region,” Iranian media quoted the supposed reformer president as saying.

His comments came on July 8, two days after Nasrallah congratulated Pezeshkian on his “blessed” election victory, noting Tehran’s ongoing support for “resistance” groups.

“We in Hezbollah and in all the resistance groups in the region … always look to the Islamic Republic of Iran as a strong, stable and permanent support,” the letter read, according to Agence France-Presse.

Pezeshkian won Iran’s second-round presidential vote on July 5, receiving more than 16 million votes compared to former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili’s more than 13 million.

Pezeshkian, a former heart surgeon and longtime lawmaker born in 1954 to an Iranian Azerbaijani father and an Iranian Kurdish mother, told local media ahead of his election win that if he were elected, he would “try to have friendly relations with all countries except Israel.”

Pezeshkian stressed during the campaign that he fully adheres to the Islamic regime’s policies and has “melted into Khamenei’s leadership.”

Pezeshkian’s election is not expected to produce any major policy shift in Tehran’s nuclear program or support for Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, or various militias in Iraq and Syria.

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More than 100 Hamas terrorists who invaded Israel and took part in the massacre on Oct. 7 are eligible to be represented by private attorneys funded by the state, the Israel Hayom daily reported on Monday.

According to the report, the Jewish state's court system maintains that a temporary order passed in the wake of the war with Hamas requires judges to appoint captured terrorists lawyers at Jerusalem's expense.

The temporary change to the "Law on holding hearings using visual tools with the participation of prisoners and detainees," which was first passed in late 2023 with the government's support, states that court hearings "will be held in the presence of the detainee's attorney, and if he is not represented, the court will appoint a representative for him."

The order was passed to allow terrorist suspects to appear by video link, due to the dangers involved in transporting them courts.

Coalition lawmakers in recent months have advanced legislation that would deny terrorists who took part in the Oct. 7 attacks the right to a public defender. However, due to the court's interpretation of the earlier emergency order, Israeli taxpayers will be footing their legal bills.

The Israel Hayom report noted that while the emergency order is up for renewal in the coming weeks, the section that courts have utilized to grant terrorism suspects free legal aid is not expected to be changed.

Earlier this month, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Justice Minister Yair Levin released a new draft order for public comment without changing the controversial text.

During a debate in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday, bereaved parents urged lawmakers to take action.

"It's a shame for the people of Israel that this discussion is being held over our children's blood," said Itzik Bunzel, whose son Sgt. Amit Buntzel was killed in action in Gaza on Dec. 6. "There's no way that the murdered victims will fund the Nukhba terrorists' legal representation."

"This isn't stupidity; this is deliberate evil against our people," added Galia Hoshen, whose daughter Hadar was brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Supernova festival on Oct. 7. "My daughter was murdered and I have to fund legal representation for those who murdered her?"

After it became known that the Israel Courts Administration had asked the government to fund terrorists' legal defense, Levin and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich condemned the request, with the latter ordering Budgets Commissioner Yogev Gardos to freeze the funds.

Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf, who also leads the United Torah Judaism Party, tweeted on Thursday, "Whoever has mercy on the cruel will ultimately be cruel to the merciful."

Some 3,000 terrorists, from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and unaffiliated "civilians," infiltrated the Jewish state on Oct. 7. The security forces killed approximately a thousand of the terrorists and captured many others.

Roughly 250 people were abducted during the attack; thousands more were murdered and wounded, with numerous atrocities documented.

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Google's parent company Alphabet is in advanced talks to acquire Israeli cloud cybersecurity startup Wiz in a deal worth some $23 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

If the agreement is inked, it would represent the California tech giant's biggest-ever buy (scorching the previous record of $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility in 2012). It would also mark a significant achievement for Israel's high-tech sector.

“This is the largest acquisition to ever happen in the Israeli high-tech sector. It’s a sign of the strength of the Israeli tech hub,” Dror Bin, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, told JNS on Monday.

“It’s a sign of confidence that giants like Google show by making such an acquisition in Israel,” he added. 

Intel's $15 billion pickup of Mobileye in 2017 is the current Israeli record holder.

For its part, Google has shown interest in the Israeli market, in 2013 purchasing Waze for $1.1 billion, creating the Jewish state's first domestic unicorn (a startup reaching $1 billion in valuation without being listed on the stock market).

While Wiz is headquartered in New York City with nearly a thousand employees scattered across North America and Europe, most of its engineering team is based in Tel Aviv, where the 40-year-old Israeli co-founder and CEO Assaf Rappaport was born.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZtPSUZik5I

Since its founding in Israel in 2020, the economic worth of the firm, which offers cybersecurity software for cloud computing, has skyrocketed. The company in May announced a funding round of $1 billion at a staggering $12 billion valuation.

According to Wiz, the company hit $100 million in annual recurring revenue after 18 months and in February of this year reached $350 million in annual recurring revenue, with a 40% market share of Fortune 100 customers.

Wiz already partners with Google and other leading cloud companies, including Amazon and Microsoft.

It plans to hire 400 more people in 2024.

The local Israeli ecosystem consists of 9,000 different high-tech companies including early stage and early growth companies, large enterprises and multinationals. 

Since the start of the war against Hamas in Gaza, triggered by the Palestinian terror group’s Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel, the high-tech sector has worked to maintain its services to global customers and deliver on promises made to investors. 

High-tech professionals launched the #NoMatterWhat campaign shortly after the beginning of the war to send the message that they continue to maintain the highest standards, despite some companies having had up to 20% of their workforces mobilized to serve the country. 

“The Israel Innovation Authority, the government agency responsible for the high-tech sector, also continues to invest in the local ecosystem since the war started,” Bin told JNS. 

“We have launched several programs and funds to secure early stage companies in Israel and make sure that the next wave of growth and innovation will occur,” he said. 

“The fundamentals of the Israeli tech sector did not change. We still have the best entrepreneurs in the world. I think that this type of deal shows it is indeed the case,” he added.

While there are few details about what the acquisition will mean for Wiz's operations, Bin sees it as very promising. 

“Google is buying Wiz for a reason. It’s a great company with great leaders and great employees and most of all amazing technological solutions. I assume Google is buying it to keep growing the business,” Bin said. 

“One of the amazing things about Wiz is that the company only started a few years ago and they managed to create a very high growth rate in its revenues and valuation. I am sure Google will continue this pace,” he added.

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Following the attempted assassination on Saturday of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania, the Israeli Cabinet devoted its weekly meeting on Sunday morning to incitement.

During the ministerial gathering, Cabinet Secretary Yossi Fuchs presented a compilation of video clips featuring prominent Israelis threatening not only Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family, but all “Bibistim” (the derogatory term for the premier’s supporters), with various forms of violence and even death.

The two-hour discussion that ensued focused on the fact that calls to kill members of the coalition have been voiced repeatedly with impunity. Netanyahu referred to the “silence of senior figures [from whom] we have not heard condemnations.”

Several hours later, National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz issued a lengthy tweet to answer and counter the claim. He began by quoting assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin “of blessed memory,” who said that “violence is the erosion of the foundation of democracy. It must be condemned, denounced and isolated. This is not the way of the State of Israel.”

Gantz went on, “As true as this statement was then, it is equally true today. In these times, when we have returned to the discourse of Oct. 6 on steroids, it must be clearly stated: There is no place for hatred and violence in a democratic state, in any form or manner, from any side of the political spectrum.”

Violence, he continued, “is a danger to any democratic society, and we must not be indifferent to it, regardless of the direction, no matter how significant the disagreements. We must not engage in physical or verbal violence against protesters, politicians or the prime minister.”

Trying to preempt criticism from both supporters and detractors, he wrote, “I know what the reactions to this post will be. Some will say, ‘They, not we, are running the poison machine.’ Others will say, ‘In our camp, it has never happened and never will.’ Some will say, ‘You’re serving Netanyahu’ and others will say, ‘You’re incapable of condemning the Kaplanists [anti-government demonstrators on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street].’”

He then offered the following advice: “It’s time to wake up and for each person to first look at himself, his camp, his environment. This applies to the prime minister, as well, who must act to stop the incitement spread online on his behalf.”

Yes, he insisted, “We must unite in the call of all party leaders against any form of incitement or violence. The event in the United States, regardless of the circumstances, should also raise red flags for us. We simply need to condemn and denounce violence and violent people and manage our disagreements firmly, but without incitement and crossing red lines. From any side, and under any circumstances.”

Apparently, Gantz thought it was relatively safe to condemn all violence, including incitement directed at Netanyahu—especially since he made sure to stress that it emanates equally from the prime minister’s camp. After all, what reasonable Israeli couldn’t be on board with that?

Furthermore, the demand that the right engage in collective soul-searching after Rabin’s murder—and breast-beating on the part of many Israelis whose vociferous opposition to the Oslo Accords made them feel guilty for the climate that led to his death—was the going zeitgeist in the country for years.

So Gantz’s admonition wasn’t novel. Other than in its general nature, that is, which means that it was also aimed at the left.

Oops. Talk about crossing a red line.

To get an idea of the outrage that Gant’s feeble stab at societal unity (by not letting Bibi off the hook) elicited, a review of some choice comments on his post is in order.

“Gantz is a tireless poll tracker, listening to his advisers who think that with these empty words he’ll be able to win a few more votes from the soft right,” argued one disgruntled follower. “And he doesn’t understand that he’s actually a Netanyahu collaborator helping to normalize the paranoid dictator.”

Another grunted, “What a repulsive potted plant. There is no symmetry, and we don’t have the privilege of impotent leadership. Stay home, enjoy your budgetary pension and leave us in peace, you cheap populist.”

Gantz, spewed another, “is a manufactured oppositionist whose role is to strengthen the regime. He’s essentially an organic part of the fascist-theocratic coup and fulfills his role as someone who regulates and limits resistance.”

Someone else chimed in, “Gantz is a complete zero, unworthy of leading anything. Since his entry into politics, Israel's situation has only worsened in every parameter.”

Among the numerous insults was this: “He’s a lapdog of the tyrant [Netanyahu], just like [President Isaac] Herzog.”

“So true!” replied one venomous X user. “From Gantz, you can always hear only supposedly statesmanlike’ remarks that address both sides, as if they’re on a par with each other. Not a word about police violence and the Kahanist mob against protesters, and he will never say a word about the constant abuse by the army and settlers in Palestinian villages in the territories. The man is a Netanyahu clone without a backbone.”

The above is only a sampling of the more than 900 comments on Gantz’s post. He should have known better than to expect sympathy from the very elites who consider it their duty to oust Netanyahu by any means.

For them, violence is legitimate if it achieves the goal of eliminating their nemesis. Gantz also wants Bibi out of the way, but he’s hoping to realize this dream at the ballot box.

He imagined that quitting the emergency unity government, and along with it the War Cabinet, would remove the “stain” of the Netanyahu-led coalition and pave his way to the premiership. Perhaps now he knows that he can forget about counting on the left to help that happen.

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The Republican Party convention kicks off this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The event, which begins Monday, will run through the week, reaching its climax on Thursday when Donald Trump will be declared the party's nominee for the November presidential election.

Trump is expected to reveal his vice-presidential pick on Monday. The chosen running mate will address the convention's general assembly on Wednesday.

Despite the recent assassination attempt, the convention is set to proceed according to its original schedule. A key moment of the convention will be the ratification of the party platform, which essentially lays out the Trump administration's agenda for the next four years, should he emerge victorious in the election.

The 10th chapter of the platform delineates Trump and his party's vision for foreign relations. Israel stands out as the only country explicitly mentioned as one the US will support, with the platform stating, "We will stand with Israel, and seek peace in the Middle East."

In an interview several months ago, Trump said he "was the best president in the history of Israel," and that he will continue to be if elected.

Departing from previous years when the platform typically ran about 60 pages, this year's document is a concise 16 pages. At its core, the platform reflects Trump and his team's commitment to fortify America internally and externally, restore fiscal balance, curb illegal immigration, champion family values, and address other key issues.

It appears the Trump administration also aims to expand upon the Abraham Accords. "We will rebuild our Alliance Network in the Region to ensure a future of Peace, Stability, and Prosperity," the platform declares.

Notably, unlike other nations, Israel is not singled out as a country expected to fully fund its defense expenses. "Republicans will strengthen Alliances by ensuring that our Allies must meet their obligations to invest in our Common Defense and by restoring Peace to Europe," the platform states regarding NATO allies. This stance is not applied to Israel.

Another foreign policy aspect highlighted in the platform is the Republican commitment to "peace through strength." The document also references Iron Dome, the missile defense system slated for development during Trump's term.

The Republicans assert, "The Biden administration's weak Foreign Policy has made us less safe and a laughingstock all over the World.

"The Republican Plan is to return Peace through Strength, rebuilding our Military and Alliances, countering China, defeating terrorism, building an Iron Dome Missile Defense Shield, promoting American Values, securing our Homeland and Borders, and reviving our Defense Industrial Base.

"We will build a Military bigger, better, and stronger than ever before. Our full commitment is to protecting America and ensuring a safe and prosperous future for all."

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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  • Words count:
    2673 words
  • Type of content:
    Analysis
  • Byline:
  • Publication Date:
    July 15, 2024
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    1 file

Ten months after Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel, it is possible to evaluate the achievements of the two parties to date.

Unlike the State of Israel, which officially declares its war aims, we can only estimate what Hamas’s aims were before the Oct. 7 attack. In addition, a war's wider effects are sometimes uncontrollable, not always predictable and can last a long time. Sometimes the indirect effects are more significant than the goals defined by the combatants. There are many examples: The United States overthrew Saddam Hussein in Iraq, but did not expect its victory to result in Iran’s taking advantage of the opportunity to become a regional power. Israel did not define a peace deal for Sinai as one of the goals of the Yom Kippur War, but that is what the war eventually led to. Israel succeeded in realizing its main war objective when it went into Lebanon in 1982, which was to remove the Arafat-led Fatah organization from Lebanon—but it did not take into account that that war would lead to the rise of the Shi'ite element in Lebanon, led by Hezbollah.

In view of all this, caution must be taken in assessing the balance of achievements and failures of each side in the current war.

Another difficulty is the matter of quantifying achievements—that is, how to determine the “value” or strategic weight of each achievement compared to the failures or achievements of the other side. Without the ability to give such a value or weight it is difficult to make an overall assessment. Nevertheless, it is advisable to conduct an examination of the balance of achievements. Let’s start with Hamas and its allies—Iran and its proxies.

The achievements of Hamas and the resistance axis

Hamas managed to take advantage of the crisis in Israeli society in the months before the war to prepare and carry out a surprise attack that shocked and traumatized Israeli society to a degree comparable to the Yom Kippur War. Some believe that due to the massacre of civilians and the taking of hostages, the trauma is even deeper.

As a result of the Hamas attack, the Israeli towns around the Gaza Strip were evacuated. Fear of a Hezbollah ground attack in the north led to the decision to evacuate the northern border towns as well, resulting in the total evacuation of some 200,000 people. A small number of residents of the south have been able to return and a slow reconstruction process has begun, but in the north, not only are the residents unable to return to their homes, but Hezbollah has spent the months of the war systematically destroying Israeli homes and property through precise fire.

It is difficult to exaggerate the magnitude of the achievement of the axis of resistance in forcing the evacuation of entire swaths of land and shrinking sovereign Israel, something that has not happened since the declaration of the state.

The fact that the army was caught by complete surprise resulted in many casualties on Oct. 7. The hard fighting to occupy the Gaza Strip and destroy Hamas caused fewer casualties than estimated, but still, Israel's casualties have been high. Since Oct. 7, the Israel Defense Forces has lost the equivalent of an entire brigade in casualties and wounded, among them skilled special-unit fighters and prominent field commanders.

The Hamas attack succeeded in mobilizing a broad and diverse international anti-Israel and indeed openly antisemitic front. The fight against Israel is being waged by states, NGOs and international institutions such as the United Nations and the Human Rights Council. Huge demonstrations against Israel and supporting Hamas have been organized in major capitals throughout the free world.

Another campaign being waged against Israel is the legal campaign being conducted in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, where lawsuits against Israel and its leaders are pending. These measures are damaging and have long-term consequences for Israel’s position. Another arm of this campaign is the mobilization of students in the United States and Europe for anti-Israel protests the likes of which have not been seen since the protests against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. At the same time, there is a strengthening of BDS organizations and a rising economic boycott of Israel by countries and companies. Various countries have banned military aid or even the transfer of aid as a stopover, as did Spain, which refused to allow an Indian ship loaded with military equipment destined for Israel to dock in its territory.

As an immediate result of the war and the many expenses that accompany it, Israel’s economy is facing difficult challenges. This was reflected by the leading rating agencies’ downward revision of Israel’s economic strength and growth forecast. The downgrade not only reflects the difficulties caused to Israel’s economy by the war but also makes it harder for Israel to obtain loans to finance war-created deficits.

The Hamas attack also brought the Palestinian issue back to center stage. It is no longer possible to talk about progress toward a regional settlement without addressing the Palestinian issue, which means Israeli concessions. As part of the global support for the Palestinian cause, several countries have announced their recognition of a Palestinian state.

The Hamas attack mobilized several Iranian proxies to attack Israel. These attacks are primarily by Hezbollah on the northern border and by Yemen’s Houthis, who attack ships in the Red Sea and have fired missiles and anti-aircraft missiles at Eilat. Iraqi Shi'ite militias also occasionally shoot at Israel. While it chose to conduct a limited campaign, Hezbollah has nevertheless caused a great deal of damage to Israel by exposing its weaknesses and inability to effectively stop Hezbollah's fire.

The Houthi attacks on international shipping lanes in the Red Sea and the massive Iranian attack on Israel in response to the assassination of one of its senior officials in Syria drew relatively weak responses from the free world. This is worrying in and of itself and has consequences for the free world’s deterrence. This weakness of Israel’s allies reflects back on Israel.

The continuous attacks by Iran and its proxies on Israel expose a state of erosion of Israeli deterrence since Oct. 7. Despite the success of the military operation in Gaza, Israel has not restored its regional deterrence.

Ten months after the attack, the internal divisions and struggles in Israeli society are reemerging around issues that create a fault line between supporters of the coalition and the government and the opposition and its various groups. To the previous issues of controversy has been added the issue of the hostages and the cessation of the war versus continuation of the war and military pressure. These issues are being debated in an atmosphere of acute crisis of confidence among large contingents of citizens, who do not believe the existing leadership is doing enough to free the hostages.

Ten months after the attack, Hamas, even if greatly weakened and without its grip on parts of the Gaza Strip, remains the only ruler in the Strip. Yahya Sinwar and his deputy Mohammed Deif are still in Gaza, even if only partially functioning. They are still in control, and are still holding dozens of living hostages.

Israel’s main achievements

Despite a high price in casualties (albeit much lower than early estimates), Israel’s main achievement in the campaign is the destruction of Hamas’s military capabilities. Hamas as a significant military system no longer poses a threat to Israel. Israel took away its rocket capabilities and ability to carry out large cross-border ground raids. The broader meaning is the termination of a central arm of the Iranian “ring of fire” around Israel. In the next confrontation against the “axis of resistance,” Israel will have one less front to worry about and will be able to focus its efforts on the remaining theaters of operation.

Another important Israeli achievement that should not be underestimated is the breaking of the psychological barrier of the IDF commanders and the political echelon against a ground maneuver and the use of ground forces. At least since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, there has been a reluctance to use maneuver as a decisive tool due to considerations of casualties and international pressure. As a result, Israel lost an important tool in its military arsenal and essentially gave up decisiveness, thus damaging deterrence. In this context, it is important to mention the role of the reserve forces and their return as a central force in the IDF, without which a major operation cannot be carried out.

The occupation of Gaza and accompanying destruction in the Strip created a severe trauma for Palestinian society that will undoubtedly reverberate in the Palestinian and regional consciousness for many years to come. The Palestinians as well as other parties in the region understand the price they will pay if they attempt to repeat the Oct. 7 attack.

Israeli society has proven once again that it has healthy foundations and is committed to life. The widespread recruitment into the reserves, the return of many Israelis from abroad expressly to enlist and the mobilization of civil organizations for the war effort once again proved the resilience and solidarity of Israeli society, which enable it to face difficult challenges.

The subject of the hostages is sensitive and painful. Many people see the half-empty glass—the dozens of hostages still being held alive in Gaza. But it should also be noted that about half the hostages, most of them women, children and the elderly, were released during the military operation at a relatively low price.

Another significant achievement is the coalition led by the United States and specifically by U.S. Central Command to thwart the massive Iranian missile attack on Israel. Israel trained for several years and prepared with its partners for such a scenario, but until put to the test, it was hard to know whether and how such a coalition would be activated on Israel’s behalf. Stopping the Iranian attack was a major success and proof of the existence of a coalition that knows how to function together on the operational level. In addition, Israel proved that its Arrow missile defense system is capable of intercepting dozens of ballistic missiles and that the Jewish state is equipped with a unique capability in this regard.

American backing, and the standing of the United States on Israel’s side, is a critical asset for Israel's national strength. However, the sending of U.S. aircraft carriers to the region after Oct. 7 signaled Israeli weakness. Also, the uneven messages of the Americans over the past months, such as the pressure not to enter Rafah, the halting of arms shipments and other statements, did not add to and even weakened Israel's perceived strength. The United States supports Israel, but with many reservations and limitations.

The Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, Jordan and even Saudi Arabia also participated in repelling the Iranian attack. This marked the peak of another Israeli achievement: the maintaining of the Abraham Accords and the potential for a settlement with Saudi Arabia, which is still on the table. The importance of this development should not be underestimated.

At the same time, Israel achieved something else: curbing the eruption of additional arenas that Hamas hoped would be dragged into the conflict. Following the Oct. 7 attack, Hamas hoped the West Bank as well as the Arab-Israeli sector would join the riots, as happened during "Operation Guardian of the Walls" in 2021. In fact, the opposite happened. For the most part, the Arab-Israeli public was shocked by the barbarity of the attack (in which quite a few Arabs were also murdered) and expressed solidarity and a shared fate with the Jewish public.

What’s next

Israel is in an ongoing and difficult campaign, the end of which is hard to discern. The Israeli success story of projecting regional, military, economic and political power suffered a severe blow on Oct. 7. The “axis of resistance” recognizes this weakness and is looking for another opportunity to strike Israel and weaken it further. In the background is Iranian nuclearization, which adds another dramatic dimension to the regional conflict centered on Iran, Israel, and the Sunni-Shi'ite struggle.

Israel is faced with a dilemma. It has two alternatives. The first is talks to end the war and withdraw from Gaza, as demanded by Hamas. In exchange for this and the release of all Palestinian prisoners, Hamas says it will release the hostages. Taking this option would make it possible to reach a settlement in the north, because Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has said he will stop firing if there is a ceasefire in Gaza. Israel would be free to rehabilitate itself internally and improve its international position, and would also be able to prepare for the next campaign after a thorough learning of lessons and re-equipping. Israel would be able to resume the promotion of normalization with Saudi Arabia, which would open the door to a security and economic partnership and a regional alliance that would stop Iran and its proxies. Some believe the main purpose of the Hamas attack was to prevent just such an alliance, which would be a regional game-changer.

On the face of it, this alternative has many advantages. It is a tempting idea and many support it. But it carries many risks. The withdrawal of the IDF from the Gaza Strip and the release of thousands of terrorists would in fact be an Israeli surrender and a relinquishment of most of the gains of the war. It would represent a tremendous victory for Hamas and the resistance front. It is not at all certain that Hamas would in fact release all the hostages it holds. An Israeli withdrawal (including from the Philadelphi Corridor) would mean a rapid restoration of Hamas’s military capabilities, with Iranian help. Israel, whose deterrence has been severely damaged, would find it difficult to gather legitimacy and support either domestically or internationally for a ground campaign aimed at destroying Hamas. It would be difficult to convince evacuated Israelis to return to their homes under Hezbollah’s umbrella. Israel may find itself losing in every direction.

In the second alternative, Israel continues to “mow the grass” in Gaza while putting pressure on Hamas and trying to reach a hostage deal. At the same time, Israel builds a governmental alternative to Hamas. Israel would be forced to reach a settlement in the north, and if this does not succeed, would have no choice but to launch a limited attack to drive Hezbollah away from the border. This alternative is also full of risks and is far from simple. It has no clear resolution, and Israel could find itself in a regional war while immersed in a long-standing guerrilla war in Gaza. Its advantage would be the extinction of Hamas in Gaza and the guarantee of its non-return to power.

In both alternatives, Israel will not return to the reality of Oct. 6, and faces difficult years of prolonged existential struggle. To this end, it is imperative for the public to have broad trust in its leadership.

One more thing to remember: History is full of unexpected turns and twists. The impact of events far from the Middle East, such as the identity of the next American president, can affect Israel’s ability to operate in Gaza and Lebanon and can greatly affect deterrence vis a vis Iran. Regarding the Islamic Republic, a development that leads to regime change there could be a game-changing turn. A change in other areas of crisis in the world, such as around Taiwan and the South China Sea, or continued Russian advances on the Ukraine front, could also change the picture dramatically. In those cases, we are likely to see a shift in global attention toward those crisis centers and a tightening of ranks among the countries of the free world, and as a result, more significant support for Israel and its policies.

Originally published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

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  • Words count:
    483 words
  • Type of content:
    Update Desk
  • Publication Date:
    July 15, 2024
  • Media:
    1 file

Kibbutz Be'eri is set to receive nearly $100 million for rebuilding efforts, the largest sum to date allocated to any of the Gaza border communities invaded by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, Ynet reported on Monday.

The government funding is part of the Tkuma (revival in Hebrew) Directorate, which was established to oversee reconstruction in the communities of southern Israel impacted by the attack. It is set to deliver the final building plans to Jerusalem in two months.

“We learned by seeing other disaster aftermaths across the world to treat this like an opportunity,” the directorate said in a statement. “The neighborhoods damaged in Be’eri are very old, with some of the [original] planning no longer being fit for the community’s needs. Other disasters showed that reconstruction is inadequate if members of the community aren’t involved in it.”

Nearly 350 Hamas terrorists, including 100 members of the terror group’s Nukhba Force, managed to infiltrate Be'eri on Oct. 7. due to catastrophic failures by the Israel Defense Forces, according to the first part of the IDF’s internal probe into the attacks, published last week.

According to the investigation, Hamas killed 101 civilians at Be’eri and kidnapped 32 people, 11 of whom remain hostages in Gaza. The probe credited the local armed response team with “determination and courage.”

“Their bravery, in defending the kibbutz and its residents with their bodies, should be considered a miracle,” the investigation states. “It was this fighting that stopped the total occupation of the kibbutz and saved many lives.” The Israeli military also praised Be'eri's emergency team for “forming an updated situational picture and maintaining contact with the residents under fire.”

Israeli soldiers “acted with great bravery and ferocity,” according to the investigation, and 31 were killed in combat, including 23 IDF members and armed response team members, in addition to eight police officers. Many soldiers and civilians were hurt.

Some 100 terrorists were killed in the kibbutz, per the investigation.

The report concluded that the IDF “was not prepared for the kind of extensive infiltration scenario that happened on Oct. 7, which included multiple areas of infiltration by thousands of terrorists, attacking in dozens of focal points at the same time.”

Doron Segev, an architect from the kibbutz, told Ynet that some members don't want to erect a memorial in the community. Some want the damaged homes to become memorials, while others want to return to them, even if damaged.

Therefore, the fund will include the construction of a new neighborhood, to which kibbutz members who do not wish to return to their original homes will have the option of relocating.

“Most of the kibbutz members didn’t want to return to their previous home nor fix it because of their memories of it. It’s clear we won’t be able to undo what was done, but we’ll have to include memorials in a delicate manner according to the members’ wishes,” said Segev.

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