In the early hours on Saturday 7th October, 2023, on the Jewish Shabbat and holiday of Shemini Atzeret and, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur 1973 War, residents of southern Israel were awoken by simultaneous gunfire in their streets and sirens warning of incoming missiles from the Hamas-ruled Gaza territory. The terrorist organization has launched a multi-pronged, devastating attack on Israel, which has caught Israel by complete surprise and is what is being described as "Israel's 9/11", by Middle East analyst, Avi Issacharoff.
Since then - as of the time of this writing - Arabic news sources have reported that 52 Israeli civilians and soldiers have been kidnapped and taken into the Gaza Strip, some dead and some alive. It is uncertain how many are still alive or what the captors will do to them. Official statistics released by Israel as at 11:00AM EST/6:00PM Jerusalem time report that 100 Israeli civilians have been killed in southern Israel, 900 are wounded, and Israeli hospitals in the south are working beyond capacity to treat the injured. Hamas terrorist infiltrators are moving freely between the Strip and into Israel, as they used the pretext of protesting against Israel at the border last week to presumably bomb the security fence at multiple points and gain access into Israel today.
Residents of southern Israel are reporting that the Hamas terrorists are marching through southern Israeli towns and villages and trying to break into homes to massacre and/or kidnap innocent Israelis. Southern Israeli residents are begging for help as they try to resist terrorists from breaking into their homes, but the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this attack. IDF bases in the south are also being attacked by Hamas terrorists. It has also been confirmed that a living baby was found discarded at the border; the identity of the baby is uncertain, and it is thought that it was discarded by the terrorists who would have kidnapped the baby's parent/s.
This multi-pronged attack by Hamas has hit Israel across land and air. As of the time of this writing, over 2,000 rockets have been consistently launched into Israel since the start of the Hamas operation, and there are reports of rockets landing in populated areas in southern Israel. Hamas terrorists have also hijacked multiple Israeli cars, which means they may use these cars to infiltrate deeper into Israel and attack Israelis throughout the country. Reports coming out also state that the terrorists have taken two fortified Magen David Adom (Israel's version of the Red Cross) ambulances, and it is asserted that they intend to use these to continue to try to kidnap Israelis. The government has warned citizens to not open their doors to anyone, including people dressed in army, Magen David Adom or police uniforms.
For decades, we have considered Israel to be strong, to be united, to be, perhaps, infallible. Today's events show that Israel cannot always be prepared for every scenario and can be taken by surprise. Israel remains vulnerable, and every day Israel is confronted with existential threats which no other country in the world has to endure. The massive toll on Israeli society as a result of this horrific attack by Hamas will indeed reverberate in the Israeli psyche for a long time. Understanding Israel Foundation has reached out to the many Trinidadians who reside in Israel and we are happy to report that they are all currently safe in their homes and are physically unaffected by the events occurring in the south, although they have been shaken by the news and are fearful about what Hamas will do next .
Understanding Israel Foundation condemns this attack and is labelling it as the premeditated large scale murder of Israelis by the terrorist organization, Hamas. Understanding Israel Foundation asserts the right of Israel to defend herself as she sees fit and is underlining that Hamas has started and launched this offensive on Israel; therefore any Israeli response will be considered as justifiable, appropriate and within reason. To reiterate: Understanding Israel Foundation supports any and all responses by Israel to this mass murder of Israelis. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined this morning: this is an all-out war.
We urge our members, other pro-Israel Trinidadians and the wider Trinidadian population to continue to keep Israel in prayer during this horrific episode, but we also call on all leaders in Trinidad & Tobago to issue strong condemnations of Hamas' barbaric mass murder and its kidnapping of Israelis. Israel needs your prayer, yes, but she also needs your voice and your support, and we urge you to speak out at this moment across all of your social media platforms, in your churches, mosques, temples and workplaces, in your homes and when you meet with your friends: to remind the world that you stand with Israel and you stand against the barbarism demonstrated by Hamas today. As this war continues, we anticipate that many will (conveniently) forget that this war was instigated by Hamas, and also forget the sheer scale of the devastation that Hamas has wrought on Israel today. Please do not forget that any Israeli response in the ensuing days are exactly that: a response to what Hamas has started today.
We urge you to donate to the Sderot Foundation to help the residents of this oft-attacked Israeli southern town as it exists to assists the residents to deal with situations such as what is happening today.
We also must urge you to call on everyone you know to join the Understanding Israel Foundation as a member; uniting as one pro-Israel voice in Trinidad & Tobago is the only way to ensure that Trinidadian support for Israel can be heard and felt in Israel and across the world.
Pray for peace, yes, but act today to show your support for Israel.