Israeli support for offensive high despite 53 dead
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 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 on Monday in Israeli attacks.
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 Israelis view this as a “justified’’ war. So the deaths are not perceived at this point in the conflict as having been in vain.