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....

Update on the Assassination of the Saudi Journalist in Turkey

Well this has gotten even more exciting. Now everyone pretty much seems to admit that the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, was killed by Saudi agents in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. If you didn't already think this, I suggest you stop reading these updates, just not your thing. Anyway, for everyone else, there is a new twist to the story and that is: who actually was Khashoggi? Many reports are suggesting that he was friends with Osama Bin Laden and ascribed to similar radical beliefs. This would explain not only Muhammad bin Salman's (MBS, Crown Prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia) desire to kill him but also why he would think President Trump and America wouldn't care. So why didn't he just ask permission? As someone who lives in the Middle East, everyone here knows that its better to ask for permission after the fact - exactly what MBS is doing now! My bet: they'll figure some way out of this one, but that journalist dude will still be dead. 

Rocket Hits House in Be'er Sheva/Gaza Escalation

A rocket fired from Gaza struck a house in the Israeli southern city of Be'er Sheva yesterday. Extensive damage was done, but no injuries were reported. Now here's the part they don't tell you. A warning siren went off and a single mother woke her 3 kids in the middle of night and rushed them to the building's bomb shelter. That's why there were no injuries! Not because hamas didn't want there to be injuries or that the rockets don't work. Now Israel must respond. All of hamas' leadership has gone into hiding. Hopefully our rockets will find them all real soon. (but not likely with the current leadership. As has been written here numerous times in that past, they have NO strategy for Gaza, so there isn't much they feel like they can do). 

New Neighborhood in Hevron!

The Government approved this week a budget for moving an army base in Hevron so that 31 Jewish residences can be built (that were previously approved) on Jewish-owned land there. This move will dramatically push the project forward. Of course those on the left who want Hevron to be ethnically cleansed of Jews (again) are not happy. Rightfully so, this is SUPER news for the Jewish Community of Hevron and the entire Jewish People as well. This development and recent purchases of properties by Jews from arabs in Hevron, put the Jewish Community in a position to almost double in size over the next few years. Yeah, I'd say that's pretty significant. 

The Bedouin Illegal Enampment of Khan Al-Amar Lives, for now 

Still standing, for now. More work was done this week to prepare the demolition of this illegal outpost of shacks. Demolition was reported to be done this week, but there is alot of pressure from Europe not to do it. Should that matter? No, but with this government, it does. In the end, they may even trade for something else. Stay tuned. 


Still no obvious victor can be projected in the Jerusalem mayoral race. All four candidates still have totally viable chances of winning, depending on what happens in the next 12 days. 

Government Coalition

Still hanging on. It looks like the Hareidi (ultra-orthodox) draft deferment situation has been more or less settled. But with the Knesset back in session, there are tons of potential fights on the horizon that threaten to break up the coalition at any time. Everyone seems to believe that that is exactly what Prime Minister Netanyahu wants right now so that we can go to elections. He is polling very well right now. However, as you can see from this update, there is alot going on and much could change until our next update! 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem