One of the elements that makes the most complicated crisis imaginable even more complex is that, after suffering the worst intel breakdown and human tragedy in their country’s history, Israelis are being led into a war by a leader whose anti-democratic judicial overhaul efforts had been protested against by citizens (including reservists) who, by the tens of thousands, took to the streets for months. BiBi Netanyahu also staffed a government with those more qualified to protect him than his country, and recently threatened to fire Defense Chief Yoav Gallant because he urged a pause to the judicial overhaul efforts. And that was before the security breach. Now BiBi has much less support than he did before. But he’s still in power, and he’s still running things. This is critically important to Americans for two reasons. First, as you can see from Biden’s visit and America’s rapid military buildup in the region, there is an extreme concern that this war, if not managed with the right strategy and determined humanity, could lead to a much wider war with many players getting involved, regardless of Biden’s warning: “Don’t.” Second, Israel’s current predicament serves as a clear warning to America as we deal with a completely unserious (to put it mildly) House Majority, unable to put forth a non-insurrectionist candidate for House Speaker, and one of our two political parties being led by a self-consumed, uninformed, treacherous, lunatic, who makes Bibi look like Abraham Lincoln. Yair Rosenberg in The Atlantic (Gift Article): The End of Netanyahu. “Benjamin Netanyahu has always known what he wants his political epitaph to be. ‘I would like to be remembered as the protector of Israel.’ … Following the worst anti-Jewish violence since the Holocaust, that promise has been irrevocably broken. The myth that Netanyahu assiduously cultivated about his leadership stands exposed as a self-serving fiction, and he will be forever remembered as the security hawk who presided over the greatest security failure in Israeli history. He will never be elected prime minister again.” And another key element of Bibi’s leadership: “By his own admission, he purposely propped up Hamas as a counterbalance to the more moderate Palestinian Authority in order to keep the Palestinian public divided and prevent a negotiated two-state solution.”

+ In The Atlantic, Anne Applebaum connects more of the dots between Netanyahu’s long political run and the chaos on one side of aisle in America. “There is a lesson here for Americans: We need to look hard at what happened in Israel, and start asking which security risks are posed by the scorn that American far-right politicians and propagandists now pour on the American military, the FBI, and of course the federal government as a whole.” Netanyahu’s Attack on Democracy Left Israel Unprepared.

+ Reporters have been shown some raw footage to make it clear what happened on October 7. A Record of Pure, Predatory Sadism, “The videos show pure, predatory sadism; no effort to spare those who pose no threat; and an eagerness to kill nearly matched by eagerness to disfigure the bodies of the victims. In several clips, the Hamas killers fire shots into the heads of people who are already dead. They count corpses, taking their time, and then shoot them again. Some of the clips I had not previously seen simply show the victims in a state of terror as they wait to be murdered, or covered with bits of their friends and loved ones as they are loaded into trucks and brought to Gaza as hostages.” And Hamas torture confirmed as Israeli forensics institute identifies victims. Many victims were burned alive or decapitated, and as Dr. Nurit Bublil, head of the DNA laboratory in Israel’s National Center for Forensic Medicine, explains: “This was not combat, or a military conflict, or a state conflict, or a political conflict. [Hamas] enjoyed the murders so much that they did everything they could do to celebrate the killing.” (Like me, you can be pro-Palestinian, pro peace, pro two state solution, but you can’t be pro-Hamas.)

+ NYT (Gift Article): Hamas Fails to Make Case That Israel Struck Hospital. (Hamas didn’t have to make the case. The media made it for them.)

+ “This is not about whether Israel has the right to retaliate against Hamas for the savage barbarism it inflicted on Israeli men, women, babies and grandparents. It surely does. This is about doing it the right way — the way that does not play into the hands of Hamas, Iran and Russia.” Thomas Friedman argues that if Israel enters Gaza without also entering into a new plan for peace, they’re making a terrible mistake.

+ Obama’s Thoughts on Israel and Gaza: “Israel has a right to defend its citizens against such wanton violence, and I fully support President Biden’s call for the United States to support our long-time ally in going after Hamas, dismantling its military capabilities, and facilitating the safe return of hundreds of hostages to their families … The Israeli government’s decision to cut off food, water and electricity to a captive civilian population threatens not only to worsen a growing humanitarian crisis; it could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region.”

+ “The two women can recall details of the long, brutal history of clashes and wars pitting Israel against its neighbors to the north, east and south — and how those clashes sent fearful shock waves through Los Angeles, a city with one of the nation’s largest populations of Muslims and Jews. ‘But it’s never been this bad,’ they said, practically in unison.” NYT (Gift Article): ‘I Love You. I Am Sorry’: One Jew, One Muslim and a Friendship Tested by War.

+ The US is urging Israel to delay a ground operation for more hostage negotiations, two additional hostages have been released (“Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, have been notified of their release from Hamas captivity. Both were abducted from their homes in Kibbutz Nir Oz. Their husbands remain in Gaza.”), the bombing campaign has been escalated, more (but not enough) trucks with humanitarian aid enter Gaza, and Israel prepares incursion by land, air, and sea. Here’s the latest from CNN, BBC, NBC, and Times of Israel.