July 5, 2023

Update on Israeli Military Operation

Dov Ben-Shimon Federation CEO

Shalom from our Kibbutz Erez partner community. We’re here with a Board leadership group, as part of the 500-strong Greater MetroWest Centennial Mission.Israel launched Operation Home and Garden to root out terrorists and terror infrastructure from the Palestinian city of Jenin. That operation has now concluded and all Israeli forces have left the city. During the withdrawal, one Israeli soldier, David Yehuda Yitzchak z”l, was killed by what may have been friendly fire. His funeral will be held today. See details here.Also yesterday, a Palestinian terrorist rammed a crowded bus stop in North Tel Aviv. The driver then emerged from his vehicle and began stabbing passersby until he was shot and killed by an Israeli civilian who was driving past (see more here). During the attack, nine civilians were injured (see details here), including a young pregnant woman who tragically lost her baby as a result of the attack (see here). The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for the Victims of Terror, supported by Jewish Federations, is in the process of completing the distribution of emergency funds to all the victims of yesterday’s attack (see more here). Today, pictured above, JAFI Chairman of the Board Mark Wilf joined President of #JewishFederations Eric Fingerhut to visit wounded victims from Tuesday’s terror attack in Tel Aviv.

Overnight, five rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, sounding sirens in Sderot and other towns. All five were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome system, although some fragments landed on houses in Israel (including next to a toddlers’ swimming pool), causing minor damage. See more here. In response, Israel carried out a limited retaliatory strike (see details here). But our Jewish federation, in consultation with Israeli security authorities, decided to send a solidarity delegation to Erez once the all-clear was approved. At one point during yesterday’s fighting in Jenin, a number of terrorists barricaded themselves inside a mosque. In the ensuing firefight, the mosque was captured by Israeli troops who discovered a network of tunnels that the terrorists had dug under the mosque. The tunnels were also used to store explosives and other weapons (see more here).Palestinian media is reporting widespread damage to infrastructure in Jenin as a result of Israeli actions. The IDF says it was forced to use heavy equipment on numerous roads and other areas in order to remove a large number of roadside bombs and other terror targets. See here for a description of the town, post-fighting, by an Israeli journalist, and here for reactions of Palestinian residents. Israel has committed to repair essential civilian infrastructure (for water and electricity) damaged by troops due to the fighting, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority.In what the IDF says is a testament to its high level of intelligence, professionalism and care for human life, despite two days of heavy fighting – that included armored vehicles and aerial attacks – no civilians were killed during the operation. Palestinian sources do not dispute this fact.The IDF summarized its two-day operation in Jenin with the following results:

  • 13 Palestinian terrorists killed.
  • 30 terrorists arrested.
  • 14 apartments containing terror bases were destroyed.
  • 3 terror command and control centers were destroyed. The IDF also discovered a large network of CCTV cameras that had been deployed throughout Jenin and used against IDF troops. See photo here.
  • 6 bomb-manufacturing sites were destroyed.
  • Over 1,000 explosive devices were captured, including large road-side bombs and other IEDs (see photos here).
  • 32 guns (24 M16 rifles + 8 handguns), along with thousands of rounds of ammunition were captured. (See photos of captured weapons here and video here).
  • Dozens of kilograms of chemical materials used for bomb-making were discovered.
  • Hundreds of thousands of shekels in cash, designated for terror purposes, were confiscated.
  • 6 underground tunnels used for hiding terrorists, explosives and ammunition were uncovered and destroyed.
  • 2 weapons storage facilities were destroyed.

We are hoping that quiet prevails. We are keeping a close watch on developments and will report as needed. With love and prayers for peace from our biggest community mission ever.