Update from Jewish Federations of North America

November 17, 2023

As Shabbat approaches in Israel, Jewish Federations’ Israel Office presents a shortened summary of the latest developments in the War. Full updates will resume next week. Meanwhile, from Jerusalem, we wish all of Israel, and Jews around the world, a comforting, safe and peaceful Shabbat.

Join with Jewish Federations, ADL, AJC, and Jews around the country to come together this weekend for a Shabbat of Unity. We ask that all Jews light a memorial candle in honor of those who were murdered in Israel and those who have sacrificed their lives fighting for the Jewish State. We also suggest that you light an extra pair of Shabbat candles, that you recite prayers for Israel and for the hostages, and that you end Shabbat by reciting Psalm 121. Please refer to AJC’s Everything You Need To Know About The Attack on Israel. Find suggested discussion materials and copies of prayers at www.adl.org/unity-shabbat.

We have raised more than $650 million to date system-wide and allocated close to $200 million. For details, click here.


• As the ground war continues in Gaza, Israel says that its forces have made significant progress and are close to achieving their goal of destroying Hamas’s operations in the northern Gaza Strip. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that the military have eliminated all terrorist threats from the western side of Gaza City. Watch the IDF Chief of Staff briefing troops here and read here about possible next steps for the Israeli offensive.

• Yesterday, Israeli troops attacked an Islamic Jihad outpost in northern Gaza; they found Iran-made Badr-3 rockets, drones, and other weapons. The Badr-3 has a range of 100 miles and includes a 550-pound explosive warhead. The Islamic Jihad outpost was later destroyed. Meanwhile, troops from the Givati Infantry Brigade battled Hamas terrorists holed up in a school. Several gunmen were killed in the fighting, and the troops later recovered weaponry. (See photos of captured weaponry here, and footage of the fighting here and here).

• 51 soldiers have been killed since the ground offensive began. See details of all fallen soldiers here.

• Three days after announcing she had been killed in Hamas captivity, the IDF recovered the body of Cpl. Noa Marciano from a building adjacent to Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Her funeral is slated for later today. Marciano, 19, was serving at the Nahal Oz IDF base when it was overrun by terrorists on October 7. She lived in Modiin and was the oldest of three siblings. On Monday evening, Hamas published a propaganda video of Marciano, showing her speaking to the camera four days after being taken hostage; she identified herself and recited the names of her parents and her hometown. The video then cut to showing her body.

• Yesterday, the IDF also recovered the body of Yehudit Weiss near Shifa.  She was abducted by Hamas on October 7.

• Watch this video about how Hamas exploits hospitals for its military goals and see here weapons captured in the hospital grounds.

• In this video, soldiers discover weapons stored in a child’s bedroom.

• Read here about how Israel uses robots and other tactics to conquer Gaza’s tunnels.

• In an interview with CBS News, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would consider a “temporary cease-fire” only if Hamas frees hostages. Netanyahu also said Israel has “concrete evidence” Hamas was using Shifa hospital as a military command center. Watch here.

• Yesterday, U.S. President Joe Biden said that “Israel’s Gaza operation will end when Hamas is no longer able to murder Israelis.”

• An opinion poll of Israelis’ voting intentions was conducted for the first time since October 7.

The results show support for Prime Minister Netanyahu plummeting, while backing for Minister Benny Gantz has surged.

The Channel 12 survey gave the parties seats as follows (current number of seats in parentheses):

-Gantz’s National Unity Party 36 (12)
-Netanyahu’s Likud 17 (32)
-Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid 15 (24)
-Shas 10 (11)
-Yisrael Beytenu 9 (6)
-United Torah Judaism 7 (7)
-Otzmah Yehudit 7 and Religious Zionism 4 (currently 14 combined)
-Hadash-Taal 5 (5)
-Me-retz 5 (0)
-Ra’am 5 (5)
-Labor 0 (4)

In this scenario, the current opposition parties, led by Benny Gantz (who has recently joined the war-time coalition) could easily form a government of 70, without Netanyahu’s Likud, or other religious and/or right-leaning parties.

An alternate question showed that if Naftali Bennett stood at the head of a party, he would receive 17 seats, mainly at the expense of Benny Gantz.

Following Jewish Federations’ massive March for Israel in Washington DC, read here how the show of solidarity from the Diaspora gives Israelis hope.


Webinar: Join Jewish Federations for an informative training session to share best practices and learn from other communities that are tackling anti-Zionism and antisemitism in the K-12 education space. Register here.

Supporting Pastoral Guidance and Rabbinic Services: Read here about the work to date that Federations are supporting in this field through collective Israel emergency dollars.

Details: For full details about the home front and military operations, see this update. And for information on the latest overall numbers from the conflict, see here.

Volunteering: Read this Jewish Federations update on the latest volunteering opportunities in Israel right now.

Webinars: 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 of the country’s diverse society are speaking every Sunday to Thursday from 11-11:30 am ET. No registration is required. Join here.

Local Authorities: Jewish Federations have produced a document answering questions about funding impacted localities and municipalities in Israel. See here.

Critical Information: For those in Israel looking for help, critical information about the situation on the ground, or other assistance, see this resource page put together by Jewish Federations.

Supplying Protective Equipment: See also this Jewish Federations information page on requests for personal protective equipment which are circulating and this update regarding volunteering.

Funders: As many funders struggle to distinguish between the multitudes of organizations looking for important resources, the Jewish Funders Network has produced this thorough page of guidance.

Hostages: Jewish Federations have launched The Blue Ribbon Campaign, which symbolizes support and solidarity for the safe return of the hostages taken by Hamas. Wearing a ribbon publicly unites people of all religions, races, nationalities, ethnicities, ages, and generations and demonstrates for the people of Israel that they are not alone and that good people across the globe are with them and their families during this dark time.

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 as the situation develops.