ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg spoke with James Golden of 77 WABC Radio on Saturday about the Hamas-led surprise attack against Israel which began in the early morning hours.
They discussed the surprise nature of the attack, the lack of advance warning, the connection to the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War and the cyber-attack that took down the ALL ISRAEL NEWS website for a period of time today.
Israel and the world were shocked this morning as Hamas terrorists broke through the security fence with a bulldozer and infiltrated at least 21 sites in southern Israel.
At the same time, Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip began an intense bombardment of thousands of rockets from the Gaza envelope all the way up to areas around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Shocking videos were released on social media, showing terrorists freely operating in Israeli cities as civilians were instructed to lock themselves in their homes and bomb shelters.
Hamas leaders bragged about capturing civilians, soldiers and Israeli military equipment, while the government seemed slow to respond.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in a recorded statement that “Israel is at war” and promised, “The enemy will pay a price he has never known.”
“We are in a war, and we will win it,” Netanyahu told the nation.
But the nature of the attack and the lack of response will surely have political repercussions for Netanyahu and the coalition government.
To get the full story, read the interview transcript of Rosenberg's interview with 77 ABC News below.
James Golden: Joel Rosenberg is on the line from Israel. Joel Rosenberg, of course, a dear friend, and also runs ALL ISRAEL NEWS, which, Joel, I understand that your website is experiencing a cyber-attack this morning as this war surprise war has broken out.
Joel Rosenberg: That's right, James. It’s great to be with you. I appreciate you bringing attention to this situation. So, I'm based in Jerusalem, as you know. I run ALL ISRAEL NEWS, which is at ALLISRAEL.com. We've had a surge of traffic, of course, today, as the worst war in the nine years that I've ever lived here in Israel has broken out this morning. But on top of all that, and we'll get into the details of the war, but yeah, we've had a massive cyber-attack against our site. We're checking to see if other news sites are down. But we're down right now. We hope to be back up very shortly.
Golden: Well, whatever is going on here, this seems to be well orchestrated and connected. When did you become aware of what was taking place, Joel? I mean, this is a surprise for the world. What is taking place in Israel today?
Rosenberg: It is. Look, what’s bizarre about this, and yet should have been prepared for by the IDF and Israeli intelligence, is the fact that this weekend is the 50th anniversary of the massive sneak attack by Egypt and Syria 50 years ago, in what became known as the Yom Kippur War. The worst war in the history of the last 75 years in Israel.
So, on these types of anniversaries, we always have to make sure we're very vigilant. But it looks like the IDF has been caught in the biggest intelligence failure since the Yom Kippur War, James.
I mean, what's happened is, it looks like now thousands of Hamas terrorist fighters have crossed the border because the IDF is now engaged in counter-terror operations in 21 Israeli border towns, settlement towns, farms, and cities near the Gaza Strip. In our southern tier, more than 2,500 rockets have been fired at us.
But Israeli citizens, we're watching videos on Twitter of Israeli citizens being captured and killed by Hamas terrorists. We've never had an infiltration like this by a terrorist group. We've had infiltration, I mean, but not of this magnitude.
So, here in Jerusalem, you asked how do we know about it. Well, the fighting began this morning. We woke up to rocket siren alerts in Jerusalem.
That has never happened. I think it's happened once since I lived here in nine years. And so, Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in the Gaza Strip are firing rockets. We've had eight rounds of rockets fired here at Jerusalem.
But hundreds, and I mean literally 2,500 rockets fired at multiple cities and towns all over Israel.
The Iron Dome sirens go off, and then fortunately, the Iron Dome has taken down all of the missiles and rockets headed for Jerusalem, our capital. But, actually, we're more used to the rocket wars. James, you and I have talked about them during numerous rocket wars over the years.
What's different about this is, is we're pretty safe, mostly because of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system, which, by the way, Democrats used to call Star Wars, mocking us, you know, mocking anyone who thought you could shoot down a missile with a missile.
But we do that here, with 95% accuracy rate here in Israel. But what's different is this surge of terrorists crossing the border, and we’re thinking, how did the IDF let this happen? How did Israeli intelligence get caught flat-footed? It's so bad. And Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu just went on television here to say this is what's about to happen from the counter-reaction side, from the Israeli Defense Forces side. It is not going to be an operation or a project. This is all-out war.
So, my wife has a Bible study here, where every husband of every young woman that's in her Bible study, and every brother of every woman in her Bible study has been called up in their reserves in the last two hours. Most of the men that I know across the country who are still in the IDF reserves are being called up. It's a massive war that's being prepared.
But the country is being blindsided this morning.
Golden: That is just stunning news, Joel. I don't know whether you've seen the pictures. I've seen the pictures. Apparently, some of the attackers have paraglided in, if these pictures are accurate.
Rosenberg: Land, air, and sea, they stormed across. They seem to have just ripped through the border wall. But it looks like the observation posts that are normally manned, you know, our side, were being unattended. So, we're watching videos of trucks filled with Hamas fighters just storming across the border.
How? This is not Biden country, okay.
This is not the Mexican border where it's normal for you guys. Our borders are very carefully sealed up. And that’s the most dangerous border Israel has.
But what in the world has just happened? Nobody understands it. Watching Israeli television today, they're using the terms apocalyptic, because Israelis are being yanked out of their houses as women, children, men shot down in front of their children, women being captured and dragged into trucks to taken back to Gaza. It's a massive defeat at the moment.
Obviously, we will win. We will counter. But it's a huge black eye at the moment. A bloody nose.
Golden: Goodness, Joel! The reporting on this hasn’t caught up to all of the details that you’re telling us here.
Derek Hunter, who you know, is on the line with me here.
Derek, were you surprised when you looked at what is happening over there? And by the way, let me ask you a question, Derek.
Ted Cruz and others have already indicated that they believe that part of this is funded by Iran, which begs the question, the Iran deal that Joe Biden made recently…
Hunter: Good morning, everybody. It is shocking, of course, and it wouldn't surprise me if it were funded by Iran.
I don't know that it has anything to do with the money we just gave Iran. It's not as though they weren't in the terrorism game before that, but it certainly helped.
I'm surprised by the coordinated facilities here. I didn't, I would not have thought that they would have had the capabilities to work on this scale with this level of coordination and sophistication. So, that's the shock to me.
I also didn't think they were that dumb, that they would be. It's one thing to hear the rhetoric and it's another thing to think the rhetoric is 100% real. There's definitely hatred in the rhetoric, but the commitment.
Yasser Arafat talked a good game but then squirreled away billions of dollars and lived quite nicely. That's what surprises me here. And I hope that Israel's victory is swift and decisive and really impacts the population of the membership of Hamas.
Golden: Joel, what do you think? And of course, when everyone is expecting that Israel will have a very strong counter to this. Do you think that this will spell the end to Hamas this time, or is this something that it's going to go down the road, and when Hamas looks like they will be defeated, we'll see the usual, ‘Oh, stop it. Israel is being terrible to people, etcetera.’
What do you think? How do you think this is going to play out in the media, which always seems to somehow or another sidle up with the foes of Israel?
Rosenberg: Yeah, you got several questions in there, James. So let me take them briefly one by one.
First, you're right to focus on the PR propaganda angle for Hamas. So, the first thing is Hamas, by striking this massive sneak attack, a devastating attack, there's just no other way to say it, it is a huge propaganda win for Hamas. Okay. Hamas can't beat Israel militarily. Right. But they can inflict tremendous damage in terms of a propaganda war. ‘Look what we did to Israel on the 50th anniversary of the worst sneak attack on the history of Israel on Yom Kippur in 1973.’
So that's the first thing. So, Islamist media in Iran, in Lebanon, of course, Al Jazeera, and all over will be, you know, will be praising this horrible, bloodthirsty terror group. That's the first thing.
Second thing, Hamas has injected an enormous amount of fear in Israelis who felt fairly secure on the southern border. Okay, we have rocket attacks, but we have Iron Dome. But if you're going to get plucked out of your house at gunpoint because people stormed across a border that your armies were supposed to protect, this is going to be terrifying.
Third, it's a huge blow against Netanyahu, who's been our most successful prime minister in the in the history of Israel. But this is going to be a body blow politically against Netanyahu. And the question will be, if he handles it well from this point forward, maybe he can recover. But I'm telling you, this is huge. I can't underestimate the political blow that is going to fall on the Netanyahu government.
And then you're talking about the international media. Okay. Which what will we hear? We will hear that these are militants. We won't hear in the international media, the American media, even, that they're terrorists.
We'll hear calls for de-escalation, you know, as though if you had a Goth, you, some 18-year-old lunatic in an elementary school in New York City, police will de-escalate the situation. Blow the man’s head off, or capture him, but don’t let him kill children, right.
Nobody talks about de-escalation in that type of mass casualty event, but that's what they will say.
And then, the UN will gather this week and they will condemn us for defending ourselves. This is how it's done, and it's horrible, but we're not going to pay attention to the UN. Well, you know, we won't pay attention to the world trying to tell us that we can't defend ourselves, but we'll be we'll be criticizing our own leaders, saying, ‘What the hell?’
Golden: Yeah, already if you look at it, this is. I'm trying to see where this one was from. I have one news report in front of me. Hamas is an Islamist militant group.
Rosenberg: Yeah, exactly. They’ve started already the attack.
Golden: Yeah, it started already. And what they're saying is over 5,000 rockets. And Hamas is saying enough is enough. And they're urging now, they're urging the Palestinians to get involved, to confront Israel. And there are reports, in this one that I'm reading, that also, in addition to the kidnappings that you mentioned earlier, of people, that they've kidnapped a soldier. And I wonder whether it's just one or whether there are other ones.
Rosenberg: I suspect that there are many, but right now, we’ve got, Israel has got a news blackout on some of this. There are some things that the government is asking reporters not to say yet because it's a very fast-moving story. And we don't want the enemy to know confirmed information of numbers or people or places where people were captured.
The government is now asking people, ‘Please don't post videos that you're taking of a kidnapping or something.’ Because, again, this is this is an all-out war right now. And information is precious in an environment like this.
No, Hamas has not fired 5,000 rockets yet. But let me just put in context. The IDF has confirmed that the Hamas terrorists have fired more than 2500.
When I first moved here, James, to become a citizen, that was in 2014, okay. 4300 rockets were fired in the month that I arrived with my family. 4300. That was in 31 days. Hamas has at least fired more than half of that number just in the last 6 or 7 hours.
So, might we get to 5000 today? We might. We're not there yet, but this is the biggest attack. It's so well coordinated.
Again, whether the money, I don't think the money is coming directly from the most recent Biden gift to the terrorist regime in Tehran. But there's no question this is entirely funded by Iran, and has been planned for probably years, or at least for months. This is the biggest operation against Israel that I can remember because it's ground, sea, and air all at once.
Golden: So, this is just stunning in scope. And what you are reporting live on the scene is, I'm sure, has many people upset beyond reason. I'd like you to just stay in touch with us as the story progresses, Joel, and keep us updated, as best you can, and hopefully let us all know when ALL ISRAEL NEWS, what are you looking at? You’re trying to unravel this cyberattack, and this cyberattack, I’m assuming, happened as all of this was breaking out?
Rosenberg: Yeah, that's right. And it's to be clear, it's not just that our servers were overwhelmed by traffic. We've certainly had a huge surge as people have been looking for, look, you're not getting it mostly in American media yet, although people are starting to wake up and then it's not even trustworthy. Most of the media that's reporting on it anyway. That's why we started ALL ISRAEL NEWS three years ago. Professional journalists, Israeli and Palestinian journalists, on the ground here every day at ALLISRAEL.com. But this is an actual cyber-attack to knock us out, but we'll get back. But I would say at this point follow me at Joel C. Rosenberg on Twitter, that's how you saw the story this morning, James, and I appreciate you retweeting things that we, that I send out. That'll be the best source of news for now until we can get the site fully back up and running. Thank you.
Golden: Joel C. Rosenberg. That’s on Twitter. You can reach Joel there, and you can stay in touch with Joel there, and get the latest news from Israel. And certainly, Joel, as the week goes by, we’ll be in touch with you during the week.
And we will keep up to date on what's going on, and prayers for you and your family's safety, Joel. As always, thank you. And for everyone there, this is just horrifying.
Rosenberg: We're very grateful, and as peace spreads, as Israel is getting ready to make peace with Saudi Arabia, and we've got these six other peace treaties that President Trump helped us with. Look, the things are going in the right direction. But this shows that the U.S.-Israel alliance is critical, and that Biden and his team have got to get serious, stop funding terror regimes, and start standing with Israel.
Golden: Joel, thank you so much. And we will be in touch, Joel, thank you again.
Rosenberg: God bless.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.