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 entire Middle East appears to continue to be on extended summer vacation. Rosh Hashanah is quite early this year so it could very well be that this will continue until after Sukkos. Or not. Of course, the whole Middle East can't just stop, so things are still going on. And here they are.....


In the last week there were two terrorist attacks in Israel of note. One ended terribly and the other just fine. In the first one, a middle-aged Russian immigrant to Israel was struck by a car driven by an arab, seemingly on purpose. The driver turned himself in and claims it was an accident. Remains to be seen. The incident happened near the Samarian Jewish Community of Havat Gilad, very close to where another terrorist shooting attack took place a few months ago. Its a very contentious area, so it could be an accident, but... Either way, very tragic.

The second attack took place in the Old City of Jerusalem, right before the onset of Shabbat. An Israeli arab tried to stab a policeman (great video online). He didn't succeed and got shot dead. So that went about as well as it could have. The terrorist then had a very boisterous funeral in the Israeli arab city of Umm El-Fahm, including palestinian flags and chants of destroying Israel. All of this taking place inside Israel. Was actually very similar to the recent protest in Tel Aviv against the new nation-state law. So if you're into intersectionality, like I am, then opposing the nation state law leads to stabbing policemen. just sayin.....


Relatively quiet week on the Gaza border. Of course there were some violent incidents, but quieter than it has been. Still no official truce yet. The truce seems to be hung up on the refusal of hamas to release the kidnapped Israelis (one of which is a bedouin arab) along with the soldiers' bodies and the palestinian authority's oppo‎sition to the whole thing and threat to cease funding things in Gaza if the truce goes through. Always intriguing.....The enemy of my enemy is the enemy of.....Its the Middle East, everyone can be enemies!

Settlement Construction:

Just today, new construction was approved in various communities in Judea and Samaria. However, not nearly as much as could have easily been approved. More delays were imposed. Additionally, two communities that are currently not official were scheduled to become official today, but in the end did not. They will of course eventually, but not today. Clearly there is hesitation on the part of Prime Minister Netanyahu to avoid offending President Trump. Its a little weird, but President Trump appears to have alot going on this week that doesn't include the legality of a Jewish community of 100 families. Alas, Netanyahu....

Additionally, I wrote a post recently about an article on the "settlements" that appeared in the psychotically left-wing haaretz "publication". You can read it here: 

Jerusalem Mayoral Elections:

Anyone paying any attention to the polls on the upcoming Jerusalem municipal and mayoral elections must notice one glaring, absurd phenomenon: Each week another candidate pays for a poll that says that he is in the lead. And then it gets reported as if it was as factual as that revealed on Mount Sinai. Today's poll said that Ze'ev Elkin would win in any scenario. Guess who paid for the poll to be conducted......

Government Coalition:

Not much talk about the state of the Government coalition. Clock is running on passing the new draft deferment law for yeshiva students. A poll released today, not paid for by Netanyahu, said that Netanyahu's Likud party and the rest of his coalition partners would do very well if elections were held soon. In that case.....expect elections.

President Trump:

President Trump made a comment in a rally this week that Israel would have to "pay" for the US Embassy being moved to Jerusalem. Not clear what President Tump meant. His national security adviser, John Bolton, is currently in Israel and hung out today in the City of David with Amb. Friedman, Amb. Dermer and representatives of the organization developing the area and significantly strengthening the Jewish Presence there. No one there seemed at all worried about the President's statement. It seems only those who oppose President Trump are concerned and negative. And there is nothing new under the sun......

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem