As Israel continues building its counterattack following Hamas’ horrific slaughter and kidnapping of civilians, Israelis (and the world) are left wondering how a country known for its elite intelligence capabilities could have been so wholly shocked by the unprecedented incursion, and so unprepared to defend its own citizens once all hell broke loose. One lesson for Israel and America: Strongman authoritarians build their own power, not their country’s. In the face of unthinkable tragedy, Israel is racing to form a unified government that can manage the fight that its divided government didn’t see coming. Unifying after an attack is too late. Governments must be unified and functioning ahead of the worst of times and any moment could fit that description. It should worry you that America’s government is so broken by extremists that it can’t even effectively offer aid to an ally because of the GOP house dysfunction that shows no sign of abating.

+ Juliette Kayyem in The Atlantic (Gift Article): “How did Israel’s extensive counterterrorism efforts fail to pick up an attack waged by land, sea, and air? How did its defenses fail so extensively? This wasn’t just an intelligence failure. It was an everything failure.”

+ One big geopolitical question: Aside from its longterm backing of Hamas, what involvement did Iran have in the attack and could this spill over into a broader war? Hamas attack bears hallmarks of Iranian involvement, former U.S. officials say.

+ The US is taking steps to support Israel and deter others in the region from joining the fight. US sends aircraft carrier group to eastern Mediterranean in response to Hamas attack on Israel. (But again, the US is not at full capacity: Tuberville will continue block on US military nominees despite Hamas attack on Israel.)

+ Of course, the geopolitical issues are almost the easier topic to consider compared to the human cost of the attacks, the more than 100 hostages, and the mass destruction we can expect over the coming weeks. (For me, it’s all an easier topic to consider than my concern for my own family members in Israel.) Nowhere was the human cost more clear than at The Tribe of Nova trance music festival, near Kibbutz Reim, where hundreds were killed and many kidnapped. WaPo (Gift Article): How a night of dancing and revelry in Israel turned into a massacre.

+ “The first inkling Yoni Asher had that his family were inside Gaza was by tracking his wife’s mobile phone.” Dozens of people, including foreign nationals, have been taken as captives into Gaza. Here are some of their stories.

+ Hamas is threatening to kill hostages in response to Israel’s bombing of Gaza targets, the death toll in Israel is past 900 and expected to rise, Israeli officials have ordered a complete siege of Gaza. Here’s the latest from CNN, NYT, Times of Israel, and Haaretz.