Sherwin Pomerantz

The 159th Day of Israel’s War Against Hamas

On this, the 158th day of the war and the 1st day of Ramadan, it was announced that last ditch efforts by the Egyptians and Qataris to broker a pause in the fighting have been unsuccessful.   The reluctance of Hamas to provide a list of hostages and Israel’s requirement for that for the talks to proceed have stymied the negotiators.

A day after President Biden asserted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “hurting Israel more than helping Israel,” Netanyahu dismissed that contention as “wrong,” escalating the leaders’ increasingly public dispute.  The Prime Minister, in an interview with Politico that aired on Sunday night, challenged Mr. Biden’s assessment of Israel’s military strategy in the Gaza Strip, saying that his policies represented the “overwhelming majority” of Israelis.

“I don’t know exactly what the president meant, but if he meant by that that I’m pursuing private policies against the majority, the wish of the majority of Israelis, and that this is hurting the interests of Israel, then he’s wrong on both counts,” Netanyahu told Politico.  Netanyahu was responding to comments Biden made on Saturday in an interview with MSNBC that aired on Sunday night.  Biden rebuked Netanyahu over the rising civilian death toll in Gaza, even as he reaffirmed our right to defend ourselves.

“In my view, he’s hurting Israel more than helping Israel,” Mr. Biden said, appearing to refer to Mr. Netanyahu’s military strategy. “It’s contrary to what Israel stands for, and I think it’s a big mistake. So, I want to see a cease-fire.”

The sparring comes amid a mounting humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with the United Nations and aid agencies warning of looming famine in the besieged enclave of 2.2 million. Health officials in Gaza reported that at least 25 people, most of them children, had died from malnutrition and dehydration in recent days.

Regarding the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the New York Times published a disturbing picture of a starving child that looked as if she had been in a concentration camp.  The article claimed it was a picture of a child in Gaza.  After the damage to Israel’s reputation was done showed that the picture was not from Gaza at all but was taken in 2014 in Yarmouk, a suburb of Damascus, Syria during the Syrian civil war.  So much for truth in publishing.

The U.S. military said on Sunday that the General Frank S. Besson logistics support vessel had set sail carrying equipment to build a floating pier on Gaza’s coast to deliver humanitarian aid by sea. The Israeli military will help coordinate the installation of the pier, IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Saturday.  Britain, the EU and the UAE said on Friday that they would join a separate maritime initiative to get aid into Gaza.

The Hamas Al-Majd security website on Monday warned Palestinian individuals or groups not to cooperate with Israel to provide security for aid humanitarian aid convoys. Those who did would be treated as collaborators, the site said, quoting a security official in Palestinian militant forces.

Future Leadership 

I have geneally tried not to feature people who have already been in politics, but am making an excpetion today for Dr. Erel N. Margalit, the founder and Executive Chairman of Jerusalem Venture Partners and Margalit Startup City.  He is one of the chief architects of the startup nation, having brought innovation and entrepreneurial leadership to the country’s most pressing political, economic, and social challenges.

Erel founded Jerusalem Venture Partners 27 years ago and turned it into a globally recognized brand that combines business and social impact. He was chosen by Forbes as one of the world’s leading non-American venture capitalists, one that combines social profit along with smart investment.

Based on his vision, the Margalit Startup City Model was established creating centers of excellence in Jerusalem, Beersheba, the Galilee, Haifa and New York incorporating investments, opportunity and impact.  He facilitated 36 company exits along with 12 Initial Public Offerings on NASDAQ. With over 160 investments, JVP’s portfolio companies continue to drive global markets until today.

During his tenure as a Member of the Knesset from 2013–2017, Erel served as a Member of the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee and Finance Committee. Erel led the Knesset’s Cybersecurity Taskforce and the Taskforce developing the North and South of Israel, implementing various economic development initiatives around the country.

Along with the business successes, Erel and his wife Debbie recognized the socio-economic gaps among Jerusalem’s disadvantaged children and it propelled them to create the social impact program Margalit Startup City Community “Bakehila.” What started in Jerusalem twenty years ago is now a nationally renowned educational non-profit that raises academic achievements and promotes personal and societal growth. More than 40,000 students nationwide, Jews and Arabs, have attended the Margalit Startup City Community programs as the program continues its reach.

We could do worse than having Erel return to the public sphere and share his expertise as we rebuild the country after the war.

Finally for those interested in seeing how the Gazan Ministry of Health fakes casualty numbers, feel free to read this piece from Tablet Magazine which you can access here…..

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.