The War on Hamas

Surveys

Shared Society

Economy

International Law

On October 7th, 2023, Hamas, the terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip, launched a surprise attack on Israel. This attack included thousands of rockets directed at civilian populations within Israel, and the infiltration of hundreds of terrorist operatives who proceeded to rampage and break into homes, massacre entire families, and abduct men, women and children to Gaza.

The Israeli government has declared a state of war, officially called “Swords of Iron,” and initiated a widescale recruitment of reservists, and has begun a counterattack in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Public Opinion

Surveys: IDI is conducting regular polling since the outset of the war, taking the pulse of Israelis to better understand how the see the conflict proceeding, which institutions they trust most, and how they view the performance of the military and the government.

The War on Hamas and International Law

International law provides an important framework for understanding the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Hamas on October 7thand their abduction of Israelis to Gaza. It also guides Israel in its reactions including in the counterattacks on Hamas.

The Economic Front

The ongoing war is expected to severely damage Israel’s economy.  Decisive measures will be needed in order to secure Israel’s economy, respond to the military’s needs, mitigate labor shortages, and rebuild the communities destroyed in the attack.

 

 

Publications Regarding The War on Hamas

Articles

Explainer

The Sanctions Against Israelis

The US, the UK, France and other states have announced the imposition of economic sanctions on Israeli residents who are believed to be complicit in 'settler violence.' This document aims to outline the framework of international economic sanctions and contextualize the sanctions imposed on Israelis. 

Special Survey

Most Israelis: an "Absolute Victory" to the War is Unlikely

Most Israelis think Palestinian terrorism will remain the same or increase if a Palestinian state were declared. A vast majority (81%) of Israelis think the likelihood of reform in the Palestinian Authority is low, while a majority of Israelis think absolute victory in Gaza is unlikely.

Op-ed

When the 'keyboard Mujahideen' discovered AI

Foreign Israel critics use advancements in AI, including ChatGPT, to misrepresent their actions through Hebrew translations; addressing this requires international laws to make AI developers accountable.

Op-ed

On Moody's Credit Downgrade: Economic Policy Change Cannot Wait.

Over the weekend, Moody’s Investors Service announced that it had downgraded Israel’s credit rating from A1 to A2 and assigned it a “negative” credit outlook. Our policymakers would be well advised to study the risk analysis and assessment in Moody’s report closely and to take all possible steps to mitigate the risks. 

Op-ed

A More Targeted Approach to IDF Reservist Compensation

Israeli reserve soldiers are making unimaginable sacrifices to protect their country. To rise to the challenge of meeting the IDF's expanded personnel needs, Israel's policy solutions must be as diverse as are the reservists serving this nation. A "one-size-fits-all" compensation approach will not cut it. 

Podcast

For the Israeli Public, Bringing the Hostages Back is the Top Priority

Prof. Tamar Hermann, on Kan English podcast: Most Israelis prioritize a hostage release over toppling Hamas, with 51 percent of Israelis saying they think bringing the hostages home should be the main goal of the war, while 36 percent say toppling Hamas should be the main goal, according to a new survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute. At the same time, there are large divides by population sectors, the January 2024 Israeli Voice Index found.

Israeli Voice Index

A Large Majority of Israelis Want Early Elections

59% of Jewish Israelis oppose a deal that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state with guarantees from the US and peace agreements with Arab states such as Saudi Arabia; when asked to choose, 51% of Israelis said they think the main goal of the war should be bringing the hostages home and 36% think it should be toppling Hamas; half of Israelis think the ICJ ruling, issuing temporary measures, to be harsh.

Explainer

Your Questions Answered About Israel's Wartime Local Elections

In a few weeks elections will be held in local authorities across Israel. While they were originally scheduled for October 31st, 2023, they were postponed due to the outbreak of war. Elections during wartime raise a slew of challenges that are exceptional to the circumstances. Find out everything you need to know about wartime local elections in Israel.

Op-ed

On Palestinian Workers: The Right Answer isn't Always the Easy One

A decision to allow Palestinian workers back into Israel is not at all a simple matter. Despite recommendations by Israel's security agencies to allow entry to Palestinian workers, the Ministers of Construction and of the Economy oppose it for security reasons. As alternative solutions to the severe shortage of workers are unsatisfactory, we must ask ourselves whether we, as a country, are prepared to withstand another socioeconomic crisis.

Op-ed

Justice Aharon Barak's Opinion Illuminated What the ICJ Missed

While the ICJ decision briefly mentions the immediate context of the lawsuit, namely the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, Judge Barak directs them to the full picture that they did not address. He writes about the events of October 7 as Israelis know them to be true.

Op-ed

On the Delicate Balance of the ICJ Decision on Temporary Measures

While neither Israel nor South Africa achieved a complete win, one thing is clear: the story of Israel before the ICJ is only beginning

Press Release

Statement on the ICJ Decision On Provisional Measures

Prof. Amichai Cohen, a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute and an expert in international law, made the following comments on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision today regarding provisional measures in the case of South Africa v. Israel on the Application of the Genocide Convention.

Podcast

ICJ Provisional Measures in South Africa v. Israel

On Friday, January 26, the International Court of Justice issued its Opinion granting provisional measures in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel. Joining the Just Security Podcast to discuss the Court’s Opinion and its implications are law professors Adil Haque, Oona Hathaway, and IDI's Yuval Shany.

Op-ed

On South Africa's Misinterpretation of Amalek in Jewish Tradition

Beyond the fact that the Torah does not make the call to commit genocide, the Tanach and its interpretations in fact obligate the Jewish people to abide by the laws of war. To a large extent, humanity's earliest laws of war can be found in the Bible. 

Special Survey

Most Israelis Oppose a Hostage Deal in Exchange for a Halt in Fighting and Releasing all Palestinian Prisoners

Most Jewish Israelis expect the war to continue for months, while a majority of Jewish respondents oppose a deal for the release of the hostages in return for the release of all Palestinian prisoners and a cessation of the fighting in Gaza. Meanwhile, over 60% of Israelis claim that their personal lives have returned to normal. 

Special Survey

Israeli Public Is Concerned Over Budget Priorities as the War Continues

This survey was conducted in order to assess public opinion regarding the preferred economic policy in light of the war in Gaza, to identify the main areas of concern to the public, and to examine the public’s views on various social issues.

Article

South Africa vs. Israel at the International Court of Justice: A Battle Over Issue-Framing and the Request to Suspend the War

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague held public hearings in the case against Israel for alleged violations of the Genocide Convention. In this essay we address three aspects of the case: the ways the parties framed the events, the request to suspend Israeli military operations, and the conditions for issuing provisional measures. 

Op-ed

The Modern Haredi, As Envisioned by Rabbi David Leibel

Recently, a new answer to the dilemma of the 'modern Haredi' has been advanced enthusiastically by Rabbi David Leibel, one that maintains religiosity while increasing civic participation in the economy and in defense of Israel. 

Legal Opinion

International Court of Justice in The Hague Genocide Proceedings -

One of the claims brought forth in the Application against Israel that it is committing genocide against the Palestinians is that many senior members of the government made references to the biblical precept to wipe out the memory of the ancient Amaleks. This is my professional opinion on the meaning of these locutions and the use made of them in the Application. 

Special Project

The ICJ Hearings on Israel and the War on Hamas

On January 11th, the court will begin by hearing South Africa’s oral argument, with Israel presenting its counter argument on January 12th.

What does the international law state and what are the possible implications of these proceedings on the ongoing war and Israel’s international standing? We’ve compiled a shortlist of important information you should have.

Explainer

Explainer: South Africa’s Case Against Israel at the International Court of Justice

The ICJ is hearing allegations that Israel has violated the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. What is the ICJ? How is the government responding? What are the implications for the war against Hamas and Israel’s international standing?
All the answers in a special IDI explainer.

Op-ed

Can a unified Israel rise from the ashes of the Hamas war?

While we entered this war more divided than ever – and with large numbers even saying that they believed civil war to be a possibility – Israelis today are united in their determination to win.

Article

Selective Use of Facts and the Gaza Genocide Debate

The recent application by South Africa to the International Court of Justice brought against Israel under the Genocide Convention illuminates how international law and international institutions can be employed to address the Israel-Hamas war.

Israeli Voice Index

Most Israelis Oppose Meeting US Demands to Shift to New Phase of War

About two-thirds (66%) of Israelis say they do not think Israel should agree to US demands to shift to a phase of the war with a reduced heavy bombing in populous areas. 75% of Jewish Israelis oppose meeting the demands, compared to only 21% of Arab Israelis.

Op-ed

Where was God on October 7? A different perspective

The horrific October 7 massacre undoubtedly surpasses the savagery of any other wave of terrorism Israel has ever seen. In the face of barbarity, we are called to challenge prevailing conventions, to abandon simplistic arguments, and to move toward more complex ideas that may light the path for some of us.

Op-ed

A New Social Contract with the IDF? On the Benefits of Waiting to Decide

The need for expanded IDF service is clear—but the options for achieving this are rife with political contention and economic consequences. The time to rethink long-term security arrangements is after the fog of war lifts, under newly elected leaders with broad public legitimacy. 

Special Survey

Most Arab Israelis: October 7 Attack Does Not Reflect Islamic, Palestinian, or Arab Society Values

56% of all Arab Israelis say the attack by Hamas on October 7 does not reflect Arab society, the Palestinian people, and the Islamic nation. 33% say it does and 11% are unsure.

Explainer

Israel's War in Gaza and International Law

International law is a normative system that regulates the conduct between states, organizations recognized by international law and at times, individuals. This explainer presents an overview of international law in conflict and its application in Israel's war against Hamas.   

Special Survey

Even on the Right, Israelis Want Elections Immediately After the War

Two thirds of Israelis do not think that the government currently has a clear plan of action for the next day and the majority, even on the right, believe elections should be held as soon as the war ends. Even so, no significant movement is currently indicated between the political blocs. 

Podcast

What Matters Now to Prof. Amichai Cohen: Is the IDF acting legally in Gaza?

Is the IDF acting legally and ethically in Gaza? The Times of Israel recently held an hour-long webinar on this topic with IDI's Prof. Amichai Cohen.

Op-ed

A Blow to Internal Security Governance in Israel

During the October 7th attacks, the home front became the front line with Israelis attacked in their own homes. This new reality led not only to a beefed-up presence of police and military forces in public spaces, but to civilian-based security initiatives in many communities. Finding the right balance between the police and civilians is imperative to providing much-needed safety and security for all Israelis.

Article

The Hostage Situation in Gaza and the Responsibilities of the International Community

This article discusses the responsibilities of the international community with respect to the ongoing war in Gaza, and particularly focusing on responsibilities with regard to the hostage situation. 

Explainer

Explainer: Civilian Defense Squads in Urban Settings

In recent weeks, since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, some 800 new civilian defense squads have been set up throughout Israel. Each squad consists of local residents who serve as civilian operational reserve forces, available for rapid deployment to assist national security forces during security events and emergency situations.

Israeli Voice Index

Israelis Sharply Divided on the Question of a Two-State Solution in Return for US Assistance

Among Jewish Israelis, 75% on the Left support making progress toward a two-state solution to the conflict in return for American assistance, compared to 45% in the Center and only 21% on the Right.

Op-ed

Enough with the Censorship?

Attempts by the Prime Minister to influence the Chief Censor may indicate a concerning erosion of the Military Censor’s independence and professionalism. Clearly, state secrets must be protected, especially during war, but there are better ways for this to be accomplished, more suited to a democratic state.

Op-ed

Slamming wartime misinformation while shaking hands with the man responsible for it

Israeli leaders are calling for the end of disinformation in the war while shaking hands with the man behind so much of it - Elon Musk. The current war has turned X into a human behavior experiment, and we are the lab rats. 

Op-ed

The Worthy Clause in the Nation-State Law

The Nation-State Law includes a clause that declares the state's obligation to care for all Jewish people and all Israeli citizens whenever they are in jeopardy due to either their Jewish identity or Israeli citizenship. This does not impose a legal obligation, but it does reflect this special value which must not be lost during this war. 

Israeli Voice Index

Overwhelming Majority of Jewish and Arab Israelis: The Release of all Hostages is a Goal of Importance

IDI's fifth War in Gaza survey finds that among Jewish Israelis, toppling Hamas and releasing the hostages are pivotal war-goals. The majority of respondents do not think that the government currently has a clear action for the day after the fighting ends, and there is rising support (56%) for an amendment to the Nation-State Law, to safeguard equality for non-Jewish citizens. 

Op-ed

Amend the Nation-State Law. Now.

Israel's non-Jewish minorities—particularly those who are fighting and dying for the State of Israel—are worthy of appreciation and recognition, not separately, but as equals. The solution is to amend the Nation State Law, not to pass a new, separate basic law as is currently under consideration.

Article

International Law "Made In Israel" Vs. International Law "Made For Israel"

Tendentious interpretations of international law are not surprising considering the high emotions surrounding the long and bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, to serve its purpose guiding the conduct of States and retain a high degree of legitimacy, international law must serve as a common legal language. 

Article

Does the High Court of Justice Intervene in Decisions to Release Prisoners?

Appeals to the HCJ to intervene in decisions relating to the release of prisoners are fairly common, but the Court has repeatedly rejected these appeals, noting that on issues of national defense and diplomacy, the bounds for judicial oversight are particularly narrow. 

Op-ed

Challenges and Threats: Arab Society in Israel During the War in Gaza

Conciliation between Jews and Arabs in Israel is not just a moral imperative, but also a necessary condition for maintaining peace and stability in the country.

Article

Israel's War Cabinet: A Brief History of War Powers and Institutional Ambiguity

Israel’s decision-making in the current conflict must be understood in the context of its government’s complex institutional structure related to war.

Article

Women in War Under International Law

Now, when it is clear that Hamas’s murderous attack was unprecedented in its extreme violence, including sexual violence, the relevant international bodies—such as the UN Security Council, UN Women, and the International Red Cross—must respond to these incidents.

Op-ed

Israel's Cyber Front Is Unprepared

From network hacking to disinformation, Israel is unprepared for combat in today's fourth dimension of warfare.

Explainer

The War in Gaza: Who is Authorized to Approve a Deal for the Return of the Hostages in Exchange for the Release of Palestinian Prisoners?

The state has a moral and ethical duty of the highest order to act as quickly as possible to free and return all the hostages and the missing. But what is the legal mechanism that should be applied when agreeing deals to secure their release which also involve freeing Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons?

Op-ed

On a tightrope: Israel’s Arab citizens and the War Between Israel and Hamas

The political mainstream in Arab society identifies with the Palestinian cause, namely the struggle for a two-state solution and peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The vast majority of Arab citizens strongly criticizes Hamas’ practices and completely rejects Hamas’ militant approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Special Survey

Flash Survey: Israelis support immediate negotiations to release the hostages while fighting continues

A majority of the Jewish public think the government's focus on the judicial overhaul had a critical impact on the timing of Hamas' Oct. 7th attack. Support for negotiations for the release of the hostages in Gaza has risen, but most think the fighting should not stop. 

Op-ed

The Gap Between the Haredi Public and Politicians

The divide between Israel's Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) public and the Haredi establishment and political leadership has never been more striking. Many parts of Haredi society have joined the national war efforts while the Haredi political leadership have acted as if nothing has happened. 

Op-ed

Israel's Defense Establishment Must Rethink its Conception of Technological Superiority

The paradigm of reliance on technology for our security seems to have led us to a point in which infinite data points and technological tools are at our disposal failed to produce a response. It is of course essential to continue investing in technological superiority, but this needs to be done with a clearer head.

Article

Haredi Enlistment for the Current War with Hamas is a Sign of a New Model of Rabbinic Leadership

The heads of the established traditional Haredi yeshivot have instructed their institutions to continue studies as normal during the current state of emergency, in accordance with the belief in the power of Torah study to protect the people of Israel. By contrast, the messages heard from various other rabbis reflect an understanding of changing needs and offer a blueprint for a new leadership vision.

Op-ed

The Path to Victory is Through Silicon Valley

The ongoing war highlights the transformation of technology giants, once American-based corporations, into international entities. Within the Western aid package to Israel, it is imperative to enforce global accountability upon these companies

Op-ed

Israel's Irresponsible Expansion of Eligibility for a Handgun License

Israel's new firearms regulations now allow hundreds of thousands of citizens to carry handguns, without the necessary checks or oversight. They have been passed too rapidly during the current emergency, without enough thought about the dangerous consequences of dramatically expanding eligibility for a handgun license.

Article

Fighting for our Home: The Economic Front

The ongoing war poses unprecedented challenges—military, civilian, geopolitical, and economic. Our focus is on providing necessary responses to the needs of the military, the needs of those directly affected in combat areas, mitigating the financial damage to businesses and employees, and rebuilding the communities destroyed on October 7.

Israeli Voice Index

Most Israelis Prefer to Wait Until After the War to Designate Responsibility

The October 2023 edition of the Israeli Voice Index shows that a significant majority of Jewish Israelis trust the heads of the IDF over PM Netanyahu. If elections were to be held today, a majority of Israelis (55%) would vote for the same bloc they voted for in the last elections.

Article

Unpacking Key Assumptions Underlying Legal Analyses of the 2023 Hamas-Israel War

The current round of violence between Hamas and Israel has already given rise to many expressions of legal opinion. In this essay, we map some key assumptions and unpack how they can significantly affect ongoing legal debates and deliberations. 

Article

The Link Between Labor Shortages and Israel’s Strategic Security

The government of Israel must recognize the strategic importance of agriculture, the food sector, and other industries producing goods that are vital for the country’s security and for the continued functioning of the business sector during times of emergency and war

Op-ed

Haredi Enlistment In the IDF – A New Normal?

A growing number of Haredi men are volunteering for the IDF following the outbreak of the war against Hamas. This trend may signify that the “modern Haredi” phenomenon may be developing into a real movement.  

Op-ed

The War on Hamas and International Law

International law does not forbid the evacuation of residents to the southern Gaza Strip; on the contrary, it would appear to demand of Israel that it warns residents and encourages them to leave.

Article

The Hamas Abductions and International Law

Details and clarifications on the international crimes committed by the Hamas in their abduction of Israeli civilians, and the responsibilities attached to these crimes.

Article

A MOMENT OF TRUTH: INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW AND THE GAZA WAR

Hamas’s horrendous October 7 attack on Israeli civilians and Israel’s anticipated response pose a unique challenge to scholars and practitioners of the Law of Armed Conflict or International Humanitarian Law (IHL), possibly a challenge they have never faced before.

Press Release

Flash Survey: More Israelis are optimistic about the country's future despite being at war

Despite being at war, more Israelis are optimistic about the future of the country than earlier this year, yet most Israelis (64%) fear for their physical safety or that of their immediate family members.

Op-ed

The Police at War, As I Explained to My Son

Policing does not usually involve battles with terrorists. But the unique situation in Israel has shaped the role of our police officers to include internal security missions. What are the skills and capabilities required of police officers in Israel? Do they have sufficient funding? Those are some of the questions Israeli society must attend to once the current crisis is over. 

Op-ed

Israel needs a strong supreme court now more than ever

Justice Hayut's retirement from the presidency of the Supreme Court was well-known in advance, however, the Minister of Justice's refusal to convene the Judicial Selection Committee leaves Israel with a temporary replacement during a national emergency.

Explainer

Special State of Emergency in Israel’s Court System

What is a special state of emergency and who declares it?

Minister of Justice Levin declared a "special state of emergency" on October 7th, which has since been extended and is currently valid until October 20th. How does this affect the justice system in Israel?

Article

The Case for a Lean, Unified Wartime Cabinet

The main demand made by Benny Gantz, chair of the National Unity party, for entering an emergency government is the establishment of a war cabinet. Why is this important and what would the powers of a war cabinet be? 

Explainer

The War on Hamas: The Decision to Go to War, in Theory and Practice in Israel

Is the operation in Gaza a war, who is authorized declare war and what is the role of the cabinet and the government after war is declared?

Article

The War on Hamas: Special Situations and Emergency Events

The minister of national security declared a civil emergency event on October 7th, the first time in Israel's history such an ordinance was used. What is the difference between a "special home front situation" and a "civil emergency?"

Article

Emergency Governments in Israel

As the brutal attack from Gaza continues, the possibility of a change in the composition in the government is being bandied about. What kind of government is possible and what has been done in the past?

Op-ed

Israel’s Unfinished Democracy

As the international community ponders Gaza’s post-war future, Israelis are increasingly focused on what the ‘day after’ holds for their politics and society.

Op-ed

Weakening the Civil Service is Part of the Price of the Collapse of the “Perceived Reality”

It is no surprise that the civil service has suffered a severe blow as the current hostilities continue. In light of recent actions aimed at undermining the public sector, immediate action must be taken to address this situation in order to restore social resilience.