Swords of Iron: Israel Under Siege
Updated on: October 13, 2023
JewishAkron stands in total and complete solidarity with Israel, which has every right to defend itself and protect its citizens.
On October 7, 2023, during the holiday of Shmini Atzeret, Hamas terrorists launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from Gaza, firing thousands of rockets, breaching the country’s borders, killing dozens of Israelis, and wounding hundreds more. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel was at war to defend itself and gave the order for the IDF to commence "Operation Swords of Iron.”
More than 1,300 Israelis killed, including at least 220 soldiers, 22 US citizens and 2 Canadians
Some 3,300 Israelis wounded, including 350 in serious condition
Over 6,000 rockets fired at Israel An estimated 150 Israelis being held hostage in Gaza
At least 360,000 soldiers have been called up for service
National Emergency Government established with Netanyahu and Gantz
Concern over second front heats up with exchanges across Lebanon border
President Biden pledges unwavering support against "pure unadulterated evil" Hamas wrought
Funerals took place across Israel yesterday, with many more scheduled for today as the country begins the heart-wrenching task of burying its dead. With such large numbers, many are attending multiple funerals and the IDF rabbinate, burial societies and others are working around the clock to enable an honorable funeral for every victim.
One of the fallen was Bruna Valeanu, a 24-year-old Brazilian-Israeli who was murdered at the Rave. Only Bruna’s mother and sister live in Israel and they were concerned that there would not be a minyan (prayer quorum) at the funeral. A message was sent out on social media asking for volunteers to ensure that wouldn’t happen. Instead of the 10 that they sought, an astonishing 10,000 people showed up for the funeral in Petach Tikva last night.
Most people from the towns around Gaza have been evacuated, leaving authorities continuing the grim task of collecting bodies, and surveying the severe damage. In some kibbutzim and towns, large portions of the population have been murdered and most houses, cars and other property destroyed. In some cases, it remains unclear whether the towns or kibbutzim will be rebuilt at all. Among other items, in Kibbutz Sufa, Hamas fighters left behind an ISIS flag. At the same time, tales of heroism are emerging from the first day of fighting.
Rocket fire continues across the country but has slowed considerably. Seven houses in Sderot were hit causing considerable damage and four people have been injured, two seriously. For ten hours last night, not a single rocket was fired. This could be because Hamas is “pacing itself,” preparing for a protracted battle with Israel, and trying to save supplies; but could also be due to IDF efforts fighting the terror group.
According to the IDF, Hamas is showing signs of losing control, and its senior leadership may have lost communication with numerous commanders. Schools and most businesses are shuttered and a large area around the Gaza Strip remains a closed military zone, to which entry by civilians is prohibited. Since Saturday, the IDF has already carried out strikes against more than 2,650 targets across the Gaza Strip. Overnight, attacks killed Muhammed Abu Shamala, a senior operative of Hamas’ naval forces whose house was used to store naval weapons; as well as Mustafa Shahin, a Hamas operative who filmed and broadcast the terror group’s murders in southern Israel on Saturday. See footage of IDF strikes overnight here.
Israel’s Energy Minister Yisrael Katz confirmed that Israel will not reconnect Gaza’s electricity supply until the hostages held by Hamas are released. He stated, “Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electrical switch will be turned on, no water pump will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home. Humanitarianism in exchange for humanitarianism. No one can preach morality to us.”
While hopes remain high that a significant escalation on Israel’s northern border can be avoided, the IDF has considerably bolstered its forces across the region as a precautionary step. Early yesterday evening, there were reports of 15-20 manned paragliders crossing the border from Lebanon, sounding sirens across Israel’s north. While details around the event have not been released, the IDF confirms that there were no successful incursions.
Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with 31 NATO defense ministers who were gathering in Brussels earlier today. Gallant spoke of the atrocities committed by Hamas against children, women, men and the elderly and told the assembled ministers, “We have been hit hard. Yet make no mistake – 2023 is not 1943. We are the same Jews, but we have different capabilities. The State of Israel is strong. We are united, and powerful.” Gallant also presented an unreleased and uncensored video of some of the horrific acts committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians and soldiers, as well as foreign nationals who were either kidnapped or killed.