Dissidents, magnates or computer scientists: Israel’s civil society mobilizes for the war

 Still traumatized by the massacres and massive kidnappings of the Islamist group Hamas, Israeli society has put aside its deep polarization and has built a civil emergency center to face the war: the reservists lead the logistics, citizens collect donations and high-tech brains track missing people.

Among the palm trees and iridescent skyscrapers that characterize cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, the financial, technological and intellectual capital of Israel, the city’s Convention Center has become an anthill since October 7, when the war with Hamas broke out. who rules de facto in the Gaza Strip.

Thousands of Israelis of all profiles – computer scientists, artists, magnates, intelligence experts, political leaders and reservists – have left their jobs and their daily lives to respond to the emergency experienced by victims in Israel: more than 1,400 dead, almost 4,000 injured , at least 120 hostages, tens of thousands of displaced people and an undetermined number of missing people.

In this operations center, everyone rolls up their sleeves to collaborate in whatever way they can, leaving aside the deep social division brought about by the Government of Benjamin Netanyahu and his ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox partners.

“As long as the cannons are firing, we will be supporting, all united. “When the war is over, we will hold the Government accountable,” Noam Lanir, a wealthy 57-year-old businessman who is part of Brothers in Arms, an organization of reservists who refused to perform military service in protest of Netanyahu’s initiative to subtract autonomy from Justice.

“As soon as the war broke out, we transferred all our protest efforts to support work for the Army, for the citizens,” explains the magnate, who offers flights on private planes to transport reservist soldiers or relatives of victims who are abroad to Israel.


The parking lot of the Tel Aviv Convention Center functions as a protection bunker against the constant launch of rockets from Gaza and also as an epicenter for the collection of food and supplies that arrive from all over the country.

An army of people works on organizing, sorting, packaging and shipping aid, while others have their eyes glued to their computers and phones managing applications and websites created especially for the humanitarian effort.

The frenzy of work pauses for a few moments when an important figure appears, such as the opposition leader and former Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, who agreed to form an emergency government with Netanyahu for the duration of the war. Some approach him to take a photo and explain their most pressing needs.

Also present is Shikma Bressler, a scientist who became one of the most prominent faces of the historic protest movement against Netanyahu.

In the emergency of the war, which has already completed 10 days, civil society is “filling all the gaps left by the Government, because after so many years with Netanyahu in charge, the bureaucratic apparatus is broken,” Bressler, who details to EFE. He regrets that the prime minister has appointed to his cabinet “people who are loyal to him, regardless of whether they were prepared to take office.”

For her, the current Israeli Executive is a “kakistocracy (a Government made up of the most incompetent), with corruption and lack of self-criticism, which characterizes non-democratic countries.”

Civil intelligence

Israel’s thriving high-tech sector has put its eminences and entrepreneurs at the service of the cause.

“We installed the largest civilian headquarters, which unifies all the logistics, food and clothing that is needed,” Guy Margalit, project manager at Wix, a company specialized in the creation of websites, tells EFE, which has made portals and applications to organize the registration and deployment of volunteers, as well as the distribution of aid.

On the portal, which has been visited by more than 200,000 people since the war broke out, victims can access a psychologist specialized in trauma or a family willing to take them in while they find their own home again.

In addition, intelligence program developers have set up a huge office, with more than 400 volunteers, to track the missing and identify the dead with artificial intelligence and facial and body recognition tools.

Each victim has a file with a large amount of personal information -photos, videos, last geolocation, DNA-, which is compared with the evidence collected by the Police and the Army, as well as with images from social networks published by witnesses or even by the victims. militiamen

Identification is complex because many of the dead were burned or dismembered, and it is difficult to know if the hostages are still alive after Israel’s intense bombing of the Gaza Strip.

“We have the most masterful brains in Israel’s high-tech sector,” who at the same time must demonstrate “nerves of steel, because what they are seeing is unbearable,” says Amit Farman, spokesperson for the group.

“The paradox of this is that the success of the mission, that is, when we find a ‘match’, means that we can confirm that someone is dead or kidnapped in Gaza, that is, we confirm a hell, or a double hell,” he laments. .

Ch Fahad khan janda