13 soldiers of the crack Golani infantry brigade, of sacred and martyred memory, have been killed in Gaza in fighting earlier today. 7 of them were crew members of the same APC (armored personnel carrier) that was hit and detroyed by an advanced Syrian-produced anti-tank missile.
The IDF has released a timeline of the events early Sunday morning in which 13 soldiers from the Golani Brigade were killed in Gaza.
In the first incident, at 1:05 a.m., an armored personnel carrier caught fire after an explosive device was set off under it. Seven soldiers were killed.
At 1:30 a.m., a soldier was killed when two soldiers got into a firefight with terrorists.
At 5:45 a.m., another Golani force got into a firefight with terrorists. Two soldiers were killed.
At 8:50 a.m., three soldiers were killed when a Golani squad was caught inside a burning building.
As we said earlier, the fighting is more than fierce. Yet, we have no choice; the longer our showdown with Hamas, the worse it would be. People forget that our young children and grandchildren here in the south of Israel don't know what it is to live a missile-free life. We mourn the loss of every soldier, but the enemy has left us with no choice. What's more, the threat of the tunnels must be neutralized. May Hashem give our leaders and our soldiers the courage and conviction to continue, and Hashem deliver the enemy into their hands.
We see the tangible results of the IDF's valiant efforts, especially in Shujaiya, where the fiercest fighting has been (see map below). Every tunnel and mosque is a hideout for missiles. From here, as well as from Bet Lahia and Bet Hanoun, all the missiles at Ashdod have been fired.
Update, 8:50 PM - rocket attack on Ashdod, missiles intercepted, no damages. We owe Hashem and our dedicated soldiers our deepest gratitude. Let's dedicate our Torah learning, our prayers and our good deeds to their credit.
These tough times are the exact time to strengthen our emuna. Everything is from Hashem, and it's all for the best. We must never forget that. We'll have more a bit later, G-d willing.
The war in Gaza is no longer an anti-terrorist operation. It's a dangerous full-scale war. We must all personally mobilize right now, to learn and pray in behalf of an IDF soldier who is now risking his life in our behalf. To get the name of a soldier that you can learn and pray for, go to the Shmira Project website - we highly endorse what they're doing.
With our nation at war, our two most important assets are emuna and unity.
The episode of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza led up to the destruction of our Holy Temple. Yet, Bar Kamtza is still here with us. How do we uproot this problem, which perpetuates exile? Today's emuna lesson gives us the answer. Enjoy it and have a peaceful week:
Ashdod, Friday morning, 10:05 AM - no, this is not Star Wars, but Iron Dome missiles intercepting a barrage of 7 Hamas rockets from Gaza
Last night, the IDF began a coordinated ground operation in Gaza. Having discovered the terrorist tunnel near Sufa, which could have ended in a devastating tragedy Heaven forbid, the government and the army were left with no choice but to do the utmost to free our citizenry from the threat of terrorist tunnels. As such, the combat engineers are playing a critical role in the assault. Our soldiers are performing a task that dangerous beyond description - we owe them our non-stop prayers and support. May Hashem protect them and give them success!
Since midnight, we've had 5 separate missile attacks here in Ashdod, whereas each attack consisted of multiple missiles fired at us. With Hashem's mercy, no one has been hurt.
If you or your children heard just one alarm siren, or the crash and explosion of just one missile, not only would you remember it in your mind always, but you could appreciate what our families are going through.
It's easy for the western politicians to tell Israel to restrain itself. If you live in America, then "war" refers to some faraway place like Afghanistan or Vietnam.
Israel has no such luxury. Here in the south of Israel, the front lines on the Gaza border are less than a half-hour's drive by car for hundreds of thousands of people. The Home-Front is therefore extremely close to the front.
There's a vitally important principle that no country at war can ignore: a capable and effective military is neutralized if the home-front is weak. Therefore, a strong home-front with a strong morale is vital for victory. Nothing keeps both the army and the home-front strong like emuna.
Emuna Outreach, now under the auspices of Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a, gives top priority to strengthening our home-front. We have been distributing emuna books and CDs all over the south of Israel, to civilians and IDF soldiers alike.
The outdoor market of Ashdod has in the past been a favorite Friday-morning Hamas target, particularly because of the concentration of people there. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev promised that anywhere his book Likutei Moharan is, there won't be fire or catastrophe. Emuna Outreach has already fitted quite a few armored vehicles in the IDF with Likutei Moharan. Earlier today, we made sure that bomb shelters and local merchants received the book as well, thanks to your generous support. Everyone who received the book was truly moved and tremendously grateful. I was asked to relay a ton of blessings to our contributors.
You can do your part in the war effort too. Your donation helps strengthen Israel's soldiers and civilians under fire. Your assistance in spreading emuna wins wars. Please donate with an open heart to Emuna Outreach - you can do so by clicking the "Donate" button on the top left-hand toolbar of this site. This is a tremendous mitzva and a direct contribution to the war effort and to the full redemption of our people. Thanks, Shabbat Shalom G-d bless always!
Image, below: Emuna Outreach's "Strong Home-Front" Project: Merchants from Ashdod's outdoor market, hit in past by Hamas missiles, receiving Likutei Moharan from Rabbi Lazer
The siren is now sounding in Ashdod for the fourth time in the last two hours; in recent hours, we've been hit with the biggest barrages since the beginning of the war. We can't say a word about the number of rockets and where they fell unless the IDF spokesman gives the OK.
This week's lesson on the weekly Torah portion - Matot - is ever so timely; it shows the proper way that Israel should engage an enemy and go to war; as such, we succeed in achieving all our objectives. Let's compare this with what's happening today…
With Hashem's magnificent mercy, alert IDF forces spotted at 13 Hamas terrorists emerging from a kilometers-long tunnel that originated in Gaza reached deep inside Israel near Kibbutz Sufa. As the terrorists emerged from the tunnel-exit hole at 4:30 AM this morning, they were surprised with massive IDF fire. Then and there, their plans to go on a killing spree and/or kidnap Israeli citizens were foiled. As they scurried back into their hole in the ground in a hasty retreat, the Israeli Air Force bombed the opening to the tunnel. Below is the IDF footage:
Below is an IDF photo of some of the terrorist weapons left behind, including anti-tank missiles: