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....

This week I had my first root canal. The news only gets better from here! 

Huge Israeli Diplomatic Successes

This week saw some huge Israeli diplomatic successes, with promised more to come! First the President of the Czech Republic came with an entire entourage. Then it was the President of Chad. Finally, famous former basketball legend Dikembe Mutombo made an appearance in the Holy Land. With all due respect to Mutombo, we'll focus on the first two for now. 

Czech President Milos Zeman (not sure if that is pronounced like Z-man, but that's how I'm doing it) didn't just come to float in the Dead Sea. His main mission was to open a Czech cultural center in Jerusalem. This is believed to be the first stage of a future Czech embassy move to Israel's Capital. While doing that he made sure to dismiss the "two-state solution" model and said he was open to hearing other ideas. He emphasized that the arabs need to realize that Israel is in fact a "Jewish Homeland". My inside sources tell me that a large contingent of his delegation visited the Western Wall Tunnels (in "East Jerusalem") and made extremely pro-Israel comments throughout their tour.  

Israel then hosted the President of Chad. Yes, its a real country. Its actually the fifth largest country in Africa. (so Wikipedia tells me). More importantly, its a majority muslim country that hasn't had official relations with Israeli in decades. That is all about to change. The next stage is for Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit Chad and officially reopen relations between the two nations. 

This is exactly what the palestinians have long feared - that muslim/arab nations will open relations with Israel, while ignoring palestinian political aspirations and previous commitments by fellow muslim entities to not do so. And now that has happened with Chad and supposedly others are on the way. Don't forget that Prime Minister Netanyahu recently visited Arab/Muslim Oman as well. Rumors are that Bahrain and Sudan are next up for establishing official relations. In short, very bad for the palestinian mafia chieftains. Very good for Israel. Good for Netanyahu (especially with elections coming soon) and for the right-wing/non-compromise/no need to surrender political position. 

Teetering Government Coalition

The current government continues to exist, but is likely in something akin to hospice care. Any day now should be the end. Nothing seems to be able to be accomplished, so the charade can only last so long. Only questions left are: exactly when it will fall, who will be responsible and when elections will be held. Everyone seems to already be in campaign mode anyway. Would be nice to seem some positive things get done here at the end, but not likely. 

Ambassador Friedman Demands Arab Hostage's Immediate Release

A little over 2 months ago, a local Jewish organization, Ateret Cohanim, succeeded in purchasing a large property from an arab in the Old City of Jerusalem. Since the, there has been alot of drama in the "arab street". Someone must be blamed for this colossal disaster. Its not the first time or the last time this will happen, but this time looked particularly bad. Prominent members of palestinian "society" and even of the palestinian authority are involved. Despite this, all the blame has been laid on one person - Isaam Akel. He has been kidnapped and held hostage in ramallah for the past 2 months. Here's the problem, he's a resident of Jerusalem with all the judicial rights of an Israeli citizen. Here's the bigger problem, he's an American citizen as well!!!! Since then, Israel has arrested some of the arabs responsible for the kidnapping. And now, after all this time, US Ambassador David Friedman has officially demanded Akel's immediate release. Let's see  how much that's worth. Hoping President Trump at least retweets it. 

Big Win in Gush Etzion

A 22-year old court case finished today and the Jews were victorious. Land in the Gush Etzion region was purchased by the Jewish National Fund in 1944. After the Jews were expelled in 1948, there was no access to the land until after its liberation in the Six Day War of 1967. Years after 1967, local arabs began to infiltrate the land and make use of it. This resulted in a lawsuit from the rightful (Jewish) owners. Now after 22 years, its over. Now that the nonsense is finished, serious development can begin! That line pretty much summarizes all the news this week! 

Don't forget Hanukah starts Sunday night - Happy Hanukah! 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem