War Day 65: Masses of Hamas Surrender, President Urges Unity

War Summary, Dad 65: IDF Artillery Corps operate inside Gaza in a first since the start of the war, masses of Hamas members surrender, President Herzog appeals to his citizens to keep the unity that was sparked by the attacks and not fall back into old divisive patterns.

By Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day Sixty Five:

138 held captive in Gaza.
110 hostages freed.
4 hostage bodies rescued.
1,200+ Israelis murdered.
98 fallen soldiers since entering Gaza.
7,771 injured.
11,500 rockets fired at Israel.
187,533 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Hostage Updates:

138 hostages still remain in Hamas captivity.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas rocket fire was low, and limited to the Gaza Envelope communities today. No physical injuries were reported.

The IDF announced that Lt. Nethanel Menachem Eitan, 22, from Jerusalem, who was wounded in battle in Gaza on Friday, has succumbed to his wounds today.

According to a senior IDF officer, Hamas is beginning to show signs of breaking. Since the beginning of the war, the IDF estimated that around 7,000 Hamas terrorists have been eliminated inside Gaza, including half of the 24 battalion commanders. Additionally, the IDF struck over 22,000 Hamas terror targets in Gaza—of which 3,500 were in the first 10 days of December, since Hamas broke the temporary ceasefire agreement. The damage has made it difficult for Hamas to continue command and control of their army, and in large parts of North Gaza they’ve completely lost any semblance of military control. There is still a long road ahead, but this may be the beginning of the end.

The IDF needs several more weeks to move to the next phase of the fighting, which will include raids throughout the Gaza Strip, and which may last several months, and possibly even more than a year. The IDF defined the year 2024 as a “combat year,” during which the entire army will continue fighting in various fronts, and the reservists will be required to report for reserve duty for at least a month each.

The IDF announced that it has eliminated the new commander of Hamas’s Shejaiya battalion, in an airstrike today. Emad Qariqa was only 8 days on the job, after replacing Wissam Farhat, who the IDF eliminated on December 2.

The IDF says that for the first time since Israel launched its ground offensive in Gaza, the Artillery Corps is operating inside the Strip. Until now, the Artillery Corps assisted troops from the Gaza border, and has fired more than 10,000 shells at targets inside the Gaza Strip. This week, a battalion crossed the border with self-propelled M-109 howitzers, to aid the offensive on Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood.

The troops shelled more than 20 buildings in Shejaiya, including weapons depots, booby-trapped homes, and other Hamas infrastructure, as well as deployed flares and smoke shells to assist the ground forces.

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari announced that after capturing the symbolic Palestine Square in Gaza City, the IDF troops discovered a large tunnel network underneath it, which houses Yahya Sinwar’s office, government offices, assets of senior Hamas officials, and a network of terror tunnels which connect all the way to Shifa Hospital. The tunnels are the main command center, from where the October 7th attacks were coordinated. Once the ground invasion began, the senior command left the tunnels and moved south. Troops are working with intelligence units to safely investigate the tunnel network further,

The Shin Bet published footage showing the interrogation of former Hamas communications minister, Yousef al-Mansi, in which he heavily criticizes the terror group, and particularly the leader, Yahya Sinwar. Al-Mansi claims that most of Gaza prays for the end of Sinwar, who has “delusions of grandeur” and set the Gaza Strip back 200 years.

Meanwhile, more reports came from Gaza of mass surrenders by Hamas terrorists, lately in Jabaliya. After people unfamiliar with war and terrorism complained about photos of the surrendered terrorists stripped to their underwear, the IDF Spokesman explained that this is done to ensure that they’re not hiding weapons or wearing explosives under their clothing.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

Israel has increased the amount of fuel entering the Gaza Strip to 4 tankers of fuel and 2 tankers of cooking Gas. The fuel is designated for the operation of essential infrastructure in the Gaza.

Trucks of humanitarian aid continue to flow into Gaza, but civilians report that it is all confiscated by Hamas, who either keep it for their families, or sell it for exorbitant prices.

Northern Front Updates:

Fire increased today, both in quantity and range, and were fired by both Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon. A hostile aircraft was detected entering the Western Galilee, and the air defense forces successfully intercepted two targets. Two IDF soldiers were moderately injured and several others were slightly injured as a result of shrapnel and smoke inhalation. The soldiers were evacuated to receive medical treatment at a hospital and their families were informed.

The IDF Spokesman in Arabic, Avichai Adrei, revealed that Hezbollah missiles were fired from a distance of 20 meters from a UN site in southern Lebanon.

According to reports, the IDF brought a heavy response both in Lebanon (at Hezbollah and Hamas sites) and Syria (at Hezbollah and pro-Iranian targets).

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi says there must be a “very clear change” to the security situation on the Lebanon border.

“The State of Israel has never said that war is the first solution to try, but we understand that with the situation here, it should end with a very, very clear change of situation,” Halevi said.

Additional War Fronts Updates

The French army announced that last night (between Shabbat and Sunday) a destroyer belonging to them intercepted two drones that were launched at it in the Red Sea. The incident took place a few kilometers off the coast of Yemen.

The Lebanese newspaper “Al-Akhbar” claims that the Houthis forced a cargo ship sailing towards Israel to retreat.

In a statement delivered by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Mossad announced that Cypriot defense authorities, together with the Mossad, foiled an Iranian cell planning to attack Israeli and Jewish targets in Cyprus. According to local media, two Iranian suspects have been arrested by Cypriot authorities.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

Soldiers of the IDF, the Shin Bet, and the Israel Police arrested 21 wanted persons throughout Judea and Samaria. In a brigade operation in the city of Tubas, 14 wanted persons were arrested and many weapons were confiscated.

Since the beginning of the war, approximately 2,200 wanted persons have been arrested throughout the Judea and Samaria Division, approximately 1,180 of whom are associated with Hamas.

The political-security cabinet will hold an evaluation meeting in full, to discuss the issues of bringing Palestinian workers from Judea and Samaria to work in Israel, and of transferring the fuel tax money collected for the Palestinian Authority, including the amount which the PA will give to Hamas terrorists.

Bezalel Smotrich clarified yesterday that as long as he is in office, “not a shekel will go to Gaza.”

The economic-social cabinet recommended to the political-security cabinet not to approve the addition of Arab workers who are residents of Judea and Samaria to work inside Israel.

International Updates:

According to a report in the New York Times, for a long time Israeli intelligence estimated that Qatar was using secret channels to finance the military arm of Hamas.

The Prime Minister’s Office shared information about his conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin: Netanyahu expressed his displeasure with the positions expressed by Russian representatives at the UN and other forums against Israel. He further emphasized that any country that would suffer a criminal terrorist attack as experienced by Israel would act with no less force than the one in which Israel operates. Also, Prime Minister Netanyahu requested that Russia put pressure on the Red Cross to actually visit the Israeli hostages, and bring them medicine.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, said during a visit to Qatar, that he will not give up the effort to bring about a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

General Updates:

President Herzog shared a Chanukah video and greeting, in which he appealed to Israelis, “Keep our united society! Argue—but without hatred, without burning the bridges built in the last two months. Without becoming ‘us and them’ again.”

On a personal note:

I’ve been writing these summaries for 60 days now, since the first week of the war. I started doing it because I wanted to help keep people informed without having to be glued to a depressing and shocking news cycle.

The summaries take two hours every day, and I usually only get to it after a long day of work, family, and war, sometimes only getting to sleep at 5 a.m. I don’t get paid to write these summaries, and I don’t sell ads.

While I knew it was a good thing to do before, this week it became so much more.

I turned to all of you for help, because in Eilat there are 70,000 of our brothers and sisters who have been displaced by the war, with 16,000 children, and they need urgent programming and basic assistance.

An incredible 534 people who read these summaries responded in a huge way, and donated $71,260. Together, you made a huge impact.

Since the beginning of the war, my husband and I have travelled with our children to visit the Chabad emissaries to Eilat, Rabbi Mendi and Chanie Klein, four times, to see how we can help. Each time, we’re even more amazed by what they do.

Today, we got to hop around with the Kleins from one Chanukah party to the next, each one deeply meaningful and moving, particularly when a child who had been kidnapped by Hamas proudly stood to light a giant Menorah, surrounded by caring friends. Then at midnight, I played foosball and air hockey with teens from Sderot in a youth club set up by Chabad, and listened as they told me how happy they are to have a fun place to be together—one that’s not their hotel bedroom, hallway, or the unsavory places downtown.

In just 60 days, the Kleins managed to set up a huge program, with dozens of volunteers operating in 45 hotels full of displaced families from all the hardest hit communities, providing regular programming for both children and adults, to bring much needed stability and calm support.

Thank you so much to everyone who donated and are making all these programs possible!

Tomorrow I head back to Be’er Sheva with my family. I’m hoping to reach my goal of $75,000 raised before going home. If you haven’t yet, please consider donating so that we can get the final $3,740 for our brothers and sisters from southern Israel.


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  1. Thank you for your daily update. As someone who doesn’t read the news, but heart is with our brothers and sisters, this has been so very helpful. I appreciate your perspective and clarity.

    May Hashem help that you report the complete Victory Bkorov!

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