The Times of Israel liveblogged Friday’s events as they happened.
US Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer spoke with UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini on Friday to discuss the “dire humanitarian situation” in Gaza.
According to a readout of the call, Finer expressed his condolences for the loss of 103 UNRWA staff in Gaza since October 7, the highest number of UN aid workers killed in any conflict, according to the statement.
Finer and Lazzarini discussed the “critical importance of protecting civilians, including UN staff and other aid workers, and continuing to mitigate any potential aid diversion to Hamas,” according to the readout.
Sen. Jon Ossoff, who has been a consensus-seeking voice on Israel within the Democratic party and who has carefully avoided overly criticizing the Jewish state since entering Congress in 2021, issued a blistering critique of the IDF’s ongoing military operation against Hamas in Gaza.
“The extent of civilian death and suffering in Gaza is unnecessary. It is a moral failure, and it should be unacceptable to the United States,” Ossoff says in a speech from the Senate floor on Wednesday.
While Ossoff to date has been critical of certain Israeli policies in the West Bank, he has tapered that criticism and relied heavily on talking points regarding the importance of a two-state solution while working to build relationships with several key Israeli lawmakers. He has led efforts in Congress to back largely consensus initiatives such as boosting funding for the US Security Coordinator in Jerusalem and encouraging an independent investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
But the criticism voiced by Ossoff goes further than he has in the past and raises the question of whether it may amount to the start of a trend within the Democratic party led by a president who has backed Israel’s military operation in Gaza while urging the IDF to protect civilians as much as possible.
Ossoff is careful not to go as far as to call for a ceasefire as over two dozen of his far-left colleagues in the House have done. However, he appeared to come rather close.
“An unmitigated humanitarian disaster in Gaza… undermines American national security; it heightens the risk that the war might spread and draw American forces further into combat; it sews the seeds of hate and dims the prospects for a long-term sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians; it gives fodder to terrorists who would strike Americans and our allies abroad and at home; it damages the credibility of the United States and our allies as champions of a future defined by humanitarian values,” Ossoff says.
“If in six months Gaza is rubble and tens of thousands of civilians dead and millions of desperate refugees with no viable plan to govern its ruins, that would be a disaster not just for all those killed and wounded and immiserated, but also for Israel, for the region and for the United States,” he says.
Sen. Ossoff addresses the U.S. Senate on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza: pic.twitter.com/fzApPP7xwV
— Ossoff's Office (@SenOssoff) November 17, 2023
The United States has stood with Israel since October 7, and still does,” Ossoff continues, pointing to US President Joe Biden’s wartime visit, the rushing of military aid to Israel and US military assets to the region and efforts to release the hostages.
“Nevertheless, requests by the United States that the Israeli leadership conduct a more targeted campaign, that they permit and provide a safe passage for aid essential to the sustenance of life, that they clearly define objectives, that they prevent extrajudicial killings by extremists in the West Bank, that they present a credible plan for Gaza’s future governance have mostly been ignored,” he laments.
“Where the United States is committing arms, funds and support to those efforts, we must guard our principles and our interests,” Ossoff says in a speech in which he also categorically condemns Hamas, asserts that there is no justification for the October 7 massacre and acknowledges that a degree civilian collateral is understood given Hamas’s use of human shields.
“I urge Israel’s political leaders to act with wisdom, to listen to Israel’s greatest friend and ally, the United States,” he says.
The IDF says in a statement that it has suspended a soldier who was filmed throwing a stun grenade into a mosque in the Palestinian village of Budrus near Ramallah while an Imam inside began making the call to prayer earlier this morning.
The Haaretz daily says the incident is the latest example of soldiers recording themselves humiliating Palestinians and uploading the clips onto social media — a trend that has intensified since the October 7 Hamas massacre that left roughly 1,200 people dead, most of whom civilians.
Israeli occupation terrorism in the West Bank.
An Israeli soldier threw a stun grenade inside a mosque as the Imam began the dawn call to prayer, "Adhan." The incident occurred in Budrus, W Ramallah last night. pic.twitter.com/agwHNA7EJU
— Younis Tirawi | يونس (@ytirawi) November 17, 2023
Tanzania’s foreign ministry announces the death of Clemence Felix Mtenga, a 22-year-old citizen who was thought to have been among the hostages in Gaza.
Mtenga was in Israel as part of a modern agriculture training program in the Gaza border town of Nir Oz. He and fellow Tanzanian national Joshua Luito Molal have been unaccounted for since the October 7.
The foreign ministry statement does not provide any details regarding Mtenga’s death but says it is in contact with Israeli authorities about bringing his body back to Tanzania for burial.
Mtenga and Molal were among roughly 260 young Tanzanians in Israel as part of the collaborative government program between the two countries.
The United States announces new sanctions against Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) and its secretary-general, Hashim Finyan Rahim al-Saraji, designating them as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
“KSS terrorist activity has threatened the lives of both US and Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS personnel in Iraq and Syria,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a statement.
Six individuals affiliated with Iran-aligned militia group Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) have also been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department.
“Iran, through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its external operations force known as the Qods Force, has supported KSS, KH, and other Iran-aligned militia groups with training, funding, and sophisticated weapons — including increasingly accurate and lethal unmanned aerial systems,” Blinken says.
“KSS, working at times with other US-designated organizations, including KH and Harakat al-Nujaba, has planned and supported attacks against US personnel.”
“Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. The United States remains committed to using all available tools to counter Iran’s support for terrorism and degrade and disrupt the ability of Iran-backed groups to conduct terrorist attacks,” Blinken adds.
OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT a year ago, says it had dismissed CEO Sam Altman as it no longer had confidence in his ability to lead the Microsoft-backed firm.
Altman’s shock departure “follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities,” a statement says.
Pope Francis will meet next week a group of relatives of Israelis held hostage by Hamas and another of relatives of Palestinians in Gaza, the Vatican says.
The 86-year-old pontiff wants to demonstrate his “spiritual closeness” during the two meetings, which will take place on the margins of his weekly audience at the Vatican, spokesman Matteo Bruni says in a statement.
“On the morning of Wednesday, November 22, on the sidelines of the general audience, Pope Francis will meet at separate times with a group of relatives of Israelis held hostage in Gaza and a group of relatives of Palestinians suffering from the conflict in Gaza,” he says.
“With these meetings of exclusively humanitarian nature, Pope Francis wants to demonstrate his spiritual closeness to the suffering of each one.”
Bruni cited the pontiff’s comments last Sunday that “Every human being, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, of any people or religion, every human being is sacred, is precious in the eyes of God and has the right to live in peace.”
The Hamas terrorist group took about 240 people hostage when it attacked Israel on October 7, breaking through Gaza’s border to kill about 1,200 people, mostly civilians.
In response, Israel embarked on a massive air and ground campaign with the aim of toppling the terror group’s regime in Gaza, which it has ruled since taking over in a 2007 coup.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims that 11,500 people had been killed in Gaza since the start of the war, including at least 4,710 children and 3,160 women. The figures cannot be independently verified and do not distinguish between civilians and terrorists, and also do not differentiate between those killed by Israeli airstrikes or by failed Palestinian rocket launches.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
Israeli fighter jets and combat helicopters carried out airstrikes against Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon this evening, in response to repeated missile and rocket attacks on northern Israel.
The IDF says the targets included infrastructure belonging to the terror group, command centers, and observation posts.
A rocket was also fired from Lebanon at the Mount Dov area on the northern border this evening, causing no injuries.
The IDF says it shelled the source of the fire with artillery.
לפני זמן קצר, מטוסי ומסוקי קרב השלימו תקיפה של מטרות טרור בשטח לבנון, בתגובה לשיגורים של חיזבאללה ביממה האחרונה לעבר שטח ישראל.
בין המטרות שנתקפו, מספר תשתיות טרור, אתרים, מפקדות ועמדות צבאיות בהם פעלו מחבלי הארגון >> pic.twitter.com/NyXMS9lBGY
— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) November 17, 2023
Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa blasts the “intolerable” situation in Gaza and calls on Hamas to immediately release the roughly 240 hostages held in the enclave.
“I don’t think any Arab leader has called on Hamas to do this…So it is a time for straight talking,” Khalifa says ahead of the annual Manama Dialogue security summit.
He proposes Israel release the non-combatant female and teenage prisoners currently in its jails in exchange for the hostages in Gaza.
The Crown Prince notes that both the Quran and the Torah “both prohibit the killing of civilians.”
Khalifa says Bahrain’s red lines include no forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza “now or ever;” no reoccupation of Gaza by Israel; no reduction of Gaza’s territory by Israel after the war; and no tolerance for Gaza being used as a launchpad for terrorism targeting Israel.
He argues that the Russian invasion of Afghanistan led to the creation of Al Qaeda and that the US invasion of Iraq led to the creation of ISIS. Khalifa warns that Israel’s ongoing invasion in Gaza might have the same effect.
““Think about what this will create in the age of social media. I think we will be looking at a far more difficult next 20 years,” he says.
Khalifa adds that the role of the US is “indispensable” in advancing a two-state solution after the war.
Channel 12 now publishes what it says are fuller details of the initial investigation by the Police Southern District into the Hamas massacre at the Re’im music festival, near Kibbutz Re’im, on the morning of October 7.
The full death toll was 364 — including 17 police officers — and 40 people were abducted. Some 4,000 people were reportedly at the event.
The investigation concluded that the terrorists did not know in advance about the party, contrary to previous reports and widespread belief, Channel 12 says. The police reached this conclusion partly on the basis of questioning of captured terrorists, and also because they did not find maps on the bodies of dead terrorists directing them to the outdoor event; in the cases of other massacres that day, the terrorists carried maps specifying their targets.
The TV report says the terrorists only realized a major event was happening in the Re’im area after the police began dispersing partygoers because of the wider Hamas invasion, and only then did they head toward it.
Channel 12 shows what it says is a timeline of the unfolding catastrophe, according to the police probe, and broadcasts a recording of a woman at the party desperately phoning the police to come at once, screaming, “they’re shooting at us.”
The report concludes that, as far as the investigation can establish, including on the basis of the questioning of captured terrorists, “had there not been a [substantial] police deployment at Yad Mordechai,” some 30 kilometers further north, “the terrorists would have been on their way to Rishon LeZion in 30 minutes, and in Tel Aviv in 40 minutes. And we would have been in a completely different story.” It does not give further details to explain this assessment.
Jewish high school in Toronto receives bomb threat hours after Vaughan Islamic center targeted in similar manner
Police in Toronto have launched an investigation after a bomb threat was made to the Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy this morning, CTV News reports.
The threat does not appear to be substantiated but the school has been evacuated as a precaution, police say.
The head of the Jewish high school informed parents in an email that the threat involved a claim that “explosive devices had been planted” at the site.
This comes hours after another bomb threat was made targeting a Islamic community center in Vaughan, Ontario, CTV News says.
Channel 12 airs a segment on Ben Binyamin and Gali Segal who were engaged a week before the October 7 onslaught
They were attending the music festival in Re’im near the Gaza border when the massacre began.
When the rocket barrages began, the couple along with a friend fled the scene and saw a police officer who motioned for them to enter a roadside bomb shelter near the Alunim Junction where other rave attendees had crammed inside.
After a short while terrorists arrived at the scene and began firing at the entrance of the bomb shelter. Binyamin and Segal were toward the back and were not hit. But then the terrorists hurled a grenade inside, at which point they both lost consciousness.
When Segal woke up she realized that her right leg had been blown off and started screaming. Binyamin — in a similar state of shock after suffering from nearly the same injury — kissed her and urged her to save her energy.
A police officer arrived at the scene shortly thereafter and helped secure the area. He flagged cars evacuating the wounded to take the two to a hospital.
Binyamin — who is a professional soccer player for the Maccabi Sha’arayim team — was briefly separated during the evacuation but reunited at the hospital later that day.
The couple remains hospitalized as they embark on their long road to recovery together.
A far-right Likud MK who also serves as deputy speaker of the Knesset calls for burning down Gaza.
“All of this preoccupation with whether or not there is internet in Gaza shows that we have learned nothing. We are too humane. Burn Gaza now no less!” Nissim Vaturi tweets after the war cabinet approved the entry of two trucks of fuel per day to prevent the collapse of the sewage treatment system, which risked a mass-disease outbreak.
“Don’t allow fuel in, don’t allow water in until the hostages are returned back!” he adds.
US President Joe Biden held another call earlier today with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and pressed him the “urgent need” for the roughly 240 hostages “to be released without further delay,” the White House says, intensifying its rhetoric regarding the imperativeness of the issue.
During last night’s war cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Biden and urged him to pressure Qatar’s emir to expand the number of hostages to include in the deal being negotiated by Doha between Israel and Hamas, Channel 12 reported earlier tonight.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says troops found additional underground infrastructure at Shifa Hospital today, and are still searching the complex for information on the hostages.,
“We continue to deepen our operational activity at Shifa Hospital,” Hagari says in an evening press conference. “Today, we found more underground infrastructure, and to collect every bit of information on the hostages.”
“Our troops are operating in the area, investigating the tunnel shafts found in the hospital,” he adds.
The damage to the Gaza Strip caused by the fighting in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war will take five years to repair, according to the current assessment of Israel’s security establishment reported by Channel 12.
Death count from Re’im music festival massacre reportedly updated to 364 — a third of Oct. 7 fatalities
An ongoing police investigation into the Hamas massacre of the Re’im music festival on October 7 has updated the death count to 364, which would make up nearly one-third of all of those killed during the onslaught in Israel, Channel 12 reports.
Forty attendees of the festival were taken hostage into Gaza, the investigation finds.
Earlier counts had placed the death count in Re’im at 270.
The security establishment’s current assessment is that Hamas was unaware of the music festival in the lead-up to the massacre, Channel 12 reports.
During last night’s war cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned US President Joe Biden and urged him to pressure Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to expand the number of hostages to include in the deal being negotiated by Doha between Israel and Hamas, Channel 12 reports.
Mossad chief David Barnea is already in touch with the Qataris, but Netanyahu wanted to up the pressure from another source, the report says.
After previous hostage deal proposals would’ve seen parent hostages separated from their children abducted with them in Gaza, the war cabinet has informed mediators that under no circumstances will it accept the separation of parents from their children.
While various news outlets continue publishing reports claiming that deals for releasing various numbers of hostages are in the works, none of them have materialized and Israel continues to urge the public not to rely on such rumors.
Channel 12 notes that even after proposals are finalized, it can take hours or days to hear back from Hamas leaders in Gaza who are the ones making decisions in the terror group and are currently located deep under ground and only able to make contact with the outside world in a limited manner.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicates that the IDF doesn’t plan to keep soldiers inside of Gaza after the war even if Israel will maintain security control over the Strip for the foreseeable future.
“I’m not sure of keeping troops inside. And in fact, it’s not particularly necessary because it’s very small,” Netanyahu tells NPR.
As for who will govern Gaza after the war, “We need a cultural change in any civilian administration in Gaza. It can’t be committed to funding terrorism,” Netanyahu says, in a swipe at the Palestinian Authority.
He says Israel will not be able to accept anyone who shares Hamas’s goals and the terror group’s inculcation of teaching Palestinian children that Israel has to be destroyed.
“For the foreseeable future, Israeli overall military responsibility. But there also has to be a civilian government there,” he clarifies.
The head of the IDF Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, carried out an assessment at Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip today, the military says.
“We see the presence of Hamas in all hospitals, it is a clear presence. They make cynical use of the hospitals, like here in the heart of Shifa,” Finkelman says to troops at the scene, where forces uncovered an entrance to a Hamas tunnel and a cache of weapons.
The IDF releases new images showing the tunnel shaft found in the hospital complex.
White House excoriates Musk for endorsing message accusing Jews of driving hatred against white people
The White House lambasts Elon Musk after the X owner endorsed an antisemitic post on his social media platform that accused Jewish people of driving hatred against white people.
“You have said the actual truth,” Musk tweeted in response to another X user who wrote, “Jewish communties [sic] have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them. I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest shit now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.”
In a statement responding to Musk, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates says, “It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of antisemitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust.”
“We condemn this abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans,” Bates says. “We all have a responsibility to bring people together against hate, and an obligation to speak out against anyone who attacks the dignity of their fellow Americans and compromises the safety of our communities.”
Portugal’s foreign ministry issues a statement saying that three of its citizens and two of their relatives were killed in an IDF bombing in Gaza.
The Portuguese citizens were a parent and their two children, the foreign ministry says, adding that the country’s top diplomat Augusto Santos Silva raised Lisbon’s “disgust” over the incident with his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen.
Portugal’s foreign ministry says the five killed were on a “priority list” handed to Israel and Egypt of 16 Portuguese citizens and their relatives who were supposed to be able to evacuate Gaza.
Silva says in a statement that the deaths are further proof that Israel “is not on the right path” in this war. “We need to stop these bombings now.”
Earlier this month, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was filmed being challenged by the Palestinian envoy in the country over Israel’s counter-offensive in Gaza.
“I know, I know you blame the Israelis, but this time someone from your side started it,” responded Rebelo de Sousa “The Palestinian side started it. You can’t blame Israel, you shouldn’t have started it.”
In latest psychological warfare tactic, Hamas releases clip that raises concern for hostage’s well-being
The Hamas terror group has published a video apparently showing 86-year-old Aryeh Zalmanovich, one of the hostages being held in Gaza.
The footage raises concerns regarding Zalmanovich’s well-being.
As is the case with previous clips of hostages broadcast by terror groups in recent weeks, Israeli media is not publishing the footage out of respect for the families of the abducted and not to lend a hand to the psychological warfare being employed by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Zalmanovich was taken hostage from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7 and has not been heard from since. Before being kidnapped, he managed to text one of his sons informing him that terrorists had infiltrated the Kibbutz.
He is one of the founding members of Nir Oz, bordering Gaza, working as a farmer there for decades.
He has two sons and five grandchildren.
Israel must immediately halt its military operation against Hamas militants and agree to a ceasefire, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says on a visit to Germany.
“President Erdogan stated that Israel’s attacks on Palestinian lands must end and that the reaction from the whole world against human rights violations is important,” the Turkish presidency says in a statement after Erdogan met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
“A ceasefire should be established immediately,” the statement says.
Without mentioning Hamas, Erdogan tweets that Turkey expressed its disaproval of attacks targeting civilians from the outset of the war.
“The events have once again shown that a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders is now inevitable,” he says.
“Our aim is to establish a climate where peace and security prevail, where Israelis and Palestinians live side by side in peace.”
“I hope that my visit will lead to solidarity between our countries and the beginning of a new process,” Erdogan adds.
Eyal Waldman, whose daughter and her boyfriend were murdered by Hamas on October 7, and other representatives of families of the dead and those taken hostage, have just submitted a complaint at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
The complaint alleges crimes against humanity were carried out on October 7 by Hamas and other Gazans, Waldman tells Channel 12.
The complaint includes evidence of what unfolded that day, says Waldman, a veteran tech entrepreneur.
Waldman stresses that the representatives of the families also asked the court to issue arrest warrants for Hamas leaders, so that they are prevented from traveling, as the court did in March in the case of Russian President Vladimir Putin, for war crimes in Ukraine.
Waldman says the families were received “with great professionalism” and courtesy by the court’s chief prosecutor and team, who listened carefully to their presentation.
“He understands that crimes against humanity were committed. He said an investigation was underway against the heads of Hamas,” says Waldman, apparently referring to ICC prosecutor Karim Khan.
Waldman says the ICC asked that Israel invite its team to visit to advance the investigation, but notes that it’s not clear that Israel would agree to do so because “Israel does not have faith in this international court.”
“But what was important was [presenting] the documentation of the crimes that were committed, of the crimes against humanity, and the effort to get arrest warrants issued for the heads of Hamas,” says Waldman.
Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in Tel Aviv and other cities in central Israel, for the first time since Tuesday.
Several Iron Dome interceptor missiles are seen over the area.
There are no immediate reports of damage in the attack.
Hamas is believed to be stockpiling rockets for a long war, but also has difficulty in carrying out attacks amid the IDF’s ground operation.
Five people were injured while running to shelters — four lightly and one moderately, according to the Magen David Adom emergency service.
The families of the hostages who departed from Tel Aviv earlier this by week by foot have arrived in Jerusalem and are currently holding a Kabbalat Shabbat service in front of the Knesset as they continue to call on the government to act to secure the release of their loved ones.
Birthday ‘celebrations’ held at Tel Aviv’s Hostage Square for 9-year-old Emily Hand, 57-year-old Raz Ben Ami
A birthday “celebration” is currently taking place at “Hostage Square” in Tel Aviv for 57-year-old Raz Ben Ami and 9-year-old Emily Hand who have been held in Gaza since October 7.
Four Israelis are wounded in a Hezbollah anti-tank guided missile attack from Lebanon on an area near the northern community of Menara, according to Hebrew-language media reports.
Their conditions are not immediately clear.
Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for more than 10 missile and mortar attacks on northern Israel today.
The IDF says it responded with artillery shelling at the sources of the fire, and fighter jets struck Hezbollah sites.
Earlier, the IDF says soldiers downed a drone, suspected of being explosive-laden, after it crossed the border from Lebanon into Israel near Metula.
National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi is asked during a press conference what Israel’s strategy is for Gaza after the war.
But like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before him, Hanegbi avoids answering the question, instead repeating Israel’s short-term aims.
“The plan for the war is to eliminate Hamas. It’s the only way we can ensure that after[ward], we will not be threatened from Gaza, which is the number one goal that the cabinet has instructed the army to achieve,” Hanegbi says in English.
“The second goal, which is as sacred as the first one, is to release the hostages,” Hanegbi continues, saying he can’t go into detail but insists, “We’re determined to release all hostages, and we’re not going to be quiet until we reach this goal.”
The US has publicly implored Israel for the past month to plan for who will rule Gaza if the IDF succeeds in its war aim of eliminating Hamas, arguing that failure to prepare in advance risks leading to Israel being bogged down in the enclave indefinitely.
Israel has yet to publicly comment much on the future of Gaza beyond Netanyahu saying that the IDF will maintain overall security control of the Strip for an indefinite period after the war — a stance that Blinken came out against on Thursday.
A source familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel this week that Israel has officials privately working on “day after” plans and has reached out to the US to launch a joint dialogue on the matter.
National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi says the IDF is marking three weeks since the launch of its ground incursion in Gaza and is now operating in the heart of Gaza City, striking every target that it wanted.
Thousands of terrorists have been killed including senior members of Hamas’s leadership, Hangebi says. “All of the goals set by the security cabinet have been met, and as the prime minister said, ‘This is only the beginning,'”
We’re determined to reach the end of the battle, and the end of the battle will be the end of Hamas,” he says.
“We will not stop until all of Hamas’s and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s military and leadership capabilities are eradicated,” Hanegbi adds.
This appears to be one of the first times that the PIJ has been included in such statements regarding Israel’s war aims.
Hanegbi: Even if we agree to ceasefire for ‘massive’ release of hostages, it’ll be limited and short
National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi says during a press conference that Israel will only agree to a ceasefire in exchange for the release of a “massive” number of hostages, and not a “manipulative release” done by Hamas for PR purposes.
“Only then will we agree to a ceasefire and it will be very limited and short because afterward we will continue advancing toward our goals for the war,” Hanegbi says.
The National Security Council chairman says the war cabinet is united in its strategy for advancing the release of the hostages, indicating that the ministers believe it will only happen if Hamas feels squeezed and under pressure, rejecting the claim of Qatari mediators that the IDF’s ground incursion complicates the talks.
Hanegbi says that in conversations with US President Joe Biden and other world leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has withstood calls for Israel to agree to ceasefires and humanitarian pauses without a release of hostages.
“We’re in the 42nd day of the war, and we have not agreed to order the IDF to halt its advancement even for one minute,” Hanegbi claims.
Israel has, however, agreed to four-hour humanitarian pauses in different neighborhoods in northern Gaza each day to allow Palestinians to flee south through humanitarian corridors established by the IDF.
Hanegbi says after two pairs of hostages were released on October 20 and 22, there was a proposal to release 10 hostages — eight of whom were Thai workers — as well as a proposal to release 15 hostages.
However, these were rejected by Netanyahu and the war cabinet, Hanegbi says, adding that Israel will not agree to a temporary ceasefire for such a small number of hostages while some 240 remain in Gaza.
There are “no compromises” on this matter, Hanegbi says.
National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi says that the war cabinet last night agreed to a “special request” from the US to allow two trucks of fuel into Gaza each day to operate the Strip’s sewage treatment system, which is on the verge of collapse.
Hanegbi says the collapse of the system would have risked the mass spread of disease in Gaza, which would impact both the Palestinian civilians in the enclave and the thousands of Israeli troops operating there.
“If plague were to break out, we’d have to stop the war,” Hanegbi says, explaining that the IDF would not be able to continue operating amid a dire humanitarian crisis and that international outcry would reach new heights.
In an apparent effort to share the responsibility for the decision, Hanegbi says the war cabinet asked the security chiefs during last night’s meeting whether responding positively to the Biden administration’s request would harm the IDF’s military goals in Gaza.
The national security council chairman says the ministers were told by the security chiefs that it was okay to allow in the fuel, which only amounts to 2-4% of what would normally have gone in daily before the war.
Pressed to respond to Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s criticism over the war cabinet’s decision to allow fuel trucks into Gaza each day, Hanegbi says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the far-right minister and explained the circumstances that led to the approval.
“I assume that he wasn’t aware of these issues,” Hanegbi says.
Smotrich called the decision “illegal” as it goes against earlier policy set by the broader security cabinet. Hanegbi dismisses the claim, saying that the higher-level war cabinet is authorized to make such decisions and that other ministers will be able to voice their opinion on the matter when the security cabinet meets tomorrow.
A reporter notes that Israel has gradually walked back various lines in the sand regarding the supply of humanitarian aid for Gaza after initially asserting that none would be allowed in as long as the hostages are not released.
Hanegbi responds that Israel must maintain diplomatic maneuverability on the world stage and could not urge over one million Palestinians to flee to southern Gaza without providing them “minimal” services there.
He clarifies that “not a drip” of water or fuel has reached northern Gaza where IDF ground troops are fighting Hamas.
The National Security Council chairman also notes how Israel has bucked international pressure since the beginning of the war, launching a ground incursion, reaching the heart of Gaza City and blowing up governing institutions despite repeated warnings from many global leaders who have been calling for restraint and for a ceasefire.
A Jewish Republican House lawmaker tears into his party’s Speaker Mike Johnson over the “disgusting” Israel aid package that he proposed last month, which sought to make massive cuts to the IRS but that the Democratic Senate and White House both quickly rejected.
“Putting any type of cuts to a supplemental package to one of our greatest allies in the world is disgusting,” Max Miller tells Jewish Insider. “I think it’s stupid. I’m supportive of Israel — don’t get me wrong, I voted for it — but I think it’s a gimmick.”
Miller accuses Johnson of “play[ing] gimmicks with people’s lives,” while clarifying that he voted for the bill due to his support for Israel.
“He’s playing God with money that is going to help Israeli-Americans and Israelis,” Miller says. “We have Americans who were killed in that attack, we have Americans who are held hostage and this man doesn’t want to help them — that’s the way I look at it as somebody who is one of two Republican Jews in Congress.”
“Now that you see it’s a gimmick, the Senate won’t pick it up,” Miller says. “The speaker knew that. He’s trying to play chicken with a body that he’s going to lose with, and we’re going to end up swallowing a huge supplemental now that’s going to include Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and our border. And probably, because he negotiated this so poorly, possibly a humanitarian package that’s going to go to the Palestinian people.”
Troops of the IDF’s Bislamach Brigade located a cache of mortars inside a daycare center in northern Gaza, footage published by the military shows.
Troops of the Bislamach Brigade located a cache of mortars inside a kindergarten in northern Gaza, footage published by the IDF shows. pic.twitter.com/CinqXbpP1l
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) November 17, 2023
The IDF says the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance unit, meanwhile, raided the al-Karmel school in Gaza City, and found firearms, RPGs and military equipment.
Separately, the IDF says troops of the 7th Armored Brigade and Golani’s 12th Battalion identified a group of Hamas operatives in Gaza City, and attempted to chase after them. As the gunmen fled, the troops called in a drone strike to kill them.
כלי-טיס של חיל-האוויר תקף וחיסל חוליית מחבלים של ארגון הטרור חמאס במרחב העיר עזה, לאחר זיהוי והכוונה מהשטח ע"י לוחמי גדוד 12 בחטיבה 7. pic.twitter.com/u6dlcxK2sf
— Israeli Air Force (@IAFsite) November 17, 2023
Russia’s justice ministry says it had filed a formal complaint calling for a ban of the “international LGBT public movement,” without specifying whether it was seeking the closure of specific groups in the country.
It is the latest move in Russia’s long-standing crackdown against the LGBTQ community and people with what authorities call “non-traditional” sexual orientation and gender identities.
“The Russian justice ministry has lodged an administrative legal claim with the Supreme Court to recognize the International LGBT public movement as extremist and ban its activity in Russia,” it says in a statement.
The extremist label has been used by Russian authorities against swathes of rights organizations and opposition groups, which opens its members to prosecution.
The ministry accuses the “LGBT movement operating on the territory of the Russian Federation” of “various signs and manifestations of extremism, including incitement to social and religious hatred.”
It does not specify what exactly it meant by that movement, but said a court hearing was scheduled for November 30.
Since launching its offensive in Ukraine — often portrayed as an existential fight against Western liberal values — Russia has accelerated its campaign against LGBTQ groups.
“Russian authorities are once again forgetting that the LGBT+ community are human beings,” says Dilya Gafurova, the head of LGBTQ rights group Sphere.
Authorities “don’t just want to erase us from the public field: they want to ban us as a social group,” Gafurova add.
The security cabinet will convene Saturday evening, the Prime Minister’s Office says, amid furry from some of his hardline ministers over the smaller war cabinet’s decision to approve the transfer of two trucks per day of fuel into Gaza.
The move was made amid US pressure, as the lack of fuel in the Strip has all but ground humanitarian operations to a halt, further risking the spread of mass disease and famine. The US and even Israel have maintained that allowing aid in the country expands Jerusalem’s diplomatic maneuverability to continue its military operations in Gaza.
But Israel has also argued against allowing humanitarian aid, so long as Hamas and other terror groups continue to hold on to roughly 240 hostages.
Far-right ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir blasted the war cabinet’s decision regarding fuel and the former minister wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding that every party in the coalition receive a representative on the five-member war cabinet.
After expressing outrage at the decision to allow two trucks of fuel into Gaza a day, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich demands a change to the makeup of the war cabinet.
Citing the “bizarre” decision, Smotrich writes to the prime minister saying he demands every party in the coalition get a representative on the war cabinet — which currently includes only Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz.
The opposition’s Avigdor Liberman, head of Yisrael Beytenu, tweets: “Stop fueling the Nazis from Hamas! The statements that ‘not a drop of fuel’ would enter the Strip have turned into allowing thousands of liters unilaterally, without receiving any humanitarian gesture for our hostages.
“I call to stop this recklessness at once.”
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir pans the war cabinet’s decision to allow small amounts of fuel into Gaza.
Ben Gvir says the forum — consisting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Minister Benny Gantz and several observers — “is leading Israel to a wrong policy.”
“So long as our hostages don’t even get a visit from the Red Cross, there is no sense in giving the enemy humanitarian gifts.”
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich says allowing fuel in “is a grave mistake and contradicts the decision of the [full] cabinet.”
Such a move “broadcasts weakness, gives oxygen to the enemy and allows [Hamas Gaza leader Yahya] Sinwar to sit comfortably in his air-conditioned bunker, watch the news and continue to manipulate Israeli society and the families of the abductees.”
At the funeral of Cpl. Noa Marciano, her mother Adi, says her daughter always put others first, “with you being last, if at all.”
Marciano served as an IDF border observer at the Nahal Oz IDF base when it was overrun by Hamas during its murderous onslaught on southern Israel on October 7. She was kidnapped into Gaza and Hamas recorded a video of her while still alive. However, her body was found by IDF troops in northern Gaza and returned to Israel yesterday.
Sobbing, Adi says: “In our last phone call [as the attack unfolded] you didn’t say ‘What will happen to me, how will I survive?’ but rather ‘What will happen to the new observers who only arrived two days ago?’ That’s what you were thinking of in those moments of terror.”
She says “Everyone is hurting over your leaving… You left many touches of love behind. You are resting now, but we will not stop. We won’t forget or forgive.”
She thanks “all the soldiers who were there and brought Noa back to me.”
Several mortars were fired from Lebanon at the northern communities of Adamit and Arab al-Aramshe, setting off sirens.
All the projectiles landed in open areas, causing no injuries or damage, the IDF says.
It adds that troops are shelling the source of the fire with artillery.
Israel has agreed to allow two fuel trucks a day into Gaza for UN needs, as well as those of water and sewer systems, an Israeli official says.
The war cabinet made the decision based on the recommendation of the IDF and Shin Bet and at the request of US officials.
The action is intended “to enable the minimal maintenance necessary for water, sewer and sanitary systems to prevent pandemics that could spread to the entire area, hurting residents of the Strip as well as our own forces and potentially spreading into Israel as well.”
The official asserts that the move “will offer Israel the necessary diplomatic maneuvering room to eliminate Hamas.”
They add that Israel will be following the delivery of the fuel to ensure it does not reach the terror group.
Sirens are sounding in the southern city of Ashkelon.
There are no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
Footage released by the IDF shows strikes on Hamas operatives at an observation position in the Beit Hanoun area of northern Gaza.
Another video shows a strike on three Hamas operatives with RPGs and assault rifles, also in Beit Hanoun.
Both strikes were carried out after the Hamas cells were identified by the Border Defense Corps’ 636th elite observation unit.
צוותי לוחמים של גדוד 636 מחיל הגנת הגבולות בפיקוד המרכז, בסדיר ובמילואים, משולבים בכוחות הלוחמים ברצועת עזה.
במסגרת פעילותם במרחב בית חאנון זיהו לוחמי האיסוף עמדת תצפית שהקימו מחבלי חמאס, הלוחמים הכווינו אש מדויקת, חיסלו את המחבלים והביאו לסגירת מעגל מהירה על המחבלים והתצפית>> pic.twitter.com/EpEGrzMX09
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) November 17, 2023
בנוסף, בעזרת יכולות תצפית מתקדמות ושימוש ברחפנים, זוהו שלושה מחבלים חמושים בטילי RPG וקלצ'ניקוב באזור בית חאנון. כוחות האיסוף הכווינו תקיפה אווירית מדויקת והמחבלים חוסלו>> pic.twitter.com/ByfFwFSbsP
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) November 17, 2023
The Health Ministry asks the deans of Israel’s medical schools to prepare to integrate Israelis studying medicine abroad who were called up for military duty during the war. It is estimated that some 200 such medical students are at risk of falling behind in their programs because their academic years abroad are already underway.
With the start of the year in Israel’s institutions of higher learning delayed until at least late December, the ministry believes it would be possible to take on these students with the proper preparation in terms of academics, infrastructure, and teaching staff. The ministry has offered to help the universities make these adjustments and to work with hospitals to arrange all necessary clinical placements for students.
“We promise medical students who are now serving on the front lines that the State of Israel will not leave them behind. We will act in every possible way to provide them with the tools to fulfill themselves after the war to show them our appreciation and as part of the national effort,” says Health Minister Uriel Busso.
Health Ministry director-general Mosher Bar Siman Tov says the country has a moral duty toward medical students who received and responded to military call-ups, and that integrating them into Israeli medical schools will be part of an ongoing effort to increase the spots in the country’s universities for those wishing to pursue medical studies.
The Health Ministry asks medical students from abroad whose studies were interrupted due to the war to fill out the following survey so that it can plan accordingly.
Palestinian reports indicate a Hamas leader, Ahmad Bahar, has been killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza.
Bahar, 76, previously served as vice president of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Israel has not confirmed he was targeted or killed.
بعونه تعالى تمكنت قواتنا الخاصة بتصفية المدعو أحمد بحر القيادي في حركة حماس الداعشية والقادم أعظم. pic.twitter.com/M5tdLde6ew
— إيدي كوهين אדי כהן 🇮🇱 (@EdyCohen) November 17, 2023
A number of rockets have been fired by the Hezbollah terror group from Lebanon at Israeli army positions on the border, close to the northern communities of Malkia and Menara.
There are no reports of injuries in the attacks.
The IDF says it shelled the sources of the fire with artillery.
Additionally, the IDF says fighter jets hit a number of Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon, including a weapons depot.
It adds that troops also hit a terror cell in southern Lebanon that was preparing an attack near the northern village of Arab al-Aramshe.
The IDF says Palestinians opened fire from a vehicle at troops operating at an intersection near the West Bank city of Hebron.
Reservists of the 8106th Battalion returned fire, killing the gunman and the driver, the IDF says.
No soldiers were hurt.
The makeshift submachine gun used in the attack was seized by the troops, the IDF adds.
Communications systems in the Gaza Strip are down for a second day today with no fuel to power the internet and phone networks, causing aid agencies to halt cross-border deliveries of humanitarian supplies.
Gaza is now receiving only 10 percent of its needed food supplies daily, and dehydration and malnutrition are growing with nearly all of the 2.3 million people in the territory needing food, says Abeer Etefa, a Mideast regional spokeswoman for the United Nations’ World Food Program.
“People are facing the immediate possibility of starvation,” she said from Cairo.
With few trucks entering Gaza and no fuel to distribute the food “there is no way to meet the current hunger needs,” she said Thursday.
“The existing food systems in Gaza are basically collapsing.”
Police have arrested five individuals suspected of stealing the sound equipment from a man murdered at the Supernova music festival in southern Israel on October 7.
The equipment, worth some NIS 2 million ($530,000) was returned to Matan Lior’s father. The suspects were arrested in Qalansawe, Isfiya and Daliyat al-Karmel.
They are believed to have arrived at the scene of the massacre near Re’im after the violence died down and taken advantage of the chaos to make away with the expensive equipment that sound man Lior, 35, had brought to the party.
Lior was massacred along with hundreds of other revelers as Hamas terrorists stormed the area and mowed down attendants.
צילום: לפי סעיף 27א' pic.twitter.com/wUtlGCbzIf
— החדשות – N12 (@N12News) November 17, 2023
Thousands are walking to Jerusalem on the fourth day of the march for the return of the Israeli hostages in Gaza, ahead of a planned rally outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem tomorrow night.
German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert joins the marchers near Latrun and calls for the unconditional release of all captives. He says Berlin is making efforts to that end.
“We have been with you in our hearts and in our minds since October 7. We feel the pain with you. We pray and hope all day, all night, for the release of everyone,” he says.
היום, יום שישי 17.11
מוזמנים להצטרף לצעדת משפחות החטופים
8:15 – יציאה מלטרון (6 ק"מ)
10:30 – שער הגיא – חלוקת מים וחטיפים (ללא הפסקת הצעדה 6 ק"מ)
13:00 – שורש הפסקת צהריים וצילום קליפ – קרן פלס, שירי מימון
14:00 – יציאה לעין חמד (5 ק"מ)
16:30 – סיום בעין חמד
18:00 – קבלת… pic.twitter.com/yRfeZTbcdT
— אחים לנשק 🎗️ (@ahimlaneshek1) November 17, 2023
As the US warns against rising settler violence in the West Bank, an Israeli source familiar with the matter asserts to The Times of Israel that a “small nucleus estimated at a few hundred extremists, at most” are responsible for instigating violence, but that the cabinet discussed this and has taken measures to clamp down on the phenomenon.
Netanyahu said last week that while most of the half a million West Bank settlers are law-abiding people who contribute a great deal to the country, “there is a tiny handful of people… who take the law into their own hands… We are not prepared to tolerate this.”
The Israeli source argues that the phenomenon is linked to the uptick in Palestinian terror attacks coming out of the West Bank. “It doesn’t justify settler violence, but it’s not detached.”
The Israeli official speaking to The Times of Israel says Jerusalem has not actually ruled out the idea of the Palestinian Authority ever returning to govern the Gaza Strip, as desired by the US.
He say comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week that suggested as much only indicated that the PA will “need to undergo significant reforms in order to do so.”
The US has publicly implored Israel to plan for who will rule Gaza if the IDF succeeds in its war aim of eliminating Hamas, arguing that failure to prepare in advance risks leading to Israel being bogged down in the enclave indefinitely.
Israel has yet to publicly comment on the future of Gaza beyond Netanyahu saying that the IDF will maintain overall security control of the Strip for an indefinite period after the war — a stance that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken came out against on Thursday.
A source familiar with the matter clarifies that Israel does actually have officials privately working on “day after” plans and that it has reached out to the US in order to launch a joint dialogue on the matter.
However, the source indicates to The Times of Israel that there has been a degree of disorder in Washington, with officials in both the White House and the State Department working on the issue, “but we still don’t know who is going to lead that in the administration.”
The IDF says troops clashed with gunmen during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin and adjacent refugee camp overnight, capturing weapons and chasing terror operatives attempting to hide in a hospital.
The operation in the Jenin camp was led by the Kfir Brigade, and was aimed at uncovering explosive devices belonging to local terror groups.
The IDF says a drone struck a group of gunmen shooting at the forces amid the raid. Other Palestinians hurling explosives were shot at during clashes.
It says troops killed at least five Palestinian gunmen, and captured six assault rifles in the Jenin camp. Palestinian media reported three dead, with the discrepancy in numbers not immediately clear.
Meanwhile, Border Police says officers detained seven wanted Palestinians in Jenin, including Qasem Jabari, a member of a local terror group.
Police and the IDF say a group of gunmen fled in cars and an ambulance toward Ibn Sina hospital in the city to hide there. Border Police officers managed to stop one of the cars outside the hospital, and detain one of the gunmen. Inside the car, the officers found three assault rifles, footage shows.
צה"ל, שב"כ ומג"ב פועלים כנגד ארגון הטרור חמאס ברחבי יהודה ושומרון.
הלילה מופו שלושת בתי המחבלים שביצעו את הפיגוע במחסום המנהרות אתמול בו נהרג רב"ט אברהם פטנה ז"ל.
כוחות הביטחון עצרו הלילה 21 מבוקשים ברחבי פיקוד המרכז, שישה מתוכם משויכים לארגון הטרור חמאס >> pic.twitter.com/gPP7OvPDWh
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) November 17, 2023
The IDF says it also operated in Hebron overnight, to measure the homes of three Palestinian gunmen who opened fire at a checkpoint near Jerusalem yesterday, killing Avraham Fetena, 20, a Military Police soldier, ahead of their potential demolition.
Though the Biden administration has gradually intensified its rhetoric about the importance of protecting civilians in Gaza in recent weeks, the impression in Jerusalem based on conversations with US officials is that Israel’s window to operate in the Hamas-run enclave with Washington’s is not closing, according to an Israeli official.
“There have been some public statements that appear as though the US is turning in a different direction, but I don’t think that is the case,” the official tells The Times of Israel.
The official clarifies that the US has concerns regarding “collateral damage and humanitarian issues” that it continues to raise but that Israel is attentive to them. “We really listen to them and we do what we can [to address their concerns], as long as it doesn’t undermine our ability to operate on the ground militarily.”
The official points to the 1,000 trucks of humanitarian aid that have entered Gaza in recent weeks, insisting that the number will gradually increase. They also highlighted the humanitarian corridors the IDF set up to allow Palestinians to flee south, away from the most intense areas of fighting.
Israel is also facilitating the establishment of field hospitals by foreign governments in southern Gaza as well as floating hospitals off the coast of Egypt. A ship sent by the French government is slated to arrive in the coming days while the UAE and Turkey are in talks to establish their own field hospitals in southern Gaza, the official says.
“These hospitals can accept patients from hospitals in the north,” the official says, adding that Israel is coordinating with both the UN and Egypt in this effort.
The Israel Defense Forces says operations in the Gaza Strip continued overnight, with fighter jets targeting Hamas sites and troops battling Hamas gunmen.
The IDF says it carried out airstrikes against “many” Hamas sites, including weapons storage facilities, as well as against terror operatives.
לוחמי צה"ל מצוות הקרב של חטיבת ביסל״ח ויחידת יהל"ם, פשטו בהכוונת מודיעין על מוצב של מפקד מרחב הצפון בארגון הטרור הג'יהאד האסלאמי הפלסטיני ובו משרדים של בכירים בארגון הטרור ומפעל לייצור אמל"ח אסטרטגי >> pic.twitter.com/z5Vg3PW76Y
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) November 17, 2023
Meanwhile, troops of the Bislamach Brigade and the elite combat engineering Yahalom unit raided an Islamic Jihad outpost in northern Gaza, locating Iran-made Badr-3 rockets, drones, and other weapons.
The Badr-3 is claimed to have a range of 160 kilometers and a 250-kilogram explosive warhead. Some of the rockets were brought to Israel for research purposes. The Islamic Jihad outpost was later destroyed.
Troops of the Givati Infantry Brigade meanwhile battled Hamas operatives holed up in a school, the IDF says. Several gunmen were killed in the fighting, and the troops later recovered weaponry.
Troops of the Nahal Infantry Brigade, Paratroopers Brigade, and the 460th Armored Brigade raided numerous other Hamas sites overnight, discovering assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs, anti-tank missile launchers, and other equipment, according to the IDF.
Rocket sirens sound in Gaza periphery communities, largely empty since October 7. They were the first sirens in some 15 hours.
There is no immediate word on rocket strikes.
The IDF says it has recovered the body of Cpl. Noa Marciano from the Gaza Strip, three days after announcing she had been killed in Hamas captivity.
Marciano’s body was recovered yesterday by troops of the 7th Armored Brigade’s 603rd Battalion from a building adjacent to Shifa Hospital, following intelligence information provided by the Shin Bet security agency.
Her body was then brought to Israel for identification. Her funeral is slated for later today.
The finding came as troops continue to search for terror infrastructure in the hospital complex.
Marciano, 19, of the Border Defense Corps’s 414th unit, was serving at the Nahal Oz IDF base when it was overrun by terrorists during their murderous onslaught on southern Israel on October 7. She lived in Modiin and was the oldest of three siblings.
On Monday evening, Hamas published a propaganda video of Marciano, showing her speaking to the camera four days after being taken hostage, identifying herself and reciting the names of her parents and her hometown. The video then cut to showing her body.
Terror groups in Gaza are believed to be holding some 240 people hostage after it took them captive in southern Israel on October 7. Hamas has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that some hostages have been killed by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.
Yesterday, the IDF also recovered the body of Yehudit Weiss, who was abducted by Hamas on October 7, also near Shifa.
Two Palestinians were killed during clashes with Israeli troops in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, according to the PA’s official Wafa news agency.
The report says the two were killed by a drone.
Israeli forces also reportedly arrested a number of suspects in Jenin.
In an interview with CBS News, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asked about the prospects of a deal for Hamas to release some of the captives it seized in the October 7 massacres in exchange for a several-day pause to the ongoing fighting in the Gaza Strip.
“We are closer than before we began the ground action,” he says. “The ground action has put pressure on Hamas to achieve a ceasefire. We’ll have a temporary ceasefire if we can get our hostages. I don’t think it serves that purpose for me to elaborate further on that.”
Netanyahu stresses the return of the some 240 hostages taken by Palestinian terrorists in last month’s devastating attack is one of Israel’s main goals in the war, along with destroying Hamas and ensuring “that terrorist threat never rises again from Gaza, and that Gaza has a different future.”
The premier declines to say if he’d agree to let Palestinian security prisoners go in return for the Israeli hostages’ freedom.
“There are certain things we are holding confidential until we have something to tell,” he says.
Netanyahu says Israel has “concrete evidence” on the use of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for military purposes, alleging leaders of the terror group and “terrorist minions” fled the medical facility as Israeli forces neared.
“We are doing this very gingerly because we’re trying to do the moral thing, the right thing, to deprive Hamas of having this safe zone in a hospital, but at the same time to neutralize its use as a command center for terror. And so far we’ve achieved that,” he says.
The prime minister stresses Israeli efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza, while saying Hamas “doesn’t give a hoot” about Palestinians.
“We’ll try to finish that job with minimal civilian casualties, that’s what we’re trying to do, minimal civilian casualties, but unfortunately we’re not successful,” he says.
Netanyahu also says Israel wants “overall military responsibility to prevent the re-emergence of terror” in Gaza but not to reoccupy the coastal enclave.
Additionally, he is asked if Israeli settlers in the West Bank who engage in violence against Palestinians will be held accountable.
“We hold anyone taking the law into their own hands or committing vigilante violence — that is out, we cannot accept that,” he asserts.
Syria’s military has activated air defenses in response to an Israeli attack near the capital Damascus, according to Syrian state media.
The SANA news agency reports that the Israeli strikes caused damage, without elaborating.
The report also asserted that some missiles launched by Israel were intercepted. Syria regularly claims to shoot down Israeli missiles, though military analysts doubt such assertions.
In a call earlier today with Minister Benny Gantz, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the need for Israel to take “affirmative steps to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank, including by confronting rising levels of settler extremist violence,” the US State Department says.
The decision by Blinken to call Gantz appears noteworthy, given his Israeli counterpart is Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and that the US generally maintains decorum with regard to officials engaging with their counterparts abroad.
But Gantz sits on the more senior war cabinet and is seen as a more moderate force in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government, with whom the Biden administration is likely to have an easier time working.
Gantz met with Blinken during the secretary’s visit to Israel earlier this month.
Cohen has not met or spoken with Blinken since Gantz agreed to join Netanyahu’s government on October 12. The foreign minister is also slated to be replaced as Israel’s top diplomat by Energy Minister Israel Katz of Likud at the end of the year.
During their call today, which focused largely on the Israel-Hamas war, Gantz and Blinken “discussed efforts to augment and accelerate the transit of critical humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” the US readout says.
The two also discussed efforts to secure the release of the hostages, according to the State Department.
Israeli forces clash with Palestinian gunmen in Jenin while carrying out a counterterror operation in the northern West Bank city.
The Palestinian Authority’s Wafa news agency says two Palestinians were seriously hurt in the fighting. It also says the Israeli troops were accompanied by military bulldozers.
There is no immediate statement from the Israel Defense Forces.
In a CBS interview, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel had “strong indications” that at least some of the hostages were held in Gaza’s main Shifa Hospital, “which is one of the reasons we entered the hospital.”
However, he goes on, “If they were, they were taken out.”
He says that Israel has “intelligence about the hostages.” But, he notes, “the less I say about it the better.”
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