Sherwin Pomerantz

The 205th Day of War in Israel

Yesterday, Hamas published a video of Israeli hostages Keith Siegel (64) and Omri Miran (47).  The two hostages say the video was filmed two days ago. They also talk about not being able to celebrate Passover this year.  They also say that they saw the demonstrations in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and called on the demonstrators to continue the protest.  Protestors in Tel Aviv called on the government to find alternative solutions, insisting that military pressure would not lead to the release of the hostages. “This concept has failed,” demonstrators chanted in Tel Aviv on Saturday after the video’s release.

Keith was abducted from his home in Kfar Aza together with his partner Aviva, who was released during the ceasefire in November.  Omri was abducted from his home in Nahal Oz in front of his family. His wife, Lishay Lavi, managed to tell him before he was abducted, “I love you, we are waiting for you, don’t be a hero.”  As soon as he was taken by the terrorists, his two-year-old daughter Roni tried to run after him and shouted, “I want my dad!”

Israel has now warned Hamas it will carry out a major military operation unless the terrorist group accepts a deal on the table for the release of some, but not all, of the remaining 133 hostages.  “If there is a deal, we will suspend the operation,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Channel 12 as the IDF continued its preparations for the operation and Egypt renewed its push to secure a hostage deal after weeks in which it seemed that such efforts had hit a dead end.  “The release of the hostages is a deep priority for us,” Katz stressed. He spoke after an Egyptian delegation was in Israel on Friday for talks with Israel on the possibility of a new deal.

On Saturday, Hamas said it had received Israel’s official response to its latest ceasefire proposal and will study it before submitting its reply, the group’s deputy Gaza chief said in a statement.  “Hamas has received today the official response of the Zionist occupation to the proposal presented to the Egyptian and the Qatari mediators on April 13,” Khalil Al-Hayya, who is currently based in Qatar, said in a statement published by the group.  At issue has been the potential release of some 20 to 40 of the hostages — women, the elderly, and the informed — in exchange for a pause in the war, which in the past has been described as lasting six weeks. Israel would also be expected to release Palestinian security prisoners and terrorists held in its jails.

Tonight marks the beginning of the last day(s) of Passover, which also marks the crossing of the Reed Sea as our ancestors entered the desert after exiting Egypt, along with the appearance of manna which would turn out to be their source of sustenance for the next 40 years.  As we mark this milestone in our history, demonstrations against our people and our land are coursing through US campuses as a sea of animosity rolls through the vaunted conveyers of knowledge to our youth.   We can only hope that we, who have withstood continued attempts at destruction so many times in the last 3,500 years since we left Egypt, will, once again, merit God’s beneficence that has, for all these years, made our survival possible while our enemies faltered and dropped off from the face of th earth.  May it be so once again.  Chag Sameach, Happy Holiday, to all my Jewish correspondents.

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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