January 11, 2024
See this latest resource from Jewish Federations, providing valuable insights into the emergency support offered for volunteers.
- As fighting continues, additional IDF soldiers have been killed, bringing the total number of IDF casualties since the ground offensive began to 173, (and to 505 since October 7). See details of all the fallen soldiers here.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Operations
- In the north, Israel has responded to continuous Hezbollah rocket attacks against Israeli targets by striking and eliminating leaders of the terror group. The IDF Spokesman stated to the Arab media yesterday, “Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon into an unnecessary war on behalf of Hamas. Hezbollah is looking to escalate the situation despite the damage that this will cause to Lebanese citizens in addition to the hardship they are already suffering. Hezbollah is endangering the future of the region on behalf of Hamas. Our message is clear: Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, and the entire region deserve a future of peace, progress, and prosperity and not one of death and destruction brought upon it by Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terror entities.”
- Hezbollah is a Shi’ite political and militant group based in Lebanon that was founded in 1982. Its doctrine calls for the destruction of Israel, stating that Israel “is the hated enemy that must be fought until the hated ones get what they deserve.” Among its objectives is “to expel the Americans” from the Middle East.
- The group was founded by Iran and continues to be funded and operated in very close coordination with Teheran. Hezbollah is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and many other countries.
- Hezbollah has been described as “the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor, and as “a militia trained like an army and equipped like a state.” It is estimated that the group maintains an arsenal of between 70,000 and 150,000 missiles and rockets, including a small number of precision-guided missiles.
- In a 2016 speech, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said, “Today Israel has its nuclear bomb. All our rockets plus the ammonia tanks in Haifa result in a nuclear bomb. In a region that populates 800,000 people, a few tens of thousands will be killed.”
- In a recent video released by Hezbollah simulating an attack on Israelis, the group stated that “[Israel] will disappear where Palestine will remain Arab and dear to its sons.”
- In the current conflict, the most intense recent wave of attacks occurred last Saturday with a barrage of 62 rockets fired at Israel. The group said that the attacks were in response to the elimination of senior Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Lebanon last week.
- There is tremendous fear among residents of northern communities, which in many cases are even closer to the border fence than along the southern border with Gaza. The threat to the north has forced the evacuation of about 80,000 people.
- Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed Hezbollah this week saying, “I suggest that Hezbollah learn what Hamas has already learned in recent months: No terrorist is immune.”
- Following the Second Lebanon War, the United Nations passed UN Resolution 1701 which called for the complete cessation by Hezbollah of any attacks on Israel, while Israel is required to cease any offensive measures against Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s actions including attacking Israeli infrastructure are a violation of the Resolution. The Resolution also demands that Hezbollah withdraw its forces over the Litani River, which it has not done.
- Israel has retaliated by launching counter-strikes on Hezbollah targets in Syria and Lebanon. On Monday it was reported that Wissam al-Tawil, a senior commander of Hezbollah’s elite Rawdan force, was killed by a targeted IDF air strike. Tawil was one of the most senior members of Hezbollah to be eliminated since the war began. Earlier yesterday, it was reported that Hezbollah’s drone chief Ali Hussein Barji, another senior member of the terrorist group, was killed.
- Hamas rocket attacks on Israel have been reduced to a trickle.
- In the north, Hezbollah has been slowly increasing its level of rocket and other fire against Israeli targets. Yesterday, one rocket hit the headquarters of the IDF Northern Command near the city of Safed (Tzfat) causing minor damage. Hezbollah claimed that the attack was in response to targeted killings of its leaders by Israel.
- In the Red Sea, Israel and the United States military continue to shoot down missiles and UAVs fired at Israel and commercial shipping vessels, by Iran-back Houthi rebels in Yemen.
- Qatar and Egypt continue efforts to reach a new deal that could see the release of some hostages. Over the weekend, the Qatari prime minister met with Israeli hostages’ families.
- It is believed that 136 hostages remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during the weeklong truce in late November. Four hostages were released before that, and one was rescued by troops. The bodies of eight hostages have also been recovered and three hostages were mistakenly killed by the military. The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 23 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will arrive in Israel later today on his fifth trip to the Jewish state since October 7. Blinken was in Jordan and Qatar Sunday at the start of a five-day diplomatic effort in the Middle East, seeking to avert a wider war in the region. He is also due to visit the West Bank and Egypt this week.
Stories Of Heartbreak, Heroism, and Hope
- See the story of 35-year-old Uriel Baruch, husband of Rachel and father to two children, aged eight and five. He is a fan of techno music and is described by loved ones as “a beautiful soul.” He was last seen with a friend at the Nova rave on October 7. There is still no trace of Uriel, who is presumed to have been taken to Gaza by Hamas terrorists. For three months Uriel’s family has not known whether he is dead or alive.
Jewish Federations’ Resources
- Jewish Federation’s Israel Emergency Campaign has now raised a total of $768 million system-wide; and has allocated over $265 million to a wide range of humanitarian organizations in Israel. See a detailed update on allocations here.
- 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.
- See these resources by Jewish Federations that give insight into some areas of Federations’ emergency allocations.
- 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 Sunday to Thursday from 11-11:30 am ET. No registration is required. Join here.
- Volunteering: Read this updated Jewish Federation 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.
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.