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Israel Air Strikes Continue After Death of Hamas Military Chief Ahmed Jabari

By DEBKAfile & IsraelNationalNews.com

After confirming the death of Ahmed Jabari, commander of Hamas's military arm, Ezz e-din al-Qassam, Hamas announced: We are now at war with Israel.

Jabari, 52, was killed by a targeted Israeli air attack in Gaza City. A key figure in the radical Palestinian Hamas movement, he was caught driving in a black Mercedes in Gaza City. Hamas has announced a general call-up and threatened to respond not just with rockets but suicide attacks. Israeli sources say the air operation called Pillar of Cloud is underway against more Hamas leaders and its military infrastructure and rocket stocks across the Gaza Strip until peace is restored to southern Israel.

DEBKAfile's military sources report that southern Israeli is on high alert in expectation of a furious Hamas reprisal for the loss of its leading terror strategist. Areas such as Gedera and Gan Yavneh which have escaped most missile attacks may now be targeted. Israel may also expect repercussions from Cairo since Jabari was a favorite of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and his death occurred the day after Egypt brokered a ceasefire in the missile offensive from the Gaza Strip. That "ceasefire" was violated Wednesday with five Grad rockets against the Eshkol district.

Eighty-three rockets were counted as having been fired at southern Israel as of 12:50 a.m. (local time) Wednesday night. The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system was able to intercept 20 of the rockets that were fired at Israel. In at least two cases, rockets hit populated areas in Ashdod and Be'er Sheva. Damage was caused to a building in Ashdod and a parked vehicle in Be'er Sheva. Magen David Adom paramedics treated 14 people, including two who suffered minor injuries from broken glass or from falling down stairs while rushing to shelters. Twelve people were treated for shock.

Gaza terrorists also fired a rocket at Dimona, where Israel's nuclear reactor is located. The rocket fell wide of its mark and caused no casualties or damage. Channel 2 said this was the first time a terror rocket was fired at the sensitive site. Rockets also hit Sderot, Ofakim, and communities in the Gaza Belt.

The Home Front Command announced Wednesday that following the security situation in the south and the beginning of the military operation 'Pillar of Defense' in Gaza, there will be no school Thursday for all school districts within 7-40 kilometers of Gaza.

In addition, for the safety of the population, a ban was placed on any large gatherings of 100 or more people. A ban was also placed on activities in shopping centers and all non-essential jobs will be closed.

Israeli sources say the air operation called Pillar of Cloud aimed at targeting more Hamas leaders, degrading its military infrastructure and demolishing its rocket stocks, especially the long-range Fajrs. The Israeli navy joined the air force in striking Palestinian missile sites in southern Gaza from the sea.

In their first report on progress, Wednesday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reported that the wave of Israeli air strikes over Gaza had seriously degraded the Hamas terrorists' ability to conduct missile attacks on central Israel, despite a major effort to avoid harming civilians. "We are set to expand out counter-terror operation if necessary."

The IDF spokesman reported that reserve units are standing by in case a ground operation is called for by a Palestinian escalation. Special police units are on the ready in all parts of Israel for possible terrorist attacks. Locations within 40 kilometers range of the Gaza Strip were advised to stand ready to take rocket attacks from Gaza until the Operation Pillar of Cloud was over.


What to Wear to an Israeli Wedding

By Ha'aretz

There's nothing sweeter than a simcha, so if your Israeli travel plans include attending a wedding, get ready for a seriously fun-filled evening. But before you pack that tux, read on.

Israelis take their celebrations seriously, and the wedding industry in this country is happy to accommodate. There are untold hundreds of wedding halls across the country, where teams of experts choreograph the entire event, from reception to chuppah to the party that follows for dancing the night away. Be prepared, however, to encounter some cultural differences on your way to bless the bride and groom.

While weddings in the United States and Europe are almost uniformly formal affairs, wedding attire in Israel walks a more flexible sartorial line. Israel is a laid-back country, and its fashion follows suit. That means that even at a wedding, it's not uncommon to see young men in jeans (with a button-down shirt, no tie or even a T-shirt), and women in short, tight cocktail dresses rather than elegant gowns.

And while in many countries, wearing white to another woman's wedding is uniformly taboo, Israelis seem to be blissfully unaware of this rule. If you're attending a wedding where you only know the groom, don't rush to congratulate the first woman you spot in a snow-white frock. You might make her blush, but there's no guarantee that she's the bride.

A black-tie wedding is as rare as snow in Tel Aviv. And even at events where the groom and his father truss up in a suit, for guests, ties are almost undoubtedly optional.

Israelis tend not to specify dress codes on their invitations, which further lends to the laissez-faire, anything goes attitude. If you're concerned about what to wear to an Israeli wedding, you can always ask the host in advance. But rest assured that in this laid-back country, as long as you arrive with a smile and a big "mazal tov" for the happy couple, you're likely to fit right in.


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