Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel At War- Day Three

Sixty hours after the start of hostilities last Saturday, Israel is not exactly where it wanted to be, but serious progress has been made, albeit at great cost.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) now report that they have secured all of the areas around the Gaza strip that were taken by the terrorists in last weekend’s operation and are now prepared to look at the next phase of the operation.  300,000 reservists have been mobilized over the last 24 hours.

During the cleanup phase the Israel Air Force ran 1,149 bombing sorties over Gaza in an effort to take out the infrastructure that has permitted Hamas to fire over 5,000 rockets at Israel since the beginning of the operation.  While many have been neutralized there has also been serious damage.  The Iron Dome protective system is 95% effective but the other 5% can be destructive. 

He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea. 

The cost so far is higher than first reported.  More than 700 Israelis have been killed, 2,382 have been wounded and the numbers are expected to increase further. In addition to the incursions from the south, today a small number of Hezbollah fighters crossed into northern Israel from Lebanon raising increased concerns about potential activity on that border as well.   Rumor has it that Hezbollah has advised that they have no intention of escalating tensions there so, let’s hope that is true.

May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. 

The Israel defense establishment has decided to put a choke hold on Gaza and has laid siege to the enclave.  Israel has stopped providing electricity, gas and water to Gaza and has sealed all the borders so nothing can move in or out.   The aim is to make life miserable enough for the local population that they will demand a stop to the continued shelling from Gaza into Israel.  Today rockets continued to be sent into Israel with some getting as far as the Jerusalem area and Petach Tikvah.

May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor. 

There is still very little information available about the reputed 100 or more hostages that were taken into Gaza during the incursion.  The parents, siblings and children of those who are now held hostage have formed a united group to press the government to provide them with information about the status of their loved ones but that information has been slow in forthcoming.  They have reason to worry, of course, as within the communities attacked by Hamas, many Israelis were murdered in cold blood.  A family living in the community of Nir Oz near the border were found murdered in their home…..the father, mother and two young children all shot to death by Hamas.

May He lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. 

The population is still befuddled as to how all of this could have transpired with Israel’s security apparatus unaware and unprepared.  Many are saying that Iran provided the technology to make the computer systems at the border inoperable, although Iran denies their involvement.   No doubt there will be a commission of inquiry after Israel has prevailed and they will attempt to find out how this could have happened in the most secure country in the world?

And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you 

What no one is speaking about yet, is that over the next month thousands of us living here will be burying relatives, observing shiva, the seven-day mourning period after burial and then dealing with internalizing the unbearable loss that so many will have suffered.

The inserts above are from the traditional prayer for the armed forces of Israel.  Let us hope that the God who, according to tradition, has promised us this land, will indeed protect the dedicated young men and women who have put their lives on the line for our safety.  And for those who have already perished, may their memory be for a blessing.

About the Author
Sherwin Pomerantz is a native New Yorker, who lived and worked in Chicago for 20 years before coming to Israel in 1984. An industrial engineer with advanced degrees in mechanical engineering and business, he is President of Atid EDI Ltd., a 32 year old Jerusalem-based economic development consulting firm which, among other things, represents the regional trade and investment interests of a number of US states, regional entities and Invest Hong Kong. A past national president of the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel, he is also Former Chairperson of the Board of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and a Board Member of the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce. His articles have appeared in various publications in Israel and the US.
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