Carmel Pelunsky
Working it out in organisations across the world

Dear Colleagues – 220

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If you happen to speak to me, or other Jewish colleagues, over the next few days, you may find us a little sad, a little raw, a little less tolerant.

This week was Yom HaZikaron in Israel, followed by Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. Yom HaZikaron is a day that memorialises soldiers and victims of terror that have been killed by Israel’s neighbours and terrorist groups.  It is always a sombre day, but this year it is especially so. One thousand six hundred soldiers and civilians were killed in combat or by terror over the last year. And 132 hostages are still being held by Hamas.

In case your mind is going there, of course I appreciate that Israelis are not the only ones suffering in this war. I am acutely aware that many in Gaza have lost one, or often more, of their family members and friends in the war.  Their pain is no different from ours.

Imagine if all the world’s energy over the last few months had been directed at destroying a terrorist group that raped, burnt alive and captured human beings. Imagine if all the screaming and rallying and fury had been directed at a terrorist group that embedded itself among a civilian population. Imagine if the pleading and cajoling was to Palestinians to give up those who are Hamas supporters amongst them, so that innocent Palestinians could get on with their lives. Imagine if the public, who so often chants ‘never again’, was outraged that Holocaust survivors had to endure another moment of terror for being Jewish.  Imagine if donors were focused on how billions in aid were used to build terror tunnels rather than building a vibrant city in Gaza. Imagine if more journalists used their platform to explore the complexity of the issues rather than inviting those who agree with their agenda to simply roll out the same ‘facts’ that go unchallenged. Imagine if Israel could have got on with what it was doing prior to October 7th i.e. rallying against the current coalition in power to ensure the country was being led well.

I may be the only Jew you know. I may be the only Zionist you engage with. Today, Yom Ha’atzmaut 2024, I am turning my sorrow and frustration into an offer. I offer myself to you as a tour guide to Israel – a place that despite everything you read and hear in the news, is filled with people who have deep souls and huge hearts and for the most part, want nothing more than to live in peace. Are there extremists on all sides?  Yes. Are we letting them win? It seems to me we are.

If at any time, you hear something shocking about Israel and its army and want to check it out, reach out to me and I will do my best to answer your question(s), or to direct you to the right place to find some answers. And if you ever want to visit the most amazing country in the world, I will sit with you as you plan to visit the Peres Centre for Peace or climb Masada to watch a sunrise or look for the latest best restaurant in Tel Aviv. Who knows, I may even join you!

In honour of all those who were raped, burnt and killed on October 7th 2023 and before, may their memory be a blessing.

And to all the hostages still in the tunnels of Gaza, may the world demand and fight for your immediate release.


About the Author
Carmel Pelunsky is a strategic advisor in talent, leadership and succession. Currently living in Sydney, Australia, she has lived and worked in Johannesburg, London, Europe and Asia.
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