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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


Roughly 250 people were killed during Hamas’ Oct. 11 attack on Israel, according to multiple sources. Nearly three in four Israelis are Jewish.

U.S. Special Antisemitism Envoy Deborah Lipstadt called the attacks “the most lethal assault against Jews since the Holocaust” and former Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said it was “by far the worst day in Israeli history.”

“There have been bloody days in Israel’s history and for Jews around the world since 1945, but none has had a civilian death toll this high,” The Times of Israel reported.

During the largest murder campaign of the Holocaust, 14,348 Jews were killed per day.

Roughly 6,373 Israelis died between 1947 and 1949 during the Arab-Israeli War, which displaced 700,000 Palestinians. The deadliest Israeli loss (estimated 127) then was the Kfar Etzion massacre.

From 2008 through August, 308 Israelis and 6,407 Palestinians have died in the ongoing conflict.

Editor’s note (10/18/23): This brief removed an incorrect reference to the Arab-Israeli War as Nakba. Nakba refers to the displacement of Palestinians during the war. Additionally, this brief was updated to include Palestinian casualties.


CBS News: At least 250 killed in unprecedented Hamas attack in Israel; prime minister says country is “at war”

X (formerly Twitter): Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt

Times of Israel: Was Hamas’s attack on Saturday the bloodiest day for Jews since the Holocaust?

Science: Quantifying the Holocaust: Hyperintense kill rates during the Nazi genocide

Israeli Embassy: Israel’s War of Independence (1947-1949)

USA Today: 15,000 murders a day: August-October 1942 were the Holocaust’s deadliest months

Tablet Magazine: Before the Kidnappings, There Was the Massacre at Kfar Etzion

AP News: Israel Hamas War Live Updates

Guardian: Massacre that marred birth of Israel

BBC: Live Updates

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: Data on casualties

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Rachel Hale joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in June 2023. She is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Journalism and Political Science with certificates in Jewish studies and Middle East studies. Rachel previously worked at The Forward and The Times of Israel and was a member of the POLITICO Journalism Institute’s 2023 cohort. She is interested in reporting that spans the intersection of cultural identity and political impact.