For the past few days, Bari and a few other Free Press colleagues have been in Israel, traveling the country, meeting with the families of hostages, and interviewing some of the most insightful people there about the Israel-Hamas war and the future of the Jewish state.
We’re excited to bring you their reporting in the near future. But today we want to share just two pieces, from two prescient people, on two subjects from the Middle East making international news.
On Friday, after the Israeli government provided evidence that twelve workers at UNRWA—the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East—were involved in the October 7 massacre, the State Department announced it was freezing funding for the agency. As of this writing, twelve other nations have followed suit.
Hillel C. Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch, an organization that monitors the UN and holds it to the standard of its own charter. Hillel and his colleagues have previously documented at least 150 cases of UNRWA teachers and employees inciting terrorism, including spreading genocidal antisemitism in classrooms, all the while receiving taxpayer funds from the West.
The news that the workers took part in October 7 came as no surprise to Hillel, who has seen dozens of messages in which UNRWA staff members celebrated Hamas’s attack on Israel. Messages like the one sent by Israa Abdul Kareem Mezher, an elementary school teacher in Gaza, who cheered “God is the greatest” as news of the terrorist group’s atrocities spread.
Click below to read Hillel’s piece about the UN’s terrorism teachers—and why suspension of their funding doesn’t go far enough:
In our second story today, Matti Friedman reports from northern Israel, where the escalation of a full-scale war with Hezbollah now looms large. Not that things are quiet right now: some 170 Hezbollah fighters and 15 Israelis have died in skirmishes along the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, while 60,000 Israeli civilians who lived in the North have been displaced.
When Matti asked one veteran military observer what a war with Hezbollah would look like, he was told to “take the current war with Hamas and multiply it by ten.”
As Matti reports, the fear in Israel is that the worst is yet to come:
On Sunday, three American troops were killed, and dozens injured, in a drone attack fired by Iran-backed militants near the Jordan-Syria border. President Biden declared: “We shall respond.”
But, as Eli Lake wrote last week in The Free Press, “it’s almost like there are two policies for the Biden administration. In Washington, the State Department and Treasury Department are still pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran. In Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, the U.S. military is at war.”
And in fact, we have been for years, according to families of U.S. servicemen killed by Iran’s proxies in Iraq. Tricia English, who lost her husband Shawn, an Army captain, to an Iranian EFP in 2006, told Eli: “We are funding our enemy and sending our service members to be their victims.”
If you haven’t already, read Eli’s piece “American Troops Know: Iran Is Already at War with Us.”
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