We will update frequently with the latest information as it becomes available.
As a deeply committed Jewish community, we stand in solidarity with our family in Israel and pray for their safety and well-being.
The Jewish Federations of North America’s Israel team has provided extensive updates about what is happening on the ground. That information along with additional resources and partner information can be found below.
After more than a year since the last time major hostilities took place, fighting broke out on Friday, August 5th, 2022.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says that it had specific and verified intelligence that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group was planning major attacks against Israel. In response, the IDF initially arrested the Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank, Bassem Said, after which the terror group vowed to take “strong and harsh revenge” against Israel’s citizens. Islamic Jihad’s leader, Ziad Nahale, visited Teheran last week and is understood to have been pushing his organization to strike Israel “at all costs.”
During the next four tense days, residents of Israel’s south remained at home by order of the IDF, which took precautionary measures to protect Israeli citizens against imminent and credible threat of attack by Islamic Jihad.
On Friday, in a pre-emptive attack, IDF pin-point strikes hit a number of senior Islamic Jihad commanders in Gaza. See here for a short video by the IDF on the reasons behind the fighting.
Later on Friday night, Islamic Jihad began firing dozens of rockets at Israeli civilian targets.
· The IDF claims that it has made considerable progress in destroying Islamic Jihad’s terror infrastructure, eliminating the terror group’s senior leadership.
· Since the beginning of Breaking Dawn, the IDF has targeted a total 140 Islamic Jihad figures, including numerous anti-tank missile operatives.
· Among the Islamic Jihad leaders killed were Taysir Jabari, the commander of Islamic Jihad’s northern brigade and Khaled Mansour, the senior leader commanding terrorist troops in Gaza’s south. Mansour had been responsible for rocket fire against Ashdod and Ashkelon, two major Israeli cities that have been subject to relentless rocket attacks for many years. Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid referred to the successful operation against Mansour as “an extraordinary achievement.”
· The military also destroyed 10 Islamic Jihad rocket launch sites, six military sites, and eight terror cells that were on the way or coming back from launching rockets.
· Israel Air Force jets also destroyed a terror attack tunnel belonging to Islamic Jihad that had been dug with the aim of infiltrating terrorists into civilian communities in Israel’s south. See here for footage of the tunnel being hit.
· Israeli security forces also arrested 20 Islamic Jihad operatives overnight in the West Bank.
· According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, 32 people have been killed and more than 200 wounded in the Strip, the majority of them Islamic Jihad operatives.
· Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz has authorized an emergency call up of up to 25,000 reserve troops. So far, 4,000 of these have received call-up orders.
· See here for an infographic by the IDF on the fighting so far.
· On Saturday night, an explosion in the Gaza town of Jabaliya killed at least nine people, including at least four children. The Palestinian media was quick to call the attack an “Israeli massacre of children,” but it soon became clear that the explosion was caused by a failed rocket launch by Islamic Jihad. The failed launch was documented and recorded by several Palestinian sources, and the IDF has confirmed that it did not conduct any activity in Jabaliya at that time.
· Keren Hajioff, Prime Minister Lapid’s International Spokesperson said, “Islamic Jihad is killing Palestinian children in Gaza. One in four rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel lands inside the Gaza Strip. Iran’s proxies – including Islamic Jihad – have a long history of hiding behind civilians to target Israeli civilians. The world should be outraged at this terrorist group targeting innocent Israelis and killing innocent Gazans. Israel will continue to stand up to this vicious terrorist organization – which threatens Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
- The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) reports that after a situation assessment, a decision was taken to be prepared to activate various programs and emergency procedures, depending on how fighting continues. JDC is in close touch with staff in Israel’s south, monitoring to see if there are any special needs.
- The Jewish Agency for Israel has begun operating under emergency procedures to ensure the safety and protection of all those under its responsibility and jurisdiction in the areas under fire. Measures have been taken to brief and protect some 3,500 olim in absorption centers and facilities, many of whom are experiencing this kind of violence for the first time. Some of them have come under incessant rocket fire throughout the weekend. Plans are in the works to evacuate about 1,000 new olim to other parts of the country for a few days, until fighting subsides. The Agency is also taking appropriate measures to care for the approximately 4,000 residents of Amigour old age homes.
- The Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC)’s Resilience Centers in the south began intensive work from the moment roads were closed earlier in the week. On Friday ITC moved to emergency mode and called all staff to work. There are 70,000 residents of the Gaza border area, of whom about half receive services from the Resilience Centers. The centers proactively reach out to those being served. The Israeli Government has allocated more than $10 million for respite (which includes voluntary evacuation), but has not allocated additional funds for activities or psychological services for the evacuees. Increasing numbers of residents are requesting to be evacuated, and ensuring these evacuees also receive services is a challenge. Thousands of residents have already left. In the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, 25% of residents had left the area by Friday and an estimated additional 25% by Sunday morning. In general, new requests for services tend to arrive only after events have ended. However, several hundred new requests had already been received by ITC by Saturday night.
- No Birthright Israel participants (including Onward and Excel) are currently in the areas surrounding Gaza. However, Birthright participants on the ground in Israel include around 1,000 people on short trips; 990 young people on Onward and 60 Excel participants.
- Masa Israel Journey reports that it currently has 2,165 participants in Israel, most of whom are located in the country’s center. Participants have been instructed on what do when a siren sounds.