Sherwin Pomerantz

Working to Find a Light at the End of the Tunnel

Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the dissolution of the security cabinet in a Sunday meeting with the National Security Cabinet (NSC), a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed on Monday.  “The cabinet was in the coalition agreement with National Unity MK Benny Gantz at his request. As soon as Gantz left – there is no need for a cabinet anymore,” Netanyahu reportedly said during the security cabinet meeting.

According to Netanyahu, there will not be a new cabinet formed of the leaders of the coalition parties, an idea previously put forward by far-right ministers Smotrich and Ben Gvir.  Instead, the statutory security cabinet will convene at a higher frequency, and Netanyahu will also hold ad-hoc “security consultations” when necessary, the spokesperson said.

The move is seen by most observers as Netanyahu’s strategy of deflecting the demand by Ben-Gvir and Smotrich to be added to the war cabinet. The prime minister previously had refrained from bringing some sensitive information to the security cabinet out of fear of leaks, and it remains to be seen how the will operate in this regard.

Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki released a survey of Palestinian attitudes on Wednesday – the third since October 7 – showing that fully 61% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza would prefer to see Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and that support for the terrorist organization far outstrips that of Fatah.

Nevertheless, the headline of a New York Times front page article on Sunday read, “Gazans voice their distress under Hamas.” The online headline to the story was, “As war drags on, Gazans more willing to speak out against Hamas.”

Three days after a prominent Palestinian pollster referred to as such by a senior New York Times writer in November, released a poll indicating one trend among Palestinians, the Times published a front-page article that seemed to contradict those poll findings.

While the poll showed strong support for Hamas among Palestinians, the Times article, based on “interviews with nearly a dozen Gaza in recent months,” portrayed a different narrative of dissatisfaction with Hamas rule in Gaza.The article acknowledged that while gauging public opinion in Gaza is more difficult now even than it was in the past and, in some instances, renders contradictory results, “some recent surveys reflect the weak or mixed support in Gaza for Hamas and its leaders.”

The story quoted a March survey by the West Bank-based Institute for Social and Economic Progress that found that three-quarters of respondents opposed Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh.  As to Shikaki’s poll, the report had this to say: “Other polls painted a more mixed picture. A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Gaza and published this past week showed that support in Gaza for Hamas leaders is slightly higher and that the share who are satisfied with Hamas leadership in the territory has risen since December.”

Shikaki’s poll, unlike the one from March cited by the Times, found that the percentage of satisfaction with Hamas and Sinwar remains very high. Some 65% of all Palestinians said they were satisfied with Sinwar’s performance during this war (76% in the West Bank and 50% in Gaza.)

Since the beginning of the war, according to an in-depth study of New York Times coverage from October 7 to May 7 by Maariv journalist Lilac Sigan, the Times has presented a skewed picture of the war, with the stories heavily empathetic to the Palestinians and critical of Israel.

Living here one gets the impression that both sides in this war along with Hezballah in Lebanon are all looking for an honorable way to climb down from their perches on high trees.  Let’s hope we find a way to get everyone down safely before we destroy each other.  I believe we can do that.

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.