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Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 59th Day of War

As Israel marks 59 days of war, the country has settled into somewhat of a routine, one that none of us wanted to be involved with as we went about our daily business in early October.  Yet Hamas had other plans for us and we are responding as best we can.

Israel has never waged active war for this long a period and questions are being heard on the street as to whether our war cabinet has the capability required to “go long” as it were in a country where patience is not exactly our strong suit.  Hopefully the answer to our concern is that the leadership does know what it is doing and is making the right decisions.

The IDF continues its efforts to finish up its work in Northern Gaza and is intensifying its operations in Southern Gaza in the area of Khan Yunis.  It is believed that the Hamas leadership is now based there.

In the north, Ziv Medical Center in Safed on Sunday admitted 12 people injured by an anti-tank missile attack from Lebanon.  One woman and 11 men between the ages of 20 and 65 were lightly wounded from shrapnel and the missile’s blast, the hospital said.   Several soldiers were slightly injured by fragments and a vehicle was damaged in the attack. It was unclear whether the other hospitalized victims were soldiers or civilians.  Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack on the army vehicle that was targeted in the area of Moshav Beit Hillel in the Eastern Galilee.  In addition, the IDF detected several launches in the Mount Dov area, some of which struck inside Lebanese territory. The IDF later issued an update stating that Israeli fighter jets attacked Hezbollah targets in Lebanon and that several launches were detected from Lebanon toward Israeli territory, with IDF artillery attacking the sources of the fire.

Regionally, a U.S. Navy destroyer and multiple commercial vessels have come under attack in the Red Sea, according to an advisory from the Pentagon on Sunday.  “We’re aware of reports regarding attacks on the USS Carney and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available,” the Pentagon said.  A U.S. official told the Associated Press the attacks began around 10 a.m. near Yemen’s capital city, Sana’a, and had gone on for as long as five hours.  That region has been rocked by a series of attacks attributed to Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

In a statement posted to X, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea claimed the group attacked “two Israeli ships in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.”  The statement named the Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier Unity Explorer and the Panama-flagged container ship Number 9 as two of the ships that were attacked with missiles and UAVs. There was no immediate confirmation that there was any Israeli connection to the two vessels.  The Houthis vowed to “continue to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Red and Arab Seas until the Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip stops.”

Earlier today it was announced that three more of our troops had been killed in battle on Sunday and were being buried today.  The tradition here during war time is that when the family leaves their home to travel to the military cemetery for burial, the route is announced on social media and people are encouraged to gather along the route and wave Israeli flags to give honor to the fallen soldiers.

This morning, as I was driving in Jerusalem, I passed the route that the family of Sgt. Maj. Ben Zussman would be traveling for his noon-time burial in the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl.  For a moment I wondered where everyone got their flags?  Then I realized that for nine months before October 7th the demonstrations for and against judicial reform here were always accompanied by the demonstrators carrying Israeli flags, available for purchase all over the country.  Two months later those flags that were formerly symbols of protest (primarily) or support of the government, now represent a nation united in its fight for survival and a visible expression of sympathy for the families of those who have paid the ultimate price.

May the memories of our heroes be blessed and may their families be consoled among the mourners of Israel and of Jerusalem.

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.