Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement on Fri. Nov. 3, ahead of Shabbat. Below is a translation, from the Hebrew, which the prime minister’s office released (lightly edited for style).
Dear citizens of Israel,
As we welcome the Sabbath, I want to update you on the progress of the war. Our forces are operating on all of fronts, with full power. Our victory will be decisive and clear. It will send a message to our enemies—one that will echo for generations.
The objective of our enemies is to destroy the State of Israel. I am telling you and I am telling them: Our enemies will fail. They will be defeated. We will not cease until we achieve victory and meet our defined objectives: eliminating Hamas, the return of our hostages and restoring security for our children and citizens.
Our soldiers are fighting with remarkable courage. They are taking part in intense battles, facing the enemy and killing terrorists around the clock. The various IDF branches are operating jointly, and they are accompanied by ongoing and unprecedented Air Force airstrikes against Hamas-ISIS. As for the northern front, I reiterate to our enemies—do not be mistaken about us. Such a mistake will be very costly. You will pay an unimaginable price.
At the same time, we continue to work on the diplomatic front. I met with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken this morning. I appreciate his visit here. I appreciate the consistent support of U.S. President Joe Biden, the American administration and the American people.
I showed Secretary of State Blinken a video from the cameras in the Gaza Strip, and he talked about it. One of the terrible things that we saw was two boys, brothers, who witnessed their father’s murder. One of them, who lost his eyesight, was calling for his mother. That is only one of the horrors in the video.
I made it clear that we are going with full steam ahead, and that Israel refuses any temporary ceasefire that does not involve the release of the kidnapped Israelis. Israel is not allowing fuel into Gaza and objects to funds being transferred into the Strip.
Citizens of Israel, since this terrible war broke out on that Black Saturday, we have lost hundreds of citizens, fighters, soldiers and those serving in the security forces, the police and the rescue services. We lost excellent fighters, exceptional Israelis, the salt of the earth. People who warded off the monsters with their bodies, sometimes using their fingernails to fight them off.
I would like to tell you some of stories of courage of fallen soldiers from this past week. Roei Dawi, a fighter in the Givati Brigade, was killed in combat in the north of the Gaza Strip. A farewell letter that he had written to his family was found in his mobile phone. He wrote: “I had the best army service I could have asked for. The soldiers I command are lions. It is my privilege to be their commander. Seeing everyone here, this is the Israel I am doing this for.”
Pdaya Mark, a fighter in the Givati Brigade, was killed this week in combat in Gaza. I met Pdaya only four months ago when he graduated the IDF officer course. Pdaya told me about his father, Miki, who was murdered in a terrorist attack. Pdaya survived the attack but his mother was badly injured. His cousin, Elhanan, was killed while rescuing families from the communities in the Gaza Envelope, on that cursed Saturday of Oct. 7th.
In his last letter, Pdaya Mark wrote to his family: “We are strong. The nation of Israel is strong and the IDF is strong. I am protecting you, and keeping you in my heart.”
Lt. Col. Salman Habaka, commander of the 53rd Battalion of the 188th Barak Armored Brigade, was killed in combat in the north of the Gaza Strip. Salman, a Druze, was one of the first soldiers to fight the terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri. He talked about his tank entering the kibbutz. He wrote: “I realized that when the people heard the tanks’ tracks, it gave them a sense of security.” He granted people security in his last moments.
Each of our fallen soldiers leaves a gaping hole in our hearts. Each of them is an entire world for their families, friends, parents and for all of us. Each of them sacrificed their lives so that we could live ours. On behalf of the people of Israel, I share the grief of the bereaved families. I am familiar with the depths of sorrow that bereavement brings. We ache for each fallen soldier.
We are trying to operate with minimum risk to our forces, but we will do everything we need to do to defeat our enemies.
With the help of God and with your help, citizens of Israel, we shall be triumphant. Together, we will win.