Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 121st  Day of War

On this, the 121st day of war in Israel heavy fighting was reported both in the northern and southern sections of Gaza with the IDF continuing its efforts to root out the Hamas leadership in Khan Yunis in the center of the strip.  To date, 562 IDF soldiers have been killed between the events of October 7th and in battle since the beginning of the war.  The hostage talks with Hamas seem likely to produce results but have been temporarily stymied by disagreements among the Hamas leadership inside and outside Israel.   The local leadership seems to favor a six-week suspension of fighting with the return of hostages (not clear how many or whom) while the external leadership is pushing for a formal agreement to permanently end the fighting so Gaza cane start to rebuild.   Hamas is due to give its recommendations to the Qataris at 1900 today, Sunday.  On the Israeli side it is still not clear what the “day after scenario” is in the minds of the government here which is creating a challenge for the IDF leadership.

On the northern border, Israeli fighter jets struck several targets in southern Lebanon on Saturday, successfully destroying Hezbollah infrastructure, the IDF spokesperson’s unit said. Among the Hezbollah infrastructure targeted by the IDF were military headquarters and outposts.  During the operation, the IDF struck two military outposts near the towns of Marwahin and Ayta ash Shab, as well as a military headquarters in the area of Yaroun.

On the same day three missile launches were detected coming from Lebanon falling in open areas near Bar’am and Zar’it in Northern Israel, no casualties were reported.

A rocket fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen aimed at Eilat was destroyed enroute by Israel’s Arrow Defense System.  Meanwhile, on Saturday the US launched attacks directed at Iran-backed units in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, killing 40 and damaging sensitive military installations in all three countries.

Last night there were continued demonstrations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv by the hostage families demanding that the government here take further action to bring them home …!!!!!!!

 Future Leadership

Today I am featuring a young leader from the Israeli Arab community, Yahya Mahamid, an Arab Israeli Zionist, educator, and Israel advocate, who defies stereotypes and embraces a mission of peace and understanding.  Born in Umm Al Fahm, he grew up with anti-Zionist sentiments but began questioning these views after personal interactions with Israelis challenged his perceptions. His transformative journey led him to embrace his identity as a Muslim Zionist.

Yahya faced backlash and threats after a viral photo showed him with the Israeli flag in 2014, but he remained steadfast in his mission to bridge gaps and dispel misinformation. He began working with StandWithUs, an organization dedicated to educating people about Israel, to speak across the US and eventually throughout Europe and the rest of the world.  He then enlisted in the IDF as a volunteer, serving for two years as a firearms instructor and then as a disciplinary officer before being recruited for a special delegation in Dubai that worked toward the Abraham Accords.

Yahya uses his platform to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace.  Towards that end he is a project manager at Diploact, ( an advocacy organization that aims to shape and improve the public perception of Israel.  He also serves as a mentor in various programs and works to empower and integrate youth from Israel’s Arab minority.

An alumnus of Ono Academic College he has a B.Ed. degree with a major in non-profit/public/organizational management. These are the kinds of young people who give hope for a future of peace and who will need to step forward soon as we rebuild our faith in the government of the people, by the people and for the people.  May it be soon.

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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