Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli support for Gaza assault remains high despite heavy casualties

 

jerusalem

In Hamas’s view, Monday was one of the most successful days of the war. For the Israeli army it was one of the costliest. Israelis were reeling in grief today as they buried 10 soldiers killed in the hostilities during three separate incidents the previous day. In Gaza, meanwhile, more than 100 were believed killed today in Israel’s retaliation.

For the tightly knit Israeli society used to the Arab side bearing the brunt of the fatalities, 10 in one day is a huge number, equalling the total number of combatants who fell in the three-week Gaza war of 2008-09 that was known as Operation Cast Lead. And it is five times the number of soldiers who died during the eight-day Gaza war of 2012, Operation Pillar of Defence.

News broadcasts opened with the names and funeral times of the fallen soldiers, a long list recited in sombre tones. And at funerals, mourners recited the Kadish prayer in Aramaic that, according to Jewish tradition, elevates to heaven the souls of the deceased.

But despite the amount of Israeli soldier fatalities – 53 during the fighting thus far – being greater than was anticipated, public support for continuing the campaign is high. According to an Israel Democracy Institute poll released today, 95 per cent of Israeli Jews view this as a “justified’’ war. So the deaths are not perceived at this point in the conflict as having been in vain.

 

The first soldier to die on Monday was Staff-Sgt Moshe Davino, 20, from Jerusalem. An infantryman in the Givati brigade, he was killed when an anti-tank missile fired by Hamas fighters struck the D-9 bulldozer he was in. The army declined to specify the location but Hamas declared on its website that it was in the southern city of Khan Yunis.

In the late afternoon, Staff?Sgt Eliav Kahlon, 22, Pte First Class Meidan Biton, 20, Pte First Class Niran Cohen, 20, and Sgt First Class Adi Briga, 23, were killed by a mortar attack in southern Israel’s Eshkol region while in a staging area near the Gaza border.

It was the deadliest single instance of Hamas cross-border fire since the start of the war. Then, in the evening Sgt Dor Dery, 18, Sgt Barkai Yishai Shor, 21, Sgt Nadav Raimond, 19, Sgt Daniel Kedmi, 18, and Sgt Sagi Erez, 19, were killed when Hamas fighters used a tunnel to infiltrate Israel.

According to Israeli media reports, the Hamas fighters emerged from the tunnel near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, near Gaza, and fired an anti-tank missile at the base of an army watchtower, killing the five soldiers.

Video: The latest from Gaza

According to the Israeli reports, soldiers at the top of the tower shot and killed at least one Hamas fighter who attempted to seize a soldier’s corpse. Hamas said that nine of its fighters were involved in the raid and that they tried to take captive one of the soldiers but that “conditions in the field didn’t allow it”.

Hamas, seizing on the soldiers’ deaths as proof it is winning the war, proclaimed on its Palestine Information Centre website that 10 Israeli soldiers were killed in the raid and others were wounded.

The Israeli deaths were an indication of how the price of the war may become very steep if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decides to escalate the campaign into a wider and deeper ground operation in Gaza.

For now, at least the deaths are not likely to undercut support for the current war.

“As sad and troubling as the loss of soldiers is, I think that people understand we are trying to intercept a bigger threat in the future, namely that Hamas will be stronger, and that Israel being perceived as weak invites aggression,’’ Uri Dromi, a former spokesman for Yitzhak Rabin, said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future