February 22, 2024 
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Activities

  • A terror attack took place just outside Jerusalem this morning. At least one Israeli was killed and eleven were wounded, with some in serious condition, including a 23-year-old pregnant woman.  Three terrorists who opened fire on cars waiting in traffic were all killed. Hamas referred to the attack as a “heroic operation.”
  • The IDF has launched a large-scale operation in a Gaza City neighborhood, during which troops have been raiding Hamas sites and killing terrorists. Over the past day, the IDF directed airstrikes against ten Hamas sites in the area, and have located and destroyed a rocket launcher that had been readied for an attack on Israel.
  • Meanwhile, in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, IDF troops killed more than fifteen Hamas operatives in fighting, while the Navy carried out strikes against vessels belonging to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Numerous tunnels were also destroyed.
  • Despite considerable international opposition, senior Israeli officials continue to say that the IDF will fight Hamas in the city of Rafah to destroy the last significant bastions of Hamas power.
  • The IDF has also advanced plans to establish a local Palestinian governing body to replace Hamas in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, in what is seen as a pilot program for “the day after.” IDF officials have already met with a group of unnamed Palestinian community leaders who will be tasked with governing residents of the area who did not flee southward due to the fighting. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel wants local Palestinian community leaders who are not affiliated with either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority to take over the governance of Gaza after the war.


  • In the north, Hezbollah continues to fire at Israeli targets, triggering significant Israeli retaliations. Earlier today, two anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon. One of the missiles hit a home in Yuval, causing considerable damage; the second struck an open area near Kiryat Shmona. There are no reports of injuries in the attacks as most residents of the region have been evacuated.
  • The number of Hamas rocket attacks on Israel remains very low, due to Hamas’ significantly diminished capabilities.
  • In the Red Sea, the US, the UK, and Israel continue to defend against attacks by the Iran-back Houthi rebels in Yemen. Similarly, the US military continues to strike at pro-Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq. Earlier today, a long-range rocket was fired at Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat, and sirens sounded throughout the town. The rocket was intercepted over the Red Sea by Israel’s Arrow long-range ballistic missile defense system.


  • Despite Israel’s maintaining that Hamas has made unrealistic demands, negotiations over a new hostage deal continue. Israeli officials are likely to attend another high-level summit in Paris tomorrow, aimed at securing a deal. As they did during the first such summit in the French capital late last month, Mossad chief David Barnea, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel, and CIA chief Bill Burns are all likely to attend.
  • Over one month after a special medical shipment entered Gaza, Qatar says that it has received confirmation from Hamas that it has begun delivering medications for the hostages in Gaza.

International Response

  • Britain and Jordan have airdropped four tons of aid including medicines, fuel, and food to Tal Al-Hawa Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, Britain’s Foreign Office said yesterday. The UK-funded aid was delivered by the Jordanian Air Force.
  • United Airlines has announced a resumption of its flights to Israel beginning in March, becoming the first US-based carrier to do so. El Al continued to fly to Israel throughout the war, as did several United Arab Emirates-based airlines and others. Some European carriers resumed flights last month.
  • According to the media, the British government said it will weigh a potential suspension of weapons exports to Israel if it moves forward with a ground offensive in Gaza’s southern city, Rafah. Reports say that the United Kingdom has yet to make any decision regarding a suspension of arms export licenses.
  • Israel’s Association of Rape Crisis Centers has released and sent to the United Nations a graphic report detailing evidence of systematic sexual and gender-based crimes at the Nova Festival, in homes in southern Israel, on IDF bases, and in Hamas captivity.
  • Some background and information from the report (warning, includes graphic and disturbing content):
  • Despite evidence of systematic brutal sexual violence and rape committed by Hamas terrorists on and after October 7, many leading women’s rights organizations have remained silent or have issued muted reactions in the face of these horrors. Many others continue to deny the abundance of forensic and video evidence as well as testimonies provided by first responders, survivors of the October 7 massacres, and other witnesses.
  • According to the just-released 39-page report, many of the rapes were carried out in a group and the attacks were often perpetrated in front of family members or friends, to increase pain, terror, and humiliation. In most cases, the victims of the sexual violence – which included both men and women – were murdered during or after the sexual assault.
  • According to the report, “It appears that the perpetrators’ actions match patterns of wartime sexual violence documented in the literature; practices that describe rape and gender-based violence often appear in combination with sadistic practices with demonstratively brutal characteristics.”
  • The report explains that typically sexual violence is characterized by “delayed disclosure,” with most cases being reported sometimes months or even decades after the incident. It reaffirms that “no survivor should feel obligated to ‘serve’ the world’s demand for information.”
  • Many of the bodies of victims were found shackled and bound to other victims. The genitals of both men and women were brutally mutilated. In some cases, bodies were booby-trapped.
  • One survivor who walked around the site of the festival after the massacres described it as an “apocalypse of bodies, girls without clothes, some missing their upper, some their lower parts.”
  • On Kibbutz Be’eri where 90 residents were murdered, ZAKA volunteers described in graphic detail the signs of sexual assault on women’s bodies that they witnessed upon entering the homes of victims. Rescue workers and IDF soldiers who evacuated bodies in other kibbutzim reported similar sites.
  • Lieutenant Tamar Bar Shimon was serving on her IDF base when terrorists infiltrated. She was threatened with a weapon and demanded to remove her uniform.
  • Chen and Agam Goldstein who were released from captivity recounted that they know of at least three cases of female hostages being sexually assaulted.
  • Raz Cohen and Shoham Gueta survived the music festival and testified to witnessing terrorists raping and stabbing a young woman. Cohen said that during the brutal rape, even after the victim was no longer moving, the terrorist continued raping her. Another witness testified that he saw between eight and ten terrorists gang-raping a woman. “When they finished, they were laughing and the last one shot her in the head.”
  • The report concludes with a call to action: “When most of the victims of sexual assaults are murdered, we have a moral and humanitarian obligation to amplify their silent cry.”

Stories Of Heartbreak, Heroism, and Hope

  • Lior Waitzman was murdered by Hamas terrorists while out biking near Sderot on October 7. The 32-year-old Netflix soundman was training for an Ironman competition.
  • Many videos are circulating of reunions between soldiers and their families, following their return from service. Watch this video of 73-year-old Akiva Yagur who has put his IDF uniform back on to “serve in the army and protect the Jewish people” at this difficult time. In this short and moving piece in Hebrew, he visits his 102-year-old, ever-proud mother.
  • Listen to this testimony from Agam Goldstein of the horrors of sexual abuse in Hamas captivity, as told to her by a fellow hostage before she was released

Further Reading

Jewish Federations

  • Jewish Federations’ Israel Emergency Campaign has now raised a total of more than $780 million and allocated close to $350 million. For details, click here.
  • Jewish Federations recently released the Israel Emergency Impact Report & resource package to articulate the system-wide impact in Israel since 10/7. Watch a recent webinar (recording here) to learn more about this data, and the allocations processes.
  • Registration for Birthright Israel’s summer round is now open. See this link for important information to help potential participants and their parents navigate any concerns over the security situation. Interested parties can reserve their spot here. Registration is also open for Onward’s summer internships and fellowship programs – an opportunity for Birthright Israel alumni and those looking for a longer experience in Israel.
  • As part of the Second Line initiative, Jewish Federations are partnering with the Israel Ministry of Health, the Israel Trauma Coalition, and Birthright Israel to recruit qualified volunteers to provide both in-person and remote support to affected populations and local mental health professionals in Israel. Native Hebrew speakers are particularly in demand, although speakers of French, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Amharic, and Spanish will also be considered. Volunteers must be able to travel to Israel for six weeks. This is a golden opportunity for engagement, particularly for communities that can recruit a small group as a cohort. To apply, click here. For more information, contact Hannah Miller.
  • Jewish Federations’, 10/7 Project is a collaboration with AJC, AIPAC, ADL, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The 10/7 Project is an organized effort to counter the disinformation about the attacks of October 7th and Israel’s response, especially aimed at the key media and government influencers. See here for more information about the 10/7 project, as well as this news bulletin.
  • Details: For information on the latest overall numbers from the conflict, see here.
  • Webinar: The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI): Daily webinars sponsored by Jewish Federations and the Jewish Agency are offered. A rotating team of analysts of Israeli military affairs, the US-Israel relationship, Israel’s political system, and the country’s diverse society will speak every Monday and Thursday from 11-11:30 am ET. No registration is required. Join here.
  • Volunteering: Read this updated Jewish Federations’ update on the latest volunteering opportunities in Israel right now.
  • Local Authorities: Jewish Federations have produced a document answering questions about funding-impacted localities and municipalities in Israel. See here.

Jewish Federations
Our Israel Office, having activated emergency protocols, is working closely with our partners on the ground, and is in close contact with the Government of Israel and the IDF. We will continue to update you as the situation develops.