You need to watch this video, a tribute to the heroes of our partner community Ofakim. It’s inspiring and uplifting and has been screening on Israeli television during prime time. And this article about Chanuka, featuring Rabbi Olitsky of Congregation Beth El in South Orange, our Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey, and Rabbi Paul Kerbel from Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim in Cranford. And then check out this terrific Bit of Torah from Cantor Galit Dadoun-Cohen of Temple B’nai Or in Morristown.
Director Steven Spielberg has launched a new project to document “unspeakable barbarity” that occurred on October 7. Over 130 testimonies have been gathered from survivors of Hamas massacre which will be accessible to the public online via the foundation’s Visual History Archive in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Countering Antisemitism Through Testimony Collection (CATT), which documents post-Holocaust antisemitism. “Both initiatives — recording interviews with survivors of the October 7 attacks and the ongoing collection of Holocaust testimony — seek to fulfill our promise to survivors: that their stories would be recorded and shared in the effort to preserve history and to work toward a world without antisemitism or hate of any kind,” Spielberg said.
The IDF spokesman announced that in a combined operation with the Shin Bet, more than 70 Hamas gunmen were arrested in the area of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza. The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza said that at least 18,787 Palestinians have been killed and 50,897 wounded in Gaza since the war began. All telecoms and internet services in the Gaza Strip are down, its main telecoms companies Paltel and Jawwal said. Gazans report that the IDF has distributed flyers offering $400,000 for information about Hamas’ chief in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar.
In the West Bank, IDF soldiers were filmed using a mosque’s loudspeaker in the Jenin refugee camp to sing Hanukkah songs. An IDF spokesperson said the soldiers were immediately removed from operational duty. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported three Palestinians were killed in an IDF operation in Jenin Wednesday night, the third consecutive day of IDF operations in the West Bank city. Joining the U.S. and other European states, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on Thursday he was banning those “responsible for settler violence” against West Bank Palestinians from entering Britain. The White House is withholding a shipment of more than 27,000 U.S.-made rifles intended for Israel’s police over concerns they could be transferred to extremist settlers in the West Bank, U.S. officials said in a report by the Wall Street Journal.
Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk suggested that Hamas could recognize Israel following the PLO’s official stance, Al-Monitor reported. Marzouk justified the October 7 attack, saying it achieved “many goals” for Gaza and prominence for the Palestinian cause, and denied as “mere lies” testimony and evidence of sexual violence committed by Hamas. Meanwhile, a wartime opinion poll among Palestinians published Wednesday shows a tripling of support for Hamas in the West Bank, 72 percent support for Hamas’ actions on October 7, and an overwhelming rejection of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah member in jail in Israel, was the survey’s most popular Palestinian politician.
Israel has turned to Egypt to mediate a new deal with Hamas for the release of hostages in exchange for a cease-fire, Egyptian sources have said. Mossad chief David Barnea proposed to the war cabinet that he go to Qatar to jumpstart negotiations for a new hostage-release deal, but was blocked by its members. Meanwhile, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mirjana Spoljaric, visited Israel on Thursday and met with the foreign and health ministers and representatives of the families of Israelis held hostage in Gaza.
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan landed in Israel from Saudi Arabia Thursday for meetings with PM Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who reportedly told him defeating Hamas would take “more than a few months.” Meanwhile, White House spokesman John Kirby said Israel will soon approve the U.S. request to open the Kerem Shalom crossing to humanitarian aid for Gaza. I love this photo of him wearing a “Bring them home now” necklace during his White House briefing yesterday.