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 ( and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives ( He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....

The big news in Israel this week was the destruction of 15 houses today in the Jewish Community of Netiv Ha-Avot in Gush Etzion. I'm going to dedicate some serious effort to this topic a little later so we can understand as much as possible. However, let's hear about some other stuff first:

-The terrorist who killed the elite Israeli soldier 2 weeks ago by throwing a marble slab on his head from the roof of a building was captured today by the killed soldier's own unit. They pulled him out of bed and detained him. Its always bizarre to me that they don't just shoot these folks. Just weird. 

-An 18 year old Israeli girl was stabbed by an arab in the city of Afula. Miraculously, she is doing ok, but still in the hospital. The terrorist was shot in the leg and detained. Once again, makes no sense to me that's he still alive. Just weird.

-Prime Minister Netanyahu was questioned again by the police. I have no idea about what nor does anyone else seem to care at this point. For all I know they asked him about the weather. It rained today, so not such a bad question. 

-There's some minor squabbling in the Coalition Government. Doesn't look too serious. You never where the downfall will start, but this don't seem like it. 

Ok, now to deal with the destruction at Netiv Ha-Avot. 

Brief historical background: Community was established about 20 years ago on land adjacent to the community of Elazar in the Gush Etzion region, just south of Jerusalem in the Judean Hills - the southern "West Bank". Things were going smoothly and the new community was growing and flourishing. The arabs and left- wing really hate that. So they (peace now and random arabs) filed a lawsuit claiming that a very small percentage of the land in the community was privately owned - just no idea by whom. Clever. The Israeli Supreme Court, always looking for a way to destroy some Jewish houses, ruled that 15 houses had to be knocked down, even if there is not a known owner of the land and if only a few feet of some of the houses are in the theoretically privately-owned area. They set a deadline for a few months ago for this to be done. 

That's where things get interesting. Since the court decision was handed down, the Israeli government has decided to authorize the previously unauthorized community. At the same time, they have further decided to build another 350 residential units in community. Also, the Government decided to build temporary housing for the 15 families whose homes are condemned to be destroyed. Only problem was that there wasn't enough time to build the housing before the demolition date set by the court. A request was made to delay the destruction by a few months until the housing could be built. The Court granted the delay, which expired this week. 

On that day, yesterday, the families left their houses and relocated to the temporary housing. Young protesters then filled the houses and it took a full day for the police to evacuate them. Today the 15 houses were destroyed. 

Takeaway lessons from this seemingly absurd situation:

1) The left can use their friends in the legal system to destroy Jewish houses, but the right can you use the democratically elected government to build 10 times as many.  

2) Unlike after the destructions in Migron and Amona, Netiv Ha-Avot will still exist in its original location - just without the 15 houses destroyed and with hundreds of more houses built. Hard to see how this is any kind of victory for the Left. Keep in mind, the destruction of both Migron and Amona led to the building of new communities nearby.

3) Similar to Migron and Amona after they were destroyed, arabs will not have any additional access to these lands in Netiv Ha-Avot, as they don't in Migron or Amona. Their only reward was watching the Jewish houses destroyed. I guess the same can be said for the leftists. Its amazing what some folks enjoy. 

4) One of the more interesting parts of the story, if you ask me. A few years ago, the right-wing organization "Women in Green" took it upon themselves to safeguard some state-owned fields in the area of Elazar. Didn't seem obviously very important at the time. However that is exactly where they built the housing for the evicted families. Good darn thing they did that! Kol HaKavod to them! 

5) There will probably be more concessions to the "Settlement Enterprise" in the near future because of what was done at Netiv Ha-Avot. 

In conclusion, 15 families suffered a terrible loss. However their movement has been strengthened and they will soon again build new houses near where their previous houses stood. And they don't have to leave their community for even one day. Things are going in the right direction: Despite tenacious efforts by the Left and their allies, Netiv Ha-Avot still exists. Odds are very good that Migron and Amona will at some point in the future return to their original locations as well, Homesh and Sa-Nur likely be rebuilt and at some point the Jews will return to Gush Katif in Gaza. Jews are all about some returning. 

Ramadan is over, 3 more days of holiday and then everyone (muslims, jews, everyone) back to work!

Ben Packer

Old City of Jerusalem