Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 135th Day of War

The 135th day of war in Israel finds the War Cabinet continuing with their plans to launch an operation in Rafah in the southern Gaza strip which includes the evacuation of 1.3 million Gaza citizens out of the war zone before the attack begins. Israel has plans to build a number of temporary camps north of the combat zone to house those who have left Gaza.   Meanwhile, Egypt seems to be taking Israel’s plans seriously and is building a wall on the Egyptian border with Gaza in order to prevent Palestinians in Gaza from trying to flee into Egypt.  The general feeling on the ground is that if there is no deal with Hamas before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on March 10th, the operation in Rafah will be launched.

While the hostage negotiations have stalled there is still hope that a deal can be arranged before Ramadan begins.  Hamas is, of course, blaming Israel for the stalled talks while Israel is saying the Hamas has to abandon its “delusional” demands for serious talks to occur.  Meanwhile world opinion continues to build against Israel as pictures of starving children in Gaza lining up for hot soup flood the newscasts.

While world opinion continues to push for a cease fire, the US signaled that it would veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for a cease fire.  The United Nations Security Council is likely to vote on Tuesday on an Algerian push for the 15-member body to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, said diplomats, a move the United States signaled it would veto.  Algeria put forward an initial draft resolution more than two weeks ago. But US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield quickly said the text could jeopardize “sensitive negotiations” aimed at brokering a pause in the war.

At today’s cabinet meeting, the Israeli government unanimously approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal, which reads that “Israel will continue to reject international diktat regarding the permanent arrangement with the Palestinians” in order to “unilaterally force a Palestinian state on Israel.” According to the text of the final statement, Israel “outright rejects” the diktats. “Such an arrangement will be achieved only by direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions. Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such recognition, following the October 7 massacre, will award an immense and unprecedented prize to terrorism, and prevent any future peace agreement,” the statement said.

Future Leadership

Today’s featured potential leader represents a population in Israel that is still too often overlooked.

Solomon Geveye, 38, was born in the Ethiopia and came to Israel as part of the historic Operation Solomon in 1991, in which more than 14,300 Ethiopian Jews were clandestinely airlifted to Israel over a 36-hour period.  Geveye quickly learned Hebrew and, given his intelligence level, skipped first grade. Although he was an outstanding soccer player, at the age of 13 he chose school over sports. ”

He is an alumnus of Atidim’s prestigious Academic Reserves Program through which he received a BA degree in economics from Ariel University after which he served 7-1/2 years in the IDF as an economist planning and managing $100 million budgets.  During that period, he completed his MBA degree retiring from the IDF as a captain.

With the business experience he gained from working for a few years in California, Geveye in 2019, founded his own consulting company, IEA (Israel, Ethiopia, America), which brought emerging Israeli technologies and investments to more advanced African countries such as Nigeria and Ethiopia. He also facilitated projects between Israeli and American companies and African organizations.  In 2021 he became a partner and the chief business development officer for MetekuAI, a seed stage start-up. The company combines advanced artificial intelligence with human expertise to address the problem of fake news, disinformation, and organic content distribution on social media.  Most recently Geveye launched the Haile Fund (haile means “within my power” in Amharic) with an experienced advisory team and professional partners from across the hi-tech ecosystem designed to support pre-seed and seed-stage companies with at least one Ethiopian-Israeli founder.  Additionally, the fund, with the support of the Israel Innovation Authority, is establishing an entrepreneurship and acceleration program called Haile Scale, which will provide learning and support services to the fund’s entrepreneurs, operated by the Reichman Entrepreneurship School.

Solomon, and many of his colleagues originally from Ethiopia, have transitioned well to Israeli society and represent a pool of potential leaders that could be useful to any government interested in building the new, post-war Israel.  We should tap their expertise and experience.

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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