Sherwin Pomerantz

The Sad Death of Ten More Israeli Soldiers

Ten IDF soldiers were killed in combat in different incidents in the northern and southern Gaza Strip in the last 24 hours. Earlier on Sunday, the IDF published the names of the soldiers who were killed in fighting there, following correspondence with the families of the soldiers. The military noted that in the incident in which eight soldiers were killed, two soldiers were also seriously wounded and were transferred to the hospital for medical treatment.

From an initial investigation, two possibilities are being examined. The first is that an anti-tank missile hit the armored personnel carrier (APC), which held the 8 soldiers who died. The second possibility is that the APC hit a powerful explosive device. The incident began on Friday night close to 12:00 a.m., with the attack by the 162nd Division on the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood in Rafah.

In the attack carried out by the 401st Brigade, in which the 424th Battalion and 601st Battalion of the Engineering Corps also operated, 50 terrorists were killed. At the end of the operation, the forces were positioned in the northwestern part of the neighborhood, where it was known there were many terrorists. At around 5:15 a.m., an explosion occurred while the APC, the sixth in the convoy, was in motion. It was also noted that it was very difficult to access the APC that caught fire which resulted in a chain of explosions. After controlling the fire, IDF forces began to tow the APC away but all of those inside had perished. May their memories be blessed and their families comforted.

In interviews with nearly a dozen Gaza residents in recent months, a number of them said they held Hamas responsible for starting the war and helping to bring death and destruction upon them, even as they blame Israel first and foremost according to an article in today’s New York Times.

One Gazan, Raed al-Kelani, 47, said Hamas always acts in its own interests. “It started Oct. 7, and it wants to end it on its own terms,” said Mr. al-Kelani, who worked as a civil servant for the former Palestinian Authority government in Gaza, which was run by a rival faction to Hamas before Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. “But time is ticking with no potential hope of ending this,” he added. Mr. al-Kelani now makes meals and distributes food in shelters for displaced Gazans. “Hamas is still seeking its slice of power,” he said. “Hamas does not know how to get down from the tree it climbed.”

Some of the Gazans who spoke to The New York Times said that Hamas knew it would be starting a devastating war with Israel that would cause heavy civilian casualties, but that it did not provide any food, water or shelter to help people survive it. Hamas leaders have said they wanted to ignite a permanent state of war with Israel on all fronts as a way to revive the Palestinian cause and knew that the Israeli response would be big.

Throughout the war, hints of dissent have broken through, sometimes even as Gazans were mourning loved ones killed by Israeli attacks. Others waited until they left the enclave to condemn Hamas — and even then, were at times reluctant in case the group survives the war and continues to govern Gaza.

The IDF announced Sunday it will hold a daily “tactical-humanitarian pause” in military activity on a specific route in southern Gaza from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. to allow humanitarian convoys to pass. The IDF clarified that “there is no cessation of hostilities in southern Gaza and the hostilities in Rafah continue.” The response of the right-wing politicians in government here was quick and full of criticism as expected. They opined that this is certainly a strange way to fight a war.

I just watched the two-hour funeral for 20-year-old Eliyahu Moshe Zimbalist, one of the ten soldiers killed in Gaza yesterday. One of 7 siblings who came here at the age of two when the family left Silver Spring, Maryland to live in Israel, Eliyahu was praised by friends and family alike as a builder for whom no job was too much of a challenge.

To say the it was painful to watch parents eulogize a child, or to see siblings speak about their now dead older brother, would be an understatement. As one who has buried a child, I can vouch for the fact that the emotional pain of doing so is unique and unlike any other loss. And yet, the funeral was a ceremony of hope that his sacrifice, and that of the now over 300 others who have died in battle, will not have been in vain. Rather it is part of the heavy price we have to pay to have the honor of rebuilding the Land of Israel after 2,000 years of exile.

At the end of the service, which was held in the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl, the thousands who stood for two hours in 90 degree heat sang Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem followed by the ani ma’amin, Maimonides version of the 13 principles of faith in which Jews believe. That made a challenging time uplifting and yet full of promise. May Eliyahu’s and his comrade’s memory be blessed and may the deaths stop sooner rather than later.

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.
Related Topics
Related Posts