Sherwin Pomerantz

Memorial Day in Israel  

As we begin Memorial Day here in Israel tonight, we note that 1,600 soldiers and civilians were killed in combat or by terror since Israel’s last Memorial Day, according to figures released by authorities late last week, marking the deadliest year for the country’s security forces and civilians in five decades.

According to the Defense Ministry, 766 soldiers were killed while serving in the military during the past year. Another 61 disabled veterans died due to complications from injuries sustained during their service in previous years, the ministry said. The annual figures include all soldiers, police officers, Shin Bet agents, and civilian security officers who died in the past year, whether in the line of duty, or as a result of an accident, illness, or suicide.

Amid the ongoing war which began on October 7 with the Hamas terror group’s onslaught in southern Israel, 716 soldiers and members of security forces have been killed. They include 603 IDF soldiers, 39 local security officers, 68 police officers, and six Shin Bet members.  According to the National Insurance Institute, 834 names were also added to the list of civilian terror victims who perished in attacks during the past year, the vast majority of them during the October 7 massacre.

You can get a sense of the mood of the country this memorial day in this moving personal expression of strength….

Memorial Day begins tonight at sundown and ends on Monday evening as we slide into the observance of Israel’s 76th Independence Day on Tuesday.

 Fighting Continues in Gaza

 The IDF on Saturday morning called for noncombatants to evacuate the Jabalia area of northern Gaza “following attempts by Hamas to reassemble its terrorist infrastructure and operatives in the area.”  According to the army, 100,000 to 150,000 civilians will need to temporarily relocate to shelters in western Gaza City “to reduce harm to the civilian population and to move civilians away from the combat zone, in accordance with international law.”  This is the first mass evacuation and major operation in northern Gaza since the IDF declared full operational control there in January.

As part of the intensification of activities in another area of northern Gaza where five soldiers were killed over the weekend, the IDF said that terrorists were killed and large amounts of weapons were confiscated, including AK-47 rifles, military vests and additional weapons and military equipment that were hidden inside a medical clinic.

The IDF also expanded its evacuation orders for eastern Rafah in southernmost Gaza from 100,000 to 300,000 people, as part of a targeted operation that began last week that included taking control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing to Egypt.

The Challenge of Finding Leadership

My readers might enjoy the op ed by Roger Cranville in the Jerusalem Post on line today….

Roger was the Deputy Secy of Commerce in Pennsylvania when former Gov. Tom Ridge came to Israel in 1997 with a large delegation to, among other things, open the states Israel trade office with us.  This op ed is a positive and complimentary reaction to my earlier one on the challenge we have here in Israel to find qualified leadership as we move forward.  Proud to say that

Pennsylvania remains, of course, our largest and oldest client.

I close today with a prayer that this will be the last memorial day in Israel where we have to list so so many of pur youngest and finest among those we lost.  And, as importantly, that those who have given their last full measure of devotion will not have done so in vain.

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.