What is your ‘mission impact’?

We are fighting a war on four fronts. 

In the south, IDF forces continue to work slowly but methodically to dismantle the complex terrorist infrastructure of Gaza. In the north, our troops repel repeated attacks against Israel by Hezbollah. 

On the home front, our families are persevering through the consistent barrage of rockets, alongside the emotional and financial strain of managing households when one or both parents are off fighting a war. 

And on the western front, we are facing a pernicious and overwhelming attack on the morality of our right to defend ourselves. Our right to our ancient homeland. Our right to exist. 

That was the start of a message I sent to my team a few days ago. During normal times, I am the CEO of TAMID Group, a nonprofit forging lasting connections to Israel for the next generation of business leaders. For the last 87 days, however, I have been on the front lines of the war against Hamas as a member of the operations team commanding the 5th infantry brigade of the IDF. 

I am increasingly aware of how much my colleagues are fighting on the front lines as well — that our paths are not divergent but parallel. Like a driver on one of two tracks separated by a thin wall of forest, I keep getting glimpses of them through the trees, keeping pace, eyes forward. 

My unit is currently in the midst of a major operation, moving through an area saturated with Hamas terrorists that played a major role in the massacres and kidnappings of Oct. 7. We are grateful that there was no cease-fire before our mission began, as our intended results are far too important for the safety of those on the Israeli side of the fence — including our families, who live just a rocket launch away.

And my colleagues in North America? They, too, are focused on results, and they are seeing the tangible impact of TAMID’s work more clearly than ever. 

TAMID Group was once considered a niche nonprofit. While larger, better-funded efforts brought thousands of visitors to Israel or supported Israel’s priorities in the halls of power, we focused on career growth and professional relationships, projects that brought college students and young professionals around the world into direct engagement with the men and women of the Israeli startup sector. And now? Now Israel is at war, and many organizations are stalled, or pivoting, or reevaluating. And ours? We cannot keep pace with demand. With half of our team in a war zone, we are still producing strong, persistent programming on campus and in the alumni space. Forty-two universities are hoping to build new TAMID chapters, more than we’ve ever seen before. Funders and key stakeholders are more engaged than ever.

We are a small organization punching far above our weight. In the midst of a literal war in Israel and a war of morals in the West, we are seeing TAMID members rise to the occasion to a degree we never could have imagined.

Students on campus are working closely with Israeli startups, often filling in for staff who have been drafted to fight. Alumni are finding new ways to engage their firms with Israeli companies, be it through guidance, collaboration or investment. And our members are speaking out, proudly, about their engagement with Israel and their relationships with Israelis.

Ours is a nonpolitical, areligious mission. We don’t aim to recruit or produce members with any particular political or religious ideology. But that doesn’t mean we are without a moral compass, and that’s why our members are speaking out and taking action: not because they’ve been taught what to say or how, and not even because they agree with everything they read about Israel in the news, but because they have learned, firsthand, that Israelis are real people with their own hopes and dreams and families and lives. What they saw on Oct. 7 was an attack, not on a state, but on people. People with hopes and dreams and families and lives.

This week, many of you are returning to your offices or campuses, your normal routines. I will not, and I have three messages to share from the front lines.

The first is to the members of TAMID: You inspire me. Know that I value beyond measure your ability to see and support the Israelis you have come to know and respect as they endure incredible hardship — and your ability to separate politics from humanity at a time when much of the world seems to have forgotten that the two can be separated.

To those who use their financial resources to affect change in the world: This is your moment. Now is the time to be clear on what impact you want to have, to identify those who can produce results, and to fuel them through meaningful philanthropic investments and partnerships.

And to everyone else, to friends and foes alike, I offer three words that will ring in your ears long after the guns of battle fall silent:

Am Yisrael Chai.

Yoni Heilman is the CEO of TAMID Group.