2023 Men of the Year: Israel Defense Forces


Surely, Hamas wasn't stupid enough to start an all-out war with the strongest military in the Middle East.

So believed the Israel Defense Forces brass—understandably—until Oct. 7. The IDF was caught off guard when Hamas terrorists launched an assault on southern Israel that day, slaughtering more than 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and kidnapping some 240 others.

As a great American once said, "Fool me once ... can't get fooled again."

For the past three months, the IDF has been ensuring that Hamas is unable to make another dumb decision. Israeli troops have killed about 9,000 Hamas terrorists since Oct. 7, including more than half of the group's senior brigade commanders, according to the IDF. Earlier this month, leaked footage showed dozens of Gazan men in their underwear surrendering to Israeli soldiers. Many of the men were Hamas terrorists who provided valuable information under interrogation, the IDF said.

"There is also a widespread feeling that the underground Hamas leadership does not care about the Gazan public above ground," said IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. "This also greatly worries the military operatives of Hamas."

The IDF has reported destroying about 500 of Hamas's underground terror tunnels and much of the group's other infrastructure in Gaza. On Dec. 7, the first night of Hanukkah, Israeli soldiers lit a giant menorah in Gaza City's Palestine Square, a once-busy commercial center where Hamas led celebrations after the Oct. 7 massacre. The IDF later dug up a network of tunnels under the square, where it said all of Hamas's top officials hid out during the war.

Senior IDF commanders have signaled they will resign after the war in Gaza due to their failure to prevent the Oct. 7 attack. But first, they must finish eradicating Hamas. And after that, there's the problem of Hezbollah, another Iran-backed terrorist group, to deal with.

For killing terrorists, and in hopes of more dead terrorists to come, we at the Washington Free Beacon salute the soldiers of the IDF as Men of the Year.