Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 109th Day of War…There are no words

Twenty-four Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip in two separate incidents on Monday, marking the deadliest day for Israel since the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7.

In one incident, 19 reservists were killed when Hamas gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade at two buildings, resulting in their collapse. Another rocket-propelled grenade hit a tank guarding the site, killing two soldiers. The buildings, located within half a mile from the border, were laden with mines by Israeli troops as part of a strategy to demolish Hamas sites and establish a buffer zone.

“An RPG launched by Hamas hit a residential complex where dozens of our soldiers were operating. Initial estimates suggest that the RPG triggered the explosives inside, causing a catastrophic collapse,” the IDF said in a statement.  The IDF announced plans to form a special investigative team to probe the incident thoroughly, with the aim of preventing similar occurrences.

In a separate incident that occurred earlier on Monday, three officers in the Paratroopers Brigade were killed and another seriously injured during a battle in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis.

As rescue operations at the site of the RPG attack extended for hours on Monday, a wave of rumors and unverified reports, including conjectures about missing and potentially abducted soldiers, swept across Israel.  IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari has since appealed for restraint and sensitivity. “Behind the rumors are families experiencing their worst hour,” he said on Tuesday morning.

The dead were all reservists, ranging from 22 to 40 and coming from all over the country, including major cities and small towns, and from both religious and secular backgrounds. One was from the Bedouin Arab city of Rahat.

For sure there no words but am including here a tribute received today from Rabbi David Geffen here in Jerusalem, which captures the anguish that all of us are feeling.

Am Yisrael (People of Israel) we cry, we mourn on this saddest of days

We cannot be silent as upon us this anguish weighs

Parents, Wives, Sisters, Brothers send their loved ones out

Now they must deal with their deaths, that is what war is about

These young men went out to fight to give their all

Now they have been torn from us, just memories we recall

Weaponry of the deadliest type are in our hands

We never know where the explosion bringing death lands


I feel so alone, trying so hard their loss to explain

Deep down, within all of us, such excruciating pain

We challenge the heavens, oh, such a moment to meet

These young men, brave, wondrous ever so sweet


Why does this happen as our brave and bold, us, protect

They are gone, Hashem (Lord), indeed they were so perfect

Tears fill our eyes, such sadness we must endure

For family, friends, all of us will never forget souls so pure


Can we do anything, give us strength let us not stand still

Push our leaders, push them hard, a new approach fulfill

This day casts its spell, reminding us once again

It must end, shout out  “leaders” when, when, when ?


I must go out, I cannot sit here trying to understand

David, call upon who you are for this is your land

Have watched our nation grow, mostly our children so brave

Each one in his or her way trying daily our nation to save


Life is the one treasure which each of us possess

Filled with the love we generate and also our success

Stolen away from these delicate, sweet souls

Let us remember them as the bell of their death tolls


Goodbye, goodbye on the television your faces we have all seen

How we wish we could bring you back on your strength to lean

Mourn my friends, let anguish and hope somehow fill our heart

We stand erect, salute you, such brave ones as you depart


Remembering each of you

May their sacrifice not be for naught and may their memories be blessed.

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.