For the first few weeks of the ground war, Israel allowed no journalists in with the army. The IDF released footage here and there, but it was sparse—intentionally. Hamas watches Israeli TV, too, and Israel’s need for Hamas not to know outweighed Israelis’ desire to know what their sons and daughters were up to, and up again, in Gaza.
With the northern portion of Gaza now under Israeli control, the army has loosened up. We’ve taken a long clip from a report by YNet, Israel’s leading online news site, and have edited it for length and added subtitles.
The clip will give you a bit of a sense of what things look like in Gaza, what life in some of the command vehicles looks like, and perhaps most interestingly (to me, at least), the way in which a sense of failure on October 7th continues to animate and motivate the soldiers who are deep in enemy territory. Battles in Gaza, you’ll hear one of them say, are nothing compared to what they encountered at Kibbutz Be’eri.
Speaking of the kibbutz. At a kibbutz, as you know, the communal dining is the pulsing center of life. And the dining room at Kibbutz Beeri opened again yesterday. Most of the residents are still not back, but if ever there was a sign that the kibbutz is determined not to have died ….
The following clip was filmed, I assume, by one of the soldiers present. It does not appear to be an official IDF video. It’s a commander addressing his troops the evening before they enter Gaza the following morning.
What he chooses to say and to remind them of is very worth listening. Note that he says that they’ll be behind him. You heard that in the video above, too. In the IDF, it’s the officers who go in first. That was spoken about as being obvious in the video above, and it’s just as taken for granted in this one, as well.
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And finally, for today, even in the midst of war, Israelis have retained their unique sense of humor. Eretz Nehederet (A Fabulous Country) is known for spoofing Israel—its elected officials, the ways its citizens often comport themselves, you name it. Since the war began, though, Eretz Nehederet has turned its sights more on the international coverage of the war, and is producing a few clips in English.
Israelis are flabbergasted by the hostility of the international media writ large, but particular venom is reserved for the BBC (we have a long history with the British, as you may recall….).
Here is an “interview” with Hamas’ leader, Yihyeh Sinwar:
And coming later this week, an interview with Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, on what shocked him when he arrived in Israel just over a week ago.
And later still, a conversation with Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar about their new book, Target Tehran: How Israel Is Using Sabotage, Cyberwarfare, Assassination – and Secret Diplomacy – to Stop a Nuclear Iran and Create a New Middle East, a topic that could not be more timely.
Our of sheet disgust for Elon Musk’s endorsement of virulently anti-Semitic tweets, we’re suspending our use of Twitter / X until further notice, or perhaps, forever. We will start to being using Threads more, and that link is below.
Our Threads feed is danielgordis. We’ll start to use it more shortly.