Shmuel Chafets, the Tel Aviv-based co-founder and chairman of the venture capital firm Target Global, said he volunteered with the Israeli military after attacks from Hamas killed hundreds over the weekend.
(Bloomberg) — Shmuel Chafets, the Tel Aviv-based co-founder and chairman of the venture capital firm Target Global, said he volunteered with the Israeli military after attacks from Hamas killed hundreds over the weekend.
“I think as an Israeli, it’s my duty and all of our duty to come and protect our country,” said Chafets, who is general partner of one of the country’s larger firms, in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday.
Chafets, 41, is a prominent venture capitalist and oversees Target’s early-stage practice. The firm has around €3 billion ($3.2 billion) across its funds and invests in startups across Europe. He said he volunteered with Israeli forces as he is too old to be conscripted, and was deployed near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, though he withheld additional details citing security.
“We are seeing hundreds of thousands of people getting out of their lives, getting into uniform,” he said. “People have been rushing into military service.”
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Before he became an investor, Chafets worked in Israel’s parliament and government, including for Likud, the right-wing political party currently led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said he now opposes Netanyahu’s politics. It is “the government that clearly led us to this disaster,” Chafets said in an email.
On Saturday morning, the militant group Hamas launched an incursion across Southern Israel, since killing more than 900 Israelis outside the Gaza Strip. About 500 Palestinians have died from retaliatory attacks and fighting from the Israeli military, Palestinian authorities said. Most of the dead are civilians.
Read More: Why Gaza Is the Epicenter of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: QuickTake
Israel’s defense minister Yoav Gallant has ordered electricity, fuel and food cut off from Palestinians in retaliation for the attacks. “I have given an order — Gaza will be under complete closure,” he said. “There will be no electricity, food or fuel.”
Israel also announced its largest-ever mobilization, more than 300,000 army reservists.
In addition to Chafets, people working for Target Global’s portfolio companies, including CEOs and developers, have enlisted or been conscripted to the war, he said. Still, that doesn’t mean their businesses will stop functioning.
“As far as the companies are concerned, everybody has made arrangements to try to keep the businesses running, to have business continuity,” Chafets said. “I think we will be able to operate as close to normal as possible even during the war. It is one of the things that happens in Israel because we are unfortunately used to this.”
–With assistance from Paayal Zaveri.
(Updates with additional details of Chafets’ location starting in third paragraph. An earlier version corrected the headline to clarify location of deployment)
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