Israel is ripping the Islamic terrorists to shreds, as it should.

“If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”

By Joshua Hoffman, FUTURE OF JEWISH    12 April 2024

An Israeli soldier operating in Gaza (photo: Israel Defense Forces/X)

A few days ago, I met an Israeli soldier, a paratrooper — tall, lanky, dark-skinned, unassuming, simply dressed, kippah-wearing, and originally from Tiberias, on the western shore of the Sea of ??Galilee in northern Israel.

He was stationed in Gaza for some 120 days, and after a one-month break, he will be back there in a few weeks.

Following some small talk, I asked him how things are going in Gaza — from the IDF’s perspective.

He replied with a poker face, “To tell you the truth,” followed by an intentionally long and dramatic pause, “we’re kicking Hamas’ ass.”

I was not entirely surprised, since Israel has the fourth-strongest army in the world, although this young man was the first person I have spoken to directly who has been in Gaza during this war.

But it is not just that Israel is giving Hamas a good whooping; it is how the IDF is doing it.

There was a remarkable report several weeks ago in Israel’s largest newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, which said that, just days after the October 7th attacks, an American three-star Marine Lieutenant General showed up in Israel to advise the Jewish state on its strategy in Gaza.

A ground operation, the Americans said, was too costly and not worth the squeeze. They predicted a dire 20 Israeli soldier deaths per day, which would have amounted to 3,780 dead Israeli soldiers as of writing. In reality, the actual number is approximately 1.5 per day.

Meanwhile, on the Palestinian side, Israel has achieved an unbelievable combatant-to-civilian casualty ratio, which is believed to be 1.5-to-one — and that is if you accept Hamas’ numbers (which have been proven mathematically impossible). For reference, the international average is a nine-to-one combatant-to-civilian casualty ratio according to the UN.

Last week, the IDF culminated a two-week raid of a Gaza City complex housing the notorious Shifa Hospital, which was hijacked (again) by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists to hide behind the sick and injured, and wage war from inside the place. Israel also believed that the maternity ward is being used as Hamas propaganda headquarters.

As one satirical social media account wrote, “The IDF discovers a secret hospital over the Al Shifa Command Center.”1

During the raid, which began on March 18th, the IDF said troops captured some 900 suspects, of whom more than 500 were confirmed to be terror operatives, and killed more than 200 terrorists. Among those killed and detained were top commanders in Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Valuable intelligence was also seized, the IDF said.

“The words you’re looking for are in fact: No medical staff or patients were harmed, but many terrorists were indeed eliminated,” wrote Israeli spokesman Eylon Levy.2

For those trying to use numbers to conduct algebraically moral judgements in this Israel-Hamas war, that is a 200-to-zero combatant-to-civilian casualty ratio. Hundreds, if not thousands, of pitiful, cowardly terrorists violated the laws of war in trying to seize a hospital for terrorism purposes — and zero civilians were killed.

What’s more, approximately 6,000 civilians were evacuated by the IDF to keep them safe during this raid.

Israel has also carried out many assassinations of high-profile terrorists and their accomplices in Gaza, as well as in Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian West Bank, all with impressive precision.

On April 1st, the IDF reportedly carried out an airstrike on an “Iranian consulate building” in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which killed several Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, including two generals (one of whom was considered an “architect” of the Hamas-led massacres in Israel on October 7th).3

Israel has not taken responsibility for the strike, but IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari has pointed to Israeli intelligence proving the building was not an embassy, but rather “a military building of Quds forces disguised as a civilian building in Damascus.” The Quds Force is the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is classified as a terror organization by the U.S.

In 2018, Ronen Bergman (one of Israel’s leading investigative journalists) wrote a book called “Rise and Kill First,” and subtitled “The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.” In it, he traces Jewish-Israeli use of selective killings from pre-statehood to the present.

The book begins with the founding of Bar Giora in 1907. The organization later became Hashomer, then the Haganah, and finally the core of the Israel Defense Forces (the IDF).

In British Mandate Palestine, for instance, Jewish underground organizations, notably one known as the Stern Gang, often assassinated British personnel. And, in post-Second World War Europe, “The Avengers” (a group of Jewish assassins) targeted former Nazis in Europe and killed them often by strangulation.

According to Bergman, Israeli covert agencies (including the Mossad, the Shin Bet, and units in the IDF) have undertaken targeted assassinations against “Arab adversaries throughout its pre- and post-statehood periods,” carrying out “at least” 2,700 assassination operations in the 70-year period since Israel’s state formation in 1948.4

“Poisoned toothpaste that takes a month to end its target’s life, armed drones, exploding mobile phones, spare tires with remote-controlled bombs, assassinating enemy scientists, and discovering the secret lovers of Muslim clerics,” are among the methods described in the book used by Israel to carry out assassinations.

In the 1950s, Israel’s Mossad dispatched envelopes containing explosives to kill German scientists building rockets for Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt. Later, in September 1972, after the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took 11 Israeli Olympic team members hostage and killed them in Munich, the Mossad embarked on a campaign of assassinations of those linked to the killing of the athletes.

The book also strongly implies that Israel assassinated longtime Palestinian leader (and colossal terrorist) Yasser Arafat, although Bergman stated that Israel’s military censorship prohibits him from even stating whether he knows that for a fact or not.

The number of assassinations, particularly of Palestinian activists, grew dramatically as a result of the Palestinians’ Second Intifada that started in 2000, when Israel responded to the Hamas campaign of suicide-bombing attacks on Israeli cities by targeting, mainly from the air, its activists.

In recent years, Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been the main targets of Israeli assassination operations. Others (notably members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Syrian officials, and Iranian nuclear scientists) were also targeted across Europe and the Middle East.

Since World War II, Israel has probably assassinated more people than any other country in the Western world. Executing these individuals identified as direct threats to Israel’s national security, as Bergman puts it, sends a clear message that, “if you are an enemy of Israel, we will find you.”


The majority of media and social media attention has been focused on Gaza since October 7th, but for all intents and purposes, Israel has been fighting a multi-front war.

Other fronts include the Palestinian West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria. There is also the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen who have tried to bother Israel, mostly ineffectively. They have, however, disrupted international shipping in the Red Sea to Israel’s south.

What makes Israel’s military achievements during this war even more impressive is that this conflict is much different than previous wars. The 1948 Israeli War of Independence, the 1967 Six-Day War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the 1982 First Lebanon War were all country-versus-country battles.

But today’s war is “country versus terror groups deeply embedded within a civilian population” — a deliberate and admittedly creative strategy by Israel’s enemies (chiefly, Iran).

This gives the appearance, especially in the media and on social media, of a country-versus-people war, which does not bode well in successfully fighting the information war and diplomatic war.

Hence why Israel’s government and the IDF must be given some credit for fending off fierce media and diplomatic pressure — pressure that Israel would face regardless of who is serving as its prime minister, since we have seen incredibly similar trends against the Jewish state going back to the 1970s (when it had a Left-leaning government).

Perhaps the one thing that many people get wrong about Israel and its military is that Israelis go to wars “never with joy or frivolity” and “only solemnly, understanding our noble duty to defend our lives and freedom,” as former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett put it. “Every Israeli mom that gives birth to a baby boy begins at that very moment to repress nightmares of that knock one day on her door, to be notified by officers of her boy falling in battle.”

In other words, the IDF is an army of the people. Everyone’s kids go and serve together, merit-based. You have the sons and daughters of CEOs, celebrities, teachers, merchants, and police officers all serving in one platoon.

“So it’s very personal for us,” wrote Bennett. “We’re not sending ‘other people’s’ boys to war. It’s us. It’s me. I served, fought, and lost my closest friends. My children will have to serve too.”

This does not mean that the IDF is perfect, for no military is. Plus, war is always ugly, no matter how professional, experienced, and humanitarian an army and its country are — and especially when you are fighting enemies who habitually hide behind civilians and civilian infrastructure (i.e. hospitals, mosques) with zero regard for their and their people’s lives, no less the enemies’ lives.

A few days ago, I spoke with a young German man, probably in his mid-to-late 20s, who remarked to me: “I am all for Israel defending itself, but don’t you think it’s a bit much what’s going on in Gaza?”

My answer to him was simple:

“I don’t know exactly what’s going on in Gaza, but if we take Hamas’ mathematically impossible numbers and those of the IDF, then Israel’s civilian-to-combatant casualty ratio in this war is 1.5-to-one, which is unworldly. And it suggests that the IDF is doing an impeccable job, especially when you consider that the international average of civilian-to-combatant ratios, according to the United Nations, is nine-to-one. Frankly, that is the only fact that should matter.”

He agreed, more or less.

And then I added some Jewish wisdom from the Talmud: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”5.

Notes:

1Associated Press on X

2Eylon Levy on X

3“Iranian General Killed In Israeli Strike Was Architect Of October 7.” Iran International.

4Bergman, Ronen. “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.” Random House, 2018.

5Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin, Portion 72, Verse 1

April 12, 2024 | 5 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. Israel should set about a publicising every Moslem Brothers assassination or other daily killing in Europe as an aside in every public speech eg last week’s Afghan knifing three Algerians in Bordeaux for drinking and tell Europe and the US that this is what awaits you all if you do not put down the Moslem arrogance (their word) to presume on their Moslem Brothers impudence to bully people over what to drink and wear or not – without trial or hearing and in defiance of people’s liberty to do as they wish provided they do not infringe other people’s liberty without clergy superstition and state ideological bees in the bonnet.

  2. @whereamI Thank you I ordered it. It’s available both used and new, hard cover and paper back, online from various sites, with no particular rhyme or reason, from $4 and change to $99 and change. 😀

    As a kid, as I recall, when I wanted a book that wasn’t on the shelf of stores or libraries – and libraries did not have unified catalogues for the branches – I would pay $5 and fill out a card at any one of the many fine wonderful to browse in used book stores that used to exist and wait for them to call me which they never did. Six of one…

  3. A wonderful book written by the remarkable Michael Elkins traces the work of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who fought from the death camps and from the ghettoes and of the survivors who continued to exact revenge upon the murderers with unbelievable courage. The book is titled, Forged in Fury.

    In England I would listen to Michael Elkins on the BBC reporting from Israel during the Six Day War. At first few believed him as he announced the destruction on the ground of the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces by the IAF.

  4. I quoted that Talmudic dictum to a liberal – an utra-Orthodox liberal, would you believe? – at the last Pesach seder I attended, some years ago – who, when I quipped, “there’s two kinds of antisemites, the good ones and the ones who are still breathing” had angrily retorted, “Jews don’t kill.” And he – obviously being unable to say he didn’t agree with the oral Torah – responded that it wasn’t practical. 😀

  5. Meanwhile, on the Palestinian side, Israel has achieved an unbelievable combatant-to-civilian casualty ratio, which is believed to be 1.5-to-one — and that is if you accept Hamas’ numbers (which have been proven mathematically impossible). For reference, the international average is a nine-to-one combatant-to-civilian casualty ratio according to the UN.

    Careful here. Joshua has the numbers backwards. It should be 1.5 civilians to one combatant.

    On April 1st, the IDF reportedly carried out an airstrike on an “Iranian consulate building” in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which killed several Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, including two generals (one of whom was considered an “architect” of the Hamas-led massacres in Israel on October 7th).

    Impressive, but why did the US rush to tell the world that Israel was to blame? Were they afraid the Iranians would think the US did it?