Update on Current Situation in Israel

The following is an update from Jewish Federations of North America, the parent organization of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh:

As Shabbat approaches in Israel, Jewish Federations’ Israel Office presents a shortened summary of the latest developments in the War. Full updates will resume next week. Meanwhile, from Jerusalem, we wish all of Israel, and Jews around the world, a comforting, safe and peaceful Shabbat.

The Latest:

  • March for Israel: Join the March for Israel on November 14th in Washington DC to show our support for Israel, stand in solidarity with the hostages and condemn antisemitism.
  • As the ground war continues in Gaza, Israeli troops killed several senior Hamas terrorists overnight, including some who took part in the October 7 massacres. In addition, the IDF raided a major Hamas military quarter situated near the Shifa Hospital, killing 50 Hamas members during fierce combat. Israeli forces also secured and neutralized a wide underground network of tunnels. See video footage here. And watch this video of the discovery of a major weapons depository inside a school.
  • The IDF reports that 36 soldiers have been killed in the fighting since the ground offensive began. See details of all fallen soldiers here.
  • Meanwhile, for the first time, IDF Chief of the General Staff Herzi Halevi and the Israel Security Service (Shin Bet) head Ronan Bar personally went deep into Gaza with IDF troops to conduct a situation assessment on the ground.
  • Yesterday, a drone attack on a school in Eilat caused damage, but no injuries. Israel says that it struck targets in Syria responsible for the attack. Meanwhile, Israel’s long-range Arrow defense system intercepted a surface-to-surface missile outside the earth’s atmosphere, over the Red Sea. The missile was launched, presumably from Yemen, towards Eilat. This was the first time ever that Israel’s most advanced air defense system, the Arrow 3, completed a successful intercept (limited previous uses involved the Arrow 2).
  • The IDF continues to facilitate humanitarian corridors to allow Palestinians in the north of Gaza to escape to the south. Yesterday, some 50,000 people used the safe passage in the seven-hour period that it was open.
  • Following mounting international pressure, Israel has agreed to formalize and broaden the pauses in fighting, in coordination with the U.S. Government and others. The “tactical, localized” pauses that Israel agreed to implement each day will build on the humanitarian corridor that it began operating on Sunday to allow Gazans to evacuate from northern to southern Gaza. The new four-hour pauses will take place in a different northern Gaza neighborhood each day, with residents notified three hours ahead of time, in order to prevent Hamas from exploiting the gesture for military purposes. Watch this video about IDF humanitarian assistance in Gaza.
  • Meanwhile reports suggest that two hostages with medical conditions may soon be released. They are Hanna Katzir, 77, and Yagil Yaakov, 12, both of Kibbutz Nir Oz. Negotiations for the release of other hostages continue.
  • Read this first-hand account of the IDF’s hunt for tunnels, and how Hamas hides their locations.
  • The Knesset has approved a wartime compensation package to help businesses continue operating. The aid package includes grants to businesses that have suffered indirect damages due to the war, a salary reimbursement program, and relief measures for employees put on unpaid leave. The cost of the package is estimated at $3.9 billion.
  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he would be willing to take control of the Gaza Strip after Hamas falls, if Israel accepts the goal of a two-state solution.
  • Jewish Federations of North America released the first poll of the Jewish community since October 7. The poll found that:
    • 70% of Jewish respondents feel less safe than they did a few months before. None said they feel safer.
    • Three-quarters of Jews were concerned that their communities would face security problems due to the war.
    • Jews were twice as likely to say they worry about their personal safety compared to the general public.
    • Among Jews, those who wore distinctive Jewish items were twice as likely to say they felt worried about their safety “all the time” relative to those who don’t.
    • Support for military aid to Israel is widely popular, with 59% of the general population supporting it, and 87% of U.S. Jews agreeing.
    • For more information, please see here, as well as an overview presentation, survey questions, and methodology statement.

Key Resources From Jewish Federations

  • Resources: Readers can access a Jewish Federations toolkit of resources here, and can refer to the Community Mobilization Center Resource Hub for the latest talking points, tools and other resources.
  • Map: This site shows a map of the October 7 massacre with a red dot for every person killed and a black dot for every person abducted by Hamas. Clicking on any dot will show the name and picture (if available) of the victim with age and last known location.
  • Details: For full details about the home front and military operations, see this update. And for information on the latest overall numbers from the conflict, see here.
  • Local Authorities: Jewish Federations have produced a document answering questions about funding impacted localities and municipalities in Israel. See here.
  • Volunteering: Birthright Israel has opened a volunteering program, where people from outside of Israel can come to Tel Aviv and take part in food rescue operations to prevent shortages in the Israeli market, including work to sort, pack and distribute goods for civil and military personnel.
  • Critical Information: For those in Israel looking for help, critical information about the situation on the ground, or other assistance, see this resource page put together by Jewish Federations.
  • Listen here to Rabbis Angela Buchdahl and Shlomo Nisanov’s testimony during a UJA New York mission to Israel.
  • Knesset: The heads of Jewish Federations of North America have received a letter from the Knesset, thanking the community for its unprecedented support during the country’s dark hour. See the letter here.
  • Supplying Protective Equipment: See also this Jewish Federations information page on requests for personal protective equipment which are circulating and this update regarding volunteering.
  • Read the latest communication from the Community Mobilization Center here.
  • Funders: As many funders struggle to distinguish between the multitudes of organizations looking for important resources, the Jewish Funders Network has produced this thorough page of guidance.
  • Solidarity Gatherings: Over 120 communities have held solidarity gatherings. Watch here. For a guidebook on hosting a gathering in your community, see here.
  • Hostages: Jewish Federations have launched The Blue Ribbon Campaign, which symbolizes support and solidarity for the safe return of the hostages taken by Hamas. Wearing a ribbon publicly unites people of all religions, races, nationalities, ethnicities, ages, and generations and demonstrates for the people of Israel that they are not alone and that good people across the globe are with them and their families during this dark time.

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