Sunday, December 17, 2023

12/17 Links: President Herzog: ‘A war for Middle East stability’; IDF reveals largest Hamas tunnel discovery; We Were Taught to Hate Jews

From Ian:

Andrew Roberts: ‘A war for Middle East stability’: Israeli President Isaac Herzog on what’s at stake in the conflict with Hamas
President Isaac ‘Bougie’ Herzog is Israeli aristocracy. His father, Chaim Herzog, was the sixth president, serving between 1983 and 1993; his grandfather Yitzhak Herzog was chief rabbi; his maternal uncle was Abba Eban, the most famous of the country’s foreign ministers. After leading the Israeli Labor party and the parliamentary opposition in the Knesset between 2013 and 2017, Isaac became Israel’s 11th president in July 2021. He is the first to be born in Israel since the Declaration of Independence 75 years ago. My first question rather asks itself: how is the war going? ‘Depends on what you mean by war,’ Herzog quickly replies, before turning the discussion away from Gaza to ‘the grand picture’. He believes worries about whether the battle against Hamas might morph into a larger regional conflict are already out of date. ‘It’s regional already,’ he says. ‘Unfortunately, it is regional because elements that emanate constantly from Tehran and its proxies are carrying out this war, whether it’s attacks from Lebanon, from Iraq, from Syria and, of course, from Gaza, which was the original perpetrator of this heinous atrocity.’ He points to the recent Houthis’ piracy in capturing the Galaxy Leader, an Israeli-owned ship in the southern Red Sea, as merely the latest manifestation of the phenomenon.

Continuing in this vein, I ask about the disturbing claim that a Hamas terrorist had been found with instructions on how to launch chemical warfare in southern Israel. ‘Yes, [it is] true, including how to create a cyanide-deploying device and how to use it,’ he says. ‘Way beyond the horrible atrocities that we have seen; atrocities that humanity hasn’t seen in generations.’

Herzog, 63, who was a lawyer before his political career, believes that everybody should watch the footage that Hamas terrorists filmed themselves of the 7 October attack. ‘It is simply inconceivable,’ he says. ‘For all of us who believe in the family of nations, and the rules of liberty, and the dignity of human beings, seeing the Gazan people, not only from Hamas, [but] Gazan civilians, celebrate in the middle of Gaza’s streets over a body – a mutilated body of a young girl who simply went to a dance festival with her friends – is horrifically shocking.’

I ask why he thinks some Ivy League universities – including his alma mater, Cornell in New York – and so many liberal western elites have turned away from supporting Israel to embrace the Palestinian cause? There is even a director of a Canadian women’s group who has denied Israeli women were raped by Hamas terrorists. What is it about western civilisation today that means people can’t accept the things we have seen?

‘Because they are afraid to look in the mirror which has shattered before their eyes,’ he replies. ‘Unfortunately, I find rust: rust in the establishment, and rust in the temples of learning that we all admired and adored. They grew sclerotic in the way they looked at things, rather than judging the truth as it is, meaning there are cruel people in this world and sometimes it is very difficult to make peace with a culture that glorifies such attacks which have been going on for years.

‘And there are those who still do not understand that there is something called a war between good and evil. It somewhat reminds me of the way the approach was [in the 1930s] until Winston Churchill took over and explained the reality to the British people and the rest of the world. It takes time. It’s difficult. People don’t like to change their views so quickly, but we have to understand this is the culture we’re faced with.

‘There are evil forces who believe in jihad, which means none of us are eligible to live in this world because there will be another empire, an empire of evil which wants the infidels out. This is the real story. You can see it when they behead a teacher in France, or kill people on the Underground in Britain, or when they carry out 9/11, or when they chop the heads off babies in Israel.’
JPost Editorial: Israel-Hamas War: The stories of humanity, bravery the news misses
Swept up in the bad news frenzy that comes with war – which can hit everyone personally, directly affecting individuals, their family and friends, as well as communally and nationally – the soft stories of humanity tend to escape us: both those of us working in the journalism realm, as well as all of us on the consumer side of it.

In the whirlwind of all this, many journalists fall short in their responsibility of telling the stories of individuals.

From the moment Hamas’s brutal cross-border infiltration attack began on October 7, those accounts began flowing in at a sickly speed, along with everything else that day. The stories of bravery and humanity during Hamas's massacre

On that disastrous Saturday morning, IDF St.-Sgt. (res.) D. managed to get to Kibbutz Be’eri, which bore one of the larger brunts of violence on that tragic day. Upon arrival, he saw a house with flames licking up its side. He inched closer to see if there was anyone trapped in the house, and saw an elderly couple; he helped them out and brought them to safety, the IDF said.

Rami Davidian, from Moshav Patish in the northern Negev region, received a phone call early Saturday morning from someone begging him to help the friend of a friend stuck at the Supernova music festival in Re’im.

“By about 11 a.m., I understood the full picture of what was going on,” he said. The friend at the party sent him a GPS location for pickup. On the way, he said, he saw more young party-goers attempting to escape – some injured, which significantly slowed them down – among the trees and in the fields. “I picked them up as well,” Davidian said.

From that point on, he said, it became a race against time to try to save as many people as possible. He set up a system with a few friends to spread out as far as they could to rescue the injured. All of this under constant fire both from the Hamas terrorists and the IDF, because it was a chaotic situation where communication was cut, and he had no protection for himself.
We Were Taught to Hate Jews
The following five ex-Muslims grew up in Canada, Europe, and the Middle East, but they were all indoctrinated, they say, with the same views on Jews and Israel. They remember a childhood shot through with antisemitic moments ranging from the mundane (one woman recalls her aunt claiming Jews put cancer in her vegetables at the market) to the deadly (a former extremist went as far as to pick a location in London for a terrorist attack he planned to carry out at 17).

These hateful ideas, repeated by their family members, religious leaders, and teachers, are part and parcel of the same animus, they say, that fueled Hamas’s attacks on October 7.

Some of the people you will hear from below have received death threats for speaking out on issues like antisemitism and sexism in the Muslim world. One uses a pen name to protect herself and her daughter from her terrorist ex-husband, who is currently jailed in Egypt. All of them came to reject their loathing for Jewish people and the West, and have rebuilt their lives in the wake of their realizations. Here are their stories, which you can read or click to listen to each author recite in the audio recordings below.

Darya Safai, 48, is a member of the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium. She was born in Tehran, Iran and lives in Belgium.

When I was born, Iran was still free. You could drink and dance, and women could wear whatever they wanted. I’ll never forget my first day of school after the Islamic Revolution. I was six, and my mother entered my room with a long, dark, and formless manteau and a piece of fabric for my hair and neck.

“My darling,” she said, “this is your uniform.”

I didn’t understand. I pointed to my closet and said, “But I have so many other beautiful dresses.”

She explained that I had to wear it if I wanted to become educated. I remember seeing the boy next door walk out his front door. He wore the same clothes he always did. I knew, but couldn’t accept, that my life would change, and his wouldn’t.

At my school in Tehran, in my new shapeless uniform, we read the Quran every morning and repeated sayings like, “Down with the USA, down with Israel.” To enter our classroom, we had to step on a painting of the Israeli flag on the ground. There are still universities in Iran that have painted American and Israeli flags on the ground, but most students walk around them.

The Iranian people and the Israelis are victims of the same monster—Islamists. In 1999, I was imprisoned under Ayatollah Khamenei for speaking out against the marginalization of women. I was 24. I was afraid that they wanted to execute me in jail, but instead they released me in the hopes that I would lead them to my husband, who was one of the leaders organizing protests against the Iranian regime. Luckily, a friend smuggled me in the back of his car to reunite with my husband in secret. We lived in Turkey for six months before moving to Belgium and have been married for 26 years.

When I saw the problems that we face in Belgium regarding radical Islam today, I began to write opinion pieces on the subject and eventually entered politics. I was elected to the Belgian Federal Parliament in 2019.

Islamists have ruined Iran, and they have destroyed the Middle East. Do we want to wait until this atrocity ruins everything in our Western countries too? As an elected official here in Belgium, I try to be the eyes and ears of some of the people who are sleeping.
Herzog: Now’s not the time for two-state solution
Israel’s head of state has added his name to the ranks of officials speaking out against a two-state solution following the war in Gaza.

“What I want to urge is against just saying two-state solution. Why? Because there is an emotional chapter here that must be dealt with. My nation is bereaving. My nation is in trauma,” President Isaac Herzog told the Associated Press in a Dec. 14 interview.

Politicians across Israel’s political spectrum, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to opposition leader Yair Lapid, have come out against handing the Gaza Strip over to the Palestinian Authority—a move advocated by the United States as a first step towards a two-state solution.

Herzog, whose position is that of a ceremonial figurehead meant to represent consensus positions, argued that speaking about the creation of a Palestinian state is a mistake if for no other reason than that the Oct. 7 attack is too fresh.

“In order to get back to the idea of dividing the land, of negotiating peace or talking to the Palestinians, etc., one has to deal first and foremost with the emotional trauma that we are going through and the need and demand for [a] full sense of security for all people,” he said.

Herzog once led Israel’s Labor Party, which calls for a two-state solution, but following the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas such a position has become politically untenable, particularly as the P.A. has allocated $3 million for slain Hamas terrorists as part of its “pay-for-slay” program while its Fatah party boasts of members taking part in the attack.
Domestic politics at play as US insists on two-state solution
The Biden administration is insisting that the “day after” Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza see progress toward a two-state solution, ultimately resulting in a Palestinian state next to Israel.

“We have to work toward bringing Israel together in a way that provides for the beginning of option…an option of a two-state solution,” U.S. President Joe Biden said at a campaign reception on Dec. 12.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that Gaza must be handed over to the Palestinian Authority at the end of the war. The solution “must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the P.A.,” he said.

This stands in sharp contrast to the view expressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said he will “not allow the entry into Gaza of those who educate for terrorism, support terrorism and finance terrorism,” referring to the P.A.

“Gaza will be neither Hamastan nor Fatahstan,” he added.

During a press conference on Saturday night, Netanyahu said, “As of this moment, the Palestinian Authority senior leadership simply refuses to condemn the massacre, and some of them even praise it openly. They will control Gaza on ‘the day after’? Haven’t we learned anything? As the Prime Minister of Israel, I will not allow that to happen.”

A different era

According to Eytan Gilboa, an expert on U.S.-Israel relations at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan and a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, Biden wants to return to the “two states for two peoples” paradigm because it would reduce hostility towards the United States in Arab countries as well as reduce opposition from the progressive ranks in his government.

For this reason, he said, the United States has an “obsession with the day after.”

“Biden wants Israel’s high-intensity warfare behind him to help his domestic political position,” Gilboa told JNS.

“There are also domestic politics in Israel,” he added. “Netanyahu also appears focused on domestic politics for the day after.”

“Both leaders are worried about their domestic political base,” he said.

UN envoy revealing Hamas head's number inspired by NYT Israel critic
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations this past week dramatized Hamas’s villainy and intransigence by holding up a sign with a Hamas leader’s phone number, urging the assembled UN delegates to call him.

“Tell Hamas to put down their arms, turn themselves in, and return our hostages,” Ambassador Gilad Erdan declared. “This will bring a complete ceasefire that will last forever.”

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was probably more than a little annoyed by Erdan’s tactic. Friedman must have thought he had cornered the market on sarcastically publicizing telephone numbers when he persuaded the US secretary of state to use that tactic against Israel’s leaders years ago. How The New York Times's Thomas Friedman inspired the phone number stunt

This episode goes back to Friedman’s first decade at the Times and intersects with his original declared aspiration to work “at the Middle East desk of the State Department.”

At some point in the late 1980s, Friedman became a personal friend and tennis partner of then-secretary of state James Baker. Needless to say, journalists do not usually serve as secret advisers to government officials whom they are covering. The editors of The New Republic, remarking on Friedman’s extremely sympathetic coverage of Baker, once suggested he should be called “the New York Times’ State Department spokesman” or “the James Baker Ministry of Information.”

Neither Friedman nor the Times revealed his relationship with Baker at the time. But in his 1995 autobiography, The Politics of Diplomacy, Baker admitted it. More than that, Baker revealed that when he and Friedman met for their weekly tennis game, Friedman would give him advice on how to pressure Israel.

Baker gave Friedman “credit” for conceiving a public relations gimmick that directly undermined the US-Israel friendship. While testifying to a congressional committee in June 1990, Baker tried to embarrass the Israeli government by reciting the White House phone number and sarcastically suggesting that Israel’s leaders should “call when they’re serious about peace.”
UK, Germany stress need for ‘sustainable ceasefire’ – soon but not ‘right now’
UK foreign minister David Cameron and his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, on Saturday said the “need is urgent” for a “sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza, but not “right now.”

The two ministers wrote in a joint Sunday Times article that “too many civilians have been killed” in the conflict, and raised the pressure on Israel to bring its operation against Hamas to a swift, but “sustainable,” end.

“We must do all we can to pave the way to a sustainable ceasefire, leading to a sustainable peace. The sooner it comes, the better — the need is urgent,” they wrote.

However, the pair also said that they “do not believe that calling right now for a general and immediate ceasefire, hoping it somehow becomes permanent, is the way forward.

“It ignores why Israel is forced to defend itself: Hamas barbarically attacked Israel and still fires rockets to kill Israeli citizens every day. Hamas must lay down its arms,” they added.

The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday night overwhelmingly demanded a ceasefire in Gaza, but the UK abstained.

French FM urges ‘immediate and durable’ truce, which Cohen casts as ‘gift for Hamas’
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on Sunday pressed for an “immediate and durable” truce in the Gaza war, adding that Paris is “deeply concerned” over the situation in the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.

“Too many civilians are being killed,” Colonna said during remarks in Tel Aviv with her Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, as Israel presses on with its offensive, launched in response to Hamas’s shock onslaught.

The war began when Hamas terrorists rampaged through southern communities on October 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians massacred amid brutal atrocities, and taking around 240 hostages to Gaza.

Vowing to destroy Hamas and to bring the hostages home, Israel launched an air and ground offensive in Gaza, which has been ruled by the terror group since 2007.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has claimed that, since the start of the war, more than 18,800 people have been killed, mostly civilians. These figures cannot be independently verified and are believed to include some 7,000 Hamas terrorists, according to Israel, as well as civilians killed by misfired Palestinian rockets. Another estimated 1,000 terrorists were killed in Israel during the October 7 onslaught.

Colonna also stressed that the victims of Hamas’s onslaught must not be forgotten, including those subjected to sexual violence.

“Needless to say, France believes the word of these women victims,” she said, in reference to allegations of widespread sexual assaults during the Hamas attacks.

“France believes those who had to witness these rapes and mutilations, these desecrations,” she added.

Cohen said that calls for a ceasefire in the ongoing war with Hamas were “irresponsible” and a “gift for Hamas,” noting the previous long-term ceasefire was broken on October 7.

“It will not help the release of the hostages and it will take us back to the same reality we lived with on October 6,” he stated, adding that Hamas welcomed a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution last week for a ceasefire.

“If a terror organization celebrates your decision, it means you have made a wrong decision.”

“There can be a ceasefire immediately if Hamas releases all the hostages without condition, and will surrender,” he added, emphasizing that the whole world has an interest in the terror group’s elimination.
No excuse for Trudeau turning his back on Israel's just war
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call on Tuesday for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war was mindless, reflexive, imitative nonsense. It appears reasonable when hostilities exist between a country and another armed entity to suggest that the hostilities should stop. But this is not simply a magnification of a brawl, a public disorder or an occasion when an argument between two individuals degenerates into reciprocal efforts to inflict physical harm on each other. This was the legitimate reaction of a sovereign nation-state to a brutal sneak attack upon civilians that violated an existing ceasefire. It was even more outrageous than the Japanese attack on the United States in 1941, which was only against military targets, and which began hours before the Japanese ambassador called upon the U.S. secretary of state to say that there appeared to be no good reason to continue negotiations towards assuring peace in the Pacific. The secretary of state, Cordell Hull, on instruction from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, gave no hint that he was aware that war was already underway. U.S. President Joe Biden is waffling because that is what he does, and he has allowed his party to be undermined by woke, Americophobia fanatics; Trudeau has no such excuses, inadequate as they are.

On Oct. 7, Hamas penetrated the Israeli-Gaza border and murdered 1,200 Israelis. The overwhelming majority of those killed were civilians, including women, children and the elderly. There is ample film and photographic evidence to prove that a very large number of these murders were of a horribly barbarous nature, including the decapitation of babies and the discharge of firearms into the genitals of women after they had been raped. Israel declared war on its adversary, formed a unity government and is conducting a war that its adversary alone provoked. There is not one iota of evidence that Israel is not doing all it reasonably can to spare civilians in Gaza, to warn inhabitants of areas about to be attacked and permit them to evacuate, and to try conscientiously to frustrate Hamas efforts to hide amongst civilians, in order to assure the highest possible collateral damage to Gazan civilians and falsely blame it on Israel. Hamas is an enemy guilty not only of starting an aggressive war and committing savage, barbarous acts, but also of profound cowardice and disregard for the population it claims to represent. There has never been a more just war than the one now being waged by Israel. There was not, after the Japanese attack in the Pacific in 1941, any agitation for a ceasefire by the countries that Japan attacked, including Canada as the defender of Hong Kong, as well as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Philippines, the Netherlands, as the governing power in what is now Indonesia, and New Zealand. War having been initiated in the most lawless manner, it was understood by everyone, and certainly by the Japanese themselves, that the only possible end of the conflict was the defeat of one side by the other.
When it comes to Hamas, historians forget the rules of academic deduction
One of the first rules historians are taught is how to provide foundations for their claims, through deduction and conclusions based on facts and not on ideas or political views. In order to build a valid historical narrative, they must collect all facts at their disposal, not just those who support their hypothesis or ideas.

We heard lecturers claim to their students and to the world, that the day that Hamas committed their atrocities, was a day of liberation, a notable day in the struggle. We were amazed to read texts by some of those academicians, among them Jews and Israelis teaching abroad, which subverted reality, claiming Israel was committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in Gaza, that could lead to genocide.

The claim of genocide is refutable. The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide states that the perpetrators of genocide intend to completely or partially destroy a national, ethnic or religious group or a religion, as such.

Since the start of the war, Israel declared it had two objectives, to eliminate the military capabilities of Hamas and to return the hostages. Those objectives clearly differentiate between the civilian population in Gaza and the Hamas terror group.

Hamas is not a national, ethnic or religious group nor is it a race. It is a terror organization that is part of the Iranian axis. There is no correlation between the term genocide and the war against a terror group. In contrast, Hamas has publicly declared its intent to destroy Israel.

Another claim that has been made was that the IDF response to the Hamas atrocities, is disproportionate. But what is a proportionate response to brutal murder, rape and abuse, burning people alive and beheading babies? Where does the responsibility of a state to protect its citizens end when it is fighting a terror organization that had committed such heinous crimes, uses schools, hospitals, UN facilities and mosques as cover and its own citizens as well as the hostages, as human shields?
Ministers must cure the moral rot of anti-Semitism infecting universities
The day Hamas inflicted the most deadly attack on Jewish people since the Holocaust was a litmus test for public decency in this country. While high-profile politicians of all stripes united in strong public condemnation of the attack and support for the Jewish community, this masked the extent of the moral decay from considerable sections of the public.

Within a week there was a 1,200 per cent increase in anti-Semitic incidents. As we have come to expect, a convoy of cars soon took to the streets at night with the specific intent to intimidate onlookers. Even today, physical attacks on Jewish businesses, synagogues, schools and Jewish people persist.

In the face of the worst outpouring of racism on the streets of the UK in decades there has been near-silence from the usual anti-racist campaigners. When I addressed the crowd at the dignified and patriotic march against anti-Semitism in Westminster there was virtually no presence from the myriad of anti-racist groups who defied lockdown to protest, nor the professional social justice warriors that explode at mere “micro-aggressions”. Their usual refrain to respect the “lived experience” of a minority group – and, in this case, one of genuine fear from British Jews – was absent. Instead, the unholy alliance between Islamists, who barely bother to disguise their anti-Semitism, and the far-Left cemented itself in weekly mass marches in the capital, where the glorification of terror and flagrant anti-Semitism abounded.

The rank hypocrisy is appalling, but it is not surprising. Left-wing academics that downplay individual agency and focus on “structural” and “indirect” discrimination caused, they argue, by societal power imbalances, cannot explain why a successful minority group could, in fact, be victims of racism. In critical race theory, where the all-encompassing concept of “whiteness” is the route of oppression, the spring from which all racism flows, how could a seemingly white-adjacent group themselves be subject to discrimination? The self-loathing over our past they derive from post-colonial studies only empowers these followers with a missionary-like self-righteousness and brazenness. The outcome is twofold: flagrant racism from self-professed anti-racists; and terrorist apologias as they confront the real-world consequences of hitherto theoretical “resistance”.

These theories were born and nurtured in the West’s universities and are now so widespread that campuses have become safe spaces for those who practise anti-Semitism. The most extreme, but entirely logical, endpoint of this strand of thinking was advanced by the presidents of the most prestigious US universities in a Congressional hearing earlier this month, where calling for genocide of Jews was said to be justified “depending on the context”.

Left unchecked, that is the trajectory our own universities are heading towards, with the great accelerator of social media speeding up the transition. In the last few weeks we have seen: students at Bristol University call for “unconditional support for Hamas”; UCU academics at University College London pass a motion supporting “intifada until victory”; Palestine societies from Warwick, SOAS, and York defend and glorify the Oct 7 attack; and an academic at the University of Leeds post a retweet declaring, “no space for Zionists on our campus… not now and not any other time”. Universities, once places dedicated to learning, are now contributing to the radicalisation of the next generation.

It is clear that the moral bankruptcy of our academic institutions cannot be remedied through public condemnation alone. The moral rot is too deep and the societal outrage too timid to shame them.
Questions of Morality in the Gaza War
The truth has to be told. Some of our soldiers were killed because we were trying to be moral. The pressure on the IDF because of collateral damage to the civilian population is reflected in the softening of preparatory bombardments before ground forces go in. Our soldiers find themselves in great danger because we avoid certain actions before the infantry forces enter the fray.

We see how Hamas exploited humanitarian gestures to improve their positions. Most of the food that entered Gaza was forcefully taken by the terrorists and did not reach the population. Most of the fuel reached Hamas and helped ventilate their terror tunnels and provide electricity to the metalworking machines that produce more weapons to be used against us.

We are told that the Palestinian Authority is the sane alternative to replace Hamas, but the Palestinian Authority pays murderers of Jews with salaries dependent on the number of people they murdered. A comparison of the Hamas and Fatah charters shows us that they both share the goal of destroying Israel and the Jewish people.

The Palestinians have fired tens of thousands of rockets at Israel that could have killed thousands of people. The fact that we managed to block them does not change the goal of those who fired them: murder of Jewish people in their homeland.

In this war, our victory must be clearly seen and understood by the enemy, in no uncertain terms or subject to interpretation. When it comes to the dilemma between our lives and the lives of our enemy, our answer must be clear and resounding: Our lives come first.
Hamas Turns Gaza Streets Into Deadly Maze for Israeli Troops
The Israeli army’s death toll in Gaza is already almost twice as high as during a ground offensive in 2014, a reflection of how far it has pushed into the enclave and of Hamas’ use of guerrilla tactics and an expanded arsenal.

Israeli military experts, an Israeli commander and a Hamas source described how the Islamist group has used a big weapons stockpile, its knowledge of the terrain and a vast tunnel network to turn Gaza’s streets into a deadly maze.

At their disposal they have arms ranging from drones rigged with grenades to anti-tank weapons with powerful twin charges.

Israel’s military said on Sunday that 121 soldiers had been killed since the ground campaign began on Oct. 27, when tanks and infantry began to push into Gaza’s cities and refugee camps.

That compares with 66 in the 2014 conflict, when Israel launched a more limited three-week ground incursion but the goal then was not to eliminate Hamas.

“There is no comparing the scope of this war to 2014, when our forces mostly operated no deeper than a kilometer inside Gaza,” said Yaacov Amidror, a retired Israeli major-general and former national security adviser who is now at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).

He said the army “has yet to find a good solution for the tunnels,” a network hugely expanded in the past decade.
Family mourns hostage Alon Shamriz killed by IDF in error, blames government for death

Hostage Samar Talalka, mistakenly killed by IDF, buried; no government reps on hand

IDF reveals largest Hamas tunnel discovery
The Israel Defense Forces revealed on Sunday the discovery of the largest Hamas attack tunnel found to date, located in the northern Gaza Strip close to the Erez border crossing.

The military uncovered four kilometers (2.5 miles) of the tunnel, which reached a depth of 50 meters (165 feet) in some sections.

The tunnel did not stretch into Israeli territory, but one of its shafts was found a mere 400 meters (about 440 yards) from the Erez Crossing, the only pedestrian entry between Israel and the Strip.

The tunnel has several branches and junctions, replete with plumbing, electricity and communication lines, the IDF said.

The military said vehicles could pass through the gaping subterranean structure, and that weapons belonging to Hamas were found inside.

The effort to construct the tunnel was led by Muhammad Sinwar, the commander of Hamas’s Southern Brigade and a brother of Yahya Sinwar, the terrorist group’s leader in Gaza, the army said.

Dozens of Hamas terrorists had relocated from Khan Yunis to northern Gaza to work on the project, which included materials never previously seen in the tunnel system, the IDF added.

The terrorists used special digging machines that were smuggled into the Strip for the project, which the military estimates cost millions of dollars. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant tours the largest Hamas attack tunnel yet uncovered by the IDF, December 2023. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/Israeli Defense Ministry.

Last week, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant toured the massive tunnel with Gaza Division commander Brig. Gen. Avi Rosenfeld and the head of the Combat Engineering Corps’ elite Yahalom unit, which is largely responsible for uncovering and destroying Hamas’s tunnel network.

“Hamas has persistently and deliberately invested enormous amounts of money and resources into terrorist tunnels that serve only one purpose—attacking the State of Israel and its residents,” said IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht on Sunday.

“This strategic attack tunnel network was intentionally dug near a crossing dedicated to the movement of Gazans into Israel for work and medical care. For Hamas, attacking the people of Israel continues to take priority over supporting the people of Gaza,” he added.
IDF shows Yahya Sinwar's brother driving through giant Gaza tunnel

US, UK navies down 15 drones over Red Sea
American and British naval forces shot down 15 suspected Houthi drones over the Red Sea, the countries said on Saturday.

The Iran-backed Yemeni terrorists said that they fired a barrage of drones at the southern Israeli port city of Eilat on Saturday, and the U.S. reported that one of its vessels shot down 14 drones over the Red Sea on Saturday morning.

“In the early morning hours of December 16 (Sanna time) the US Arliegh [Arleigh] Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS CARNEY (DDG 64), operating in the Red Sea, successfully engaged 14 unmanned aerial systems launched as a drone wave from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. The UAS were assessed to be one-way attack drones and were shot down with no damage to ships in the area or reported injuries. Regional Red Sea partners were alerted to the threat,” U.S. Central Command tweeted.

U.K. Defense Minister Grant Shapps said that overnight Friday, a British air-defense destroyer, the HMS Diamond, brought down a suspected attack drone in the Red Sea, marking the first time that the Royal Navy has shot down an aerial target since the 1991 First Gulf War.

“The recent spate of illegal attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security in the Red Sea. The U.K. remains to repelling these attacks to protect the free flow of global trade,” Shapps said in a statement.
Jordan denies existence of 'land bridge' to Israel to bypass Houthis
The Jordanian Transportation Ministry denied reports that a land route for shipments from the Persian Gulf to Israel, in order to bypass the Houthi blockade, had been established passing through Jordan on Saturday, according to Jordan's state news agency.

On Saturday, Walla reported that a pilot for a new land route for trucks to travel from the ports in Dubai through Saudi Arabia and Jordan to Israel had been completed successfully, and that the first ten trucks of the initiative had completed the route.

The initiative is managed through the Israeli cargo transport application Trucknet. The app matches truck owners with customers who need transport. In early December, Trucknet announced the signing of a cooperation agreement with the UAE-based Puretrans FZCO and the Dubai-based DP WORLD to transport cargo from the Gulf to the port of Haifa and back. Freight transit over land quicker than over sea

The project received the approval of the Defense Ministry and the government. The route from Dubai to Haifa is 2,550 km. and takes four days, while the route from Bahrain to Haifa is 1,700 km and takes two days and seven hours.

The trip costs about $1.2 per kilometer, which is a little more expensive than sea freight usually is, but cheaper than freight prices at the moment, according to Walla. Delivery over land is also faster, meaning this route may significantly shorten the time for companies in Dubai and India to transport products to Europe through Israel, taking about 10 days less than the trip through the Suez Canal.

Sources in Jordan's Transportation Ministry told the Jordan News Agency on Saturday that "there is no truth at all" to the reports of cargo being transported through Jordan.

The Jordanian sources claimed that the reports were "intended to confuse the firm Jordanian position regarding what is happening in the Gaza Strip in terms of the brutal Israeli aggression."
Four Palestinian terrorists die in Samaria airstrike
Israeli Air Force craft struck terror squads attacking troops in a Palestinian refugee camp near Tulkarm on Saturday night, the IDF confirmed on Sunday morning.

The IDF said that soldiers who entered the Nur Shams camp were fired on by Palestinians who also dropped explosives.

A least four terrorists were killed in the airstrike, the army said.

During the raid, combat engineers uncovered and neutralized improvised explosive devices planted under and along the roads.

Soldiers also located a bomb inside a medical clinic.

Four Palestinians wanted on terrorism charges were arrested and guns in their possession were confiscated.

Since Oct. 7, around 2,400 Palestinian terrorism suspects have been arrested throughout Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, of whom 1,200 are associated with Hamas. IDF summarizes major counterterror op in Jenin

Last week, IDF troops conducted a major multi-day operational activity in Jenin, arresting dozens of Palestinian terrorism suspects over around 60 hours.

The IDF said after the counterterror raid was completed on Dec. 14 that 60 wanted Palestinians were detained, hundreds of buildings were scanned and 50 weapons and explosive devices were confiscated.

In addition, more than 10 tunnel shafts were located, along with seven labs used to manufacture explosive devices and five war rooms used by local terror operatives to monitor IDF operations.

The IDF also said that it carried out two drone strikes and that 10 armed Palestinians were killed during the raid, including seven in drone strikes, and several were wounded.

Seven IDF soldiers were lightly wounded in the raid.
IDF raids vacation homes of Hamas leaders in Gaza
Israeli soldiers raided the vacation homes of several senior Hamas leaders, including Yahya Sinwar in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces announced on Sunday.

The IDF also seized the office of the commander of Hamas’s Khan Yunis Brigade, as well as underground and terror infrastructure.

Also captured was the main square of Bani Suheila, a suburb of Khan Yunis.

The IDF said many terrorists have been killed and some 30 tunnel shafts exposed in the past week of fighting. In addition, dozens of Hamas anti-tank positions and observation posts were destroyed, and weapons and intelligence material seized.

Israeli forces also raided the Hamas outpost of the “Deir al-Balah” battalion, confiscating intelligence material and military training books.

Khan Yunis is the second largest city in the Strip and is considered the capital of Gaza’s southern district.

It is also regarded as a personal stronghold of Sinwar, whose family lives there. Since the war began, the IDF has eliminated two members of the Hamas ruling politburo as well as associates of Sinwar, who live in Khan Yunis.

IDF soldiers find tunnel entrance next to crib in Gaza home

Hezbollah anti-tank missile strikes Israeli kibbutz

Terrorist stabs soldier near Ramallah
An Israeli soldier was moderately wounded on Sunday in a Palestinian terrorist stabbing at a gas station close to the Rantis Crossing, located west of Ramallah.

Magen David Adom emergency medical personnel treated the fully conscious 49-year-old victim at the scene before evacuating him to the hospital.

The terrorist fled to the nearby village of Rantis, where Israeli forces conducting searches apprehended him.

Late last month, four Israelis were killed and six other people were wounded in a terrorist shooting on Weizman Boulevard at the main entrance to Jerusalem.

Hamas’s “military” wing took responsibility for the attack, identifying the perpetrators as “jihad-waging Qassam martyrs” while calling for “escalation of resistance [i.e., terrorism].”
Israeli soldier stabbed by Hamas terrorist inside gas station amid war
The IDF just released new video after one of its reserve soldiers was stabbed at a convenience store by a suspected Hamas terrorist. This after IDF solders admitted to shooting and killing three hostages as they waved white flags.

My gentle, loving, teenage daughter was pulled by her hair into the back of a Hamas truck and paraded in blood-soaked pyjamas... Now I want the world to hear my screams
The harrowing footage of a terrified, bloodied young girl being pulled by the hair and bundled into the back of a truck by Hamas terrorists horrified the world.

But for Ayelet Levy-Shachar to see her gentle, loving 19-year-old daughter Naama Levy paraded in blood-soaked pyjamas by gun-toting fanatics was beyond her darkest nightmare.

The 50-year-old mother-of-four talks of the 'unbearable pain' of watching as her second child was taken into war-ravaged Gaza where she has remained underground for over 70 days.

In her first heart-wrenching newspaper interview, Dr Levy-Shachar tells The Mail on Sunday she wants the world to know her daughter not by that awful footage, but as a 'determined', sporty girl who loves American rock singer Pink, volunteered for pro-Palestinian charities and dreams of becoming a diplomat.

And she urged mothers around the world to 'hear my scream' and 'take action' to get all of those hostages still held in Gaza back home.

Sitting in her tranquil apartment in the leafy commuter city of Ra'anana, 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Dr Levy-Shachar describes how her quiet suburban life as a family GP descended into hell on October 7.

That day she had been due to visit Naama in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, 60 miles south near Gaza, and had left a cool box out by the door the night before to fill with all Naama's favourite treats.

'I was just here with the other kids and at 6.30am the siren went off,' said the medic, who is also the doctor for the Israeli women's national football team.

'I texted Naama asking, 'What's going on? Are you ok?' She wrote back to me: 'We're in the safe room. I've never heard anything like this in my life.''

That was to be the last time they communicated.

As news started to emerge, Dr Levy-Shachar became worried for her daughter, but it was only when Naama's 52-year-old father, Yoni Levy, phoned four hours later that the full horror started to emerge.

Sitting on her porch, playing a monopoly board game with Naama's siblings, Amit, 21, Michal, 16, and Omri, 11, Mr Levy told her: 'Something bad's going on. There's a video of Naama being kidnapped to Gaza - the video is in Gaza.'

Panic struck and her children began searching social media. Naama's brother Amit quickly found the horrifying footage and told his mother: 'Mum, don't watch that.'

A father shames Michelle Obama for silence over bloodied Hamas hostage, 19: ‘She’s disappeared’
Naama Levy wants to make the world a better place and idolizes Michelle Obama for speaking up for women.

But now Naama, 19, is being held hostage by Hamas — and her father wants to know why the former first lady and other famous women have been silent about her and the other hostages’ plight.

Yony Levi, 52, told The Post that his teenage daughter, whose shocking kidnapping was seen around the world as terrorists paraded her in blood-soaked pajamas, is passionate about helping others.

The 19-year-old was part of a global peace organization bringing together Jews, Arabs and Americans and volunteered at a kindergarten helping new Israeli immigrants from Ethiopia.

“We talked about Michelle Obama often,” Yoni said.

“She believed her to be someone who not only cared about global women but also someone with a really good heart.”

As first lady, Obama led the “Bring Our Girls Home campaign,” calling for the return of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist terror group Boko Haram

Video Emerges of Hamas Murdering African Farm Worker in Cold Blood
Video was released Sunday via Telegram purportedly showing Hamas terrorists murdering Tanzanian farm worker, Joshua Mollel, 21, during the October 7 terror attack in Israel.

It is unclear why the video was only released now, though Mollel’s death was only confirmed last week. Previously, he had been thought to be among the hostages taken by Hamas to Gaza.

The video, which was released by the Telegram channel South First Responders, which is considered credible, includes two clips. One shows Mollel being surrounded and restrained by angry Hamas terrorists, who shout at him in Arabic. The other shows him lying on a roadside, with a stab wound in his chest, as a Hamas gunman stands astride him and fires shot after shot into his body. A voice is heard shouting, “Allahu akbar!” (“God is great”), a slogan that often accompanies Hamas terrorists during their attacks.

The videos are too graphic to be republished.

As Breitbart News reported last week, Mollel was a farm worker at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, one of the agricultural communities near Gaza that was attacked by Hamas. The kibbutz announced that he had been abducted and then murdered by the terrorists.

South First Responders added a comment to the second video: “To Hamas, Black Lives Don’t Matter. Jewish Lives Don’t Matter. Christian, Muslim, Druze, Hindu, and Buddist [sic] Lives Don’t Matter. Palestinian Lives Certainly Don’t Matter.

“For Hamas, Life Itself Doesn’t Matter.”

Qatar uses Israeli hostages to extend lifeline to Hamas
While the U.S. pressures Qatar to expel Hamas leaders from its territory, Doha is instead trying to leverage its mediation to secure the terrorist groups’ future in the Gulf state.

“Qatar is under very heavy pressure from the United States, which is demanding that it change direction vis-ร -vis Hamas and is already about to impose a series of heavy sanctions on Hamas,” an Arab source said.

“The chances are very high that Qatar will soon ask [Hamas Chairman] Ismail Haniyeh and the leadership team to leave the country, but in the meantime, it is trying to soften the pressure by releasing hostages.”

According to a series of Arab media reports, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is pressing Doha to remove Hamas from Qatari soil, arguing that the existing relationship cannot continue. However, Qatar is trying to soften Washington’s pressure by promoting additional hostage release deals and touting its ability to moderate Hamas.

Specifically, the Qataris have leaned on the terrorist group to issue some moderating statements and suggested that Hamas be integrated into the Palestine Liberation Organization.

On Dec. 13, Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, said he was open to talks to end the war and “putting the Palestinian house in order both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
Ceasefire vote could see ‘survival’ of the ‘evil’ Hamas regime
Sky News host Rowan Dean warns a ceasefire vote for the war in the Middle East could lead to the survival of the “evil” Hamas regime which Palestinians in Gaza are “desperate to be rid of”.

The United Nations called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza with Australia among those in favour of the resolution.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese released a joint statement with his Canadian and New Zealand counterparts calling for steps towards a “sustainable ceasefire” in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Mr Dean accused the Labor government of “completely betraying” Israel and the Jewish people.

“At every single opportunity whenever presented with a choice between the interests of Israel or the interests of the Iran-backed, terrorist-supporting, pro-Palestinian, anti-Jewish forces at large in the world, Labor has at every occasion chosen the latter,” he said.

“The Liberal Party under Peter Dutton has always favoured the former.”

Fundraiser frozen after JustGiving deems IDF a ‘militia’
A London-based online social platform for giving withheld more than £20,000 in donations for the Israel Defense Forces for over a month after they deemed the Israeli army a “militia,” a British association of lawyers for Israel said Friday.

JustGiving had refused to pay out a sum of £21,710 ($27,547) from a crowdfunding appeal after claiming that there was a risk the money would be used to “support a militia” and pay for “military activity.”

“It is absolutely outrageous and deeply worrying that senior executives at JustGiving maintained that the IDF is a militia and blocked the release of the funds,” said Caroline Turner, a director at UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), which took up the case. “The IDF is the army of a sovereign state, fighting a war against the terrorist group Hamas. Soldiers take huge precautions while operating in extremely difficult circumstances. It is not only incorrect but also an insulting slur to call the IDF a militia.”

The crowdfunder was set up by two friends, one based in Israel and the other in London, on Oct. 8 to help Israeli soldiers keep in touch with their families.

The fundraising page stated that it aimed to raise money to buy portable batteries and power banks for mobile phones for IDF soldiers, so they could call their loved ones.

The campaign raised the donations from 147 donors around the world, putting their campaign in the top one percent of fundraisers that month.

But when they tried to draw their funds on Oct. 30, they were told that their account had been frozen as their fundraising campaign had breached JustGiving’s “community guidelines.”

Iceland threatens to pull out of Eurovision if Israel competes
The Association of Composers and Lyricists of Iceland (FTT) has voiced its objection to Iceland's participation in Eurovision 2024 unless Israel is disqualified.

In an official statement on their Facebook page, the board announced that they had formally requested the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RรšV) to refrain from participating in Eurovision, urging solidarity with the recent exclusion of Russia from the contest.

They emphasized the importance of taking a stand against war and the loss of innocent lives, asserting that choices must be made to withdraw participation from events that clash with their values as individuals and as a nation.

While the association has not yet responded officially, concerns have arisen regarding Yehuda Saado's ability to compete in a competition that desecrates the Sabbath.

Eurovision Broadcasting Union: Israel should not be banned
Earlier this week, the European Broadcasting Union, responsible for the contest, stated in a letter to a Belgian newspaper that the Israel Broadcasting Authority adheres to all competition rules and should not be banned from participating due to recent calls for boycotts amidst the Gaza conflict. They stressed that Eurovision is a competition between public broadcasters and not governments, with Israeli public broadcasting having participated for five decades.

Furthermore, the union affirmed that Israel participates in other international competitions without exclusion. It emphasized that Eurovision remains an apolitical event, uniting audiences worldwide.

Recently, the Eurovision fan site Eurovoix announced its refusal to cover the prelude program to the main event due to its perceived political nature, encouraging others to adopt a similar stance.

Throw That York Professor in Jail, Canada. Her Vandalism Was Anti-Semitic.
Shortly after returning home from Israel, I attended a pro-Hamas demonstration in Toronto, Canada, as a counterdemonstrator. But this was no ordinary pro-Hamas rally. Its participants billed themselves as “Jews Against Genocide.” It was held outside of Indigo, a big-box bookstore in Toronto that is owned by Heather Reisman, a wealthy Jewish businesswoman and philanthropist. Ironically, her store is known for promoting progressive books. But in the eyes of the demonstrators, this fact was irrelevant because she had committed an unforgivable sin: She was known for supporting charities in Israel. During an earlier demonstration in front of this bookstore, one of the attendees, a professor at York University, had vandalized the exterior of the building. Afterward, she had been arrested and charged with vandalism, and added to this was the charge that the crime was motivated by hate. In Canadian criminal law, any crime that is deemed to have been motivated by hate can lead to a stiffer sentence. This demonstration was clearly organized at least in part to protect her.

“Jews Against Genocide” appears to be an umbrella group of ultra-leftist Jewish organizations. They are the ideological heirs to the rump of the numerous Jewish leftist organizations that arose mainly during the Great Depression, when it was considered humanistic by many, not only Jews, to be a communist. However, in February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev, then premier of the USSR, delivered a speech to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Union condemning his predecessor Stalin for his cult of personality, his violent repression of the population through purges and the gulag, and anti-Semitism. As he delivered this speech, some members of the audience burst into tears, and others had heart attacks, thus discovering that they did have hearts after all. This speech, which was soon partially leaked, created a huge rift in communist organizations both within the USSR and in the West, including in Jewish leftist organizations. After the revelations of Khrushchev’s speech, many Jews left these organizations entirely, and others split away into more mildly progressive organizations, while a rump clung to the extremist dogma. The “Jews Against Genocide” are alt-left Jews who are the spiritual and ideological descendants of this rump.

It was a fairly large crowd of demonstrators, most of whom were wearing masks and many of whom were wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan “Jews Against Genocide,” along with the obligatory Arab keffiyeh — but it was impossible to tell how many were actually Jewish. There were also a PA system and a table with microphones for speakers. The demonstration was apparently well organized and well-funded. (READ MORE from Max Dublin: A Goldfish in Time of War) When the first speaker began addressing the crowd, she said not a word about the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israelis on Oct. 7. Instead, characteristically, she began her speech by proclaiming the bone fides of her Jewish organization. They were Jews who cared deeply about Judaism and were there to uphold its highest ideals. They were deeply troubled because they remembered the Holocaust and were, therefore, horrified by the genocide that Israel was now perpetrating against the Palestinians.
Greta Thunberg slams COP28 climate deal and Israel, waves Palestinian flag

British Medical Journal is a rag, not objective, has anti-Israel bias
Open Letter to the British Medical Journal:
On the morning of July 7, 2005, a bomb exploded on a Number-30 double-decker bus in London’s Tavistock Square opposite BMA House – the venerable and palatial headquarters of the British Medical Association (BMA) and the British Medical Journal. The suicide bomber, 18-year-old Hasib Hussain, was believed to have been thwarted in his original intention to detonate his 4.5 kg. bomb on a London underground train.

BMA House is very near the University College London, the BBC (which is today blatantly anti-Israel and has had to “apologize” for several false reports since October 7), the British Museum, and the National Gallery.

A total of 52 people died and more than 800 were injured in the blast, which The BMJ and many other British publications described as a “terrorist attack” committed by the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. This group, founded in 1988, views itself as the spearhead of a global revolution to unite the Muslim world under an Islamic state that transcends national boundaries. It doesn’t like Christians any more than it likes Jews.

The explosions were caused by improvised explosive devices made from a white crystalline powder combining acetone that had been hidden in backpacks. Flesh and blood splattered on the walls of BMA House whose construction began on the Tavistock Square site in 1911. The medical journal reported that physicians in the building helped the wounded before ambulances arrived. Then-editor-in-chief Fiona Godlee praised the staff for their efforts to produce the journal without interruption from a contingency site as the “best answer to those who would tear our world apart.”

The BMJ's anti-Israel bias
ON DECEMBER 4 of this year, I wrote a news article as The Jerusalem Post’s health and science reporter about a shockingly unfair and anti-Israel editorial published in BMJ Global Health – owned by the BMJ Group but with its own editor, Nigerian/Australian associate Prof. Seye Abimbola. It was entitled “Violence in Palestine demands an immediate resolution of its settler colonial root causes.”

My article quoted four prominent Israeli medical academics and a senior legal expert who wrote a strong letter of protest to BMJ Global Health. The Israelis charged that the editorial “completely ignored the events of October 7, when Hamas terrorists raped, burnt, mutilated, tortured and killed entire families and took women, children, and the elderly hostage. In addition, it is full of distortions and obfuscations… In a perfect example of fake news, the authors refer to the bombing as representing one of the most horrific attacks on a healthcare facility in our collective facility. In fact, the hospital bombing was well documented by nearly all reputable sources to have been the result of terrorists’ failed firing from within Gaza and not an Israeli airstrike.”
Israel-Hamas War: Chaos as Gazans mob aid truck from Rafah crossing

Seth Frantzan: Iran's goal is to drag Israel into a larger conflict

Iran-based women send IDF soldiers explicit photos in attempted honey trap

NYC anti-Jewish property crimes up 85% since Israel-Hamas war began
Antisemitic property crimes have soared 85% in the Big Apple since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, new NYPD data shows.

There were 135 anti-Jewish hate crime complaints on property in the Big Apple from Oct. 7 through Dec. 10 — up dramatically from 73 in the same period last year.

A pair of menorahs sponsored by Chabad Sunset Park were desecrated in separate incidents earlier this month, leaving Rabbi Yanky Hecht shocked.

Surveillance footage showed a bicyclist shoving over a nine-foot-tall menorah on Fifth Avenue, while another displayed in the neighborhood’s namesake park was swiped in the wee hours before the first night of Hanukkah, and found smashed on the ground nearby.

“This is something intentional, in the heat of the moment, where people feel they have the right to lash out against Jewish people and Jewish symbols and it’s unacceptable,” Hecht said.

Menorahs displayed in public and sponsored by Chabad branches run by Hecht’s brother and brother-in-law in brownstone Brooklyn had also been vandalized in the lead-up to the Jewish Festival of Lights, he added.
US antisemitism up 337% since October 7 in all-time record

Islington gathers to re-light public chanukiah hours after it was destroyed by vandals

United Hatzalah Raises $250K in ‘Symphony of the Stars’ Event in New York
On a vibrant Saturday night, the United Palace in New York City played host to the captivating Symphony of the Stars charity concert, orchestrated by United Hatzalah, Israel’s national volunteer-based emergency medical service (EMS). Dedicated to delivering swift and free emergency medical first response across Israel, the organization witnessed an impressive turnout of 3,500 attendees, raising a substantial $250,000 in support of its lifesaving mission.

The concert featured a stellar lineup of Jewish music luminaries, including Benny Friedman, Ishay Ribo, Avraham Fried, Shulem Lemmer, and Mordechai Shapiro, who left an enduring impression on the audience. A harmonious fusion of diverse musical styles united the singers in creating a tapestry that resonated across varied audiences, resulting in an extraordinary and unforgettable night. Avrumy Jordan, Major Gifts Officer for the Tristate Area at United Hatzalah, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “The evening was a tremendous success from all sides. Singers said the atmosphere felt like the concert was happening in Israel, and concertgoers told me it was the most incredible concert N.Y. had ever seen.”

Beyond the musical enchantment, the Symphony of the Stars concert carried deeper significance. United Hatzalah volunteers, often at the forefront of emergency responses, were among the initial responders to the October 7th Hamas massacre in Israel. The event aimed to pay tribute to these volunteers, celebrating Jewish unity and pride during challenging times for the Jewish people.

“We are immensely grateful for the outpouring of support during this challenging time. The Symphony of the Stars was not just a concert; it was a collective expression of solidarity and strength,” remarked Eli Beer, President and Founder of United Hatzalah. “Not only did everyone have an amazing time, but by doing so, they allowed us to continue to equip and train our volunteers to provide the fastest and free emergency medical response throughout Israel when it’s more needed than ever.”
Floyd Mayweather Receives 'Champion Of Israel' Award For Work After Hamas Attack
Floyd Mayweather went to great lengths to help Israelis following the October 7th terror attacks perpetrated by Hamas ... and for his extraordinary efforts, the 50-0 legend was honored!

Mayweather and the more than 600 people in attendance, including stars like Emmanuelle Chriqui and Montana Tucker, also raised over $4 million for Israel.

Mayweather was at the sold-out Faena Forum in South Florida Tuesday night where he was presented with the "Champion of Israel" Award from friends Jona Rechnitz and James McNair ... recognizing the legend's enormous contributions to the Israelis.

Remember, TBE sent his Air Mayweather private jet, flown by his pilots, to Tel Aviv with over 5,000 lbs. of supplies for both civilians and the military (he even hopped on a video call and had a chat with a special forces unit that received some of the equipment).

Floyd also attended a pro-Israeli rally in Los Angeles where he marched with thousands of fellow supporters ... and even sold custom TMT hats online with proceeds going to charity.

Aside from celebrating Floyd for all he's done, Tuesday's event was also aimed at raising money for Magen David Adom, a Red Cross-affiliated organization in Israel.

The event, produced by Israel Schachter of Charity Bids, featured a live auction ... and Mayweather was among those offering one-of-a-kind experiences, which raked in big bucks.

Among the awesome packages, Floyd offered a courtside ticket to sit with him at a Miami Heat game. He also auctioned off two ringside tickets for his upcoming rematch with John Gotti III.

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