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  • Brian Ebarb

How Big Is Gaza Anyway? Let's Look at the Map.

Welcome back to the Land of the Living for me! Thanks to Rabbi Gerber for holding down the fort while I was sick.

Today's article comes from contributor Brian Ebarb:


Most people viewing the military action in Gaza from the outside don’t know anything about the region. They don’t know how big (or small) Israel actually is or the size of the Gaza strip. I found some maps on Twitter/X that show the size comparison between Israel and the state of Louisiana. It appears that they come from The True Size Of..., a great website that lets us compare nations to other nations to get a better understanding of how small the world really is:

The little notch in the corner of Israel is the Gaza strip. And when placed over a map of Louisiana, the entire Gaza strip only covers the New Orleans area!

Imagine a conflict that’s been going on for sixty years, taking place between an area effectively the size of Orleans Parish versus the rest of Louisiana south of I-10. Or a hostile force that regularly launches rockets and raids across the Mississippi River and into Jefferson, St. John, or St. Bernard Parishes. That's the scale of distances between Israel and Gaza.

Israel started its counter-offensive into Gaza on October 27, 2023. Driving on I-10 from Kenner to Slidell takes about an hour. If Israel had not taken as much caution to protect noncombatant lives as it has, Israel could have cleared the same amount of territory in far less time than its spent in Gaza. The IDF and IAF could have purged Hamas by Chanukah!

With another distance comparison, we see that the invaders who breached the border fence from Gaza and went to the town of Sderot didn’t travel very far at all: just over a mile and a half.

That's the equivalent to leaving the Louis Armstrong airport and driving to the Esplanade Mall, attacking houses and other soft targets along the way:

distance hamas traveled mapped onto kenner
distance traveled by hamas to israel

Looking south, we can get a better look at exactly how small the Rafah area is:

rafah over new orleans

That’s Rafah and the outlying areas scaled over New Orleans.

Think about how deliberate the IDF and IAF have been throughout this entire process. You can drive from Ochsner main campus on Jefferson Highway to the CCC in about twenty minutes. If the IDF really wanted to, they could have rolled Merkavahs through Rafah in a few hours. With assistance from the IAF, they could have leveled the entire area ahead of time!

But they didn't.

Maps help us understand the reality of situations. Is it tragic that the IDF has to go maddeningly slowly through hostile territory that looks so very, very small? Yes! But I choose to take pride in their careful consideration of tactics to defend the lives of noncombatants in Gaza.

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