Sherwin Pomerantz

The 171st Day of Israel’s War Against Hamas   

On Day 171 of the war in Gaza, here are the numbers Israel is dealing with.

  • 134 hostages still held
  • 595 IDF soldiers killed since October 7
  • 251 IDF soldiers killed in ground operations (which exclude October 7 itself)
  • 3098 soldiers wounded since October 7
  • 1489 soldiers wounded in combat (which excludes October 7 itself)

I have not reported numbers for some time but as we approach a full six months since the start of the war it seemed appropriate to call attention to these.

On the ground operations in Gaza City and Khan Yunis continue as does the cleaning out of terrorists in Gaza;s Shifa Hospital.   While Israel continues to say that there is no victory without going into Rafah, there is no timetable for that action.

Regarding the hostage issue, Israel is waiting for a response from Hamas to the most recent cease fire/hostage release scenario.  It is not clear at this time what that response will be nor how it will be structured.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant departed for Washington on Sunday, at the invitation of his American counterpart Lloyd Austin. Gallant is scheduled to meet with Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and additional senior officials.

“The parties will discuss developments in the war against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza, efforts undertaken to return the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, humanitarian efforts and measures required to ensure regional stability,” the minister’s office said in a statement.  “Gallant will also raise the importance of maintaining and further deepening the important cooperation between the defense establishments of both countries, as well as topics related to force build-up and maintaining the qualitative military edge of the State of Israel,” it added.

Gallant’s trip comes on the backdrop of disagreements between Jerusalem and Washington over the prosecution of the next stage of the war against Hamas.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Blinken during a meeting in Tel Aviv that the Jewish state cannot defeat Hamas without destroying its battalions in Rafah.  “I told him that I hope we would do this with U.S. support but, if necessary, we will do it alone,” Netanyahu said.

Hezbollah fired some 50 rockets at the Galilee before dawn on Sunday, after the Israeli Air Force struck a terrorist site deep inside Lebanon.  The rocket barrage was one of the biggest since Hezbollah initiated a low-intensity conflict against the Jewish state in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre. Israeli air defenses intercepted several of the rockets and the rest hit open areas, the IDF said. There were no reports of injuries or damages.  In response, IAF craft struck a series of sites in Southern Lebanon from which some of the projectiles were fired.

Let us hope that all of the efforts being made to bring the remaining hostages home, to ensure that our troops return home safe and sound to their families and to find a longer term solution to the problems we face in this corner of the world will bear fruit.  It would be a welcome relief.

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.