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....

ESCALATIONS! Lots of them! 

Escalation in the North

This week saw a serious escalation between Israel and iran/syria. It started out relatively routine: Israel bombs iranian positions in syria. Syria lies and claims to have thwarted the attack. Israel doesn't claim the attack. Carry on as usual. 

But then things changed: a large surface-to-surface missile was shot at Israel from syria over Mount Hermon - the highest point of the Golan Heights. Mount Hermon was full of families playing in the snow. Once over Mount Hermon, the rocket was shot down by Israel's Iron Dome system - as tons of Israeli kids watched. 

This wasn't the first time that such a missile was shot at Israel, but this time it was in broad daylight and aimed to hit Israel. Israel's response was quite intense and many iranian positions in syria were destroyed and both iranian and syrian soldiers were killed. This time, Israel took full credit for the attacks and dared iran to respond. No response as of yet. 

Not the best time to be shooting at Israel. Its election season and Prime Minister Netanyahu's main competition comes from the right, not the left. His strong response was quite predictable and his threats are likely quite credible. But leave it to hamas in Gaza to be a little slow on the learnin' curve. 

Escalation in the South

Right as things somewhat calmed down up north, hamas terrorists violently rioted by the fence between Gaza and Israel. During the altercation an Israeli officer was shot by a sniper in the head, but his helmet blocked the bullet! Those helmets aren't designed to do that, so draw whatever conclusion you want from that. Israel responded immediately, destroying a hamas lookout post and bombing near Gaza City. Once more, Prime Minister Netanyahu sternly warned hamas that now was not the time to mess. Since then, all pretty much quiet. 

Escalation by the Prosecution

As Israelis start to try to figure out who to vote for in a few months time, leaks from the Attorney General's and the Police Chief's offices suggest that Prime Minister Netanyahu will be indicted well before the elections take place. This has already prompted one party leader (who already served time in jail for corruption) to say that he doesn't care and will be happy to sit in Netanyahu's future coalition government regardless. Brave. Anyway, most on the right continue to see all these investigations as something akin to "Robert Mueller probes on speed" and the left sees them as the only realistic way to ever get rid of Netanyahu as prime minister. 

Escalation against arafat

Arafat may be dead (Thank G-d!) but his financial liability for his life of terrorism goes on. This week an Israeli court placed a lien on a property in Jerusalem belonging to the dead evil terrorist. A claim has been filed against him by terror victims and since all the money he stole is hidden overseas, his local property is the easiest way to collect compensation. Frankly, this should be done more often. 

Some short little news bits:

-The American arab  citizen who was kidnapped by the palestinian authority in ramallah and sentenced to life in jail, with hard labor, for selling a property to Jews has been freed and sent to the United States. Rumors are that Israel had threatened to raid the jail and free him if this hadn't been agreed to. So that drama is over, at least until more of what actually happened comes out. Spoiler: its good news for the Jews. 

-Speaking of drama, there was a juicy judicial sex scandal exposed this week concerning the appointment of judges in exchange for stuff. The details are a little too exciting for this boring news update, but have your kids help you google it. 

-Finally, Israel officially renewed diplomatic relations with the African nation of Chad. And just in time for Black History Month. It pays to have a cultured Prime Minister who went to high school (and college) in America! 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem