This Week Tonight - Current Events from Israel

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House (www.heritagehouse.org.il) and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives (www.youngjewishconservatives.org). He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....

Definitely the biggest news story of the week: An outreach hostel in the Old City of Jerusalem made a list of Jewish individuals who are banned from staying there or participating in their activities. The reason: actions or malicious statements meant to weaken the Jewish Presence in the Land of Israel. Doesn't seem like a big deal to you? Never mind that none of these people are eligible to stay anyway. This was HUGE! Why?

First of all, a good number of these type of people - the traitor type - have serious emotional issues that aren't being taken care of. Completely serious. They tend to overreact. But secondly, the original posting of the list was in direct response to a specific incident.

Some big-time loser named peter beinart - who regularly rips on Israel - was stopped entering the country and asked some extra security questions. He was infuriated. (lol.) Anyway, the Prime Minister apologized to him. (probably because he believes that this guy has influence. not true. but Bibi believes all kinds of nonsense). However, this wasn't the first time, other anti-Israel activists have been stopped recently and some have even been denied entry. (ken yirbu).

Folks be scared. The whole 'I get to rip on Israel, but still enjoy all the benefits of it' days may be coming to somewhat of an end. This was most succinctly pronounced by Ronnie Lauder this week. He wrote an editorial in the new york times (on the banned list of that crazy pro-Israel hostel) basically criticizing everything going on in Israel today and blaming the observant community for it. He is qualified to do this because he inherited alot of money. So now some of you are probably thinking: who cares what this spoiled brat thinks. It actually should be all of you.

In conclusion, this will all continue to play out as the American and Israeli Jewish scenes transform to more religious and right-wing. And Ronald McDonald Lauder and all his banned friends will continue to whine about it.

Gaza:

There continue to be reports of a possible truce deal between Israel and hamas, mediated through Egypt. Unclear what has and has not been agreed upon, but there is virtually no chance Israel will agree to anything that doesn't return all Israelis (dead and alive) from Gaza. Hamas won't want to give up all their bargaining chips so easily. Meanwhile there is still alot of tension on the border, so there's that.

Government:

Prime Minister Netanyahu has reportedly given the Haredi parties a 2 week deadline to decide what they want to do about the newly proposed draft deferment law. It seems that 2 of the 3 Haredi factions, Degel Torah and Shas are supporting passing the bill and Agudas Yisrael is against. Good chance this is all "good cop, bad cop". Likely a few small, symbolic changes will be made, Aguda will come on board and the law will pass. But you never know.

Water up north is polluted with some kind of bacteria that is making people sick. Why aren't we blaming Syria for this? No idea. Must be their fault.

Hope everyone is enjoying the waning days of summer. If not, google the articles and reactions to the banned list from that amazing hostel.That should keep you laughing til at least the fall.

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem



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