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Hamas’s Cruel Game

A person stands in front of a montage of images of hostages seized by Hamas during a demonstration in Tel Aviv demanding their release. Photo: Reuters/Amir Cohen

JNS.orgOn Oct. 7, Hamas perpetrated one of the most horrendous acts of evil that civilization has seen since the Holocaust. It is now trying to make a show of its supposed humanity—which does not exist—by releasing kidnapped women and children.

This decision is purely for public consumption and to please the media. In reality, Hamas is playing a cruel game in an attempt to win the psychological war as well as the battle on the ground.

In fact, the release only took place because the IDF is enjoying significant success on the battlefield, forcing Hamas to release more than two hostages at a time, as they were doing before Israel began its ground operations. Clearly, then, Israel must expand this operation to southern Gaza in order to force Hamas to free the remaining hostages.

Even though Hamas grossly underestimated Israel’s response to the terror group’s horrific massacre, it knew full well the desperation and anguish they would cause by taking hostages. They sought to inflict maximum pain on Israeli society. They also hoped that the hostages would serve as bargaining chips they could use to ensure their survival.

But Hamas is wrong. The release of 50 hostages will not stop Israel’s military advance. The fact that some 200 hostages remain in Hamas hands only gives Israel more incentive than ever to continue its operations.

It also keeps U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the fight. If Hamas released all the hostages, it is highly unlikely that Biden would agree to Israeli operations in southern Gaza. As a result, the hostage crisis has taken on a whole new dimension. In the end, the crisis will determine how long the Biden administration will back Israel’s military operations.

Of course, Biden will try to delay Israeli operations in southern Gaza by claiming that he is using diplomacy to get the remaining hostages out. This is the same reasoning that prevented Israel from launching a ground invasion for three weeks. Israel could have caught Hamas on the run had it started ground operations sooner.

Israel cannot make this mistake a second time. The best hope for the hostages is for Israel to completely defeat and destroy Hamas. Biden has to let the IDF do its job, because when Israel wins, America wins. Thankfully, there are already signs that Hamas’s cruel game is backfiring.

Israel must continue its ground invasion. It is working. If anything will secure the release of all the hostages, it is victory. I look forward to that day.

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Treasure Trove: Remembering Yoni Netanyahu, a heroic soldier and leader

Jonathan (Yoni) Netanyahu was the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister. He was the commander of the Entebbe Operation on July 4, 1976 when Israel rescued 102 hostages who had been on a flight hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists and ordered to land in Entebbe, Uganda. Yoni was the only Israeli soldier killed in […]

The post Treasure Trove: Remembering Yoni Netanyahu, a heroic soldier and leader appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Pope Condemns Anti-Judaism, Antisemitism Amid New Wave of Attacks Against Jews

Pope Francis waves after delivering his traditional Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi speech to the city and the world from the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, December 25, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Yara Nardi

Pope Francis condemned all forms of anti-Judaism and antisemitism, labeling them as a “sin against God,” after noticing an increase in attacks against Jews around the world.

“(The Church) rejects every form of anti-Judaism and antisemitism, unequivocally condemning manifestations of hatred towards Jews and Judaism as a sin against God,” the pontiff wrote in a letter to the Jewish population of Israel dated Feb. 2 and made public on Saturday.

“Together with you, we, Catholics, are very concerned about the terrible increase in attacks against Jews around the world. We had hoped that ‘never again’ would be a refrain heard by the new generations,” he added.

The Pope noted that wars and divisions are increasing all over the world “in a sort of piecemeal world war,” hitting the lives of many populations.

Francis, 87, has condemned Hamas’ Oct. 7 cross-border attack from Gaza into southern Israel. He has also said on several occasions that a two-state solution was needed to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In his letter, the pope also called, once again, for the release of those hostages still being held by militants.

He said his heart was torn at the sight of the conflict in the Holy Land and the division and hatred stemming from it, adding that the world was looking at the unfolding of events in the area with “apprehension and pain.”

He assured the Jewish community of his closeness and affection, “particularly (those) consumed by anguish, pain, fear and even anger,” repeating his call for the end of the war.

Francis said he prayed for peace. “My heart is close to you, to the Holy Land, to all the peoples who inhabit it, Israelis and Palestinians, and I pray that the desire for peace may prevail in all.”

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Israel Says It Has Struck More than 50 Hezbollah Targets in Syria Since Oct 7

Israeli soldiers take part in training session near the Israel border with Syria at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, February 1, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Gil Eliyahu/File Photo

The Israeli military said on Saturday that since the outbreak of the Gaza war on Oct. 7 it had struck more than 50 targets in Syria linked to the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

The remarks, in a briefing by chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari that mainly discussed efforts to beat back Hezbollah attacks launched in solidarity with Hamas, were a departure from Israel’s usual reticence about Syria operations.

“Everywhere Hezbollah is, we shall be. We will take action everywhere required in the Middle East,” Hagari said.

Israeli forces have attacked 34,000 Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, including 120 border surveillance outposts, 40 caches of missiles and other weaponry and more than 40 command centers, Hagari said. He put the number of enemy dead at more than 200.

Hagari said Israel had deployed three army divisions along its side of the Lebanese border in anticipation of Hezbollah getting involved after Palestinian Hamas launched a shock cross-border attack on Oct. 7, triggering the war in the Gaza Strip.

With tens of thousands of its northern residents having evacuated, Israel has threatened to escalate the Lebanon fighting unless Hezbollah backs off from the border – and has sought Western help in finding a diplomatic solution in Beirut.

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