JERUSALEM—A new barrage of rockets fired at residential neighborhoods in Israel early Friday brought the death toll in Israel to nine. The attack came after a wave of 160 Israel Defense Forces aircraft simultaneously conducted a massive attack shortly after midnight on Thursday on a network of tunnels dug by the Hamas terror group under the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF reported on Friday. It was the largest Israeli strike since the outbreak of fighting earlier this week.

In addition to Israel’s aerial assault on Thursday night, IDF ground forces and artillery on the Gaza border, supplemented by 9,000 combat reservists who were called up earlier in the day, struck anti-tank guided missile and rocket-launching teams that were conducting attacks on Israeli targets, said IDF spokesman Hidai Zilberman.

An Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, initially said that “there are ground troops attacking in Gaza,” but later clarified that Israeli troops had not entered Gaza, suggesting the possibility of new artillery fire from the outside. He provided no further details.

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old soldier was brutally attacked by a rioting mob in Jaffa Thursday night as the country continued to roil from ongoing violence between Arab and Jewish Israelis that has included the firebombing of synagogues, yeshivahs and Jewish-owned stores, attacks on Jewish residents, as well as attacks by Jewish gangs on Israeli Arabs. The soldier was evacuated to Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv in serious condition with cerebral hemorrhaging.

The Shin Bet security service said on Friday that its agents are joining with local police to help crack down on the ethnic violence and rioting in Jewish-Arab cities. “We won’t allow violent rioters to impose terror on the streets of Israel, either by Arabs or Jews,” Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman said in a statement. He also said the Shin Bet would use all its capabilities and act against “whoever tries to harm Israeli citizens, Jews or Arabs, until the calm returns to the streets of the country.”

Calls for Positive Action as Shavuot Approaches

To show their solidarity and support for their brothers and sisters in Israel, Jewish men, women and children will gather in synagogues around the world this coming Monday for the annual reading of the Ten Commandments on the first day of the holiday of Shavuot—which is observed this year from sunset on Sunday, May 16, until nightfall on Tuesday, May 18—just as they stood as one people 3,333 years ago at Mount Sinai. has created a special section, What I Can Do to Help Our Brothers and Sisters in Israel? detailing the many ways that every person can help through prayer, Torah study and the performance of mitzvahs.

CKids, the Chabad Children’s Network, has set aside a special subdivision of its Mitzvah Meter campaign encouraging children to add extra mitzvot to their daily regimen as a means to ensure the physical safety of Jews everywhere. “During the Lag BaOmer parade of 1967, a few days before the Six-Day War, the Rebbe [Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory] called on Jewish children to add in their Torah and mitzvot observance,” says Rabbi Zalmy Lowenthal, director of CKids. “The Rebbe emphasized that Jewish children have a unique spiritual ability to ensure the physical safety of Jews in Israel during times of war or conflict.”

Meital Meimoun, an 11-year-old Hebrew-school student at Chabad of the West Side in Manhattan, said that she has pledged to light Shabbat candles and to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments on Shavuot in support of the people of Israel.

Click here to see how you can pray for the safety of Israel’s soldiers, civilians and everyone in harm’s way, and how else you can help.