Sherwin Pomerantz

 Israel’s 96th Day of War

The IDF struck some 150 targets across the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours, as ground operations continued in Khan Yunis and Al Maghazi. (As I sit here in Jerusalem I can regularly hear the jet fighters overhead on their way to Gaza.) IDF forces uncovered more than 15 tunnel shafts in the Al Maghazi area, and seized rocket launchers, missiles, UAVs and explosive devices during targeted raids on Hamas sites. Israeli troops also destroyed a machine used for manufacturing rockets, according to the military. During operational activity in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, IDF ground forces directed an air strike that eliminated 10 terrorists. In battles in the area over the last day, dozens of terrorist operatives were killed, the military said. Khan Yunis is Gaza’s second largest city and is regarded as a personal stronghold of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, whose family lives there.

Yesterday’s operations bring the total number of Israeli soldiers killed since the start of ground operations in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 27 to 186; a total of 520 military personnel have died since the war began on Oct. 7.

On Tuesday, Defense Minister Gallant told visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel will “intensify and continue” its military operation in the southern Gaza Strip until the Hamas leadership is found and the more than 120 hostages still held by the terrorist group are returned to the Jewish state.

During their meeting held at military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Gallant also briefed the American diplomat on “changes in combat tactics in the northern area of the Gaza Strip,” according to a Defense Ministry statement.

The US has underscored the fact that they are not asking Israel to pursue a cease fire and has reaffirmed that position in UN votes as well.

In the north, Israel killed a senior Hezbollah drone commander shortly after Lebanon staged a drone attack on the IDF’s northern Israel headquarters. There were no injuries but there was some damage.

In action in the Red Sea, American and British forces shot down 21 Houthi drones and missiles launched from Yemen over the southern Red Sea on Tuesday night, according to US Central Command. Two US security officials told CNN that the number of Houthi drones and missiles intercepted by naval forces was actually 24 and that it was “one of the largest Houthi attacks that occurred in the Red Sea in recent months.” CENTCOM tweeted early on Wednesday that a “complex attack of Iranian designed one-way attack UAVs (OWA UAVs), anti-ship cruise missiles, and an anti-ship ballistic missile” took place at 9:15 p.m., adding that “dozens of merchant vessels were transiting” at the time of the attack. According to CENTCOM, a total of 18 drones, two anti-ship cruise missiles and one anti-ship ballistic missile were intercepted in a combined response that included F/A 18 fighter jets that took off from three aircraft carriers—the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS Gravely and USS Laboon. The United Kingdom’s HMS Diamond assisted in the efforts to counter the Houthi attack.

Today’s featured Israeli who has leadership potential in the post war period is Nehemia (Chemi) Peres, a Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Pitango, Israel’s largest and most successful venture capital fund.

He began his career in the VC world in 1992 as founder and managing partner of MOFET Israel technology Fund (traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange), and later co-founded and chaired the Israel Venture Association (IVA, a.k.a IATI) Prior to his work in Venture Capital, Chemi held managerial positions in the software industry at Decision Systems Israel (DSI) and at the engineering department of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Chemi also served for ten years as a pilot at the Israeli Air Force (IAF).

Chemi has accumulated years of experience as a board member in many companies, several of which became publicly traded on the NASDAQ and NYSE. Among them are Aladdin, AudioCodes, Orckit Communications and VocalTec. He served on the board of Koor Industries and as of 2017 he has been on the board of directors of Teva Pharmaceuticals. In 2020 he joined the Ethics & Sustainability Committee at GEOX. He currently serves on the boards of numerous Pitango portfolio companies such as Via Transportation, Taboola,, Duda, Totango and Radwin. Chemi is Chairman of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1996. He also serves on the board of other non-profit organizations such as Social Finance Israel (SFI) among others. In 2020 he co-founded and steered the COVID-19 relief Israeli Solidarity Fund together with MATAN, the Israeli branch of United Way. He is a former chairperson of the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce and, of course, the son of Shimon Peres, a former President of Israel, so he is well familiar with how the political system works here.  He holds a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering and an MBA both from Tel Aviv University. He is typical of the kinds of people we will need in government after the war.

On Sunday Israel will mark 100 days of war and 100 days of captivity for those hostages who remain in Gaza. Please take a minute to watch this moving appeal by Rachel Goldberg-Polin, mother of hostage Hersh Polin, (posted her cortesy of Daniel Gordis) and act on her request of all of us to personally identify with the hostages……

May they all come home to their families alive and well.

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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