This Week Today - Current Events in 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....

Busy week! Let's jump right in. 


Syrian forces continue to gain ground near the borders with Israel and Jordan. Sometimes they use force (meaning Russia) and sometimes negotiations. Either way, full steam ahead. However, an interesting twist is an agreement that was made in just the past few days in northern Syria. Two Shiite (pro-Syrian government) villages have been under siege for years from Sunni rebels (al-qaeda), near the rebel-controlled Idlib Province. Per the agreement reached, the villages are being evacuated and Syria is releasing many rebel prisoners. So contrary to what many might be thinking, there is no sign that this conflict is anywhere near over. The rebels remain strong in the northwestern Idlib Province and are supported to some extent by Turkey. Its pretty complicated. ISIS still exists as well. Never count them out. 

Meanwhile, Israel continues to regularly bomb iranian and hezbollah targets across syria, without any criticism or anything else from Russia. Seems Putin and President Trump even discussed this during their recent summit. It is very good to be strong. Folks are forced to take you seriously. 


Hamas and their fellow terrorist cronies continue to attack Israel in the south. So far with little Israeli response. Reportedly, the head of the army said that he refused to attack those sending over the burning kites with bombs. Quite bizarre, but he's a peach. Anyway, the politicians have finally had enough. The army has been ordered to prepare for a full invasion into Gaza. And hamas was told to stop the kites by Sunday or the attack is coming. Looks like they are already scaling them back, but they don't have to stop until Sunday, so I'm sure there will be some until then. I mean, why not? 

The situation is totally absurd, but since abandoning Gaza, Israel is left with few realistic choices. That's what happens when you take the thoughtless and cowardly easy way out. 

Two big laws being discussed right now - one already passed and the other appears to be on the way to pass (maybe). Both of these are directed at the Israeli supreme court and their abuses of power over the past years. There laws are intended to curtail some of that. 

New non-Supreme Court Law:

Basically, this law that was already passed this week, takes a crazy situation and makes it normal. In the past, if an arab and Jew had a land dispute in Judea and Samaria, then the arab could take his claim directly to the Israeli supreme court. No need for evidence or anything like that, such as in a normal court. Now all disputes must go through the regular court in Jerusalem first. Of course it could still get to the supreme court eventually, but that would be after a full evidence-based trial. Definitely not good for the arabs. Evidence/truth is their sworn enemy in court. 

Nationality Law:

This is a law, originally introduced 7 years ago by leftists, to enshrine Israel as a Jewish State, with Jewish symbols and Hebrew and such. Not very exciting, but necessary because of the supreme court. All of this stuff was assumed for many years, but then they decided that it wasn't, so now it has to be a law. That's it. Non-Jews not thrilled. Shocking. One country for the Jews it seems is one too many. 

Government Coalition: 

Coalition government appears to have regained stability, for now. Why? Because the government has asked the supreme court of an extension to pass a new Ultra-Orthodox draft law. The previous law was struck down by the supreme court (because they felt like it) and is set to expire in the next few weeks. The current Knesset appears unable to get a new law passed by then, so they asked for a 7 month extension. If they get, the government will continue. If not, who knows. Currently, the next elections are scheduled for about 15 months from now. If they can work this out, they got a good chance of making it to the end. Quite a feat in Israeli politics! 

Birthright walk-off:

Finally, this nonsense. 8 American Birthright Israel participants prematurely left their trips this week to join leftists going to say good-bye to arab illegal squatters who are soon being evicted. So touching. Obviously this was all planned well in advance. This happened on another Birthright trip as well. I can't go through all that is wrong about this, but I'll just mention that they easily could have waited for the trip to be over to do whatever they wanted. Its all a show and a show by only a few weird people. Birthright has brought 600,000 participants, this is actually even less than a drop in a bucket. Its kind of like the bearded lady, except its 8 bearded ladies. 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem