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....

Need a break from cleaning for Passover? Read this! 

Israeli Election results are now officially final. Here is a rundown of what happened and what to expect:

-President Rivlin has officially tasked current Prime Minister Netanyahu with forming a new coalition government. 

-In the previous election, a right-wing party (previous incarnation of "Otzma") received enough votes for 3.5 Knesset seats. Since the minimum for a party to enter the Knesset is 4 seats, they didn't enter and it hurt the right-wing. 

-In this election, one right-wing party ("New Right"/Bennett-Shaked) got 3.9 seats and another ostensibly right-wing party ("Zehut"/Feiglin) got 3. This cost the right-wing even more seats lost this time around. 

-The result of this is that the division of right-wing and left-wing/arabs seats is virtually the exact same as it was before new elections were called - 65-55. And the swing seats continue to be those of Avigdor Lieberman's russian party - Yisrael Beiteinu (5 seats). 

-This seemingly is an insurmountable situation. As of now, Lieberman is insisting on a full invasion of Gaza, including the total destruction of hamas. As well as passing a draft law for yeshiva students that the ultra-orthodox parties all oppose. Its always possible that a compromise can be reached, but that would require flexibility on the part of Lieberman on the same issues that he just recently brought down the whole government over. Its hard to see that happening. 

-Besides this drama, everyone else is raring to go and set up the new coalition government. Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked have conceded defeat and will not be in the next Knesset. 

Rumors about the return of Israeli Spies

In the past few weeks there have been widely reported rumors that both Jonathan Pollard (currently in the US) and the remains of Eli Cohen (maybe in Syria or Russia) are on their way to Israel. So far, neither has arrived. Would be nice before Passover, but just fine during as well. G-d willing, may it be soon.

Israeli Space Traffic Accident (shocking!) 

It appears that Israel has reached the moon! Just not as expected. Mere seconds before Israeli lunar lander "Bereishit" was to touch down on the moon's surface, there were problems with the main engine. As the whole country and others around the world watched live, contact was lost and it is assumed that the spacecraft crashed into the moon. Still a very serious accomplishment for Israel and another attempt is already promised. 

Deal of the Century! 

President Trump's peace plan for the Middle East will be presented to the public in about 6 weeks - after Ramadan. Rumors have been rampant about what the plan contains. The most recent being that a "palestinian state" is not envisioned. The Palestinian Authority has said that without a state, the plan is DOA, or I guess even before arrival. Anyway they don't seem very cooperative and President Trump loves that. I expect abu mazen to be the recipient of some terrible nickname from Trump sometime in the near future. Can't wait! 

Happy and Kosher Passover!!!