Our thoughts are with those affected, and we are committed to keeping you informed. Here's the latest update:
- The week-long ceasefire in Gaza ended this morning after Israel and Hamas failed to agree on a list of hostages to be released today. Also, the Prime Minister's office accused Hamas of not fulfilling its promise to release all the female hostages.
- In a terror attack in Jerusalem on Thursday morning, three people were killed when two brothers, Hamas-affiliated terrorists, opened fire at a bus stop. At least six other people were injured. Among those killed were a 24-year-old woman, and a Rabbinical Court Judge, Dayan Rabbi Elimelech Wasserman.
- Israeli security forces arrested 15 people last night in the West Bank on suspicion of terrorism.
- A rocket landed this morning in a kibbutz in the south of the country; no casualties, however, were reported.
- As part of the hostage-release deal, a total of 112 Israeli hostages have now been released from Hamas captivity and have been reunited with their families, in six separate groups, over the last six days.
- On Wednesday night, 12 Israeli hostages and four foreign laborers from Thailand were released. Two of the Israelis also held Russian citizenship. Initially, Hamas said that the two hostages with Russian citizenship were not part of the deal, but were, instead, a gesture to Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, since it has become clear that the two were also Israeli citizens, Hamas has announced that the two will count towards the 10 hostages slated to be released this evening. As a result, only 8 hostages were released Thursday. Some reports have suggested that Hamas will also return the bodies of three Israelis it is holding.
- In what is likely a form of psychological warfare, last night’s releases were repeatedly delayed, with questions arising as to whether the exchange would indeed take place.
- The hostages set free so far have been young children, their mothers, elderly women, and foreign workers (mainly from Thailand).
- In exchange for those let out, Israel has released some 240 terrorists from prison and granted a six-day ceasefire. Terrorists released as part of the deal were all women, and under-18 minors, most serving sentences for attempted murder, stabbings, stone-throwing, and other terror attacks. Prominent Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi was among the 30 prisoners freed by Israel yesterday.
- There are still around 139 hostages in Gaza, (including 14 women and 4 children) although not all may be alive.
- Hamas has suggested that some members of the Bibas family are no longer alive, although this has not been confirmed. Kfir Bibas, now nine months old was kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz along with his 4-year-old brother Ariel and parents Yarden, 34, and Shiri, 32.
- Additional details continue to emerge about the harsh conditions under which hostages were, and are, being kept. Food was severely limited (often to less than one pita per day per hostage), and many were beaten by their captors.
- See these stories of some of the hostages who have been released:
- Released hostage Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, revealed in an interview that she met Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar in a tunnel during her time in Gaza — and was not afraid to tell him what she thought. “Sinwar was with us three days after we got there. I asked him how he wasn’t ashamed of himself, for doing such a thing to people who for years supported peace. He didn’t answer. He was quiet.”
- After hours of anxious waiting, dozens of members of Kibbutz Be’eri shouted for joy Wednesday night as they watched footage of six hostages from their kibbutz among 10 coming home to Israel after being held captive in Gaza by Hamas for the last 54 days.
- One of the hostages, recently released from Gaza, revealed on Wednesday that he was held for nearly 50 days in an attic by a teacher from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
- Still-captive hostage Shani Goren took care of Eitan Yahami while in captivity.
- Gali Tarshansky, 13, who was returned last night, was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists from her home on Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7. Gali was in the family’s safe room with her brother, Lior, 15, and their father, Ilya, when Hamas terrorists entered and killed Lior, as Gali and Ilya jumped out of the window. Ilya survived and was not taken captive.
- The Times of Israel: Hamas hostage releases are a daily mix of horror and relief. And this is the easy part
- See these stories of hostages still being held in captivity:
Israel Defense Forces Operations
- Israel is now continuing its war on Hamas. Watch this video of the IDF Chief of Staff planning the next stages of fighting.
- While not officially party to the ceasefire agreement, Hezbollah, as an ally of Hamas has also held fire from the north. An exception to this came yesterday as a drone crossed into Israeli territory from Lebanon, sounding sirens in towns along the border. The IDF shot down the drone.
- US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told members of Congress that the White House isn’t seeking conditions on aid to Israel. Several progressive Democrats have called for conditioning aid to Israel, as the civilian casualty figures in Gaza increase.
- Meanwhile, an American destroyer shot down a drone headed for Israel on Thursday that was launched from a part of Yemen controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The US military’s Central Command stated, “At approximately 1100 (Sanaa time), while in the South Red Sea, the Arleigh-Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) shot down an Iranian-produced KAS04 unmanned aerial vehicle launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.”
- U.S. Senators have been left silent, after viewing shocking footage of the October 7 massacres.
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the first time called for an investigation into allegations of sexual violence committed during the October 7 Hamas massacres. He said that “There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on 7 October that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. Gender-based violence must be condemned. Anytime. Anywhere.”
- Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan addressed the UN Security Council on Wednesday and said, “This war can end tomorrow, even today. If Hamas returns all of the hostages and turns in all the terrorists who took part in the massacre, a real ceasefire can be achieved that will last decades. Demand this of Hamas. This is the solution.” Read his full remarks.
Stories Of Heartbreak, Heroism And Hope
- Watch this JDC video about the multitudes of volunteers working in agriculture to save crops during the current war.
- Tamar Kam was shot in the stomach by Hamas and her boyfriend was killed as they took shelter in a kibbutz apartment after escaping the Nova Music Festival massacre. Now, she is receiving support from The Jewish Agency's Fund for Victims of Terror as she recovers.
- Caregivers like Edita Umila from the Philippines often faced dilemmas about whether to save themselves or save their employers. Watch the moving video.
- Magen David Adom, a recipient of Jewish Federations allocations, has been at the forefront of saving lives during the current war. Watch more.
- Time Magazine: Why I support Israel, by philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy
- Anti-Israel Activism in American Universities:
- 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.
- 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.
- Webinar: The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI): Daily webinars sponsored by Jewish Federations and the Jewish Agency are offered. A rotating team of analysts of Israeli military affairs, the US-Israel relationship, Israel’s political system, and the country’s diverse society will speak every Sunday to Thursday from 11-11:30 am ET. No registration is required. Join here.
- Jewish Federations have now raised a total of more than $659 million system-wide and allocated close to $200 million to a wide range of humanitarian organizations in Israel. See our impact stats here.
- Volunteering: Read this updated Jewish Federation update on the latest volunteering opportunities in Israel right now.
- Supporting Pastoral Guidance and Rabbinic Services. Read here about the work to date that Federations are supporting in this field through collective Israel emergency dollars.
- Local Authorities: Jewish Federations have produced a document answering questions about funding-impacted localities and municipalities in Israel. See here.
- 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.
- 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.
- Previous updates can be found here.
Our Israel Office, having activated emergency protocols, is working closely with our partners on the ground, and is in close contact with the Government of Israel and the IDF. We will continue to update you as the situation develops.
Heidi Gantwerk, President & Chief Executive Officer
David Bark, Board Chair