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The New Yorker Daily Newsletter

Friday, October 20, 2023

In today’s newsletter, death at a kibbutz, and then:
• The fallout from a pro-Palestinian letter at Harvard
• The Supreme Court takes aim at the environment
• The puzzling strength of the U.S. economy

The Devastation of Be’eri

In one day, Hamas militants massacred, tortured, and abducted residents of a kibbutz, leaving their homes charred and their community in ruins.

By Ruth Margalit

A child's swing hangs inside of a home that has been destroyed, debris is on the ground

Photograph by Peter van Agtmael / Magnum for The New Yorker

At 6:31 A.M. on Saturday, October 7th, Gal Cohen’s morning run was interrupted by a flurry of rockets. Cohen, who lived in Kibbutz Be’eri, barely three miles from Israel’s border with Gaza, was used to the projectiles, and to the sound of their midair interceptions by Israel’s missile-defense system. But this barrage was unusually loud and intense. His dog, running beside him, went wild. Cohen, who is fifty-eight, bald, and soft-spoken, returned home and went to pick up his daughter—who also lived in the kibbutz and who, his wife had told him, was frantic. On the way over, Cohen spotted two men on a motorcycle, carrying rifles. They wore camouflage uniforms and “those green Hamas bandannas,” Cohen told me this week. Ducking his head out of view, he spoke to the kibbutz’s chief security officer, Arik Kraunik, by phone to report what he’d seen.

After talking to Cohen, Kraunik drove toward the kibbutz’s front gate to assess the situation. Armed with a rifle and a pistol, Kraunik managed to kill seven armed men, according to his son, but while he called for backup more militants arrived and fatally shot him. At 7:11, a group of armed men ran through the front gate, which had swung open. Other gunmen soon followed on motorbikes.

Kraunik is believed to be the first civilian casualty of Be’eri—perhaps of the entire war that Hamas launched against Israel that morning, which is so far estimated to have killed more than four thousand people, in Israel and in the Gaza Strip. On that first morning, more than a hundred militants stormed Be’eri.

By the time Cohen and his family had huddled in the safe room of their home, a message had gone out on the internal kibbutz network: “Terrorist infiltration.” Residents were advised to lock all doors and windows. But the safe rooms—which became mandatory in all buildings constructed in Israel after the Gulf War of 1991—were meant to shield residents from bombs and missiles, not terrorist attacks; their steel doors usually cannot be locked from within.

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An illustration of a book with leggings that are running.

From the News Desk
An illustration of Harvard’s pennant torn in half by flags from Israel and Palestine.
The Anguished Fallout from a Pro-Palestinian Letter at Harvard

Students issued a statement blaming Israel for the Hamas attacks. Then a doxing campaign tested the courage of their conviction.

By Eren Orbey

Exterior view of the United States Supreme Court building.
Daily Comment
The Supreme Court Looks Set to Deliver Another Blow to the Environment

Two upcoming cases take aim at the government’s power to regulate.

By Elizabeth Kolbert

Our Columnists
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, greets President Joe Biden on a tarmac in Tel Aviv. There is a red-and-blue treatment over the image. Letter from Biden’s Washington
The Week When Biden Hugged Bibi

The President, fresh off a grim trip to the Middle East, makes the case for funding Israel’s war—and Ukraine’s, too.

By Susan B. Glasser

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell standing at a podium. Our Columnists
Jerome Powell Is Still Puzzling Over the Strength of the U.S. Economy

Even as the Fed chair and his colleagues have raised interest rates to bring down inflation, spending and hiring have picked up recently, and G.D.P. growth looks strong.

By John Cassidy

An illustration of three books on a windowsill with an eye and a cloud appearing through the window.

Culture Dept.
A lemon squeezer being used on a smiley face. Books
Can Happiness Be Taught?

Bolstered by Oprah, a Harvard Business School professor thinks you should run your inner self like a company.

By Anthony Lane

A still from Martin Scorsese’s 2023 film “Killers of the Flower Moon,” starring Lily Gladstone (left) and Leonardo DiCaprio (right).
The Front Row
The Silent Thunder of “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece is intent on not merely narrating history but awakening a collective confrontation with racialized murder.

By Richard Brody

Goings On
Spooky Season Is Here

Also: “Twin Flames” documentaries, the annual Halloween Parade, Jorja Smith, and more.

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Share your thoughts on The New Yorker’s podcasts. Take the survey here »

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Screening Room
A man sits looking off to the left while a man lies on a bed behind him. Screening Room
Class, Care, and Transitions in “Nauha”

In this short film, about a young man working as a home health aide, resentment and tenderness exist side by side.

Film by Pratham Khurana

Text by Eric Nelson

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Cartoons from the Issue

“And that commemorates the best slice in midtown.”


“The goal isn’t the exit—it’s the corner office.”

“As a gesture of good faith, my client is offering the large ball of rubber bands inside the ‘random stuff’ drawer.”


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