‘The responsibility for the failure of October 7 falls as much on the intelligence as on the political leadership’

February 29, 2024

“Nasrallah right now seems to have no reason to continue on the path he took after October 7. He is losing top commanders and cells and this creates fear and demoralizes his militiamen,” says reitered general Israel Ziv, one of Israel’s most influential military strategic and defense commentator.

“The responsibility for the failure of  October 7 falls as much on the intelligence as on the political leadership.” What happened was due to the fact that Israel did not realize, or perhaps did not want to realize, that Hamas was transforming from a terrorist group to a large-scale military organization. We saw pieces of it but we didn’t catch the whole picture.”

‘’In the October 7 attack, Hamas put into practice the doctrine of Qasem Soleimani, the general killed in 2020 by a U.S. raid. The pattern is that, surround Israel, force it to respond on multiple fronts, overpower it.’’

This is the analysis of retired IDF general Israel Ziv, one of Israel’s most influential military strategic and defense commentators. He spoke at a briefing for journalists organized by Europe Israel Press Association (EIPA) in Rome.

Ziv is an expert on military operations particularly in Gaza, where he played a key role in the Israeli disengagement in 2005, and in Lebanon by helping to formulate the strategic agreement between Israel and the United States.

Hamas is a piece on Iran’s chessboard, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in the Red Sea, and Shiite groups in Syria. Iran, he said, concurs in gaining positions and increasing its weight within the coalition with Russia and China.

“Nasrallah, for his part right now seems to have no reason to continue on the path he took after October 7. He is losing top commanders and cells and this creates fear and demoralizes his militiamen,” Ziv  added.

The military analyst outlined the personality of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar by trying to explain why he attacked Israel specifically on October 7: “I know people in Khan Yunis (Sinwar’s hometown), there they describe him as a true radical, one who kills with his own hands those he considers his traitors. A fanatic of Islamic rules, absolutely anti-Semitic,” Ziv said.

“For the October 7 assault he was already preparing when he was detained in an Israeli prison, sentenced to several life sentences. When he was released, along with 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011, Sinwar quickly cornered Ismail Haniyeh, who was sent to be a political leader in Qatar. He took all the power and put himself next to Mohammed Deif, whom he knew well. Most likely now Sinwar is still in some tunnel in Khan Yunis, where he travels with his family. Although we cannot be 100 percent sure. Palestinian civilians don’t think about it: captured militiamen were asked why they don’t have the tunnels used as shelters. They answered that the tunnels are only for fighters, not for civilians.”

“The agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia certainly affected the choice to attack,” he said. “Israel’s biggest mistake? Not understanding that Sinwar created an army, Hamas is a military organization, an extensive underground structure that is difficult to attack, it has the capacity to produce weapons. It has been underestimated.”

“The only possible solution is for Gaza to be independent, to develop its economy, to be dependent on no one, for the Palestinian population to prosper, to have a future. Without Unrwa, which in its school books teaches children to hate Jews and kill them,” Ziv added.

Who is Israel Ziv ?

Ziv is an expert on military operations particularly in Gaza, where he played a key role in the Israeli disengagement in 2005, and in Lebanon by helping to formulate the strategic agreement between Israel and the United States.

A retired general, upon learning of the October 7  incursion and resulting significant civilian and military turmoil, Ziv, equipped with a nine-millimeter pistol, proceeded towards the conflict zone, organizing soldiers, supervising evacuations, and participating in combat. His actions, widely reported by Israeli media, subsequently transformed him into a notable figure representing individual initiative, particularly in the context of what some observers and Ziv himself viewed as a failure by the government and military to sufficiently safeguard civilians.

‘The responsibility for the failure of October 7 falls as much on the intelligence as on the political leadership’

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It was a Boiling Hot Sauna! - Chief Rabbi Jacobs

It was a boiling hot sauna!
This week we are in the days of Selichot, days of preparation for the Jamiem Noraim, the Days of awe, preceding the festival of the Jewish New Year.
Awe is of great importance, because if there is a lack of ‘awe’, a society just goes in the wrong direction. This thought came to my mind when I was present in Westerbork, former Dutch deportationcamp to welcome the cyclists who had participated in “Back to Westerbork”. Tears welled up in my eyes. All young people who had made the journey from Auschwitz to Westerbork, én route had visited the various concentration camps, other places of horror and were now back in Westerbork. Awe! Lack of awe can lead to anarchy. But submitting to a wrong authority can lead to what happened in WWII. Eighty percent of my family ended up in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Sobibor via Westerbork! And now some 70 young people were cycling there, giving a stern warning about the dangers of submission to a wrong authority. Young people from Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. To my right a German Minister, to my left the ambassador of Poland and the King’s Commissioner in the province of Drenthe was also emphatically present, Mrs Jetta Klijnsma. What a powerful woman! I was delighted and grateful that my speech and the sounds of the shofar were clearly heard and penetrated. As I sit here typing, I feel a lump in my throat. I would like to embrace all those cyclists with gratitude for their great performance and especially for the hard demonstration. Yes, every morning in these days before the Awe-inspiring days of Jewish New Year I get up earlier to say extra prayers, but this gathering was all encouragement and awe-inspiring. A hot shower! I also felt that warm shower this morning in Ede where a meeting was organized by a group of faithful Christians.
In October 2020, representatives of various denominations at the Israeli embassy in The Hague had pleaded guilty for the churches’ negligence towards Jews before, during and after World War II. Now that antisemitism is unfortunately on the rise again, the right question has arisen as to what attitude the churches will adopt at the beginning of the 21st century. Therefore, representatives of churches organized an appeal meeting to speak on this subject. Speakers included Israel’s ambassador, Z.E.N. Gilon and my person. It was clear that those present are pro-Israel. But it also became clear, and I myself have expressed this very emphatically, that the love for Israel is diminishing among the church youth. This concerns me, a concern shared by those in attendance. And yet the symposium was a hot shower, so hot shower number two. I experienced the third shower on Urk, a former island, which is know for its love and support for Israel. In the Town Hall, the ambassador of Israel, two representatives of Christians for Israel and the undersigned, were received by the mayor and his aldermen. Why were we at the Town Hall? From 14:00 to 22:00 there was a magnificent afternoon and evening for ‘The entrepreneurship platform of Christians for Israel’ on Urk.  Of course the ambassador was present again, whom I met there for the third time that day. In the afternoon, the 180 attendees were split in two. Group one was given a tour of the fishing company DaySeaDay and group two was shown around the alleys of Urk. More than €140,000 was raised that evening for the construction of a youth center in Jerusalem. What warmth, what friendship, what enthusiasm and what a honor and how unique that I, as Chief Rabbi, could be a part of such a gathering. Music, a Zoom connection with Israel, a dinner (for Blouma and for me kosher of course) and inspiring speeches. But if you expect me to call this evening the third hot shower, you are wrong! It was not a hot shower, but a boiling hot sauna!


During the corona time, Chief Rabbi Jacobs keeps a diary for the Jewish Cultural
Quarter. NIW publishes these special documents on https://niw.nl/category/dagboek/

Antisemitic attack in Maastricht, Netherlands

We condemn the vile antisemitic attack suffered by a young activist and dear friend of the European Jewish Association in Maastricht, the Netherlands earlier today. Attacks such as this highlight the important work done by the targeted activist and Jewish organizations throughout the continent. Regrettably we are reminded once again that antisemitism is alive and growing in Europe

French Interior Minister asks to step up protection of Jewish community sites

The minister called for’’reinforced vigilance by forces of law and order and a “systematic presence of internal security forces around schools during the arrival and departure of pupils” and at places of worship “during the arrival and departure of worshippers”.French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has asked prefects to step up protection measures for the Jewish community, particularly around schools and places of worship, following the events of the last few days in Gaza, French media reporterd.“Given the high level of the terrorist threat that continues to weigh on our country and the tensions in the Middle East, which have increased sharply in recent days (…) I would ask you to immediately reinforce security measures concerning Jewish community sites”, “in particular with regard to schools”, says a note by the minister consulted by Agence France Presse.He also called for’’reinforced vigilance by forces of law and order and a “systematic presence of internal security forces around schools during the arrival and departure of pupils” and at places of worship “during the arrival and departure of worshippers”.Darmanin also called on prefects to mobilize “intelligence services to assess threats to public order” and to pay “particular attention to any forthcoming demonstrations”.

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European Jewish Association startet Kampagne zur Unterbringung jüdischer Flüchtlinge aus der Ukraine

Nachdem der Krieg in der Ukraine in die zweite Woche geht, erlebt Europa einen enormen Zustrom von Flüchtlingen, die aus der Ukraine in den Westen fliehen. Darunter sind auch zahlreiche ukrainische Juden, die sich in Sicherheit bringen wollen.

Die European Jewish Association (EJA) mit Sitz in Brüssel, ein Dachverband, in dem mehrere hundert Gemeinden auf dem gesamten Kontinent vertreten sind, hat eine europaweite Kampagne gestartet, um vorübergehend Wohnungen, Lebensmittel und Kleidung für jüdische Familien bereitzustellen, deren Leben durch den Konflikt in der Ukraine zerrüttet und zerstört worden ist.

Der Aufruf wurde an jüdische Gemeinden von Lissabon bis Lublin, von Bukarest bis Bordeaux in ganz Europa verschickt.

Der Vorsitzende der EJA, Rabbiner Menachem Margolin, sagte nach dem Start der Kampagne: „Die Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes ist eine Geschichte der Vertreibung, sei es durch Pogrome oder Krieg. Wir wissen nur zu gut, was es bedeutet, wenn man gezwungen ist, von einem Moment auf den anderen zu fliehen. In fast jeder unserer Gemeinden werden Sie solche Geschichten hören. Von Generationen aus Spanien oder Galizien, vom Krieg bis zur Auswanderung nach Israel. Ich sage das, weil wir für diese Katastrophen besonders sensibilisiert sind. Und weil wir so sensibilisiert sind, sind wir dazu bestimmt, unseren jüdischen Nachbarn zu helfen, so wie wir es immer getan haben.“

Er fügte hinzu: „Ich bin zuversichtlich, dass diese Kampagne etwas bewirken wird. Seit Beginn des Krieges haben sich Juden aus ganz Europa an uns gewandt, um zu erfahren, wie sie ihren ukrainischen jüdischen Brüdern und Schwestern in Not helfen können. Wir geben ihnen die Möglichkeit, genau das zu tun, indem wir denjenigen, die in aller Eile und oft mit nichts als den Kleidern auf dem Leib das Land verlassen haben, Unterkunft, Essen und Kleidung anbieten.“

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