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The numbers that define 100 days



JTA – For Jews who weren’t directly ensnared in the violence and terror of 7 October, the days that followed were characterised by rapidly changing numbers. The number of people known to be dead shot up, as did the number of rockets fired from Gaza, and the number of mobilised Israeli troops. The number of kibbutzes that remained unsecured ticked downward. Reports of antisemitic incidents worldwide began to accumulate.

One hundred days later, some numbers have come into focus as meaningful for the long haul. Here are those that help explain what happened on 7 October and in its aftermath.

A total of 1 391 Israelis killed since 7 October, as of 10 January. Hamas’s 7 October invasion of Israel was a seismic moment in Israeli and Jewish history. Its terrorists killed about 1 200 people that day, mostly civilians, took hostages, and wounded thousands, making it the bloodiest day in Israeli history and the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. The attackers also committed numerous atrocities and destroyed several communities.

The attack shattered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and launched the war. Israel invaded Gaza, aiming to depose Hamas. So far, more than 185 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the invasion.

One hundred and thirty six hostages are still held in Gaza as of 7 January. On 7 October, Hamas took more than 240 people hostage, hailing from countries worldwide and ranging in age from an infant to an octogenarian. The campaign for their freedom, led by the hostages’ family members, has become a global activist movement. It spans a large-scale flier campaign, rallies, and art installations in cities across the world, and political advocacy.

Hamas freed more than 100 hostages during a seven-day truce in November. A number have been killed, including at least three unintentionally by the Israeli military. Relatives of the remaining hostages are pushing the Israeli government to negotiate for their release. The current total includes the bodies of hostages who were killed and two Israeli hostages believed to have been held alive in Gaza for years before 7 October.

A total of 23 357 Palestinians have been killed since 7 October, as of 10 January. Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza, launched in the days after 7 October, has devastated the coastal enclave. The casualty figure, provided by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, covers combatants and civilians, including thousands of children. Tens of thousands more have been injured.

The casualty figure, far higher than that of any previous Israel-Hamas conflict, has driven global calls by international bodies and left-wing activists for a ceasefire. Israel has rebuffed those calls and maintains that it makes extensive efforts to safeguard civilian life. It blames Hamas for putting non-combatants in harm’s way.

Two hundred thousand and 1.9 million Israelis and Palestinians respectively have been displaced by the fighting. In addition to the war’s death toll, it has also driven masses of people from their homes. Hamas’s invasion of Israel ravaged the Gaza border region, sending thousands of residents to hotels, where they have been living since 7 October. Tens of thousands more evacuated the area as it became a war zone, and further tens of thousands evacuated their homes on Israel’s northern border as clashes with the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah ramped up.

Ahead of its invasion Israel ordered the population of the northern half of the Gaza to evacuate to the southern half, and its counteroffensive in the Gaza City area has destroyed a large number of homes. As Israel’s focus has moved south, residents there have also been told to evacuate, with Israel creating routes for safe passage. The vast majority of residents are now displaced.

Two Ivy League presidents resigned after a congressional hearing on campus antisemitism. The now (in)famous hearing, in early December, in which the presidents of three elite universities all declined to say outright that calling for the genocide of Jews would break school rules, led to two of the leaders stepping down. University of Pennsylvania’s Liz Magill resigned after pressure from students, faculty, donors, and officials. Harvard’s Claudine Gay followed suit weeks later, bedevilled by a string of plagiarism accusations. Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sally Kornbluth appears to be hanging on.

Nineteen percent of Israelis want Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to continue in office after the war, as of 8 December. Netanyahu, unlike other leaders of Israel’s defence establishment, hasn’t explicitly taken responsibility for Israel’s missteps ahead of 7 October. But Israelis are signalling that they will hold him responsible at the ballot box.

His government, which took office only about a year ago, is deeply unpopular. Election surveys show Netanyahu’s Likud party plummeting while centrist parties gain steam. Netanyahu, who is also on trial for corruption, has so far rejected calls to step down.

Five is the number of trips Secretary of State Antony Blinken has taken to Israel since 7 October. After Hamas’s invasion, the Biden administration said it was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel. President Joe Biden gave an Oval Office address calling for funding for Israel’s war effort, visited Israel, and has met the families of hostages. The United States has continued to defend the war in international bodies.

But recently, daylight between Biden and Netanyahu has begun to appear. Biden wants the Palestinian Authority to be in charge in Gaza on the day after the war, which Netanyahu opposes. Biden has also called on Netanyahu to disavow his far-right partners’ calls for the transfer of civilians from Gaza, something the prime minister did this week.

Three hundred thousand West Bank Palestinians’ work permits into Israel have been revoked. Alongside the conflicts in Gaza and on Israel’s northern border, violence has spiked in the West Bank. Following 7 October, Israel revoked the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian work permits, plunging the territory into economic crisis.

And Israel has taken aim at Hamas cells in the West Bank, where hundreds of Palestinians have been killed. There have also been reports of settler violence. In December, the Biden administration banned entry to the US to Israeli settlers and Palestinians who harm “peace, security, or stability in the West Bank”.

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