From Israel: Stand Proud, Israel!!

Arlene Kushner | June 10, 2024


India News

I want to begin by sharing words from Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of the British military forces in Afghanistan, speaking about our hostage rescue (emphasis added):

“This was an extremely significant event in this war. The IDF has been fighting very hard, very effectively, and with immense success in Gaza… But all Israelis’ hearts are firmly with the hostages and this dramatic rescue operation of four of them is a much-needed shot in the arm for people who have endured so much for so long in what is becoming Israel’s longest-ever war.

“Successful hostage rescue in a hostile environment is probably the most difficult of military operations…It is rare for them to succeed. There are two prerequisites that are both extremely hard to achieve. First, you must have pinpoint intelligence to tell you exactly where the hostages are being held and in what conditions…Second, you must be able to achieve surprise, in other words, to launch the operation without prior detection. Bearing in mind it is likely that hostages will have a gun to their heads and any warning that a rescue is coming will likely see them killed immediately.

“In this case, hostages were rescued from two separate locations which is incredibly impressive given the necessity to coordinate them so precisely…

“I have the utmost admiration for those soldiers, police, and intelligence officers who carried out this operation. Each one of them knew well the lethal dangers they faced, which has been tragically shown by the death of Yamam Chief Inspector Arnon Zemorah.”

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/391301

NY Sun

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Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had exceedingly high words of praise for the operation as well:

“This is one of the most heroic and extraordinary operations I have witnessed over the course of 47 years serving in Israel’s defense establishment. IDF, ISA and Special Forces, as well as the forces who supported those in the field, have conducted an unprecedented operation – daring in nature, planned brilliantly and executed in an extraordinary fashion. The various security agencies cooperated closely – the IDF, ISA and Special Forces – acting as one single unit.”

“Our troops showed so much courage – operating under heavy fire in the most complex [urban environment in Gaza]. I do not remember having completed operations of this kind – at this intensity and with this level of cooperation and success.” (Emphasis added)

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/391281
Elad Malka Defense Ministry

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We are very proud, then, on two counts. The first is the brilliance of the operation to rescue four hostages – the meticulous planning, the perseverance in rehearsing different scenarios, the cooperation between different units.

But then, the bravery of our soldiers, prepared to risk their lives to save others.

The hostage rescue operation is being re-named Operation Arnon in memory of Yamam commander Arnon Zamora, z”l, who was killed while leading the rescue effort. His widow, Michal, wrote on Facebook: “Everything is now filled with the image of the hero Arnon Zamora. Long before he was a warrior and hero, he was a sweet and wonderful man. An amazing spouse, a perfect dad. A loving and beloved man. This is how we will remember him, and I would be happy if you do too.” (Emphasis added)

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/391291

An amazing woman. We honor our brave soldiers who give their lives. But we must also honor the bravery of those who loved them and lost them. Read below for words by her husband that reflect the very same sentiment.

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A letter that Arnon had written to his team has now been made public:
“Yom Hazikaron [Memorial Day] is always complex and difficult, but today it is especially hard. The memory of friends [who were lost] is still sharp and clear, and their deeds still resonate and make waves…

“This day has sharpened even more for me how lucky I am that I have served and still serve beside you, special, value-driven people with amazing abilities and good human beings…

“The country faces enormous challenges, and the unit stands at the forefront…It is us who will stand there and be required to reach the peak of professionalism and sharpness. It is us who will stand there and give the operational solution.

“We are moving closer to carrying out valuable work, the most valuable there is. The team stands at the points of decision, and I want you to know that I wouldn’t ask for anyone else beside me but you, shared.

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/391302

He then passed this message to the wives of his team, writing (emphasis added):

“…I also want to tell you, we wouldn’t succeed in even tying our shoes without you, you are the ones who sacrifice, you are the ones who solve the problems, and you are the ones who support us when we fall. I love you too.”

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Let us never, ever, lose sight of how special our people are. We are truly blessed.

Arnon Zamora was laid to rest on Sunday afternoon in the police section of Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem.

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Rescued hostage Almog Meir Jan was greeted joyously by friends when he was brought back to Israel. Open this link and scroll down to see a brief video.

https://www.israelhayom.com/2024/06/09/died-from-grief-father-of-hostage-dies-hours-before-heroic-rescue/

And here he is with relatives (not identified, but I would guess his grandfather and probably his mother or possibly his aunt).

IDF

Almog did not know yet that his father, Yossi, had died. No one knew yet.

Yossi, who was divorced and lived alone, had taken the capture of his son by Hamas very hard. Once Almog was released relatives tried to call to tell him but were unable to reach him. When his sister Dina went to his apartment with the good news, she found him dead.

Dina said, “He died of cardiac arrest, he died from grief. He didn’t get to know that his son was released from captivity.”

But wait. According to a neighbor, Iris: “On October 7, he told me his son was kidnapped. He said to me, ‘The day my son returns, I’ll end my life.’ And that’s what happened.”

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I had already picked up a handful of reports about the fact that the rescued hostages were being held by civilians. That is why they were in apartments in a civilian area. This fact once again illustrates the level at which so-called civilians are complicit with Hamas. The hostages were in a crowded civilian neighborhood.

But then even more startling news in this regard broke: Noa Argamani was held in the home of Abdallah Aljamal, an Al Jazeera journalist. According to the Open Source Intelligence Monitor, Abdallah and several family members were killed as they attempted to prevent Israeli forces from rescuing Argamani.

https://www.jewishpress.com/news/eye-on-palestine/hamas/israeli-hostage-noa-argamani-was-held-captive-by-alleged-al-jazeera-journalist/2024/06/09/

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Analyst Yaakov Lappin’s most recent piece, which touches upon the issue of civilians killed in the course of the rescue, extensively cites IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari (pictured):

Lappin explained that by the time the rescue force had entered the apartment where Noa Argamani was being held, and Arnon Zamora had been shot, “the word was out and terrorists armed with RPGs were (in Hagari’s words) ‘running in the streets’ of the heavily populated residential neighborhood, converging on the rescue force…”

Observed Hagari: “The cynical way in which Hamas is using [the] civilian population in order to fire at our forces, embedding themselves within civilians, is tragic.

“There was so much fire drawn to our forces, which meant we needed to fire from the air as well as the streets. It was done very very professionally and precisely.”

https://www.jns.org/at-the-level-of-entebbe/
IDF

Picture, please, the massive terror forces – hundreds – coming towards the members of the rescue team, and the need for this team to get out, get their wounded commander out, and to complete their mission by getting Noa out as well.

Is there any military team in the world that would have refrained from firing on the terrorists? That some civilians were wounded and killed was inevitable (the number from Israeli sources is fewer than 100 killed, while others are charging close to 300). Those deaths are the responsibility of the Hamas terrorists, who take no precautions and care not a whit.

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Secretary of State Blinken has not yet arrived in Israel as I write, but US officials are saying that the rescue of the four hostages will make it even more difficult for him to convince Netanyahu to accept Biden’s deal.

According to a US official, the successful operation increased Prime Minister Netanyahu’s determination to continue pursuing military operations.

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/391353

Yet another benefit of the hostage rescue, then.

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But let us turn for a moment to a report on something new Biden is reportedly considering: A unilateral deal with Hamas, negotiated by Qatar, that would secure the release of five hostages that have American citizenship. (At least in some instances, if not all, they are apparently dual citizens also holding Israeli citizenship.)

NBC News has reported on this, citing two US officials and two US former officials, although another US official has denied this.

The goal here would be to put pressure on Israel. The unsettling question is what the US would give Hamas in return.

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/391366
The Daily Guardian

 

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Lastly here, I mention the decision, announced Sunday evening by Benny Gantz, head of the National Unity Party, and erstwhile Minister without portfolio in the Netanyahu coalition. Gantz has pulled out of the emergency coalition, taking his seven party members with him.

He joined on a temporary basis at the beginning of the war, in an act of unity at a difficult time for Israel. That was a good decision.

Six weeks ago, he made extensive demands of Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding actions that had to be undertaken. They included victory over Hamas in Gaza, replacement of Hamas with an international coalition to administer Gaza, rescue of all hostages, etc. Were Netanyahu to fail to act on these demands by June 8, he said, he would resign.

The demands were extensive; in some cases they seemed to conflict with each other. Thus, it was clear to many, even as Gantz made the demands, that he was setting the stage for resignation.
AFP

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June 8 was Saturday night. Because of the hostage rescue, Gantz delayed his announcement until Sunday night. The National Unity Party is no longer part of the governing coalition.

This does not take down the coalition, which still has 64 members. It does mean that the War Cabinet now has only two voting members, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gallant – although there are a handful of others, such as Ron Dermer, who participate in discussions. Gadi Eisenkot, who has now left with Gantz, was one of those who participated as well.

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Gantz, accusing Netanyahu of preventing a victory in Gaza because of hesitation and politicking, is calling for elections in September.

That call for elections is a dead giveaway to Gantz’s motives. He sees himself as prime minister and is the one politicking. An election period is a time of divisiveness and tensions – precisely what our nation does not need now.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/urging-elections-gantz-quits-wartime-government-accuses-pm-of-botching-war-effort/

Netanyahu’s response on X: “Israel is in an existential war on multiple fronts. Benny, this is not the time to abandon the campaign — this is the time to join forces.”

And indeed, he is correct. He has promised to keep going until victory and the attainment of all the war aims, “primarily the release of hostages and the elimination of Hamas.”

As follow-up is necessary, I will, of course, return to this. But I offer my assessment here:

Benny Gantz’s behavior is reprehensible. It does not demonstrate true devotion to the country.

As to Netanyahu, I recognize the almost impossible situation he has found himself in:

Not only a war with an intractable enemy following a massacre that sent the nation reeling, but the capture of Israeli hostages by that enemy, which demands an end to fighting before they can be released.

Add to this more anti-Zionist demonstrations than we have ever seen, a corruption of international judicial institutions that stand against Israel and threaten Israel, and a president of the US that cannot be depended upon and of late seems to be protecting Hamas.

Plus, of course, there are anti-Bibi demonstrations in the streets demanding that we secure the release of the hostages even if it means giving up and stopping the war, apparently unconcerned about the fact that this would create an existential danger.

Have I always been pleased with every decision Bibi has made? Most definitely not. But he is our elected leader, and he is standing strong for the nation against great odds.

I believe he deserves our support, and that our support strengthens him. He has said we are fighting for the world, and I believe he is correct.
Gil Cohen-Magen AFP

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When things go wrong, the accusation is always that it is Bibi’s fault, which may or may not be the case. But now that we have achieved an incredibly stunning hostage rescue, no one is saying that the prime minister should be commended for giving the go-ahead, taking the risk for this operation.

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Gantz? He has always been too left and too weak for my preference, and Eisenkot even more so. I suspect we may do just fine without this party in the coalition. Smotrich is celebrating his leaving.

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Keep praying to Heaven for Israel. Pray that the tears might be lifted from our hearts.

Pray for the strength and wisdom of our leaders, for the safety of our soldiers, and for the rescue of our hostages.

Pray in a spirit of hope.

June 11, 2024 | Comments »

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