This Week Today - 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....

Alot going on. Winter's coming to an end in the Middle East, time for things to start heating up! 

The End of ISIS? 

Sources from the ground in Syria are reporting that fighting is basically over in the last ISIS-held town and that ISIS has been defeated and many terrorists and their wives have been taken prisoner. Of course this is not the end of Sunni Islamic terror in that area, but certainly ends one phase and starts another. There is a chance that the head of ISIS, the Caliph himself, Abu Bakr  al-Baghdaddy, may have been captured as well. Will only get more interesting from here. 

Carnage on the (Certain) Roads

Unfortunately Israel suffered more deaths and serious injuries on the roadways this week - specifically on the roads of Judea and Samaria. Its well known that  these roads need to be improved and expanded. Fixing roads is not cheap, its not easy work and it creates significant political ramifications. Hopefully it will be responsibly dealt with before more tragedies, G-d forbid, occur.

Slight Escalation Along the Gaza Border

Hamas and others have been promising for some time to increase tension along the Gaza border leading up to the Israeli elections. This week that happened. Nothing crazy, but definitely an escalation. Flying balloon bombs are back and starting fires again. Also, an explosive device was thrown at Israeli soldiers and a lone soldier from LA was seriously wounded. Thank G-d, he is doing better now and on his way to recovery. One has to wonder how they got so close to each other in the first place. Just another negative result from the disaster that was the "disengagement". 

Turmoil on the Temple Mount

This week the jordanian government decided to give more decision-making power to the local palestinians on the Temple Mount. Why do any of these people have any say in anything? No idea. Kindof flies in the face of the whole Hanukah/Temple story. The palestinians promptly responded with an attempt to takeover a section of the Temple Mount and to pray there. When stopped by Israeli police, they rioted. Shocking. This has been going on for the past few days and Friday is coming quickly. So far, the Israeli  police have held their ground.  Hopefully that will continue. As an aside, historically, many positive things have come from the arabs' ill-conceived riots/violence. Let's hope that is the case here as well. 

Latest Israeli Election Update

The deadline for party lists for the upcoming election is tomorrow night (Thursday). As to be expected, there is alot of activity today and will be tomorrow. So far, an agreement has been reached between 3 right-wing parties (Otzma Yehudi, Ichud Leumi and Bayit Yehudi) to run together. By doing so, they are guaranteed to get enough seats to enter the Knesset (need at least 4) and will probably get a good number more than that. The distribution in the agreed upon list is not exactly fair, but either is life.

What's to come? 

-Negotiations continue between the 3 right-wing parties and Eli Yishai to enable him to join their joint list. This is all a huge victory for the right-wing and Prime Minister Netanyahu has intensely and publicly supported it to prevent a left-wing government being elected. 

-Negotiations continue between the parties of Yair Lapid (yesh atid) and Benny Gantz (hosen l'yisrael) to unite and try to get more votes than Likud. Even if they were to unite and succeed, its still would be nearly impossible for them to form a coalition government and relatively easy for Netanyahu to do so. 

-There are other negotiations going along as well. After the deadline tomorrow, we should know more or less who is running and with whom. 

Newest Reclamation in the Old City of Jerusalem

Some great news to finish with. A few days ago, another historically Jewish-owned apartment was recovered and the illegal arab squatters evicted! Of course this was all done through numerous court decisions and futile attempts by the arabs to stall justice. The specific people living in the apartment had no legal right to be there and now they aren't there anymore. 

The property is/has

-the final property that hadn't been redeemed in that courtyard (another 3 Jewish families already live in the courtyard)

-commanding views from the roof of the entire area

-quite large 

-Most importantly: Similar to 1948, the misleading leftist media coverage only gives the Jews more confidence to achieve victory and the arabs less hope of destroying Israel. 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem