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December 4, 2023

ITC update: Operation Iron Swords

Day 58
Monday 4.12.23

Hamas rocket fire resumes, ending seven- day pause.
Before the fighting resumed, eight hostages were released Thursday 30th as part of the seventh round. Despite a total of 110 returned captives, there remain 137 hostages inside Gaza – two children, nine Thai nationals, 20 Israeli women and 106 men.  In addition to the Bibas family, which includes the youngest hostage, the overwhelming majority of the remaining hostages are men, including injured and elderly, and male and female soldiers.   Based on information garnered from those released, Israel has confirmed that six hostages are dead, and their bodies are being held in Gaza.

This morning, the IDF announced the deaths of another three troops killed fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, bringing the military death toll since Israel’s ground offensive in late October to 75.

Northern Front:  Overnight, several mortars were fired from Lebanon at an army post near Shtula, lightly wounding three soldiers. Mortars were also fired this morning at an army post in the Yiftah area. Sunday morning, a rocket that was launched from Syria toward Israel, landed in the Golan Heights, causing no damage or injury. Sunday afternoon, eleven IDF soldiers were hurt when anti-tank missiles targeted Moshav Beit Hillel in the Galilee and several launches were also identified in the area of Mount Dov.

Southern Front: Hamas rockets targeted Gaza border communities’ multiple times. Two rockets caused damage in Sderot. There are no reports of injuries. Several other rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome over the city.

Jerusalem terror attack:  Thursday 30th Nov, three people were killed, including a 24-year-old woman, a 60-year-old woman, and a 73-year-old man in a deadly shooting attack at a bus stop at the entrance to Jerusalem. Six further people were injured, two of whom are in serious condition. The same bus stop was the scene of a devastating terror attack almost exactly a year ago. There is ongoing concern over growing motivation by Hamas, who claimed responsibility for this attack, to carry out terror attacks from other areas. Also on Thursday, two IDF reservists were lightly wounded in a car ramming attack in the Jordan Valley.

ITC on the Ground
Support for Hospital Teams: The ITC Hospital Resilience Program began in February 2022, to date, 8 hospitals have participated in the program. The aim is to establish hospital resilience teams and train the participants as resilience trustees to continue activities in the areas of hospital resilience. This program provides a proactive approach to medical teams that recognize the need for the prevention of secondary traumatization, burnout, and distress amongst teams.

Since October 7th, the focus of hospitals has changed. While in the routine we dealt with the issue of resilience in emergency situations and staff attrition. Now the needs have changed. The response from medical staff is more complex, the number of victims is greater, and the staff are exposed to stories of depraved, criminal acts of abuse inflicted on their patients, many of whom are young children.

Accordingly, treatment teams and hospital teams alike are raising the need for support including the tools to deal with patients who have experienced trauma and self-care. In response, ITC is providing workshops in resilience, self-care, dealing with loss and bereavement, how to work under conditions of extreme uncertainty, delivering bad news and the complexity of working with mixed teams from both Jewish and Arab communities.

Sowing Hope and Teaching Hope
In Kibbutz Be’eri, which bore the brunt of Hamas attacks on October 7, residents seized the temporary reprieve in fighting to sow wheat in their fields in the hope that their community would be rebuilt in time for its harvest. Some 740 acres of wheat will be planted in Be’eri, a reduction from the usual 1235 acres.

Fields of wheat in Be’eri (Photo: Gilad Cohen)

Residents of Kibbutz Be’eri, who tragically lost 90 members on October 7 with around 16 more still held captive in Gaza, are currently residing in a Dead Sea hotel. They will remain there until they can move to temporary accommodation in Kibbutz Hatzerim.

Children from Gaza Envelope communities are slowly returning to the classroom. The Hofim school in the northern Israeli moshav Kerem Maharal was established to accommodate children evacuated from Yad Mordechai, Zikim and Karmia kibbutzim. On Sunday, a group of 226 primary school students began their studies and an additional 136 older students were relocated to the joint school in Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael in northern Israel. Studies have been tailored to meet new challenges. Teachers, psychologists, and educational consultants are continually available for the students. “We have fun here. I’m trying to get back to normal with my girlfriends, we are surrounded by a lot of love here. They even left the name of our school, Hofim,” said Dror Tal, a 10-year-old from Kibbutz Yad Mordechai.

Thanks for all your support. We will keep you updated.

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