A Guide for the Confused

On June 8, an elaborate and audacious operation involving the elite Yamam counterterrorism unit of the Israeli police, the Shin Bet, and hundreds of IDF soldiers resulted in the successful rescue of four Israeli hostages from Gaza.

Back in May, Israel found out that 26-year-old Noa Argamani, who had been kidnapped at the Supernova music festival near the community of Re’im on the morning of October 7, was held in a low-rise apartment block near the Nuseirat market in central Gaza. Two hundred yards away, in another building, a Hamas militant, Abdullah Al-Jamal, with his family, was keeping prisoners three other kidnapped Israelis: Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrei Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41.

For weeks, Israel’s special forces prepared for the rescue mission by constructing models of the two buildings in Nuseirat to practice and test various extraction methods.

While waiting for the appropriate moment to launch the special operation, the IDF used military earthmovers to prepare the roads surrounding Nuseirat and in the neighboring city of Deir al-Balah in the east to ease the movement of the rescue vehicles.

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant approved the rescue operation two days before it was launched.

At 11:00 a.m. that Saturday, based on   Shin Bet recommendations,  IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi issued the “go” order.

It took the special forces around twenty-five minutes to get from Israel to Nuseirat. Aware that the Hamas guards would execute the four hostages as soon as they sensed the approach of the Israeli counterterrorism teams, the rescue squad arrived in two undercover vehicles,

One vehicle was a white Mercedes car filled with mattresses and other personal belongings—a common sight at a camp housing thousands of displaced families. The drivers introduced themselves to the residents as Palestinians who were escaping the IDF operation in Rafah, claiming to have rented a house close to the Nuseirat market.

The disguised forces got out of their cars and split into two groups, each heading toward one of the two buildings for the rescue operation.

The Israelis completely surprised the guards watching Noa Argamani. After 245 days of captivity, Noa found herself in a room filled with Israeli soldiers, who shouted in Hebrew, “You are being rescued!” “They simply came, just like that,” she would tell her close friend Yan Gorjaldsan hours later. Still stunned, she was bustled down the stairs into a vehicle and driven to a helicopter waiting nearby to take her back home in Israel.

The news that Noa Argamani, who became the symbol of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on the Jewish state after her kidnapping went viral, had been freed was relayed by the rescue forces with a coded phrase: “We have the diamond in our hand.”

The Israeli rescue forces used two ladders on the building’s side to enter the apartment where Abdallah Aljamal, a journalist and spokesman for the labor ministry run by Hamas in Gaza, along with his family, was holding captive Meir Jan, Kozlov, and Ziv, in his home.

The Hamas guards critically wounded the commander of the rescue team, Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora.
The vehicles extracting the three hostages, the fatally wounded CI Zamora, and several more troops that had been slightly hurt by shrapnel came under a massive amount of gunfire and RPG attack.

The air force came in support of the besieged rescuers, creating a corridor with a wall of fire preventing the Hamas terrorists to come near the vehicles.

Other forces quickly reached the scene to rescue them, bringing them to a makeshift helipad in Gaza, from where they were airlifted to Tel Hashomer Hospital in central Israel.

As the editorial board of “The Wall Street Journal” wrote two days later:

"Professional anti-Israel voices, United Nations officials, and the European Union foreign-policy chief rushed to attack Israel. Egypt condemned the operation "in the strongest terms." How dare Israel rescue its own citizens!”

Even “The New York Times,” which isn’t precisely the media’s most balanced moral voice, wrote:


"Hamas started the war with a massacre, took these hostages, and hid them in a crowded civilian area. Then, when Israel came to free them, Hamas responded with heavy fire, including RPGs—yet people are condemning Israel. It makes us wonder if the West has lost the moral discernment and instinct for self-preservation needed to defend itself in a world of killers. Hamas could not survive if not for its enablers around the world."

If there is one event capable of explaining Israel’s intentions and actions as well as the confusion of a world manipulated by slogans and images, it is “Operation Arnon.”

Initially dubbed “Summer Seeds,” the operation to rescue four young Israelis attending a music festival was renamed “Operation Arnon” in honor of the slain officer.

Hamas terrorist forces, along with hordes of Palestinian civilians, entered Israeli territory. They tortured, murdered and kidnapped women, children, elderly and young conscripts in what is considered the largest massacre of any Jewish community in the Land of Israel since the Middle Ages.

These actions invited reciprocity. Yet Israel did not enter Gaza with the intention of killing Palestinians, just as the Palestinians entered Israel with the intention of killing as many Israelis as possible (without regard for other nationals). Israel’s intention is to free those who were kidnapped and to retribute the direct perpetrators for their atrocities.

Again, paraphrasing the WSJ::

Arnon Zamora “will be remembered in history alongside Yoni Netanyahu, the fallen leader of Israel’s 1976 raid to free hostages in Entebbe, Uganda, for his role in the rescue operation.”

Entebbe and Operation Arnon now define who Israel is and what Israel does when others think they can commit the actions they then accuse Israel of committing.

1 Comment

  • Posted June 11, 2024 8:45 pm
    Matt Absolon

    Arnon and the brave men like him, raise the banner of dignity and pride that we feel as Jews. Is sacrifice is our loss, his bravery is our gain. What a man. The very best of men 👏🏻

    Thanks for this reflection Reb Moshe and Hag Shavuot!

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