Podcast: Assaf Orion on Israel's Initial Air Campaign in Gaza https://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/israel-zionism/2023/11/podcast-assaf-orion-on-israels-initial-air-campaign-in-gaza/

A retired IDF brigadier general offers a preliminary retrospective on what happened in the three weeks before Israel’s ground forces moved into Gaza.

November 17, 2023 | Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic, Assaf Orion
About the author: A weekly podcast, produced in partnership with the Tikvah Fund, offering up the best thinking on Jewish thought and culture. Assaf Orion is a retired Israeli brigadier general and the Liz and Mony Rueven international fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

A flare fired by Israel forces viewed in the northwest of Gaza on October 31, 2023. Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images.

Podcast: Assaf Orion


After the Hamas massacre of October 7, the Israeli military took three weeks before it responded with a ground invasion of Gaza, a span longer than most outside observers seemed to expect. What was happening? In that time, Israel’s air force was softening the ground for that incursion, and giving Palestinian civilians time to vacate the battlefield.

Assaf Orion, a retired IDF brigadier general and defense strategist, joins Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver this week to explain how Israel staged its air campaign, why it would help the ground phase, whether the air force’s objectives were met, how bombs and missiles can penetrate subterranean targets, and how hostage fatalities could be avoided. Their conversation amounts to a preliminary retrospective on the earliest phase in Israel’s response.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.