Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 139th Day of War

The 139th day of war dawned with a terrorist attack on the road from Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem as cars were in line waiting to be cleared through the check point. Three terrorists opened fire shooting randomly, killing one person and wounding eight others before being neutralized by local forces. Ma’ale Adumim is a suburb of Jerusalem on the other side of the green line.

Last night, the Knesset overwhelmingly passed a declarative motion against the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by countries in the west. The motion, which does not have enforcement power, passed with 99 votes in favor out of the 120 Knesset  members. Rumors have been circulating that the US is considering this although it has not been formally stated by US officials.

Today, Thursday, there is a second summit meeting being held in Paris to try to hammer out a deal to release the remaining hostages held by Hamas.  Representatives of the US, Egypt, Qatar and Israel are attending.

Israeli officials have privately admitted that the IDF has no “precise” strategy for the invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.  Bloomberg reported that “officials acknowledge in private they have no precise strategy for how to attack in Rafah, how long it will take or where the people will go.”  Speaking to Bloomberg on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his call for the IDF to draw up a plan for evacuating Palestinian civilians from the southernmost city in the Strip.

The IDF’s Arrow missile defense system intercepted a rocket launched toward Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat and the surrounding towns, the Israeli military confirmed.  The target was located and shot down in the Red Sea, failing to cross into Israeli territory.  Elsewhere over the Red Sea, two missiles were fired at a vessel in an attack southeast of the Yemeni port ciry of Aden on Thursday, causing a fire onboard, Britain’s maritime agency said.

The war sems to have settled into a pattern and everyone here would be very happy to see it wind down and the casualty list drop to zero.

Future Leadership

Another “comer” on the local Jerusalem scene is Ian (Haim) Pear, a rabbi, lawyer and social activist living in Jerusalem. Together with his wife Dr. Rachel Pear, he founded Shir Hadash, a popular Jerusalem based Synagogue, Educational Institute and Israel Advocacy Center.

. Rabbi Pear has also worked for Laster and Goldman, Israel’s premier environmental law firm; and while he decided not to continue as a practicing lawyer, he regularly takes advantage of that experience by teaching groups about Judaism and the environment and engaging in environmental activism. He is also pursuing advanced degrees in law at Hebrew University (in their celebrated Mishpat Ivri division), which further allows him to teach about the interaction of Halacha and secular Israeli law.

Another major interest is leading ‘Spiritual Diplomacy’ efforts on behalf of Israel – which includes hosting, teaching and inspiring high level delegations of non-Jewish politicians, academics, clergy and journalists, and thereby deepen their connection to the Jewish State and the Jewish people.

A one-time aspiring stand-up comedian, Rabbi Pear received his ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Theological Seminary (and its Jerusalem based Gruss Kollel), and holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and a degree in International Law, Politics and Security from Georgetown University’s School for Foreign Service. He is currently a candidate for the Jerusalem City Council as well and is looking forward to being elected in the upcoming municipal elections.

He is the author of three books, including the best-seller The Accidental Zionist.  The Pears have five children.

Rebbi Pear’s strength is knowing how to build successful organizations from scratch and keeping large groups of people in such organizations relatively satisfied.  Not an easy task in Israel but we are a country that desperately needs people with his talents as part of our post-war government.  He is certainly someone worth considering for future leadership.

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.