Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 20th Day of War

Israeli ground forces operated within the northern Gaza Strip overnight, attacking multiple Hamas targets before withdrawing, according to an IDF statement on Israel’s Army Radio, describing it as the biggest incursion of the current war. Video of the action issued by the military showed armored vehicles proceeding through a sandy border zone. A bulldozer is seen leveling part of a raised bank, tanks firing shells, and explosions are seen near or amid a row of damaged buildings.

The military statement posted online said the incursion was carried out “in preparation for the next stages of combat”, a possible reference to the large-scale invasion that Israeli leaders have threatened as part of the war to destroy Hamas.  Israel began localized ground incursions on Sunday as the war entered its third week. Israel’s Army Radio described today’s incursion as the biggest yet.

Hamas launched a massive barrage of rockets toward central and southern Israel on Wednesday evening, lightly wounding six people, following several days with fewer missiles fired from Gaza. A rocket crashed into a home in Rishon LeZion south of Tel Aviv, lightly wounding three people — a woman in her 40s hurt by shards of glass, a man around 80 wounded by shrapnel and a woman, 75, being treated for smoke inhalation, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

In northern Israel, the military said air defense systems intercepted a surface-to-air missile launched from Lebanon at an Israeli military drone on Wednesday night, amid continued exchanges with the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group and allied Palestinian factions.

Discussion continues about providing humanitarian aid to Gaza. The medical infrastructure there is complaining that they are running out of fuel for their generators. However, video supplied by the IDF shows ten full fuel storage tanks under Hamas’ control, that combined, hold half a million liters of fuel. But it appears that Hamas is holding that in reserve for military use rather than supply the hospitals with the much-needed fuel that could save Palestinian lives.

Earlier today opposition leader Yair Lapid opined that the present government is not functioning at the level needed to properly address the challenges before us.  He then presented eight recommendations for the government to consider, which he said were formed in consultation with experts and former government officials using experience gained in previous conflicts and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He listed (a) communicating with the public more frequently; (b) improving care of evacuated citizens, in part by moving delivery of services to local authorities, aided by the government; (c) aiding small and medium-sized businesses and independent contractors called up to reserve duty; (d) expanding financial protections for reservists and frontline residents; (e) increasing educational services, especially for evacuated children; (f) broadening mental health services; (g) increasing personal protection, in part by putting armed community security organizations in each Israeli town; and (h) closing unneeded government ministries and diverting coalition funds to the war effort.

The opposition leader identified eight superfluous government ministries as well, saying, “They are ministries that don’t need to exist, especially not in wartime.” He suggested they be closed and their budgets diverted to local authorities and the war effort. There has been no reaction as yet from the leadership.

In a related story, US college campuses continue to be the hotbed of anti-Israel activity that has been developing for a number of years. At George Washington University in Washington, DC anti-Israel messages were projected onto the exterior of a campus building. The messages — including “Glory to Our Martyrs,” “Divestment From Zionist Genocide Now,” and “Free Palestine From The River To The Sea” — appeared on the side of a library building for two hours. Photos shared by the student newspaper and the watchdog group StopAntisemitism showed that the messages spanned several floors and could be read clearly at a distance. Video appeared to show masked students projecting the images from the street, arguing with university police over whether their actions were in violation of campus rules, before being ticketed. And similar acts have appeared on other campuses as well.

As we approach three full weeks of war, the population of Israel remains energized, has ramped up a massive volunteer network to deal with those displaced from the north and the south, and developed a framework of psychological services to address the trauma of living in war zone. All of us living here are steadfast in our determination to come out of this stronger and more united than ever.  With God’s help, may that objective be realized to the fullest.

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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