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April 8, 2024 Israel Update

From the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA):

War in Israel: Update on Current Situation

April 8, 2024

  

Past updates can be found here.

 

By the Numbers

Israel and the Jewish community are marking six months since October 7. We will begin today’s update with a list of statistics of what has occurred in this time period. This information is followed by our regular updates below.

  • 814 civilians were killed on October 7, along with 344 IDF soldiers, making a total of 1,158 dead.

  • 39 of those killed on October 7 were under 18, including five toddlers under five years of age.

  • 253 people were kidnapped into Gaza, of whom 109 were liberated in hostage deals and three were rescued in IDF operations. In addition, twelve bodies have been recovered by the IDF, and 34 hostages have been confirmed dead; Hamas is holding their bodies in Gaza.

  • 240 Palestinian prisoners have been released in hostage deals.

  • Approximately 300,000 IDF reserve soldiers were called up, of whom 8% are over 50 years old and 17% are women.

  • 604 IDF soldiers were killed on and since October 7, including 256 since the ground campaign began.

  • 497 IDF soldiers were severely wounded. The total number of IDF wounded is 3,188.

  • 10,500 IDF soldiers have been exposed to traumatic events and developed symptoms of PTSD; 1,890 of these were unable to return to the field.

  • 41 IDF soldiers were killed in operational accidents including friendly fire, weapon misfires, and road accidents.

  • IDF rescue helicopters airlifted over 1,300 wounded soldiers from the battlefield.

  •  12,235 rockets and missiles crossed Israel’s borders in the south and north:

  • 9,100 from Gaza

  • 3,100 from Lebanon

  • 35 from Syria

  • An undisclosed number from Yemen and Iraq

  • The number of rocket interceptions is classified.

  • Some 12,000 terrorists (Hamas and Islamic Jihad) have been eliminated in Gaza.

  • Approximately 330 terrorists (Hezbollah) have been killed in Lebanon and Syria.

  • 32,000 terror targets have been hit in Gaza and 3,300 in Lebanon.

  • Hamas claims that in Gaza 33,137 people have been killed and 75,815 wounded.

  • UNRWA claims that 12,500 children have been killed in Gaza.

  • UN claims that 1.9 million Gazans have been internally displaced.

  • Reuters News Agency estimates that 31,200 buildings have been destroyed in Gaza.

  • 252,585 tons of food have been distributed in Gaza, according to the IDF.

  • 19,805 tons of medical supplies were distributed in Gaza.

  • According to the IDF, 3,200 Gazans were evacuated from the Gaza Strip to receive urgent medical treatment.

 

The Economy

  • Estimated cost of six months of fighting: $73 billion.

  • Current cost of the war: approximately $68 million per day.

  • Israel’s budget deficit: 6.6%.

  • The national debt has risen: 59% to 62% of GDP.

  • Direct damage to property in the south as a result of rocket fire: $405 million

  • Indirect damage to agriculture, businesses and tourism in the south: $3.3 billion

  • Direct damage to property in the north as a result of rocket fire: $270 million

  • Cost of reserve soldiers to the IDF budget: $1.14 billion

  • 127,000 Israelis remain displaced, with about half of these being from the south; 30,000 of the total remain in evacuee hotels

  • 47,941 school students have been evacuated from their homes, including:

  • 31,231 in the south

  • 16,719 in the north

  • 70,000 university students were called up for military reserve duty.

  • 161 university students were murdered on October 7 or killed in battle.

  • 17 university students were kidnapped.

 

 

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Activities

  • Over the weekend, four IDF soldiers were killed in the southern Gaza Strip when terrorists emerged from a tunnel shaft and shot them. The number of IDF soldiers killed since October 7 is now 604, of whom 260 were killed since the ground operation began.

  • While Israel says that it still plans to destroy Hamas’ last main vestiges of power in Rafah, most Israeli troops have now withdrawn from Gaza, including Khan Younis and other areas, and the IDF says that its main military objectives in most regions have been achieved. Only one IDF brigade remains in the entire Gaza Strip. Reports suggest that Israel will now focus on pinpoint strikes on Hamas that do not require a heavy, and ongoing presence inside Gazan population centers. Commenting on the move, Israel’s Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said, “The withdrawal of troops from Khan Younis was carried out once Hamas ceased to exist as a military framework in the city. Our forces left the area to prepare for their future missions, including their mission in Rafah.”

  • Following the air strike that destroyed a building, adjacent to the Iranian Embassy in Damascus at the end of last week, killing senior members of the Revolutionary Guards, Iran has warned that a retaliation is imminent. Yesterday, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that the country’s defense establishment has completed preparations for responses in the event of any scenario that may develop vis-a-vis Iran. Meanwhile, the rial (Iranian currency) is down 30% overnight. See here for more.

 

Hostages

  • According to many reports, a hostage deal is now closer than it has been since the last deal was carried out. The Israeli negotiating team has returned to Israel from Cairo for what could be final consultations before a deal is signed, possibly even in the coming days. Nonetheless, Hamas says that reports that a deal is imminent are false.

  • Over the weekend, the IDF announced that 47-year-old Elad Katzir, from Nir Oz, who was kidnapped alive on October 7, has been killed in captivity. His body was rescued and brought back to Israel by IDF forces operating in Khan Younis. Elad's father was murdered on October 7 and his mother was kidnapped and released in the December hostage exchange. Hamas had issued two video messages by Elad (on December 20 and then on January 8), providing evidence that he was alive. The updated number of hostages in Gaza is now 133.

 

 

Humanitarian Aid

  • As part of a commitment to flood Gaza with aid, Israel facilitated today the entrance of a record number of trucks carrying humanitarian support into the Strip. More than 320 trucks entered Gaza, all of which had been scanned and checked by Israeli authorities. 

  • At the same time, the Erez checkpoint has been reopened for the first time since October 7, allowing for faster transfer of goods arriving in Ashdod Port.

  • Israel’s Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant held a tour of the new Humanitarian Coordination and Deconfliction Center, together with US Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew, where they reviewed measures taken over the past month to increase the number of access points for the delivery of aid by land and sea, to improve the infrastructure and routes necessary for the delivery of aid, and to streamline security inspections. In recent days, the defense establishment has launched the Coordination and Deconfliction Cell - a platform that will enable international agencies to work closely with the IDF in order to facilitate the delivery of aid, that will still enable troops to continue operating against Hamas, while also ensuring the security of aid workers.

  • US President Joe Biden said that Israel is fulfilling all that he requested of its government, in terms of increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza.

 

Rockets

  • In the north, Hezbollah continues to fire at Israeli targets, triggering significant Israeli retaliations. 

  • According to estimates, Iran-backed Hezbollah has some 150,000 rockets and precision-guided missiles that could penetrate deep into Israel. 

  • Since October 8, Hezbollah has launched thousands of rockets and missiles at Israel, leaving dozens dead and wounded and forcing some 100,000 people to evacuate their homes in northern Israel.   

  • Read this article, “Is War with Lebanon Imminent?” 

  • The IDF has produced this video on the connection between Iran and Hezbollah.

  • The number of Hamas rocket attacks on Israel remains negligible on most days, due to Hamas’ significantly diminished capabilities. 

  • In the Red Sea, the US, UK, and Israel continue to defend against attacks by the Iran-back Houthi rebels in Yemen. The US military also continues to strike at pro-Iranian targets in both Syria and Iraq.   

 

International Response

  • Several world leaders have spoken out on the six-month anniversary of October 7:

  • Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel is a step away from victory.

  • U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: “(Oct. 7 was) the most appalling attack in Israel’s history, the worst loss of Jewish life since the Second World War. We continue to stand by Israel’s right to defeat the threat from Hamas terrorists and defend their security. But the whole of the UK hocked by the bloodshed and appalled by the killing of brave British heroes who were bringing food to those in need. This terrible conflict must end. The hostages must be released.”

  • German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock: “Six months ago was a dark day when Hamas attacked Israel, killing and kidnapping hostages, out of hatred. (We will) not tire in our efforts to bring them all home to their loved ones in Israel.”

  • U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres: “I mourn with Israelis for the 1,200 people, including many women and children, killed in cold blood. Oct. 7 is a day of pain for Israel and the world. Nothing can justify the horror unleashed by Hamas. I once again condemn the use of sexual violence, torture, and kidnapping of civilians, and call for the unconditional release of all the hostages.”

 

Stories of Heartbreak, Heroism, and Hope

  • Listen to the song “Return to Me,” produced by the Ohel family in tribute to their 22-year-old brother and son Alon who was taken captive by Hamas terrorists from the Nova music festival. A talented pianist, Alon had intended to enroll in the Rimon School of Music in Tel Aviv last fall. Instead, he has been held in captivity for nearly six months. The Ohel family brought a yellow piano to Hostage Plaza in Tel Aviv, representing the hope that Alon will return home soon.  His family held a concert in his honor in southern Israel, hoping that Alon could hear the music from Gaza. “I know he heard me,” his mother Idit said. 

  • After six months of war, the clock is ticking for this Gaza hostage’s terminally ill mother.

 


 

Further Reading

Washington Post op-ed on the International Court of Justice’s campaign to falsely accuse Israel of genocide. 

 

 

Jewish Federations Resources

 

Jewish Federations have collectively raised just shy of $800 million and allocated more than $400 million for humanitarian needs and economic support in Israel since October 7. For an updated list of allocations, click here. Read this JTA Jewish Federations story: “The man allocating $800M in post-Oct. 7 donations to Israel on where the money goes.”

As part of the Second Line initiative, Jewish Federations are partnering with the Israel Ministry of Health, the Israel Trauma Coalition, and Birthright Israel to recruit qualified volunteers to provide both in-person and remote support to both affected populations and local mental health professionals in Israel. To apply, click here. For more information, contact Hannah Miller.

Jewish Federations’, 10/7 Project is a collaboration with AJC, AIPAC, ADL, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. See here for more information about the 10/7 project, as well as this news bulletin.

Resources: Readers can see links to resources, background, research and other information on the current war here; can access a Jewish Federations toolkit here, and can refer to the Community Mobilization Center Resource Hub for the latest talking points and tools. 

Details: For information on the latest overall numbers from the conflict, see here.

Volunteering: Read this updated Jewish Federations’ overview on the latest volunteering opportunities in Israel right now.Read the latest communication from the Community Mobilization Center here.

 

For more information, please contact: Jewish Federations of North America’s Dani Wassner dani.wassner@jewishfederations.orgSubscribe to this twice-weekly update here.

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