Today’s suggested actions to support Israel in your local community:
- Advocate for aid to Israel and other top communal priorities while strengthening relationships with key decision-makers in Congress at Jewish Federations’ Advocacy Fly-In to Washington DC January 30 and 31.
- Join a virtual communal gathering on January 14 at 10 am ET with UJA-Federation of New York and #BringThemHomeNow marking 100 days of Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity.
- Read this explainer by humanitarian law experts Amichai Cohen and Yuval Shany on selective use of facts and shortfalls in allegations against Israel at the International Court of Justice.
- Learn more about the myths of the Israel-Hamas War on a webinar at 1 pm ET on January 24 with Major John Spencer and expert in law of armed conflict Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey S. Corn, who have nearly five decades of combined military experience.
- Read and share the story of 67-year-olds Orly and David Schvartzman from Kibbutz Kfar Aza. David worked as an agritech activist and investor and Orly worked as a nursing director at a clinic in the south. The two built a home that was “full of love and family,” with a backyard blooming with flowers and herbs, that was often visited by their four children and ten grandchildren. On October 7, the couple and their dog were slain by Hamas terrorists, and their home and garden destroyed.
In a controversial hearing at the International Court of Justice at the Hague, the court’s justices heard accusations by South Africa alleging that Israel is committing genocide in its war against Hamas and is targeting civilians. Claims are dismissive of the overwhelming efforts Israel has made to limit noncombatant casualties and of the operational challenges of fighting a war in dense urban conditions, where Hamas has intentionally embedded itself within civilian infrastructure. South Africa’s case is already being lauded by many pro-Palestinian and antisemitic entities across the globe.
- Urban warfare expert Major John Spencer explained that combat in urban terrain is the “most complex and difficult type of warfare a military can be directed to conduct because of the unique interaction of challenges – the dense physical terrain, the presence of noncombatants, restraints on the use of force required by laws of war, and the ubiquitous and real-time global attention on the conduct of a battle.”
- He added that this is the first war in history in which a military has faced an “underground world like this,” referring to the 300-mile-long tunnel system Hamas built for terror purposes under civilian infrastructure, and stated that, “There’s no military in the world that has faced the challenge Israel is facing right now in the war against Hamas.”
- Due to the operational challenges urban warfare poses and the intricate tunnel system, fighting in these conditions can require four times as much ammunition, or even more, than in other combat environments.
- Hamas prevents civilian evacuations, often through gunfire. Coalition fighters faced similar challenges when fighting ISIS in the Battle of Mosul. In that battle, it is estimated that 10,000 civilians were killed. Israel is facing at least six times as many Hamas operatives than ISIS fighters.
- Colonel Richard Kemp, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan under the British army, explained that the fight against Hamas is likely even more challenging, due to Hamas’s tactics over the past three decades turning a small strip of territory into a terror base.
- Throughout the war the IDF has applied tactics to minimize civilian casualty in urban warfare setting, which include dropping 6 million leaflets and issuing 14 million pre-recorded phone calls urging civilians to evacuate ahead of attacks, setting up safe corridors and involving legal advisors in tactical decisions. Former Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force and international law expert Michael Schmitt explained that, “The IDF has provided unprecedented warnings throughout the conflict,” which have “exceeded what the law required.”
- On Thursday, State Department spokesman Matt Miller said, “Israel is operating in an exceptionally challenging environment in Gaza, an urban battlespace where Hamas intentionally embeds itself with and hides behind civilians.” He added that, “Allegations that Israel is committing genocide are unfounded. It is those who are violently attacking Israel who continue to openly call for the annihilation of Israel and the mass murder of Jews.”
The Community Mobilization Center is monitoring major developments in Israel and North America related to Israel’s war against Hamas. The Community Mobilization Center will rapidly disseminate resources to help mobilize and support our local communities as they build and sustain civic and political support for Israel in this conflict. The work of the Community Mobilization Center will continue as long as it takes Israel to eradicate the terrorist threat and restore security to the country.