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....

Chag Sameach! Happy Sukkos to everyone! If you're Jewish, I hope you're reading this in a sukkah! (I wrote it in a sukkah)

Attack in Iran

They ain't having such a great Sukkos in Iran. There was a brazen shooting attack on a military parade of special forces soldiers. 29 people, mostly soldiers, were killed by gunmen on motorcycles. In a shocking development, Iran blamed Israel and America. After that initial nonsense, factual blame seems to rest on arab separatists (keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of Iranians are Persians, not arabs and speak farsi, not arabic). Although, ISIS has also claimed responsibility. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Does this indicate that more attacks are on the way leading to further unrest in Iran? Likely. As we say in Israel, after the Chagim (the holidays). 

Downed Russian spy plane in Syria

Russia continues to blame Israel for the Syrian shooting down of a Russian spy plane while trying to shoot down Israeli Air Force planes. Additionally, Russia now plans to send sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to Syria to defend against future Israeli attacks. The actual impact these missiles will have is unclear. I'm sure we'll find out after the Chagim. 

Remembering Ari Fuld, hy'd

From Sukkah decorations to a new Torah Scroll being dedicated this week in his memory, Ari Fuld, hy'd, continues to be remembered and memorialized throughout the Jewish World. Additionally, efforts are being made to develop an area of Efrat that has been neglected and left to arab incursions until now. This area is called Givat Eitam and is directly adjacent to the developed parts of Efrat (the "Zayit neighborhood" in particular). Efrat would be stretched farther to the east and would directly border more of southern Bethlehem. Leftists claim that the development of this area by Jews would pose a serious threat to the "two state solution". Sometimes, rarely, its good when they are right. Are the current efforts to populate Givat Eitam sustainable? We'll find out after the Chagim. 

Jerusalem Mayoral Race

The only woman running has just dropped out. She has just endorsed Ze'ev Elkin. Ironically, its hard to see how this could be good for Elkin. So many crazy things going on with all this, with about a month to go, still too soon to even know who the real candidates will be. Maybe after the Chagim. 

Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall

Today, tens of thousands flocked to the Western Wall to receive the priestly blessing (bircas cohanim), including from US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Pretty cool stuff. 

Chag Sameach! 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem