Monday Briefing


The war in Gaza has entered its 100th day. Since Hamas led its deadly Oct. 7 assault on Israel, more than 23,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and most of the enclave’s population has been displaced by the Israeli military’s war, according to Gazan health officials. More than 120 hostages are believed to be held by Hamas and other militant groups, according to Israeli officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has vowed to keep fighting until he has achieved all of Israel’s goals, despite growing uncertainty over the outcome, international alarm over the mounting death toll in Gaza and fears of a broader regional conflagration.

In Israel, there is a staunch commitment to eliminating Hamas and returning the hostages at almost any cost, even if that takes many months. Internationally, impatience is growing in the face of a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the U.S. has urged Israel to scale down its campaign, while many other countries have called for an immediate cease-fire.

Quotable: “We are continuing the war until the end — until total victory, until we achieve all of our goals,” Netanyahu said on Saturday.

International Court of Justice: The U.N.’s top court last week heard accusations brought by South Africa that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza. The judges will now decide whether to call for provisional measures, such as a stop to fighting, while they assess the claim. No date has been set, and the court has few means of enforcing its rulings.

In other news:


A volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted yesterday morning, after at least 200 earthquakes shook the Reykjanes Peninsula, cracking open a fissure more than 3,200 feet long that sent lava spewing into a residential neighborhood for the first time in more than four decades.

Last month a larger eruption threatened the town and a nearby power plant. While yesterday’s eruption was smaller, it caused greater havoc when lava began to flow into the town of Grindavik, about 30 miles southwest of the capital, Reykjavik. A live broadcast on Icelandic television showed fountains of lava spurting near homes.

In Grindavik: Repeated evacuations were beginning to wear on residents. The authorities first cleared out the town of 3,500 in November, and then did so again last month. Residents were advised against returning to their homes. Early yesterday, when the authorities ordered a complete evacuation ahead of the latest eruption, only about 200 people remained.


Frederik X is Denmark’s new king, just two weeks after his mother, Queen Margrethe II, said that she would step down. His Australian-born wife is Queen Mary. Margrethe formally passed the monarchy to King Frederik in a meeting that was later televised, quietly signing her abdication papers and handing them over to the country’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen.

In a speech, King Frederik paid tribute to his mother, saying she would “always be remembered as an extraordinary ruler.” For himself, he said: “My hope is to become a unifying king of tomorrow. It is a task I have been approaching all my life. It is a task I take on with pride, respect and joy.”

Hvaldimir, a beluga whale believed to have escaped from the Russian Navy, became a global celebrity for his intelligence, curiosity and charisma. But those very qualities have put him in danger, leading him to inadvertently hook himself on fishing lines and suffer gashes from boat strikes, and to damage salmon farms and other underwater structures in Sweden and Norway.

This friendly whale is now at the center of a dispute over his welfare. Whether to intervene, and how to do so, remain contentious subjects among scientists, activists and government officials.

Staying power: At 70, Tara VanDerveer will soon be the most successful coach of all time in college basketball.

Mental health: Elite soccer didn’t always welcome players’ requests for help. Scandals, new attitudes and support programs are changing that.

Andrey Rublev: A tennis hothead desperately searching for peace.

Hamas’s attack on Israel three months ago and Israel’s subsequent bombardment of Gaza have forced Jews everywhere to reckon anew with what they think about Israel and the central role it plays in Jewish life, Marc Tracy reports for The Times.

In 2024, anti-Zionism is the closest thing organized Judaism has to heresy. For most, the land of Israel is central to the religion, the foundational narrative of which is about returning from slavery to the Promised Land. Since 1948, the modern state of Israel has drawn widespread support among Jews throughout the world.

Yet for a growing progressive minority, the notion of “diasporism,” whether secular or religious, has new relevancy. Shaul Magid, a rabbi and professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth, suggests that Jews today outside Israel should embrace the state of living outside a homeland as a permanent and valuable condition.



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