As the conflict between the Israeli government and Hamas enters the 30th day, as per the official figures released on 5th November by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) from Gaza, 9,488 people have been killed since 7th October, of whom 70 per cent are women, children and older persons.
Over 24,158 people have been injured. This is in addition to 2,000 people reported missing, presumably under the rubble of destroyed buildings, including 1,250 children. Overall, nearly 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7th October in the first wave of offensive by Hamas.
As Israel continues to pound Gaza, the leaders of 18 United Nations agencies have called for an immediate ceasefire in the war, on the night of 5th November, expressing “shock and horror” at the mounting death toll from the conflict. This plea comes as death toll of UN agency workers in Gaza rises to 88. It is the highest number of United Nations fatalities ever recorded in a single conflict.
But a rather perplexing phenomenon that has been happening in Israel and has not been reported by the media in detail is the news that the Israelis, almost all of whom have been given military training are fleeing Israel and the Israeli government is sponsoring refuge for people living in kibbutzes close to the Gaza Strip
This was accompanied by another incredulous news that the U.S. government has deployed a ‘Nuclear’ submarine to West Asia. Reportedly, on 5th November, the U.S. Central Command announced on social media that an Ohio-class submarine had entered its domain of authority, and based on a photograph posted along with the announcement, military analysts and defence specialists noted that the vessel seemed to be in the Suez Canal north-east of Cairo, Egypt. This is in addition to two U.S. aircraft carriers already deployed in the region.
Another related development quoted Israeli officials as saying that CIA Director Burns has arrived in the country for talks on the war on Gaza and bolster the efforts to secure the release of captives. This news broke out after the rather unscheduled visit by the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Baghdad on 5th November, ostensibly aimed at expanding U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East with the goal of preventing a spread of the Israel-Hamas war.
But a rather perplexing phenomenon that has been happening in Israel and has not been reported by the media in detail is the news that the Israelis, almost all of whom have been given military training are fleeing Israel and the Israeli government is sponsoring refuge for people living in kibbutzes close to the Gaza Strip. But the bigger question is where they are fleeing? We can only hazard a safe guess about the travel of ultra-orthodox or Haredic Jews, who apparently shows no animosity towards Palestinians leaving the country, as they don’t want to be part of this genocide.
Reuters reported in mid-October that more than 2,500 Israelis have sought sanctuary in Cyprus where the local Jewish community has come to their aid, according to the chief rabbi of the island.
Reuters reported in mid-October that more than 2,500 Israelis have sought sanctuary in Cyprus where the local Jewish community has come to their aid, according to the chief rabbi of the island
Reportedly, a less than 40-minute plane trip away from Israel, the sleepy seaside town of Larnaca has received droves of Israelis since 7th October. Larnaca, hosting Cyprus’s biggest airport, has seen a swell of expatriate Israelis, including reservists, using it as a transit point to get on the next available flight to Tel Aviv. It has also seen an influx from Israel of people who lost their homes, Chief Rabbi Arie Zeev Raskin said.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on 16th October that Israelis were fleeing the country from Rome to Cyprus and Greece. It reported that alongside thousands of Israelis who returned home when the war broke out, many others are heading abroad while the country is facing one of its most difficult times.
Reportedly, the Israeli government has financed the mass evacuation of civilians living on the border of Gaza and Lebanon. The residents have been moved to the tourist city of Eliat, where hotel occupancy is close to 100%
Meanwhile, a rather unsurprising news source Vatican News on 27th October reported that Israelis have left their homes in Sderot, Ashkelon, and other small villages in the southern region of Israel, just kilometres from the Gaza Strip. Others have moved from the north, from another hotspot on the border with Lebanon.
Some fled spontaneously, most others followed the “Rachel” evacuation plan prepared by the government authorities. The overall numbers are not consistent: estimates range from 200,000 to 330,000 people (the highest estimate is from the Israel Democracy Institute think tank), including many families with children
Some fled spontaneously, most others followed the “Rachel” evacuation plan prepared by the government authorities. The overall numbers are not consistent: estimates range from 200,000 to 330,000 people (the highest estimate is from the Israel Democracy Institute think tank), including many families with children. It’s not easy to quantify them, especially because many left voluntarily before the evacuation plan was implemented.
The Vatican News further reported that the Israeli government has determined that residents in areas subject to evacuation ordered by the Ministry of Defence are entitled to a daily allowance (200 shekels for adults, 100 for children under 18 years old).
Based on this information, will we be wrong to surmise that the myth behind Israel being a super-nation and a regional super-power was completely a myth, just like its Iron Dome technology, which was shattered in the first wave of Hamas’s offensive? Or as it has been preached in the Holy Books, this is a community, which boasts to be brave, but always believes in and acts it out in attacking from behind? And this latest scarpering tells a lot about their belief and character.
–The writer is a political commentator based in New Delhi. He can be contacted on www.asadmirza.in. The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda