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Israelis unite around troops fighting in Gaza

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Israelis unite around troops fighting in Gaza


While the number of Palestinians killed in the latest outbreak of hostilities has topped 700, Israel’s military casualties are the highest for years.

Three soldiers were reported killed on Wednesday, bringing the total to 32.

An estimated 30,000 people turned out in Jerusalem for the funeral of 24-year-old Max Steinberg, a Californian who moved to Israel to join the army.

An online campaign had urged Israelis to attend. The soldier was killed in Gaza last weekend.

Also on Wednesday the Jewish faithful gathered at the Western Wall to pray for Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza, and a swift end to the conflict.

Hamas rockets are said to have unified an Israeli population that had been increasingly fragmented.

There has been some relief for Israel after American authorities ended a ban on commercial flights to Tel Aviv.

US airways said on Thursday that it was resuming services; Israel has predicted that other US airlines carriers will follow suit. European carriers were expected to take longer to decide.

Flights were suspended after a rocket landed near Ben Gurion airport.

The Gaza conflict has had an adverse effect on tourism in Israel. The head of the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association, Ami Etgar, has estimated that summer season revenue will fall by 30 to 40 percent.

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