Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS on 8 April, 2024

60% of Hamas Terrorists Killed or Injured, Says Israeli Defense Minister

Public By Pesach Benson • 10 July, 2024

Jerusalem, 10 July, 2024 (TPS) -- Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told Israeli lawmakers on Wednesday that the Israel Defense Forces have killed or injured 60 percent of Hamas’s terrorists.

“The achievements of IDF soldiers are many. We killed or wounded 60 percent of the Hamas terrorists,” Gallant told the Knesset plenum. “We dismantled 25 battalions or the vast majority of them. We returned half of the hostages and we are determined to return the rest.”

Asked about supplying Gaza with Israeli electricity, which began on July 2, Gallant replied, “The international legitimacy that demands humanitarian conditions is a basic condition in order to enable the operation of the army.”

He explained that the decision to connect the Gaza grid to Israel was made by the Israeli Cabinet. To keep Hamas from benefiting from the electricity, the power is transferred directly to a sewage treatment facility and water desalination plant in Khan Yunis.

“We allowed the electricity connection to the desalination plant only. Water pollution and as a result the potential for disease outbreaks will endanger our forces, the execution of the missions and the abductees.”

Israel disconnected Gaza from its electricity grid in October.

Drafting 3,000 Yeshiva Students

Gallant also told lawmakers he plans to begin drafting yeshiva students next month. Israel’s High Court of Justice in June ordered the state to begin drafting students. The move could potentially topple the governing coalition. The Haredi, or Orthodox parties have threatened to quit the government over the issue.

“In the July-August recruitment, we will issue about 3,000 orders with the intention that the maximum will arrive. If 3,000 arrive, that is excellent, and if not, then we will study for the next recruitments. We are not looking to anger, we are looking for success in the process,” Gallant said.

“We are doing this to improve the operational capacity of the IDF, which needs soldiers. This is a real operational need,” he said, adding, “Our goal is to reach a situation where we are successful in the recruitment process and bring more and more of the Haredi population to serve in the IDF. Our interest is not confrontation or creating divisions.”

Military service is compulsory for all Israeli citizens. However, Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, and the country’s leading rabbis agreed to a status quo that deferred military service for Orthodox men studying in yeshivot, or religious institutions. At the time, no more than several hundred men were studying in yeshivot.

However, the Orthodox community has grown significantly since Israel’s founding. In January 2023, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Haredim are Israel’s fastest-growing community and projected it would constitute 16% of the population by the end of the decade. According to the Israel Democracy Institute, the number of yeshiva students exceeded 138,000 in 2021.

That demographic growth has fueled passionate debates about “sharing the burden” of military service, the status of religious study in a Jewish society, and Haredi integration.

The war against Hamas, now in its eighth month, has stretched the army’s manpower needs, sharpening the national debate. The Press Service of Israel found that Haredi attitudes towards military service have softened since Hamas’s October 7 attacks.