WHAT HAPPENED TODAY
- More than 72 rockets were fired by Hamas today, including at Israeli major cities, as far north as Zichron Yaakov, only 20 miles from Haifa. The Iron Dome intercepted a barrage of rockets intended to hit the Dimona nuclear reactor.
- Among the rockets Hamas has fired is the Iranian M-302 rocket, which can reach up to 90 miles away. Israel's northernmost point is only 138 miles from Gaza.
- Hamas continues to attempt other acts of terrorism; the Israeli Navy repelled a second attempt to infiltrate Israel's coastline just a few hours ago.
- Overnight, the IDF targeted approximately 160 terror sites throughout the Gaza Strip, including 118 rocket launching sites, 10 terror and smuggling tunnels, six Hamas official facilities and 10 terror command positions.
- In just under two days, since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 7, the IDF has targeted more than 500 targets.
- One of the many challenges in facing Hamas terror is their use of human shields. Israel is using a variety of means including phone calls to alert Palestinian civilians in Gaza to evacuate minutes before they perform airstrikes. Five of the weapon manufacturing facilities the IAF has targeted overnight were concealed within mosques. Others were targeted in the basements of private homes, high rise apartment buildings and a retail facility.
- Thankfully, there have been no serious physical injuries to Israelis due to rocket fire, but much property has been hit, and significant psychological damage sustained.
- The escalating conflict with Gaza has already caused nearly $3 million in property damage and collateral business damage and that number is increasing.
- Weddings were disrupted last night as rocket fire directly threatened the participants' safety. The video below shows one wedding in Ashdod fall apart in screams as the siren sounds. At 0.25 seconds you can hear the announcer shouting for everyone to enter the shelter immediately and one second later, the rocket explosion. Some weddings were cancelled.
- Children's summer camps are continuing as much as possible. In order to lessen the trauma involved, children are encouraged to sing the "tzeva adom" song. See a video of Israeli school children learning to cope with the traumatic reality of rocket fire.
- Israel Railways have also been affected by the barrage of rockets causing disruptions of service across the country. There is no train activity between Ashkelon and Sderot.
WHAT OUR PARTNERS ARE DOING
The Jewish Federation is part of the emergency round table in Israel which is primarily focusing on the needs of Israeli citizens. Our overseas partners are also hard at work to ensure the relief and safety of Israeli citizens and travelers.
The Jewish Agency for Israel:
- The Victims of Terror Relief Fund is already in use, providing assistance to families whose property has been damaged from Hamas missiles.
- The Agency currently has over 4,500 young adults in Israel on short-term immersion experiences, and an additional 3,000 on long-term. Security briefings have been provided for all tour operators and participants, and none are currently within 24 mi. of Gaza.
- Programs participants that are between 24-49 miles north of Gaza are being briefed on how to act if sirens sound, and must remain within proximity of safe shelter.
- Parents of all Onward participants (270 currently in Israel) have been contacted and other programs either have already sent or will be sending communications shortly.
- Staff from a Jewish Agency subsidiary, Amigour, are performing damage assessment caused by rocket fire for the National Property Tax Authority.
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee:
- Better Together, which serves children and youth, has activated program managers in communities in the 24-mile range. Activities for children have been suspended and large public gatherings are now prohibited in those areas. Currently the BT staff are putting together alternative activities that can be offered, with an emphasis on what can be done to keep the children occupied should there need to be extended stays in public shelters.
Israel Trauma Coalition:
- There has been a 150% increase in those seeking help for shock and anxiety.
- The overly demanding work of the previous weeks is already wearing down the professional staff who has been dealing with a spike in demands for help, related to the abduction of the three teenage boys. Over 100 therapeutic workshops have been set up to provide support to the population of the South, especially to parents, and a show is being put on for children to educate them about safe responses to the situation.
- Currently there are 3,600 Birthright participants in Israel. Another 900 arrive in a few days. There are well over 1,000 other teen trip (NFTY, BBYO, USY, NCSY, High School in Israel, Young Judaea, etc.) participants in Israel. All the programs are well equipped to modify their programs as needed. Routes and schedules are checked daily with government security departments. Trip operators have contingency plans in the event it is necessary to modify schedules or routes. Virtually all tour buses, including those used by Jewish Federation missions, are GPS-equipped and their whereabouts are electronically tracked. All of the programs are skilled at maintaining the highest standards of safety and security, while delivering a meaningful experience for the participants.