Light for the Last Days

Israel’s success against Islamic Jihad

Israel’s 66-hour campaign targeting the military leadership of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was a major success on multiple levels. The first was military: Israel succeeded in taking out the entire PIJ command structure, rapidly achieved its military objectives, striking over 170 strategic targets with limited collateral damage, and then quickly brokered a ceasefire.

DW | 09.08.2022

The second and perhaps even more surprising success was that coverage of Israel’s pre-emptive strike in the international media was muted, as were the condemnations from around the world that are typically connected to any Israeli military action. 

For decades, Israel has enjoyed superior intelligence, firepower and air power compared to its enemies. However, Israel’s military edge over local terror factions has reached a new level, as demonstrated clearly both during the current round of hostilities and the previous one just over a year ago.

This detailed map of Gaza helps explain the conflict – Vox

For better and for worse, Israel has become a surveillance superpower. Israel is watching and listening; even to apps and channels its enemies think are encrypted. Israeli security services can track and locate nearly any device at any time. These game-changing surveillance capabilities plus advanced technology enable the Israel Defence Forces to generate new targets in real time using complex algorithms. During the 11-day “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in May 2021, Israel was able to automatically and continuously generate new targets in the middle of the fighting, in a manner beyond the scope and abilities of any human intelligence.

Raw Footage: Operation Guardian of the Walls | IDF (www.idf.il)

The second component of Israel’s military dominance is pinpoint accuracy. If a target is in the dining room of an apartment on the fourth floor of a 10-story building, Israel can put a missile through the window of the room.  Israel is thus able to identify, locate and strike targets while dramatically minimizing collateral damage and civilian casualties. This enables Israel to inflict mortal blows to terror infrastructure and only terror infrastructure. On multiple occasions during the three-day operation, for instance, Israel delayed a strike due to children identified playing in the area, waiting to fire until civilians were clear of the area.

Israel-Palestine conflict News | Al Jazeera

It was these enhanced capabilities that led the international community to pressure Israel to slam the brakes on its operation against Hamas last May, and that may have led Israel to agree to a quick ceasefire this week. It was Hamas’s own first hand knowledge of these capabilities—and the threat of losing its entire command echelon—that deterred Hamas, Gaza’s largest terror faction and governing agency, from entering the latest round of hostilities.

U.S. Department of the Treasury

In contrast to Israel’s military prowess, Palestinian terror factions have poured billions of dollars into low-tech, inaccurate rockets, which often misfire. More civilians were killed in Gaza this week by PIJ rockets than were killed by the Israeli military. During the brief conflict, the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist group fired at least 935 rockets and mortars at Israel, with around 160 of them falling short and hitting Gaza. Israel Defence Forces radar intercepts and video prove that errant Islamic Jihad rockets killed at least nine Palestinian civilians, including four children in the Jabaliya refugee camp.

The Times of Israel

The overwhelming majority of the missiles that did clear the Gaza border (and whose trajectories were calculated to end in populated areas) were shot out of the sky by Israel’s Iron Dome air-defence system. According to the IDF, Iron Dome performed with approximately 96% accuracy.  (In future conflicts, Israel will be able to shoot missiles out of the sky with lasers. Successful tests of the laser version of the Iron Dome, called Light Shield, have already been conducted.)

In short, Gazans shoot rockets indiscriminately at Israeli citizens, and Israel shoots them out of the sky.

Israel knows exactly who the terrorists are, where they are at any given time, and can take them out one by one or in groups, with pinpoint accuracy. It may be high time for the Gaza terror factions to realize the utter futility of their hostility.

Jewish News Service

Israel Leading The Way To Cashless Digital Surveillance State

Israel has just banned using cash for purchases larger than $1,700 and instead requires residents to use digital transfers or debit transactions. Prior to the decision, cash transactions were capped at $3,200.  Exemptions for private citizens are in place, which allows for exchanges of up to $4,360 in cash. In addition, charitable organizations and those trading with Palestinians who are not citizens of Israel are also exempt for a limited time.  Israeli officials have claimed that the new cash limit is to combat criminal organizations that rely solely on cash trades.  The intended effect of the new law is to reduce the amount of physical cash on the market.

Israel’s Lower Cash Threshold Comes Next Week | PYMNTS.com

Israel has been at the forefront of adopting “digital ID” and digital currency technology. In 2020, Israel was among eight nations that formed the Digital Identity Working Group to discuss how to implement a global digital identity system for trade and travel.  Other members of the group include Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Singapore, New Zealand and Finland.

This year the country’s Interior Ministry also asked to extend the collection of fingerprints for Israel’s national biometric ID database.  The government hopes to update the database soon to include facial recognition information about residents.

Digital Identity Working Group (techuk.org)

“For the purpose of this proposal, digitized, digital, and biometric documents refer to digital copies of physical identification documents that are scanned or updated, digital identification documents issued by a government authority, and electronic identification documents that use biometric identifiers (such as facial recognition) respectively.”

government bulletin

It’s clear that a precedent has been set, and Israel and the Western world are edging closer toward a cashless digital surveillance state from which there may be no return.  In Israel’s case such measures are also a useful weapon in the war on terrorism.

New Archaeological Evidence on the Fall of the Jerusalem’s Temple in 70AD

On the Fast of the 9th Av, (7th August) the Israel Antiquities Authority presented the results of a new research project that sheds light on the power of the Roman army, and the location of their attack on Jerusalem in the battle that led to the destruction of the Second Temple.

Israel Today

“The Fast of the 9th Av commemorates the day of the destruction of the Second Temple,” says Israel Antiquities Authority researcher Kfir Arbiv.

“The Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, after a four-month siege and an intensive battle led by the Roman general Titus to conquer the city and suppress the revolt initiated by the Jews four years earlier. The Romans had a well-trained massive army, equipped with the best military innovations of their day. It was a ruthless war machine.”

Kfir Arbiv

Arbiv systematically recorded the Roman military equipment retrieved in excavations in Jerusalem, many of which were found in the excavations that he directed, together with Dr Rina Avner, in the Russian Compound adjacent to the Jerusalem Municipality building. The Roman arsenal uncovered to date includes hundreds of different-sized ballista stones that were launched from sophisticated bolt-throwing machines to a distance of 100–400 meters (328-1200 ft). Small slingstones used by trained infantry, and catapult machines could launch spearheads for a distance of 150–200 meters (165-820 ft). These could fire spears, swords, and arrowheads, including heavy arrowheads that could penetrate armour.

Archaeologists Find Evidence of Jerusalem’s Destruction 2,000 Years Ago | CBN News

Arbiv’s research focused on the hundreds of ballista stones, and his analysis defined different sizes and weights. Some, directed against people, were launched against the walls to prevent the Jewish rebels from emerging above the walls, and other heavier ones were launched fiercely against the walls to penetrate them. According to Arbiv,

“With the help of the computer, I located all the ballista exactly where they were found. I took into account the local topography and the location of the Second Temple-period city fortification walls, and I made ballistic calculations, including the launching angle, and the throwing distance of the stones. All the data was compared to the renown Jewish historian Josephus’ contemporary detailed descriptions of the battle, and the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem, in his book, ‘The History of the Jewish War against the Romans’.”

Kfir Arbiv
All Israel News

Some of the Roman army artillery machines were located in the centre of the modern city of Jerusalem, in the Nahalat Hashiva area. The research also shows for the first time, the probable spots where the Roman army penetrated the city.  The Russian Compound excavations exposed part of the Third Wall, a third line of defence that surrounded the city. An exceptionally large concentration of ballista stones was found at one point, some broken after use. It was evident that the Roman army concentrated their efforts here, and hundreds, if not thousands of ballista stones, were directed to this spot.

War machines of the Romans (daviddarling.info)

“This is not surprising,” says Arbiv,

“as whoever controls this spot, dominates the whole area and the fate of the city. This aligns with Josephus’ account that Titus commanded his forces to penetrate the city from the north-western side of the city wall.”

Kfir Arbiv

According to Eli Eksido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority:

“The physical evidence of the huge resources employed by the Roman army in Jerusalem, reflect the extremely harsh battles that eventually led to the destruction of the Second Temple. Notwithstanding the internal factions and the impossible odds, a small group of Jewish defenders withheld the Romans for a few months until the tragic destruction of the city. The use of up-to-date research methods reveal more and more on the fascinating history of Jerusalem.”

Eli Eksido

Israel Today

Tony Pearce

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