ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Nov. 2: US says it sees ‘no indication’ Hezbollah is set to join Israel-Hamas war

IDF hits Hezbollah after Hamas launches rockets from Lebanon, ahead of Nasrallah speech * 19 soldiers killed since ground op began * Troops surround Gaza City, kill 130 terrorists

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

  • An IDF artillery unit fires towards Lebanon near the Israeli border with Lebanon, northern Israel, November 2, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)
    An IDF artillery unit fires towards Lebanon near the Israeli border with Lebanon, northern Israel, November 2, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)
  • IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to reporters from an IAF base, November 2, 2023. (Screenshot: Israel Defense Forces)
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to reporters from an IAF base, November 2, 2023. (Screenshot: Israel Defense Forces)
  • Blazes break out in Kiryat Shmona after Hamas fires rockets from Lebanon (Fire and Rescue Services)
    Blazes break out in Kiryat Shmona after Hamas fires rockets from Lebanon (Fire and Rescue Services)
  • Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • An Israeli armored vehicle operates inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    An Israeli armored vehicle operates inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • A picture taken from southern Israel shows an Israeli army helicopter launching flares over the Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023(Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    A picture taken from southern Israel shows an Israeli army helicopter launching flares over the Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023(Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • Palestinians wander among debris of buildings that Hamas says were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, November 1, 2023. The IDF has said it is targeting Hamas infrastructure above and below ground.  (Abed Khaled/AP)
    Palestinians wander among debris of buildings that Hamas says were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, November 1, 2023. The IDF has said it is targeting Hamas infrastructure above and below ground. (Abed Khaled/AP)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they happened.

Outside White House, Chile’s president accuses Israel of ‘violating humanitarian international law’

Chile's President Gabriel Boric meets with with US President Joe Biden (not pictured) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, on November 2, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)
Chile's President Gabriel Boric meets with with US President Joe Biden (not pictured) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, on November 2, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

WASHINGTON — Chilean President Gabriel Boric says from outside the White House that the response from Israel has been “disproportionate and it is violating humanitarian international law.”

Boric’s administration recalled its ambassador to Israel earlier this week amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Boric was meeting with Biden in the Oval Office during his trip to the US for the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders’ Summit. The presidents did not speak about the conflict publicly during their remarks.

But after, Boric comes outside and speaks in Spanish.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip is simply unacceptable,” he says. “I want to be very clear: As president of Chile and my country, I have no hesitation in energetically and categorically condemning the terrorist attacks by Hamas. And we demand the liberation of all the hostages.”

US House okays $14.5 billion military aid package to Israel that Biden has vowed to veto

US House Speaker Mike Johnson, center, is joined by fellow Republicans as he talks with reporters ahead of the debate and vote on supplemental aid to Israel, at the Capitol in Washington, November 2, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
US House Speaker Mike Johnson, center, is joined by fellow Republicans as he talks with reporters ahead of the debate and vote on supplemental aid to Israel, at the Capitol in Washington, November 2, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The US House of Representatives has voted to advance $14.5 billion in military aid to Israel, but the bill appears to be dead on arrival after the leader of the Senate’s Democratic majority along with the White House made clear that they would not sign off on legislation that does not include assistance for both Israel and Ukraine.

The aid package pushed by new House Speaker Mike Johnson also requires the emergency aid to be offset with billions in cuts from the Internal Revenue Service, which Democrats approved last year, and does not include humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza.

US President Joe Biden has said he would veto the bill, which was approved 226-196, with 12 Democrats joining most Republicans on a largely party-line vote.

The 12 Democrats who voted with Republicans are among the party’s most pro-Israel lawmakers: Representatives Josh Gottheimer, Jared Moskowitz, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel, Jared Golden, Juan Vargas, Angie Craig, Don Davis, Greg Landsman, Darren Soto, Haley Stevens, and Fredrica Wilson.

Johnson says the Republican package will provide Israel with the assistance needed to defend itself, free hostages held by Hamas and eradicate the Palestinian terror group, accomplishing “all of this while we also work to ensure responsible spending and reduce the size of the federal government.”

Democrats say the approach will only delay help for Israel. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has warned that the “stunningly unserious” bill has no chance of passing in the Senate.

The first substantial legislative effort in Congress to support Israel in the war falls far short of Biden’s request for nearly $106 billion that would also back Ukraine as it fights Russia, along with US efforts to counter China and address security at the border with Mexico.

It is also Johnson’s first big test as House speaker as the Republican majority tries to get back to work after a month of turmoil since ousting Representative Kevin McCarthy as speaker. Johnson has said he will turn next to aid for Ukraine along with US border security, preferring to address Biden’s requests separately as GOP lawmakers increasingly oppose aiding Kyiv.

AP contributed to this report.

Two Palestinians reported killed in clashes with IDF in Jenin

Two Palestinians have been killed as intense firefights break out in Jenin, the Hamas-linked Shehab news outlet reports.

Footage shared online shows Israeli military vehicles operating in the city, which has been the scene of repeated deadly clashes in recent days as Israel carries out nightly raids in the West Bank city.

In one video, shots appear to be fired at a mosque minaret.

There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces on the fighting.

US pressing Israel to limit strikes in southern Gaza where Palestinians told to flee, officials tell ToI

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip on November 2, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip on November 2, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has been privately pressing Israel to limit its airstrikes in southern Gaza, arguing that the IDF has less legitimacy to be targeting that area of the Strip after telling civilians to evacuate there from the north, a US and an Israeli official tell The Times of Israel.

The Israeli official says the IDF strikes have focused largely on northern Gaza where a larger proportion of Hamas strongholds are located. However, it reserves the right to target the terror group anywhere in the Strip after the October 7 onslaught, the official clarifies.

The Israeli official highlights the IDF’s demarcation of a humanitarian zone in southwest Gaza where international aid will be provided to those who have fled following the military’s directive for Palestinians to evacuate the northern Strip.

But the US official says the area has not been clearly designated by Israel and is far too small to house Gaza’s entire population of 2.3 million people, leaving the vast majority of them still exposed to the aerial bombardment.

The US official clarifies that Washington recognizes that Hamas is operating from within and underneath civilian populations throughout the entirety of Gaza. However, the US is concerned about the mushrooming number of civilian casualties, which complicates the administration’s ability to continue supporting Israel’s military operation while also rallying allies to follow suit, the official adds.

Jack Lew sworn in as new US ambassador, is heading to Israel with Blinken

This handout photo shows Jack Lew being sworn in as US ambassador to Israel, in Washington, on November 2, 2023. (State Department)
This handout photo shows Jack Lew being sworn in as US ambassador to Israel, in Washington, on November 2, 2023. (State Department)

WASHINGTON — Jack Lew has been ceremonially sworn in as the American ambassador to Israel, the State Department says, adding that he is en route to Israel with US Secretary Antony Blinken and will remain on the ground to take the reins at the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

“Ambassador Lew’s swearing in today as the the new US ambassador to Israel arrives at a critical moment in Israel. The ambassador is an incredibly qualified, dedicated public servant who will provide invaluable leadership for the US Embassy in Jerusalem,” tweets the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs Bureau.

Lew’s nomination was approved Wednesday by the Senate, capping a confirmation process that was fast-tracked amid the Israel-Hamas war.

US organizing summit on Gaza war for Arab foreign ministers in Amman, officials tell ToI

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department, in Washington, October 30, 2023. (Alex Brandon/AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department, in Washington, October 30, 2023. (Alex Brandon/AP)

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is organizing a summit for foreign ministers from its Arab ally countries when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Amman on Saturday, a senior Arab diplomat and a US official tell The Times of Israel.

Washington will use the summit to rally regional partners behind as many of its policies regarding the Israel-Hamas war as possible, the US official says, pointing to the administration’s calls for humanitarian pauses, increasing humanitarian aid, rejecting the permanent displacement of Palestinians and opposing a permanent Israeli occupation in Gaza as some of the stances that the US’s Arab allies could support.

The invite list for the summit has not yet been finalized, the US official clarifies, while a State Department spokesperson declines to comment.

Ahead of Nasrallah speech, US says it doesn’t think Hezbollah is about to join war

Supporters of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah attend a televised speech by the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut's southern suburbs, on February 16, 2023. (Anwar Amro/AFP)
Supporters of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah attend a televised speech by the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut's southern suburbs, on February 16, 2023. (Anwar Amro/AFP)

WASHINGTON — The US hasn’t “seen any indication” that Hezbollah is ready to fully join Hamas’s war against Israel and is still “concerned about continued attacks on Israeli forces in the north” by the terror group, White House National Security Council chairman John Kirby says.

Kirby adds that the US will be following what Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah says in his highly-anticipated televised address tomorrow, his first since the war’s outbreak.

Analysts have noted growing frustration from Hamas leaders over Hezbollah’s limited involvement in the ongoing war, with the Lebanese terror group firing roughly 100 missiles at Israel since the October 7 onslaught, while refraining from firing more intense barrages or launching a ground invasion similar to the one Hamas pulled off. Hezbollah did intensify its firing into Israel today though in what appears to be an escalation ahead of Nasrallah’s speech.

Kirby in the White House press briefing also continues Washington’s defense of Qatar amid repeated questions about its hosting of Hamas officials in Doha.

“Qatar has lines of communication with Hamas that almost nobody else has… it would be irresponsible… if we weren’t having every possible conversation we could have… It would be diplomatic malpractice,” he says.

Israel to transfer tax funds to PA, minus money for Gaza

Ministers in the high-level security cabinet voted to transfer tax funds it had collected for the Palestinian Authority to Ramallah, but deducted the money earmarked for the Gaza Strip, the Prime Minister’s Office announces.

“Israel is cutting off all contact with Gaza,” says the PMO. “There will be no more Palestinian workers from Gaza and the workers who were in Israel on the day the war broke out will be returned to Gaza.”

According to Kan 11 correspondent Elior Levy, the withheld sum is around NIS 100 million.

The US has been urging Israel to transfer the money to the PA. The subject sparked intense debate in the cabinet.

In the end, Army Radio reports, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich abstained, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir opposed, and the rest of the cabinet supported the transfer of funds.

Blinken to push for series of humanitarian pauses in fighting – report

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will push Israel to agree to humanitarian pauses to the fighting in Gaza, The New York Times reports.

Citing White House officials, the report says that Blinken will not discuss a “ceasefire,” but a series of short windows without attacks in order to allow hostages to be released and for aid to be distributed.

Kan news reported that Netanyahu was considering honoring the US request.

Ben Gvir blocks PA payments to prisoners’ canteen accounts

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir (center) listens to Israel Prison Service chief Katy Perry (left) during a visit to Nafha Prison, January 6, 2023. (Israel Prison Service)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir (center) listens to Israel Prison Service chief Katy Perry (left) during a visit to Nafha Prison, January 6, 2023. (Israel Prison Service)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir is ordering the Israel Prison Service to stop processing Palestinian Authority payments to security prisoners’ canteen accounts.

According to Ben Gvir’s office, the PA transfers NIS 400 a month, per security prisoner, to a joint fund for the prison canteen. About 6,000 security prisoners are covered by the plan.

The PA has long been criticized for offering financial incentives to terrorists and their families.

Since assuming his post in December, Ben Gvir has instituted a string of measures to decrease security prisoners’ quality of life. This latest move comes amid a battle initiated by Finance Ministry Bezalel Smotrich to block Israel from transferring its next installment of collected funds to the PA.

Smotrich, who has long championed to dismantle the PA, said that he ordered the treasury to cancel the next payment because senior PA officials have been engaged in incitement against Israel. The US and other cabinet members have pressed to transfer the funds, deemed necessary for the PA’s stability.

In line with the Oslo Accords, Israel collects tax revenue on behalf of the PA.

Palestinians at UN camp say there is no water, bathroom lines take up to an hour

A UN-provided tent camp for Palestinians displaced in the conflict between Hamas and Israel in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, on October 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
A UN-provided tent camp for Palestinians displaced in the conflict between Hamas and Israel in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, on October 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Speaking to the Kurdish Rudaw news outlet, Gazans say there are few comforts at a UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees camp in Khan Yunis.

“We stay inside the tents even though it is very hot during the day. And during the nighttime, we feel cold. We only have one mattress and we are forced to sleep on blankets on the floor,” Ghazal Obaid, a displaced child, tells Rudaw.

“We struggle when we need to go to the toilet,” she continues. “We must stand in long queues that sometimes take half an hour or an hour.”

Muhammad Obaid, Ghazal’s father, says the camp “does not have services such as a proper toilet or water. We are forced to buy bottles of water, having to wait in queues, not to mention that there is no [heating oil] at all.”

“Our situation is very grave. There is no water or electricity,” says Fatima Radwan. “We cannot do laundry… There are no places to take care of the ill people, children and the elderly.”

“Even going to the bathroom requires walking long distances and then waiting in long queues.”

Over 100 aid trucks enter Gaza Strip, highest total since war started

One hundred and two trucks of humanitarian aid entered Gaza today through Egypt’s Rafah crossing, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

This is the first time that over 100 trucks entered Gaza in a single day since Rafah was opened on October 21, meeting the initial benchmark set by the US for how many trucks it wants to see enter the Strip each day.

Today’s number is also a 47-truck jump from yesterday’s figure and brings the total number of trucks that have entered Gaza since October 21 to 374, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The aid agency says the aid included food, water, relief supplies, medicine, and medical equipment but did not include fuel.

Israel has blocked fuel from entering Gaza, maintaining that Hamas will try and divert it in order to power its tunnels and other military infrastructure.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi indicated earlier today that Israel would allow fuel into Gaza if hospitals run out, but the Prime Minister’s Office subsequently released a statement stressing that Benjamin Netanyahu has not approved any such transfer.

Video shows rocket missing family by mere seconds

A dramatic video emerges from Kiryat Shmona, showing a Hamas rocket hitting a family’s car seconds after the father took his children out of the vehicle.

The father was bringing his kids into Baguette Shlomo on Route 90, Channel 12 reports, and all three were flung into the restaurant as the rocket hit their car.

The family, from Kibbutz Sde Nehemiah next to Kiryat Shmona, had returned home for the first time in three weeks. After the near-miss, they headed south again.

White House: 55 aid trucks entered Gaza yesterday

Palestinians unload boxes of medicine from a truck arrived at Nasser Medical Complex, as part of the aid batch that entered the Gaza Strip from the Rafah crossing Sunday, in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)
Palestinians unload boxes of medicine from a truck arrived at Nasser Medical Complex, as part of the aid batch that entered the Gaza Strip from the Rafah crossing Sunday, in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says 55 trucks of humanitarian aid entered Gaza yesterday through Egypt’s Rafah crossing.

While the US has said it expects the number of trucks to increase every day with an initial goal of reaching 100, Wednesday’s total represents a four truck drop from Tuesday, when 59 trucks entered Gaza, according to the US State Department.

However, Israel’s COGAT military liaison to the Palestinians said that 61 trucks entered Gaza on Wednesday.

Hamas reportedly sending text messages to families of kidnapped

Families of kidnapped civilians have been receiving text messages in Hebrew purporting to be from Hamas, asking recipients to click on a link to receive information on the hostages, Kan News reports.

“This is a message from Al-Qassam,” reads the message, referring to Hamas’s military wing.

“We have offered your government a prisoner swap, but it was not accepted,” the message continues. “This is our message: the release of all Zionist prisoners in exchange for the release of all Palestinian prisoners.”

Netanyahu reportedly weighing short ceasefire, a key US request

A woman walks carrying an infant in the playground of a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) that has been converted into a shelter for displaced Palestinians in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 25, 2023. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
A woman walks carrying an infant in the playground of a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) that has been converted into a shelter for displaced Palestinians in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 25, 2023. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is weighing US requests for a short humanitarian ceasefire, the Hebrew-language Kan News reports.

An Israeli official says a ceasefire of several hours is possible.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due in Israel tomorrow to discuss a ceasefire, among other issues.

Blinken: Civilians ‘bearing brunt’ of IDF’s Gaza campaign, we’ll discuss steps to protect them

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken talks to reporters prior to boarding his plane en route to the Middle East and Asia, at Andrews Air Force Base. Md., Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool via AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken talks to reporters prior to boarding his plane en route to the Middle East and Asia, at Andrews Air Force Base. Md., Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that civilians have been “bear[ing] the brunt” of Israel’s military campaign targeting Hamas in Gaza and that he will be discussing “concrete steps” the IDF can take in order to protect civilians when he arrives in Israel tomorrow for his third visit since the outbreak of the war.

“Israel has not only the right but the obligation to defend itself and also to take steps to try to make sure that this never happens again,” Blinken says on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews before boarding a plane for Israel.

“We’ve also said very clearly and repeatedly that how Israel does this matters,” he asserts. “We’ve seen in recent days Palestinian civilians continuing to bear the brunt of this action, and… We want to look at concrete steps that can be taken to better protect them.”

At the same time, the secretary acknowledges that Hamas is “quite literally” the reason why civilians have been caught in the crossfire due to its use of human shields and its placement of military sites underneath or inside hospitals, schools and mosques.

Blinken says he has five main agenda items for his trip: Strategizing with Israel about its military campaign; ensuring that the war doesn’t spread to additional fronts; continuing efforts to get more humanitarian aid into Gaza; helping get all American citizens and foreign nationals who want to get out of Gaza be able to do so; securing the release of all hostages in Gaza; and setting the conditions for an eventual two-state solution after the war is over.

The secretary will travel to Jordan on Friday evening followed by stops in Japan, South Korea and New Delhi. Additional stops may be added as well.

War costs Israel’s HMOs another NIS 200 million per month

The ongoing war is costing Israel’s health maintenance organizations an additional NIS 200 million ($50.2 million) per month. This adds to the financial woes of the four HMOs, which were already facing a combined deficit of NIS 3 billion ($929 million) for 2023.

Knesset Health Committee chair Yoni Mashriki has called on the Health Ministry and Finance Ministry to cover the irregular expenses resulting from the war to protect the availability and quality of the healthcare provided to Israelis. Mashriki has asked the government to immediately advance payments to the HMOs to cover their unusually high cash flow needs.

In a Health Committee meeting earlier this week, representatives of the HMOs reported that they are dealing with unexpected additional expenses resulting from the need to boost infrastructure, add protected spaces to facilities, and increase equipment and supply inventories. The organizations are also shifting to more at-home care and online services, enhancing security, and adding operational hours requiring more human resources.

Some of the unforeseen expenditures are the result of the HMOs having quickly set up clinics in locations where evacuated and displaced citizens are temporarily being housed, such as Eilat, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Kibbutz Shefayim in central Israel.

IDF: Gaza City is encircled, ceasefire is not on the table

IDF troops operate in northern Gaza on November 1, 2023. (IDF)
IDF troops operate in northern Gaza on November 1, 2023. (IDF)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says ground forces have completely surrounded Gaza City.

“Our troops have completed the encirclement of Gaza City, the center of Hamas activity,” Hagari says in a press conference.

He says Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh — who lives in Qatar — is due to visit Iran in his private jet.

“They are trying to divert us from focusing on Gaza, we are focused on Hamas,” he says, after Iran-backed terror groups, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthis, have stepped up attacks on Israel.

Asked about a potential ceasefire, Hagari says “the term ‘ceasefire’ is not at all on the table at the moment.”

Footage emerges from Golani Brigade’s battle against dozens of Hamas fighters

The commander of the Golani Infantry Brigade’s 13th Battalion describes a dramatic overnight battle against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, during which troops managed to fight off an ambush and kill dozens of terrorists.

“While we were stopping, Hamas terrorists jumped out of tunnels, surrounded us from a number of areas, fired RPGs, and tried to reach our Namer [armored personnel carriers], and place explosives,” says Lt. Col. Tomer Greenberg in a video statement.

“Because we were well prepared, we managed to kill some of them, push back the others… the result was that they were dead and we continued our maneuver, until victory,” Greenberg adds.

In a radio recording shared by the IDF, Greenberg can be heard describing the fighting to the commander of the Golani Brigade: “We received a significant attack here, assault attempts, I need suppressing fire to repel the terrorists’ attacks. Anyone who is outside the APC, kill.”

One of the officers who participated in the battle, Lt. “Nun” — who can only be identified by his rank and first initial in Hebrew — says it was an “excellent battle.”

“We encountered an ambush, and we battled dozens of terrorists. There are almost no injuries [to Israeli forces], and dozens of terrorists dead,” he says.

He says it was an “excellent battle, a remarkable battle. And now we are preparing for the next battle, until victory.”

The IDF also releases a short clip from the battle itself, showing troops inside an APC approaching the site of the fighting and opening fire.

IDF has ‘unique solutions’ to handle Hamas tunnels – defense minister

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to troops of the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit, November 2, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to troops of the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit, November 2, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says the military has “unique solutions” to demolish Hamas’s vast network of tunnels under the Gaza Strip.

“We have unique solutions to reach all the tunnels and dismantle them underground; we are ready to do it,” Gallant says to troops of the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit.

“We will reach everywhere, and then the terrorists will have two options: either die in the tunnel or come out. And there, either die from the fire of our forces or surrender unconditionally,” he says.

“There is no third option, those are the only options and that’s how we operate,” he adds.

US VP Harris: Palestinians who leave Gaza will be able to return

US Vice President Kamala Harris tells reporters while traveling in London that every Palestinian in Gaza who evacuates the Hamas-run enclave due to the war will be allowed to return.

“The people who have been forced out have a right to return home, and there should be no forced displacement, no forced migration, and that is it,” Harris says.

Washington has been trying to assuage Palestinian concerns in recent days about a new refugee crisis sparked by the war, as Israel has avoided publicly stating that those who leave Gaza will be able to return.

Jerusalem did privately promise to Egypt and the US that those who have left Gaza for medical treatment will be able to return, Axios reported yesterday. However, it’s unclear how much these fears are warranted given that Egypt is the one controlling the Rafah crossing through which the injured would be able to return.

Democratic senator calls for ceasefire if hostages freed

Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, leads a hearing about the rise in threats toward elected leaders and election workers, at the Capitol in Washington, August 3, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, leads a hearing about the rise in threats toward elected leaders and election workers, at the Capitol in Washington, August 3, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Dick Durbin becomes the first US senator to express support for a ceasefire in Gaza, while clarifying that it must include the release of all hostages in the Hamas-run enclave.

Durbin’s condition regarding the release of some 240 hostages sets him apart from the 18 Democrats from the far-left flank of his party who signed onto a resolution calling for a ceasefire, which makes no mention of those kidnapped into Gaza.

Durbin tells CNN his ceasefire call is “under circumstances, for example, the release of those who have been kidnapped as part of it, as an indication that this is a good faith effort on part of the other side.”

Discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more broadly, the pro-two-state Durbin says, “Let’s face it, this has gone on for decades. Whatever the rationale from the beginning has now reached an intolerable level. We need to have a resolution in the Middle East that gives some promise to the future.”

Hezbollah says it hit 19 IDF positions

The Hezbollah terror group claims to have attacked 19 Israeli military sites along the Lebanon border today.

It says the simultaneous attack this afternoon was carried out with missiles, mortars, and other light arms.

The Israel Defense Forces did not report any injuries in the attacks.

Biden: 74 Americans and their families left Gaza today

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden tells reporters at the White House that 74 American citizens and their families managed to leave Gaza today, thanks to Washington’s diplomatic engagements in the region.

Several hundred Palestinians in Gaza with dual citizenship were able to start leaving the Strip through Egypt’s Rafah crossing yesterday for the first time since the war started.

The US says 400 of its citizens have been in contact with the State Department about trying to leave Gaza. Washington is working on getting all of them out in the coming days along with roughly 600 of their relatives.

IDF: 130 terrorists killed over last few hours

The Israel Defense Forces says ground forces have killed some 130 terrorists during clashes in the northern Gaza Strip in the last few hours.

The IDF says the troops “continue to wage fierce battles against Hamas terrorists,” while locating weapons and destroying the terror group’s infrastructure.

“During gun battles conducted by our forces, approximately 130 terrorists were eliminated,” the IDF says.

The Israeli Air Force has also continued its strikes on Gaza, the IDF says, adding that aircraft struck a number of military headquarters used by senior Hamas officials, among other targets belonging to the terror group.

Navy forces have also participated in the fighting, with the IDF saying missile boats aided ground forces by striking booby-trapped buildings and Hamas observation posts.

The IDF says it also struck several Hamas sites along the coast, belonging to the terror group’s naval forces.

US reportedly concerned Wagner Group could give air defenses to Hezbollah

Servicemen sit in a tank with a flag of the Wagner Group military company, as they guard an area at the HQ of the Southern Military District in a street in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023. (AP Photo)
Servicemen sit in a tank with a flag of the Wagner Group military company, as they guard an area at the HQ of the Southern Military District in a street in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023. (AP Photo)

The US has intelligence that the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group could provide Hezbollah with an advanced air defense system, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the US outlet, American intelligence is monitoring conversations between Wagner and Hezbollah, and believes the Russian outfit could send the SA-22 to Lebanon.

Wagner and Hezbollah fighters are both stationed in Syria.

IDF carries out major strikes on Hezbollah sites after rocket fire on north

The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out wide-scale airstrikes on Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to rocket attacks on northern Israel earlier.

The IDF says that among the targets hit so far by fighter jets, tanks, and artillery are military headquarters, rocket launching positions, weapons storage sites, military complexes, and other infrastructure belonging to the terror group.

It publishes footage showing the strikes.

The IDF says that it considers Hezbollah responsible for all attacks launched against Israel from Lebanon, after the Hamas terror group claimed responsibility for some of the rocket fire.

Gantz: The combat in Gaza is more complicated than anything we’ve seen

Minister Benny Gantz speaks during a press conference about the war against the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, October 28, 2023. (YouTube screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Minister Benny Gantz speaks during a press conference about the war against the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, October 28, 2023. (YouTube screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Minister Benny Gantz says that Israel’s current war against Hamas in Gaza is its most “complicated” ever, and is extracting a heavy toll.

“It’s a more complicated warfare than we’ve ever known,” the war cabinet member says, from Tel Aviv’s military headquarters.

“As with every battle, there are challenges and a heavy price,” he adds.

Saying that Israel can no longer live alongside terrorist organization Hamas, he stresses that “this reality has to change.”

Gantz adds that Israel is acting in accordance with “what is right for Israel. I promise you this is the only consideration in this war,” he says, shrugging off rumors of political infighting, in particular.

“We are advancing from the abyss of tragedy to victory,” he says, saying that Israeli internal unity will aid military success.

Answering a question, he stresses that Israel has not approved the delivery of fuel into Gaza.

US VP Harris discusses Gaza humanitarian aid with UN secretary-general

Vice President Kamala Harris during a state luncheon at the State Department in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
Vice President Kamala Harris during a state luncheon at the State Department in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)

US Vice President Kamala Harris met earlier today with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of an AI summit in London.

Harris “reaffirmed Israel’s right and duty to defend itself following the appalling Hamas terrorist attack of October 7 as well as the importance of respecting international humanitarian law,” the US readout says.

Harris and Guterres “discussed recent progress to increase the flow of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Gaza as well as the urgent need to dramatically increase the pace and scale of those deliveries to ensure the flow of food, water, and medicine while restoring basic services,” the US readout says. “They also discussed the steps necessary to ensure that relief organizations had the resources they needed to effectively distribute assistance once it enters Gaza.”

IDF paratrooper Yair Nifousy, 20, succumbs to wounds in Gaza

Yair Nifousy, 20, an IDF paratrooper who succumbed to injuries on November 2, 2023 (courtesy)
Yair Nifousy, 20, an IDF paratrooper who succumbed to injuries on November 2, 2023 (courtesy)

A soldier who was critically wounded during clashes with Hamas terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip yesterday has died, the military says.

He is named as Staff Sgt. Yair Nifousy, 20, of the Paratrooper’s 101st Battalion, from Adi.

Another soldier from his unit was wounded in the same clashes.

Separately, the IDF says a reservist soldier in the Harel Brigade’s 429th Battalion was wounded on the Gaza border today. No further details are given.

Hamas claims credit for barrage on Kiryat Shmona; 2 injured

Firefighters battle blazes in Kiryat Shmona after Hamas fires rockets from Lebanon, November 2, 2023. (Fire and Rescue Services)
Firefighters battle blazes in Kiryat Shmona after Hamas fires rockets from Lebanon, November 2, 2023. (Fire and Rescue Services)

The Gaza Strip-based Hamas terror group claims responsibility for the latest rocket attack from Lebanon at the northern city of Kiryat Shmona.

In a statement, Hamas says its Lebanon branch fired 12 rockets.

Blazes break out in Kiryat Shmona after Hamas fires rockets from Lebanon (Fire and Rescue Services)

At least one landed in a shopping area, heavily damaging cars and a store.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are treating two people who were wounded.

It says a 25-year-old is in moderate condition due to shrapnel and a 40-year-old is lightly hurt as a result of the blast. The pair are being taken to Ziv Hospital in Safed, MDA says.

The city has been largely evacuated amid repeated attacks by Hezbollah and allied Palestinian terror factions in southern Lebanon.

Senior official: Bahrain did not recall envoy

Bahrain's first-ever ambassador to Israel Khaled Yousif Al-Jalahma (C), his wife and President Isaac Herzog (L) after presenting his credentials at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, September 14, 2021. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
Bahrain's first-ever ambassador to Israel Khaled Yousif Al-Jalahma (C), his wife and President Isaac Herzog (L) after presenting his credentials at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, September 14, 2021. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

WASHINGTON — Bahrain has made no decision to recall its ambassador, despite a statement earlier today by its parliament that said it had, a senior official familiar with the matter tells The Times of Israel.

The parliament statement had said that Manama would recall its ambassador and that it had ordered Israel’s Ambassador to Bahrain Eitan Naeh to leave the country, but the senior official says the Gulf country’s envoy Khaled Al-Jalahma was already back in Bahrain for a personal engagement and an Israeli official says that Jerusalem had pulled Naeh and his staff out of the country toward the beginning of the war as a security precaution.

The Israeli official says the UAE is currently the only Mideast country where Jerusalem still has an ambassador stationed after quietly pulling envoys from Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Bahrain.

“There has been no recall of ambassadors and no cutting of ties” with Bahrain, the senior official says, echoing the earlier message from Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which said that it had not received any directive from Manama regarding the recalling of ambassadors and that “Israel-Bahrain relations are stable.”

Herzog meets with envoys of countries whose citizens were kidnapped by Hamas

President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal meet with ambassadors of countries whose citizens were killed by and are being held by Hamas, November 2, 2023 (Haim Zach / GPO)
President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal meet with ambassadors of countries whose citizens were killed by and are being held by Hamas, November 2, 2023 (Haim Zach / GPO)

President Isaac Herzog meets with the ambassadors of Thailand, Philippines, Tanzania, and Nepal, all of which have citizens taken hostage  by Hamas on October 7.

Herzog stresses the important contribution foreign nationals make to Israeli society and industry, according to the President’s Office.

“We are here because of the tragedy that has befallen the people of Israel, and many people from your nations,” Herzog continues. “We know that many of your citizens in Israel were murdered, killed, tortured, wounded, and unfortunately, taken hostage.”

Thailand lost 23 citizens, and 4 remain in the hospital, said the Thai ambassador. She adds that 29 Thai nationals are in Hamas hands.

“The news about Israel is every day in the Thai media, and we are concerned about the well being of the Thai people who are still living and working here in Israel, and also we have grave concern for those who have been abducted,” continues Pannabha Chandraramya. “We want to know whereabout they are and how could we help them.”

Four Filipinos were murdered, as were 10 Nepalis. Two Tanzanian nationals are missing.

Netanyahu promises economic support similar to COVID-19 pandemic

Standing alongside Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the government is attentive to the economic needs of the public, “as we were during the coronavirus.”

He says the government will open its pockets “without delay.”

The two are explaining their plan for supporting businesses and citizens during the war as it moves through the Knesset.

 

Gaza rocket hits home in central Israel, no injuries

A home in central Israel after a rocket strike from Gaza  (Fire and Rescue Services)
A home in central Israel after a rocket strike from Gaza (Fire and Rescue Services)

A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit a home in central Israel, first responders say.

The Fire and Rescue Services say there is heavy damage to the building.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says there are no injuries, as the family was in a safe room.

Rockets spark fires in Kiryat Shmona

Stores and cars in Kiryat Shmona burst into flames after Hezbollah fires rockets at the northern city, November 2, 2023 (Screenshot: Channel 13)
Stores and cars in Kiryat Shmona burst into flames after Hezbollah fires rockets at the northern city, November 2, 2023 (Screenshot: Channel 13)

A rocket launched from Lebanon has caused heavy damage in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona.

Live television footage shows several cars and stores on fire as a result of the rocket impact.

There are no reports of injuries in the attack.

IDF: We are striking Hezbollah after rocket fire

The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out strikes against “a series of Hezbollah sites” in Lebanon after a number of rockets were launched at northern Israel in the last hour.

The IDF says it will provide further details soon on the strikes.

No injuries were reported in the rocket attacks.

Chief rabbis: Assaulting Arab workers ‘contradicts Torah’

File: Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau (left) and Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef attend a ceremony selling hametz (food containing leavening) to Arab Israeli Mr Jaber before the upcoming Passover holiday in Jerusalem, April 4, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
File: Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau (left) and Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef attend a ceremony selling hametz (food containing leavening) to Arab Israeli Mr Jaber before the upcoming Passover holiday in Jerusalem, April 4, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Ashkenazi and Sephardic chief rabbis of Israel, as well as 11 other prominent rabbis, call on Jews to refrain from assaulting Arab laborers.

The call  follows reports of multiple assaults of Arabs by Jews, especially in the Jerusalem area, in connection with the war between Israel and Hamas that began on October 7.

“Unfortunate rumors have reached us that people from the margins of the public, whose blood is boiling because of the terrible news, are behaving violently toward those who work for the residents of Jerusalem and the rest of the country,” reads the statement.

It is signed by Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, the Sephardic and Ashkenazi chief rabbis of Israel, as well as Shlomo Amar and Aryeh Stern, the chief rabbis of Jerusalem, and nine other prominent rabbis.

This violence “contradicts the Torah,” and is dangerous and “damaging” because it risks making Arab laborers decide not to work their jobs, to the detriment of all those who depend on their services, the rabbis wrote. “Do not engage in fights and hostility toward those workers,” reads the call, which continues to urge its readers to restrain “hotheaded youths” from engaging in such behavior.

Last month, several Arab bus drivers in the Jerusalem area were assaulted, according to a report by Kan news Wednesday. Last week, Jewish passengers pepper-sprayed an Arab driver on line 164, causing him to drive into an electric post. He was lightly injured, the report said. In another incident, assailants broke the glass divider of the 72 line bus, calling the driver, who was an Arab, a “terrorist.”

In another incident from October 8, passengers in the predominantly religious settlement of Modi’in Ilit wounded an Arab bus driver by smashing the windows near the driver’s seat. They, too, called the driver a terrorist. He sustained minor injuries to his arm.

PMO: Netanyahu has not approved fuel shipments to Gaza

After IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi indicated that Israel would allow fuel into Gaza if hospitals run out, the Prime Minister’s Office releases a statement stressing that Benjamin Netanyahu has not approved any such transfer.

According to US estimates, Hamas holds around 40% of the 500,000 liters of fuel in Gaza.

Sirens sound in north as IDF strikes Hezbollah

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in Kiryat Shmona, Margaliot, and Manara, close to the border with Lebanon.

The alerts come as the IDF says it is striking Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to earlier rocket attacks.

Sirens sound across central Israel, around airport

As IDF ground forces advance in Gaza City, rocket sirens sound in the Gush Dan area in central Israel.

Sirens also go in communities around Ben Gurion Airport.

National Unity, Joint List MKs clash during visit to Hadassah hospital

National Unity MK Penina Tamano-Shata and Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi shout at each other during a hospital visit in Jerusalem, November 2, 2023 (Elana Maryles Sztokman)
National Unity MK Penina Tamano-Shata and Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi shout at each other during a hospital visit in Jerusalem, November 2, 2023 (Elana Maryles Sztokman)

A Knesset Health Committee visit to Hadassah Medical Center’s Mt. Scopus hospital today devolved into a screaming match between two committee members.

The committee was hosted by senior Hadassah leadership, who gave the MKs a tour of the hospital’s new rehabilitation center under construction.

An ensuing discussion focused mainly on growing and unmet needs in rehab medicine countrywide, particularly in Jerusalem and periphery regions.

Amid talk of governmental budgets and compliments for medical staff of all backgrounds working together to save lives under challenging wartime conditions, an off-topic argument broke out between National Unity MK Penina Tamano-Shata and Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi.

Tamano-Shata lashed out at Tibi, accusing him of not attending a special Knesset screening yesterday of uncensored footage recorded by Hamas terrorists as they committed unspeakable acts of violence on innocent Israelis on October 7.  The footage was so horrific that some MKs could not bear to stay in the screening until the end.

A fuming Tibi shouted that he had seen the footage, though not at yesterday’s screening. Tamano-Shata refused to listen to Tibi and continued to yell at him, with Tibi screaming back at her. The two made their claims and counterclaims a handful of times, with the volume so high that it was hard to understand what they were each saying.

Toward the end of the explosive argument, Tamano-Shata accused Tibi of saying in 2018 that Hamas was not a terror organization. Tibi replied that she was misquoting him and taking his remarks out of context.

IDF commander: If fuel for Gaza hospitals runs out, we will ensure they get more

Taking questions from the press, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi acknowledges the loss of life of IDF soldiers, and says “nothing is 100%” in battle, “but in the last week, while we have been active [on the ground] in Gaza, the IDF, even if [an incident] began badly, has held the upper hand. Every day, many dozens of Hamas operatives are being killed.”

He says this conflict “is broader than Israel-Hamas. There are global aspects. We warmly appreciate the presence of the United States army here with us, in deep cooperation, also boosting our capacity to defend the State of Israel according to our security policy.”

He says IDF forces are not only surrounding Gaza City but are also “inside significant areas inside Gaza City… inside central Hamas facilities, destroying targets underground and above ground, killing Hamas terrorists and activists.”

In response to a question about fuel supplies to Gaza, Halevi says fuel will be allowed in for use in hospitals if and when they run out.

“We have not brought fuel in to this point,” he says. “We check the situation in the Strip every day. For over a week, they tell us that the fuel in the hospitals will run out, and it hasn’t. We’ll see when the day comes [that it runs out. When that day comes], fuel will be transferred, with oversight, to the hospitals, and we will do everything to ensure that it doesn’t reach Hamas infrastructure and won’t serve [Hamas’s] war aims.”

In a final comment, he says that for the sake of Israeli security, regional stability and the good of the residents of Gaza, “it will not be right for Hamas to remain in control of Gaza. Who will be there? We’ll leave that for other discussions.”

IDF chief of staff: We are surrounding Gaza City

DF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi issues a video statement from southern Israel, October 28, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
DF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi issues a video statement from southern Israel, October 28, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi says troops are operating inside Gaza City, and are surrounding it from several directions.

“We have advanced another significant stage in the war. The forces are in the heart of northern Gaza, operating in Gaza City, surrounding it, and deepening [the ground offensive], and achievements,” Halevi says in a statement from an Air Force base.

“The forces are fighting in a dense and complex urban area, that requires professional combat, and courage,” he says.

He says troops are engaged in close-quarters combat. “Ground forces are accompanied by accurate intelligence, with fire from the air and sea. This partnership makes combat much more effective,” Halevi continues.

“Our warriors, fighting in close quarters against a cruel enemy, have a huge advantage: Camaraderie and battle spirit flow through their veins,” he says. “The spirit of Israeli society and the justice of our cause accompany us at all times.”

Halevi says this war has “a painful and difficult price,” with 18 soldiers being killed in the ground operation so far. “We lost the best of our sons in the war, we embrace their families… we will continue to win.”

He says the IDF has an “obligation” to return home all the hostages being held by Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

“We did not launch a war against Hezbollah” in the north, he says. “Our policy is that anyone who approaches the northern border and constitutes a threat to Israeli citizens or IDF soldiers, we will hit them. That’s what’s been happening in the past few weeks. That’s what will happen going forward. I don’t recommend that any of our enemies join the fighting. Our force is ready and can widen its activities to additional fronts.”

He says the Israel Air Force is active in Gaza “with considerable force.” But he stresses that “less than half” of the IAF’s power is being utilized in Gaza. Most of its force is ready, with bombs loaded, “should the need arise to attack on other fronts.”

He says the army is fighting “in the name of the sanctity of life, against an enemy who has engraved death on his flag. We are fighting for our right to live in safety and to thrive in our homeland.”

“We have no other country in the face of absolute evil. We are acting with composure, intelligence and determination,” he says.

Shirts calling for Israel’s elimination for sale on Amazon

Amazon is allowing the sale on its platform of T-shirts with the words “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The slogan, often heard at pro-Palestinian rallies, is seen as a call for the elimination of Israel, which sits between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The map on the shirts shows Israel’s entire territory – including the West Bank – and the Gaza Strip in the colors of the Palestinian flag. It does not include the Golan Heights.

Israeli man killed in West Bank this morning named

Elhanan Klein, from the settlement of Einav, who was killed on November 2, 2023 (courtesy)
Elhanan Klein, from the settlement of Einav, who was killed on November 2, 2023 (courtesy)

An Israeli man killed in a West Bank shooting attack earlier today is named by authorities as Elhanan Klein, from the settlement of Einav.

Klein, 29, was returning home from reserve duty, according to the Samaria Regional Council.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

The attack took place on the Route 557 highway, close to the Palestinian town of Bayt Lid.

His car overturned after being shot at by Palestinian terrorists, and medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

The IDF said it launched a manhunt for the suspects behind the attack.

Israelis reportedly set fire to Palestinian shops, cars in northern West Bank

Israeli soldiers and settlers at the entrance to the West Bank town of Turmus Aya, June 21, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
Israeli soldiers and settlers at the entrance to the West Bank town of Turmus Aya, June 21, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

Settlers allegedly set fire to Palestinian shops, cars, olive groves, and other property in the village of Deir Sharf in the northern West Bank, following the fatal terror shooting of an Israeli in the same area earlier on Thursday.

Videos posted on social media, including by the B’Tselem organization as well as Israeli and Palestinian activists, show plumes of smoke rising from numerous places in the town.

Video footage posted by activists also shows Palestinian olive groves set ablaze, allegedly by settlers, near Jit Junction several kilometers away from the site of the terror attack.

Settler activists also block a key road leading into the Palestinian city of Nablus in protest of what they said was the army’s refusal to lock down the city in the wake of the terror shooting attack.

The activists, including several rabbis, clashed with Border Police who came to disperse the demonstration.

According to the police, three Israelis were arrested at the site on suspicion of arson and disturbing public order.

Sirens go off in Galilee border communities

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in several communities close to the Lebanon border.

Sirens sound in Arab al-Aramshe and Adamit in the Western Galilee, and in Avivim, Margaliot, and Misgav Am in the Upper Galilee.

The alerts comes amid repeated rocket and missile attacks by Hezbollah and allied Palestinian terror factions from southern Lebanon on northern Israel.

IDF: Iran-backed militia moves from Syria to south Lebanon to support Hezbollah

An Iran-sponsored militia originally deployed in Syria has been transferred to south Lebanon to support Hezbollah, says the IDF Arabic-language spokesman Avichay Adraee.

“After a series of failures suffered by Hezbollah against Israel in recent weeks, the Iranian Imam Hussein Brigade, led by a commander known as Zulfiqar, has arrived in southern Lebanon,” Adraee announced in his account on X, formerly Twitter.

“The militia has engaged in confrontation with the IDF in recent weeks along the Lebanese border,” he continues.

“Hezbollah and the Imam Hussein Brigade will cause Lebanon to pay a heavy price for the benefit of Hamas-ISIS. The IDF is fully prepared to respond to anyone who tries to undermine its sovereignty in the north,” he adds.

The Alma Research Center, which follows security developments along Israel’s northern border, says that the Imam Hussein Brigade is a militia composed primarily of Iraqi Shiites that was integrated into the Fourth Division of the regular Syrian army and operates mainly in the Damascus area.

It has reportedly conducted direct offensive operations against Israel and American soldiers in Syria. The whole Fourth Division, commanded by Maher Assad, brother of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has evolved into an Iranian proxy and reports directly to the Quds Force, the expeditionary arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Center says.

University of Haifa to give emergency scholarships to students called up to war

University of Haifa is situated atop Mount Carmel, overlooking Haifa Bay (Photo: Courtesy)
University of Haifa is situated atop Mount Carmel, overlooking Haifa Bay (Photo: Courtesy)

Students called up to reserve duty will receive a NIS 2,000 ($500) scholarship, drawn from a special emergency fund, the University of Haifa announces.

“The State of Israel has a great debt to our reserve soldiers, who have left everything and mobilized in order to defend the country. This is the least we can do for them… in light of the response from many of our donors, I believe we will be able to increase the amount in the coming weeks,” the university’s president, Prof. Ron Rubin, says in a statement.

The scholarship program comes after similar announcements by Tel Aviv, Bar Ilan, and Ben Gurion universities. Other institutes of higher education are expected to follow suit, with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem set to present a plan for emergency student aid early next week.

The unprecedented call-up of reserve soldiers, initiated by Israel after the deadly Hamas assault on western Negev communities on October 7, has caused Israel’s university system to delay the start of the academic year to at least December 3.

About 30% of university students have been called up to serve, along with many thousands of staff and faculty.

Rocket barrage fired at Beersheba, Hatzerim

Terrorists in Gaza fire a rocket barrage at the city of Beersheba and at the nearby town of  Hatzerim in the Negev.

The Magen David Adom rescue service says there are no immediate reports of direct impacts or injuries.

US, Saudis discuss efforts toward ‘sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, meets with Saudi Arabia's Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, meets with Saudi Arabia's Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman discussed the “shared priority” of “working toward a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians” during their meeting yesterday in Washington, a US readout says.

Blinken during the meeting “affirmed the importance of addressing humanitarian needs in Gaza, preventing further spread of the conflict, and reinforcing regional stability and security, including in Yemen,” the State Department says.

“Blinken underscored the US commitment to support the defense of US partners against threats from state and non-state actors and reaffirmed the enduring value of the US-Saudi strategic partnership,” the readout adds.

Unlike several other US readouts from recent meetings with Saudi officials, no mention is made of “building on” the Israel normalization talks that had been intensifying before the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.

Bahrain announces recall of ambassador from Israel; Jerusalem says relations are stable

The Bahraini House of Representatives, which deals with legislative matters, releases the announcement about Manama recalling Ambassador Khaled Al-Jalahma from Israel.

The fact that is didn’t come from the Foreign Ministry itself likely indicates that the move is more to calm the Bahraini public that a sign of a real sea change in relations.

Israel says that it did not receive any “announcement or decision from the Bahraini government to recall the countries’ ambassadors.”

“Israel-Bahrain relations are stable,” says the Foreign Ministry in an official statement.

IDF releases footage of interceptions of Houthi missiles

The Israel Defense Forces releases a video showing an F-35I fighter jet intercepting a cruise missile or drone launched by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen at Israel on Tuesday.

The IDF describes the projectile as a cruise missile, while the Houthi rebels said they launched ballistic missiles and drones at Israel.

The military also releases footage showing the long-range Arrow missile defense system intercepting a Houthi ballistic missile, apparently bound for the southernmost city of Eilat, also on Tuesday.

The IDF has intercepted several other targets — apparently drones launched from Yemen — over the Red Sea in recent days. It has also bolstered the area with Navy missile ships.

Bahrain said recalling ambassador to Israel, halting economic ties

President Isaac Herzog speaks with Bahrain's Foreign Minister  Abdul Latef Al Zayani in Manama, December 4, 2022 (Lazar Berman/The Times of Israel)
President Isaac Herzog speaks with Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdul Latef Al Zayani in Manama, December 4, 2022 (Lazar Berman/The Times of Israel)

According to the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen, Bahrain is recalling its ambassador and Israel’s envoy Eitan Naeh is leaving the country.

It also reports that economic ties are being halted, citing an announcement made in Bahrain’s parliament.

Neither foreign ministry has confirmed the report.

Manama has been openly critical of Israel during the war, and has a restive Shiite majority in the country, which is ruled by a Sunni pro-Western royal family.

Palestinians say 3 killed in West Bank; IDF arrests 49 in raids

People carry the body of Ayham Shafei, who was killed during an Israeli raid, during his funeral in Ramallah in the West Bank on November 2, 2023. (Photo by Zain JAAFAR / AFP)
People carry the body of Ayham Shafei, who was killed during an Israeli raid, during his funeral in Ramallah in the West Bank on November 2, 2023. (Photo by Zain JAAFAR / AFP)

The Palestinian Authority says three people were killed in Israel Defense Forces raids on the West Bank.

The IDF does not comment on the reported deaths but said that troops detained 49 wanted Palestinians, including 21 affiliated with the Hamas terror group, in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank.

The IDF says that since the war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7, troops have arrested some 1,220 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank, including more than 740 affiliated with Hamas.

There have been numerous clashes between IDF forces and Palestinians in the West Bank in recent weeks, and several terror attacks, according to the army.

In the latest terror attack, a man was killed when shots were fired at his vehicle near Bayt Lid.

The PA says two people were killed in El-Bireh, near Ramallah. Ayham al-Shafei, 14 and Yazan Shiha, 24, were killed and two others wounded when Israeli troops opened fire during a raid, the ministry says.

A 19-year-old Palestinian, Qusai Quran, was killed by Israeli forces during a raid on Qalqilya in the northern West Bank, according to the ministry, reporting two others were wounded.

According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, at least 137 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, and in some cases settlers, since October 7.

Report: Invading terrorists had addresses of senior officers

An Israeli soldier takes a position in Kibbutz Kfar Aza on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
An Israeli soldier takes a position in Kibbutz Kfar Aza on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Among the items discovered on the bodies of terrorists killed in the October 7 Hamas onslaught were maps and addresses of senior IDF officers who live in border communities, Channel 13 reports.

According to the report in one case, the invaders arrived at the home of an officer, but forces there managed to repel them.

The terrorists who overran army bases had maps of the officers’ quarters in an apparent attempt to capture senior officers, the report said.

Some 1,400 people were killed in the attacks on communities and bases in southern Israel, most of them civilians, and more than 240 were taken hostage to Gaza.

Hamas says Gaza toll passes 9,000; figures cannot be verified

A wounded man arrives at the Al-Shifa hopsital in Gaza City on November 2, 2023 (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A wounded man arrives at the Al-Shifa hopsital in Gaza City on November 2, 2023 (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says that more than 9,000 Palestinians have been killed since war broke out more than three weeks ago.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, a ministry spokesperson, says 9,061 people have been killed in Gaza, including 3,760 who are under 18.

Hamas figures cannot be confirmed and they do not differentiate between terrorists and civilians. They also do not differentiate between those killed in Israeli strikes and those killed by the hundreds of terror group rockets that have fallen short inside the Strip.

IDF exposes catfishing network seeking to extract info from troops on Hamas’s behalf

Several fake Instagram profiles the IDF says were used in attempts to obtain information from soldiers for the Hamas terror group, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Several fake Instagram profiles the IDF says were used in attempts to obtain information from soldiers for the Hamas terror group, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli military says it has foiled a network of fake social media profiles that attempted to extract information from soldiers on behalf of the Hamas terror group amid the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the profiles were operated by countries in the so-called “Axis of Resistance,” an informal coalition of anti-Israel and anti-Western nations and terror groups, led by Iran.

The operatives used photos of real women in a practice known as “catfishing,” and “managed a kind of romantic relationship… through correspondence, voice recordings and video calls,” the IDF says, in an attempt to obtain information for Hamas.

The IDF says the faux social media profiles had additional fake profiles posing as their “parents,” “siblings” and “friends,” in order to “strengthen their credibility.”

It says the network consisted of dozens of fake profiles on social networks, mostly on Instagram, and the number of potential victims was between hundreds and thousands of soldiers, including reservists.

According to the IDF, Israeli authorities are working with social media sites to ban the accounts.

IDF strikes anti-tank missile posts in Lebanon after cross-border Hezbollah fire

The Israel Defense Forces says it struck an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) squad in southern Lebanon preparing an attack against northern Israel.

The military says it also hit another two ATGM positions in the area.

Separately, a missile was fired by Hezbollah terrorists at an IDF position near Manara, causing no injuries, the military says.

IDF says senior officer killed, three soldiers wounded in fighting

Lt. Col. Salman Habaka, who was killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip on November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Lt. Col. Salman Habaka, who was killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip on November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces announces the death of a senior officer during fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Lt. Col. Salman Habaka, 33, the commander of the 188th Armored Brigade’s 53rd Battalion, from Yanuh-Jat, was killed battling Hamas terrorists in the northern part of Gaza.

No further details are given on the circumstances of his death.

Separately, a reservist of the 679th Yiftah Brigade, a Givati soldier, and a Combat Engineering soldier, were seriously wounded in overnight operations in the northern part of Gaza.

Additionally, a soldier of the Border Defense Corps’ Caracal Battalion was seriously wounded in an incident on the Egyptian border. No further details are given on the circumstances.

Habaka is the most senior officer to have been killed during the IDF’s ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

His death brings the toll to 18 soldiers killed during the ground offensive, and 333 since the beginning of the war.

Foreign passport holders, wounded continue to leave Gaza

Dual national Palestinians and foreigners prepare to cross the Rafah border point with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 2, 2023.  (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Dual national Palestinians and foreigners prepare to cross the Rafah border point with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 2, 2023. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

A day after dozens of wounded Palestinians and hundreds of foreign passport holders crossed into Egypt from Gaza, more arrived at the Rafah border crossing today.

Wael Abu Mohsen, a Gazan official at the crossing, tells AFP: “Two buses carrying 100 passengers holding foreign passports” entered the terminal during the morning.

Egyptian and Palestinian officials both say 400 foreigners and dual nationals were expected to cross today, alongside 60 to 100 sick and wounded Gazans.

Army engineers said to begin operation to destroy Hamas tunnels in areas under IDF control

An Israeli armored vehicle operates inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
An Israeli armored vehicle operates inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Army engineers are beginning a wide-scale operation to destroy Hamas tunnels in areas of the Gaza Strip that have come under Israeli control since the start of the ground offensive, the Walla news site reports.

The combat engineers are using various types of robots and explosive devices to destroy the tunnels, detonate any booby traps installed by Hamas, and kill terrorists, the report says.

“Maybe at first they were able to harass us, sting us by firing from tunnel exits, but after we established control of the areas, the engineering operation started,” a senior officer in the Southern Command tells Walla.

“We are going to collapse the entrances and the tunnels on them. It will become a death zone. They made a mistake, they chose to be in a place they cannot escape from. They will die in the tunnels,” he said.

The report says the troops have already destroyed some 100 tunnels not counting the ones hit in airstrikes.

Ex-IDF deputy chief: Soldiers won’t enter the tunnels, will turn them into Hamas death traps without going in

Yair Golan, October 14, 2023. (Kan TV screenshot, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law).
Yair Golan, October 14, 2023. (Kan TV screenshot, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law).

Former deputy IDF chief of staff Yair Golan says that “under no circumstances” should or will IDF soldiers enter Hamas’s terror tunnels, as the army broadens its ground operation to destroy Hamas’s military capabilities.

In an interview with Army Radio, the reserves general says, “You don’t need to go into the tunnels” and “it would be a grave mistake to enter the tunnels” where Hamas is hiding out and waiting.

“The wisdom is to find the entrances and seal them, or send in smoke that will cause the enemy to come out or will harm him,” says Golan.

“Under no circumstances do you fight in the tunnels… where there is no chance that you won’t get hurt. You don’t fight inside the tunnels, you counter the threat of the tunnels,” he says.

When it is put to him that Hamas is capable of remaining inside its vast underground tunnel network “forever,” Golan says: “Take my word for it. The IDF has the capabilities today to deal effectively with the tunnels. It has all the knowledge and the means. If Hamas stays in the tunnels, they will become a death trap.”

Golan, who headed south on October 7 and joined in the fighting against the terrorists rampaging across the western Negev, elaborated: “The moment that we get to the tunnels, or regarding the tunnels we’ve already reached, they become a death trap for the enemy. From the moment the entrances are found, the full advantage is with the attacking forces.”

Asked whether the IDF would have to enter Shifa Hospital to expose and deal with the tunnel entrances there, Golan said he did not know how the fighting would play out. And he stressed the two imperatives of battling Hamas and freeing the hostages.

Asked whether he would favor a deal whereby the hostages are freed in return for the Hamas leadership being given safe passage to Iran, Syria or elsewhere, Golan said: “If only. If we can get to a situation where the Hamas leaders sail away and our hostages are freed, that would be almost too good to be true.”

He stressed that “nobody knows what is realistic” in terms of any such deal. But he adds: “Are we ready to pay a heavy price for the release of the hostages? The answer is yes.”

When he is asked about US President Joe Biden’s support for a pause in Israel’s offensive to enable the release of the hostages, Golan says, “Anything that enables the speedy release of the hostages would be blessed,” but he doesn’t think it will be that simple. He notes that Hamas is not the only force holding hostages. So, too, are other terror groups and clans, he says.

Germany bans pro-Hamas activity, dissolves group that celebrated attack on Israel

The Israeli flag flutters in the middle of the European (L) and the German flag in front of the Reichstag building hosting the Bundestag, the German lower house of Parliament in Berlin, while the German Chancellor gave a speech over the Israel-Hamas conflict during a Bundestag session on October 12, 2023. (Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)
The Israeli flag flutters in the middle of the European (L) and the German flag in front of the Reichstag building hosting the Bundestag, the German lower house of Parliament in Berlin, while the German Chancellor gave a speech over the Israel-Hamas conflict during a Bundestag session on October 12, 2023. (Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

Germany’s top security official says she has implemented a formal ban on activity by or in support of Hamas and is dissolving a group that was behind a celebration of Hamas’ attack on Israel.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that the government planned to take action against the two groups on Oct. 12.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said she is putting the ban on activity related to Hamas, which is already listed by the European Union as a terrorist group, into effect today.

She says she also is banning and dissolving the German branch of the Samidoun network, which she said “supports and glorifies” groups including Hamas.

Samidoun was behind an Oct. 7 action in which a group of people handed out pastries in a Berlin street in celebration of Hamas’ attack on Israel.

Faeser said her ministry had worked “day and night” on implementing the measures quickly.

IDF says it’s using AI to quickly identify and strike new Hamas targets

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip on November 2, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip on November 2, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

The IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate says its so-called “targets center” has identified some 1,200 new Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing ground offensive that began last week.

The IDF says hundreds of soldiers are working to produce new targets “on a large scale.”

A senior intelligence officer says that “in war, the enemy behaves differently and creates new opportunities.”

The Military Intelligence Directorate is using artificial intelligence and automated tools to “produce reliable targets quickly and accurately,” the IDF says.

The senior officer says other new tools are being used for the first time to immediately provide ground forces in the Gaza Strip with updated information on targets to strike.

So far, the IDF says it has struck more than 12,000 targets in the Gaza Strip.

IDF says it has notified families of 242 hostages being held in Gaza

A surfer carrying her board walks past posters, towels and flip-flops that are part of a protest organized by the Australian Jewish community at Bondi Beach in Sydney on November 2, 2023 to highlight the plight of hostages held by Hamas (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)
A surfer carrying her board walks past posters, towels and flip-flops that are part of a protest organized by the Australian Jewish community at Bondi Beach in Sydney on November 2, 2023 to highlight the plight of hostages held by Hamas (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military has notified the families of 242 hostages that their loved ones are currently being held in the Gaza Strip.

He says the number is not final as the military investigates new information.

The number does not include four released hostages — mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Ra’anan, and elderly women Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper — as well as Pvt. Ori Megidish, who was rescued by the IDF on Sunday night, meaning at least 247 people were taken hostage on October 7.

There are still dozens more missing people whose fates are currently unknown.

Israeli shot in West Bank terror attack dies; IDF launches manhunt

The overturned car of an Israeli shot in a West Bank terror attack on November 2, 2023 (Screencapture:  used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
The overturned car of an Israeli shot in a West Bank terror attack on November 2, 2023 (Screencapture: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Magen David Adom ambulance service announces the death of the Israeli man in his 30s who was shot and whose car overturned near the West Bank town of Bayt Lid.

“When we arrived at the scene, we saw a car upside down on its roof in the bushes on the side of the road,” says MDA medic Bentzi Landsberg.

“The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was unconscious, without a pulse, was not breathing, and with [gunshot] wounds. We performed medical tests and after a short while we had to declare his death,” he says.

The Israel Defense Forces says it has launched a manhunt for the terrorists behind the attack, and are setting up roadblocks in the area.

Israeli seriously wounded in suspected West Bank shooting attack

An Israeli man aged 35 is critically wounded in a suspected shooting attack on the Route 557 highway near the West Bank town of Bayt Lid, medics say.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says the man’s vehicle overturned after it was shot at.

Golani soldiers said to fight off large ambush in chaotic midnight battle

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Soldiers from Golani’s Battalion 13 fought off a vicious ambush in an intense and chaotic midnight battle, Army Radio reports.

The IDF had said that troops of the Golani Infantry Brigade led “prolonged battles” against Hamas terrorists who had fired missiles, set off explosive devices, and hurled grenades at the forces.

According to an unsourced report on Army Radio, the Hamas gunmen tried to ambush the Israeli force at midnight, emerging from tunnels and attacking them with anti-tank missiles, mortars and drones.

The report says the Hamas gunmen tried to enter the armored personnel carriers and take control of them.

The Israeli troops fought them off in bitter close-combat fighting, also calling in air and artillery strikes to assist them in a battle that raged for some three hours.

The report says that 20 terrorists were killed and about 10 managed to escape.

Army Radio said there were no Israeli fatalities in the fight.

Hamas says key hospital in northern Gaza out of power

A picture shows the Rumah Sakit Indonesia hospital in Gaza City on November 1, 2023. (Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A picture shows the Rumah Sakit Indonesia hospital in Gaza City on November 1, 2023. (Bashar TALEB / AFP)

The power generator of the northern Gaza Strip’s key hospital went out of service early this morning, Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry says.

The Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahia is near the densely populated Jabaliya refugee camp, which has been the target of heavy Israeli airstrikes this week.

Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra says in a televised statement that the hospital is running on a smaller backup generator but had to turn off lights in most rooms, shut down oxygen generators and resort to oxygen cylinders, and turn off mortuary refrigerators.

“These exceptional measures will allow the Indonesian Hospital to work for a matter of days,” Al-Qudra says. “However, if we cannot secure electricity or fuel then we will face a disaster.”

Gaza health officials have been warning that hospitals were in imminent danger of closing since the first days of the war.

The IDF yesterday released a recording of an intelligence intercept of a conversation in which a Hamas commander repeatedly alludes to Hamas taking fuel from the hospital’s stocks.

While some aid trucks have entered the blockaded Gaza Strip since the war began last month, Israel has not allowed trucks to bring fuel, which Hamas needs to run the ventilation and electricity in its vast tunnel network.

Israel says that Hamas has hundreds of thousands of liters of fuel that it could supply to hospitals and other civilians.

Rockets fired at Ashdod

A salvo of rockets is fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on November 1, 2023  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A salvo of rockets is fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on November 1, 2023 (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Terrorists in Gaza fire rockets at the southern Israeli city of Ashdod.

The Magen David Adom rescue service says there are no immediate reports of direct impacts or injuries.

Cabinet approves war compensation package for affected businesses

The cabinet approves the outline of a war compensation package to help businesses continue operating as Israel continues its war with the Hamas terror group.

The compensation aid package presented by the Finance Ministry for approval overnight includes grants to businesses that have suffered indirect damages due to the ongoing war.

Businesses across the country with a turnover of NIS 18,000 to NIS 400 million that have seen a decline in income of over 25% in October or 12.5% over a two-month period will be eligible for the fixed grant.

The compensation package awaits passage in the Knesset, where it is expected to be submitted for approval in the coming days.

Egypt says some 7,000 foreign passport holders to be allowed to leave Gaza

People walk through a gate to enter the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
People walk through a gate to enter the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

Egypt will help evacuate “about 7,000” foreigners and dual nationals from the Gaza Strip, the foreign ministry says.

In a meeting with foreign diplomats, Assistant Foreign Minister Ismail Khairat says Egypt was preparing “to facilitate the reception and evacuation of foreign citizens from Gaza through the Rafah crossing,” adding they “number at about 7,000” representing “more than 60” nationalities.

Several hundred foreign passport holders began leaving Gaza yesterday.

Russia tells UN Israel does not have right of self-defense in war with Hamas

Russia's United Nations Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya addresses the UN Security Council before a vote on a resolution over the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Russia's United Nations Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya addresses the UN Security Council before a vote on a resolution over the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya tells the world body that Israel does not have the right to self-defense under international law in its fight against Hamas because it is an “occupying state.”

“I also cannot leave unmentioned the hypocrisy of the US and its allies, who in other, completely different situations call for compliance with humanitarian law, establish investigative commissions, impose sanctions against those who use force only as an extreme measure to stop the years-long violence,” TASS quotes Nebenzya as telling a UN General Assembly special session on the conflict.

“And today, seeing the horrifying destruction in Gaza, which exceeds everything that they criticize in other regional contexts multifold — strikes at civilian facilities, death of thousands of children and horrifying suffering of civilians amid a total blockage — they play mum. All they can do is to keep saying about Israel’s alleged right for self-defense, which, as an occupying state, it does not have, as was confirmed by the [UN] International Court consultative ruling in 2004,” he says.

He adds that Russia recognizes Israel’s right to ensure its security, but “it could be fully guaranteed only in case of a fair resolution of the Palestinian problem based on recognized UN Security Council resolutions.”

Israel launched the war against Hamas after the terror group’s mass assault on southern Israel where it killed some 1,400 people, most of them civilians, and took more than 240 hostage.

Police say East Jerusalem terror attack foiled, 2 men arrested

Suspected bomb-making material found in the East Jerusalem home of two terror suspects in a photo released on November 2, 2023 (Israel Police)
Suspected bomb-making material found in the East Jerusalem home of two terror suspects in a photo released on November 2, 2023 (Israel Police)

Police say that officers working together with the Shin Bet security service foiled a planned terror attack in East Jerusalem.

A statement reveals that two men from the Shaufat refugee camp were arrested some three weeks ago on suspicion of planning a combined shooting and bombing attack.

The statement says the men, both in their 20s, had established a connection with terror groups in the West Bank and obtained material to build an explosive device. They were also planning to buy weapons.

The men have had their remand extended until Sunday when charges are expected to be filed against them, police say.

IDF says dozens of Hamas terrorists killed in prolonged battles overnight in Gaza

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, November 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces says ground forces and tanks clashed with Hamas terror cells in the northern Gaza Strip overnight, killing dozens of operatives.

In a statement, the IDF says troops of the Golani Infantry Brigade led “prolonged battles” against Hamas terrorists who had fired missiles, set off explosive devices, and hurled grenades at the forces.

The military says the Golani troops fought back, assisted by artillery and tank shelling, and while calling in an airstrike and missile strikes by the Navy.

“At the end of the fighting, dozens of terrorists were killed,” the IDF says.

It says that troops of the Nahal Infantry Brigade also encountered a group of Hamas gunmen who opened fire at them, and directed an aircraft to strike and kill the terror cell.

Reservist forces, meanwhile, directed an aircraft to strike an anti-tank squad, with navy support, according to the IDF.

The IDF says that it has continued to strike Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip, including weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, anti-tank missile launching positions, and drone launching positions.

Thailand held direct hostage talks with Hamas in Iran

This handout picture released by Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 20, 2023, shows coffins of Thai workers killed in the Hamas assault during a ceremony attended by Thailand's ambassador to Israel Pannabha Chandraramya (R) and officials on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on October 19, 2023, before being repatriated to Bangkok.  (Photo by Handout / THAILAND'S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS / AFP)
This handout picture released by Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 20, 2023, shows coffins of Thai workers killed in the Hamas assault during a ceremony attended by Thailand's ambassador to Israel Pannabha Chandraramya (R) and officials on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on October 19, 2023, before being repatriated to Bangkok. (Photo by Handout / THAILAND'S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS / AFP)

Thai officials held direct talks with Hamas in Iran last week over the fate of 22 of the kingdom’s nationals taken hostage by the Palestinian terror group in its assault on Israel, the head of a Thai delegation says.

Negotiators met Hamas officials in Tehran on October 26 and were given a pledge that the Thais would be released at the “right time,” Areepen Uttarasin tells reporters in Bangkok.

Areepen, who led the three-person team appointed by the speaker of the Thai parliament, says they held a two-hour meeting with Hamas members in Iran.

“I asked them to release them because they are innocent,” he says.

“They assured me that they were taking good care of them, but they couldn’t tell me the release date… They were waiting for the right time.”

He says after the talks the Thai team — all Muslims — prayed with the Hamas representatives.

“They acknowledged our concerns because they know that Thailand has offered kindness and benefits to the Muslim community… They respect Thailand,” Areepan says.

About 30,000 Thais were working in Israel, mostly in the agriculture sector, according to the kingdom’s labor ministry.

Thirty-two Thai nationals were killed and 19 wounded in the October 7 Hamas assault that killed some 1,400 people, mostly civilians. More than 240 people were taken hostage to Gaza.

Michigan Democrats warn Biden his support for Israel could cost him reelection

US President Joe Biden speaks at Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield, Minn., Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
US President Joe Biden speaks at Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield, Minn., Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Democrats in Michigan are warning the White House that US President Joe Biden’s backing for Israel in the war with Hamas could cost him enough support within the Arab American community to sway the outcome of the 2024 election in a state he almost certainly can’t afford to lose in his bid for reelection.

The situation has prompted the White House to discuss ways to alleviate tensions with some of the state’s prominent Democrats, including several who have been vocal critics of the president about the war.

“The message has been relayed. We’ve had calls with the White House. We’ve had calls with DNC officials,” says Abraham Aiyash, the third-ranking Democrat in the state House of Representatives, referring to the Democratic National Committee. “We’ve been clear in saying the humanity should matter, but if that is not a calculation that you’re going to make in this moment, recognize that there will be electoral reverberations to this.”

Aiyash, the Democratic floor leader in the state House, says Arab American leaders who have spoken to the White House “are worried” about the implications for 2024 and have relayed those concerns to Biden. Other prominent Michigan Democrats have shared similar concerns.

“Certainly none of us want to see part two of a Trump disaster presidency. But we also are not going to just passively give Joe Biden a second term if our concerns are not even dignified through a response,” Aiyash says.

Michigan holds the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the US and over 310,000 residents are of Middle Eastern or North African ancestry. Many in the community are pledging to coalesce against Biden’s reelection campaign unless he calls for a ceasefire in the war.

He has been reluctant to do that, strongly emphasizing Israel’s right to defend itself after the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas that killed some 1,400 people in Israel, most of them civilians, and saw more than 240 taken as hostages to Gaza. He has also cast doubt on estimates provided by the Hamas terror group on the number of Palestinians who have died in the ensuing conflict.

Rocket sirens sound in several southern communities

Rocket sirens sounded a short time ago in several communities near the Gaza Strip.

Alerts went off in Kissufim, Mivtahim, Ami’oz and Yesha.

There are no reports of casualties. Most communities near Gaza have been evacuated amid the war.

IDF announces latest soldier killed in Gaza, Lt. (res) Yuval Zilber of Ramat Gan

Lt. (res) Yuval Zilber, killed in battle in the Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Lt. (res) Yuval Zilber, killed in battle in the Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF announces the name of an IDF reserve infantryman who was killed in battle in the Gaza Strip.

Lt. (res) Yuval Zilber, 25 of Ramat Gan, was a company commander in the Jerusalem Brigade’s 7007th Battalion.

Zilber was killed in clashes with Hamas gunmen yesterday. No further details are immediately given.

‘Bring them home’: UK’s Sun features faces of 32 kids held hostage by Hamas

In the UK, The Sun features on its cover today the faces of the 32 Israeli children who have been held hostage by Hamas since October 7, under the banner: “Bring them home.”

“32 innocent children snatched by terrorists,” the paper declares in its main headline. “This is why Israel must fight evil of Hamas.”

All 32 were taken by Hamas terrorists when thousands of them broke through the border and slaughtered and abducted Israelis in southern Israel. Some of those kidnapped were taken alongside their families. Many had relatives killed before being abducted.

Hamas has not made any information available on their condition or allowed the Red Cross to visit them — along with over 200 other hostages.

Biden says supports humanitarian ‘pause’ that will see Israeli hostages freed

During a campaign event, US President Joe Biden is interrupted by a protester demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Biden responds he supports a humanitarian “pause” that will also see Israeli hostages released from the Strip.

“I think we need a pause. A pause means give time to get the prisoners out,” he says, referring to the hostages held in Gaza.

Angelina Jolie: Israeli strikes in Gaza are ‘deliberate bombing of population, murder’

Actress Angelina Jolie has attacked Israel’s air campaign in Gaza as “the deliberate bombing of a trapped population” and “murder.”

In an Instagram post, Jolie shared a photo of a recent Israeli strike in the Strip’s north, saying: “Gaza has been an open-air prison for nearly two decades and is fast becoming a mass grave. 40% of those killed are innocent children. Whole families are being murdered.”

She added: “By refusing to demand a humanitarian ceasefire and blocking the UN Security Council from imposing one on both parties, world leaders are complicit in these crimes.”

Washington and other world leaders have said a ceasefire as Israel tries to eradicate the Hamas terror group’s infrastructure in the Strip would hand the terrorists a win in the wake of their devastating October 7 killings in Israeli communities.

IDF strikes Lebanon after gunmen target UAV, launch rockets at Mt. Hermon

Israeli army artillery howitzers are stationed in southern Israel on November 1, 2023 (Jack Guez / AFP)
Israeli army artillery howitzers are stationed in southern Israel on November 1, 2023 (Jack Guez / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out air and artillery strikes in Lebanon after a missile was fired at one of its aircraft and rockets were launched toward Israel.

The army says a surface-to-air missile was launched at an unmanned aerial vehicle earlier in the night. The UAV was not hit. In response the military struck the cell behind the launch, as well as the launch site, it says.

In addition, ground forces fired artillery shells toward the source of rocket fire after projectiles were launched at the Mount Dov and Mount Hermon region.

The military does not identify the alleged attackers in either case. Israel has faced a steady drip of Hezbollah-led attacks along its northern border since the start of its war with Hamas on October 7.

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