Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 132nd Day of War

Day 132 of the war and fighting continues both in Gaza and on the Lebanese border, with some Israeli bombing as far as 40km north of the border.

Wednesday morning, terrorists in Lebanon fired eleven Grad missiles at the Israeli city of Safed, killing a young soldier named Omer Sarah Benjo and wounding eight others. In Israel’s eyes, this represents a serious escalation on the northern front, beyond the frequent exchanges of fire across the border since October 7—and not only because it took a life. Hizballah also fired missiles at the town of Kiryat Sh’mona the day before, seriously wounding two. But Kiryat Sh’mona is a border town in an area whose civilian population has largely been evacuated, while Safed is an hour’s bus ride to the south.

Israeli fighter jets struck dozens of Hezbollah targets in the area of Wadi Saluki in south Lebanon on Thursday, the IDF said. It said it also hit Hezbollah infrastructure in the area of Labbouneh earlier in the day, as well as a Hezbollah military structure in Taybeh overnight.  Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets into Israel on Thursday morning, with reports suggesting a missile fell close to a hospital in Safed.

The IDF has launched a targeted operation within Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, Gaza, aiming to apprehend Hamas terrorists and recover the bodies of hostages, the military revealed on Thursday.  The goal of the IDF operation is to reach Hamas terrorists, including those suspected of involvement in the October 7 massacre, the IDF stated.

In a Thursday briefing, IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari stated, “Sadly, we know that some hostages are no longer alive. We are committed to finding and returning the bodies of those hostages in Gaza.”

Yesterday’s hostage-related meetings in Cairo once again failed to achieve a deal. The Israeli team returned home and Prime Minister Netanyahu is not prepared to send them back until Hamas abandons its “delusional” demands (his words),

In south Gaza, Israel seems to have devised a plan to protect Palestinian civilians before beginning its assault on Rafah, which is the last city in Gaza that remains under Hamas control.  A series of up to 15 temporary shelter camps have been established and Israel is moving the refugees who came to Rafah from the north to these new locations so that they can stay out of harm’s way.

Hamas finds itself up against the wall in Rafah and is desperately hoping a U.S.-imposed ceasefire will preempt the coming Israeli offensive. But if it gives up the hostages, it loses its ability to use them as human shields. Therefore, its best bet is to prolong negotiations. Hizballah—which knew full well that Jerusalem would respond differently to a rocket barrage on Safed than to previous attacks—seems to want to relieve some of the pressure on its allies in Gaza.  Let’s hope that the IDF does its work in Rafah and successfully routs the Hamas leadership.

Future Leadership

One of the younger organizational executives worth looking at for future leadership is Ze’ev Lavie who, for the last year, has been the Director of Global Business Development, Innovation & Partnerships at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

For 14 years prior to his joining Ichilov Hospital, he was Director of the International Relations Division of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC), a leading economic organization representing Israel’s trade and service sectors.  The FICC serves as a roof organization to over 5,000 businesses and organizations operating in more than 120 divisions representing various economic branches including export, import, trade, real estate, financial and business services.  Lavie’s responsibilities included assisting senior executives of leading Israeli companies to penetrate new markets or expand their business operations in existing markets.   In addition, he organized conferences and presentations as well as other business development activities.

Previously, Lavie held various client relationship positions in the hospitality industry and co-founded a business networking website.  Lavie also volunteers for a number of charitable and community causes, including Israeli-Palestinian Young Business Leaders Forum and the Association for Community Empowerment “Yedid.”  He is a veteran and a reservist in the IDF, holding the rank of Staff Sergeant.  Lavie has an LL.B degree from the Ono Academic College Law School.

Israel, after the war, will need to seek out the best talent to form a cadre of professionals who will leverage the “truths” we learned during this period to create a new level of responsibility in the upper ranks of the leadership of the country.  Ze’ev would be a useful addition to that group.

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.