British teenagers are working on army bases across Israel after being asked to help by the IDF.
The army approached the FZY youth movement, along with its American sister group Young Judea, to ask if participants on its year programme could volunteer. Teens from the religious Zionist movement, B’nei Akiva, also volunteered. Some IDF bases had been understaffed as soldiers were deployed to Gaza. The teenagers began working on eight bases across Israel on Sunday, packing kits for soldiers in Gaza, checking equipment for faults and monitoring stocks.
The crisis in Gaza has fuelled a fierce war on the internet by activists on both sides.
With Israel not allowing journalists into Gaza, the internet has become another front in the conflict.
The IDF has used YouTube to update people on Operation Cast Lead, with a dedicated page showing videos of Israeli troops in action.
Social networking site Facebook is being used to set up groups to drum up support for the various protests taking part across the country. Users can also sign up to a facility that automatically updates the number of Kassam rockets hitting Israel.
The Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel are trying to broker a meeting between the Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor and the party’s leader, Nick Clegg, who has been outspoken in his criticism of Israel’s actions in Gaza.
In an article in Wednesday’s Guardian, Mr Clegg called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to condemn Israeli tactics and suspend arm sales and demanded that the European Union suspend a proposed new trade agreement with Israel.
Violence against Jews, and protests and demonstrations linked to the Gaza conflict, have occurred around the world.
The French Jewish community has suffered a number of attacks. The most serious incidents were in Toulouse, where a burning car was crashed into the gates of a synagogue on Monday. According to police, a second car was about to be rammed into the shul but the attackers abandoned the vehicle when an alarm went off. Police found petrol bombs in the vehicle.
War is hell. There can surely be not one amongst us who does not feel the utmost horror and anguish at the devastation and misery in Gaza and the deaths of civilians, especially children. And it may well get even worse.
This is because Hamas are using the people of Gaza as human shields behind which to store and fire their missiles. That’s what happened on Tuesday, when the IDF returned mortar fire from a school where Hamas were hiding amongst civilians. It appears that IDF shells detonated bombs
Egypt appears to hold the key to the solution of the Gaza crisis as the Israeli government waits for an improved ceasefire deal before ending Operation Cast Lead.
The IDF has indicated that it is prepared to escalate the ground offensive by reinforcing the units already operating in the Strip and entering Gaza City. However, the army high command and Defence Minister Ehud Barak are opposed to such a move as it may result in higher casualties.
An attempt was made to firebomb a London synagogue at the weekend in a protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza.
The attack, just before midnight on Sunday, at Brondesbury Synagogue in Willesden, North-West London, was the most serious of 25 antisemitic incidents that have occurred since Israel launched its operation on December 27.
Israel has rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
France had called for a temporary truce to allow humanitarian aid to reach the beleaguered Stri, but an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said that the plan failed to include any guarantees that Hamas would stop firing rockets at Israeli communities.
However, sources said the truce might be reconsidered if its terms were amended.