Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 102nd Day of War

On this 102nd day of war in Israel, Defense Minister Gallant advised Israel’s citizens that the intensive phase of activities in Northern Gaza is now over and operations there will be lowered by significant degrees. In recognition of that the 36th Tank Division has withdrawn from Gaza as there is less need for them to be there.   Gallant indicated that this will also happen shortly in Khan Yunis in the center of the strip while activities in Southern Gaza will continue at the present levels of intensity for the time being.

On the northern front, the IDF announced earlier today that it has expanded its engagement with Hezbollah, undertaking multiple operations in southern Lebanon.  The initial report stated that IDF special ground forces operated inside Lebanon, killing a terror threat in the Ita al-Sha’ab area. Additionally, Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked an anti-tank launcher belonging to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Early afternoon today, the IDF reported additional joint strikes to targets in the area.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani delivered a speech at the World Economic Conference in Davos, Switzerland, this week saying “there is no magic formula to return to what was before October 7 without a real solution – the two-state solution”. He then added:

o Ending the war, releasing Palestinian hostages and prisoners, as well as the deteriorating situation in the occupied West Bank must be quickly addressed.

o Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is as bad as its invasion of Gaza, and there is no real reaction from the international community to resolve it.

o There are politicians who believe the situation in Gaza can be ignored, and the global response to the war is extremely disappointing to nations of the Middle East.

As always with the Qataris, it is never 100% clear whose side they are on as they are masters as walking through a minefield and exiting unscathed.

Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen have launched a fresh round of attacks in shipping lanes critical for global trade, damaging a US-owned commercial ship on Monday after attempting to hit an American warship the day before. The strikes came just days after the US and British militaries unleashed a powerful barrage on militant sites in Yemen, and the Houthi response made clear how difficult it might prove to remove the threat posed to shipping in and around the Red Sea. US forces are bracing for much larger retaliatory attacks from the Houthis, who began targeting ships after the war in the Gaza Strip began and are preparing escalating responses, senior US military officials said.

Seeking Future Leadership

Dr. Tomer Simon is the Chief Scientist of the Microsoft Israel R&D Center. Previously, he was the National Technology Officer at Microsoft Israel, and before that the futurist and senior director of Academic Research and Innovation in Amdocs.

Tomer brings with him more than 20 years of experience in the technology and IT worlds, including technology research, software development and management having established numerous large development centers. Tomer has deep expertise in designing and leading digital transformations, AI, quantum computing, automation and the future of work.

Today, Tomer works with a large range of executives in the defense and private sectors building organizational and national level strategies. He is also a member of four governmental steering committees on internet infrastructure, academy-industry relations, digital talent and the future of education in the age of AI.

At a conference last week in Tel Aviv he said: “We are in a period of fundamental change and need to manage it.” Simon lectured on how AI will impact the world of work, stating that “2023 was the first year in which we saw a big jump in productivity due to AI, with a 29% increase in the efficiency and speed of work. These figures raise questions about what it will do to us as organizations. Artificial intelligence is the most significant technology of this period—and we are only at the beginning of the road of 2024.”

Sounds to me like he’d be a great candidate to be the next Chief Scientist of the Israel Innovation Authority whenever that position opens up.

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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