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February 22, 2024

ITC update: Operation Iron Swords

ITC updates are now sent weekly on a Thursday.
Day 139
Thursday 22.2.24

The number of IDF soldiers killed since the start of the ground op has risen to 237.

In parallel to the military operations, there are efforts to renew talks over a deal to release the hostages. Israeli negotiators could return to talks in Cairo in the days ahead.

This morning, in a terror shooting attack near Ma’ale Adumim one person was killed and eleven wounded. Terrorists opened fire at Israelis waiting in traffic while heading toward Jerusalem. A pregnant woman, 23, is in serious condition, and four others are in moderate condition – a woman in her 30s, a man aged 23, a man aged 51, and a woman aged 52.

A Border Police officer was seriously wounded on Sunday during clashes with Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Tulkarem.

Israel’s long-range Arrow air defense system shot down a ballistic missile over the Red Sea early Thursday morning, apparently fired by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.

Southern Front: Two Israelis were killed, and four others were wounded, including two in serious condition, in a shooting attack at Re’em Junction, just north of the city of Kiryat Malachi in southern Israel on Friday 16th February.

Northern Front: Hezbollah continues its daily attacks across northern Israel, firing rockets, anti-tank missiles and launching drones. Today, an anti-tank missile struck a house in Yuval, a village in the Upper Galilee. Another anti-tank missile was launched toward the city of Kiryat Shmona and landed in an open area. There have been no reports of injuries. Monday, two Hezbollah drones successfully penetrated Israeli air space. One landed in the garden of Mateh Asher Regional Council Head Moshe Davidovitch’s home. Another one fell near Tiberias. Thankfully, neither incident resulted in casualties.

ITC on the Ground

Highlight on community rehabilitation: The Gaza Envelope’s limited geographical size has intensified trauma and vulnerabilities. Loss of trust in leadership, the military, and individuals has been the most challenging outcome. Families have been relocated to different areas, leaving some individuals to cope with the intensity of war on their own. Challenges posed by the conflict have affected the young and more senior residents in different ways. Differing life experiences have led to variations in their personal resilience levels, underscoring the unique challenges they face.

Parents from the region are torn between their need to keep their children safe and a desire to return to and resettle a place they love. This dilemma is just one of the complicated obstacles delaying government efforts to resettle the Gaza Envelope area, from where tens of thousands of residents are still displaced four months after their evacuation. Of some 60,000 southerners and a similar number of northerners housed in state-arranged accommodations, only a small minority – typically older people with no children – have returned home.

A recent Government declaration says evacuees from the south can return March 1, or stay in subsidized hotels through July.  Residents will be able to return to Sderot and other border towns, in coordination with IDF approval, beginning March 1, 2024. Those who prefer instead to remain in hotels can receive funding for such until July 7, 2024,

Kfar Aza, one of the worst-hit communities, is the focus of an intensive rehabilitation plan, along with Kibbutz Be’eri, where government contractors this week are beginning clearing some of the rubble. The resettlement of Be’eri is not scheduled to take place before 2025.

ITC is working intently with these families and communities building community and individual strengths to develop resilience including providing training and workshops for community members not only to help themselves but to help others within their wider social network. Restoring trust and safety.

Bright Spot

Sigal Chayak prepares a meal with her daughter Shani in a host kitchen in Tel Aviv,

on February 13, 2024. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

Asif Culinary Institute of Israel has a new program that pairs evacuees from the North and South of the country with private kitchens in Tel Aviv to cook home food. It is one of several initiatives the non-profit has undertaken since Israel’s war with Hamas began — from cooking for reservists to culinary workshops.

These connections provide people who are in a hotel room without a kitchen a chance to do what they love to do-cook for their families- and to enjoy a home away from home. After weeks of living in hotel rooms, Sigal Chayak from northern Israel broke into tears the first time she was able to cook a meal for her family again. As soon as she finally had access to the kitchen, she immediately set to cooking her late mother’s soup.

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