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 Today

Current Events from Israel

You got to read til the end. That's where the exciting news is at! 

Netanyahu Indictment

As predicted last week, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandleblit officially announced that, pending a hearing, he plans to indict Prime Minister Netanyahu on charges of bribery and breach of trust. This is not so much of a surprise. The charges would best be described as "weak". However, others might use terms like "silly" or "pathetic".  Regardless, nothing further will happen until after the elections take place. So far, doesn't seem to have had any effect on Netanyahu's support, but more on the elections soon. 

ISIS is whoa, oh, oh, oh Stayin' Alive, Stayin Alive, but Not Much Longer

There remains an unknown number of fighters, their families and hostages (families and hostages = same thing?) holed up in a little town in eastern Syria. There has been a steady stream of folks flowing out over the past few weeks - kind of like the clown car where more and more people continuously emerge from it. Unlike with other cities in the past, there is no desire to make a deal and let folks escape. It will take a little longer, but soon ISIS will hold no more territory, for now. Expect these Dark Siths to return at some point. 

Continued Drama on the Temple Mount

The arabs have continued their efforts on the Temple Mount to reopen/occupy the area known as the "Gates of Mercy" to consistent muslim activity. In response the Israeli police have arrested many of the leaders of the violent protests and temporarily banned them from the Temple Mount. However, ust today a decision was made to allow the arabs to repair the area and use it on a limited basis. A compromise of sorts. Bound to lead to even more conflict. Appeasement = never good. 

Israeli Election Update

With roughly one month to go, there were attempts by both right and left-wing sides to disqualify certain parties from running. As of today, Otzma's (right wing) candidates have been cleared to run and the arab party of Balad (left, anti-Israel) has been disqualified. All of this will be appealed to the supreme court. In the recent past, the supreme court has consistently allowed everyone to run. As mentioned last week, there is no reason to expect anything to change this time around. Although, of course now the Israeli police are threatening to go after one of the right-wing candidates for "incitement to racism". Shocking. Not really. Its amazing how much some people hate democracy when they are predicted to lose the vote.  

Otherwise, its all mostly the same in the polls - that Israelis obsess about, but are always wrong. 

Just for fun: here's the whole election in a nutshell 

The numbers are more or less the same as the last election. Possibly a few more right-wing voters. However, there are currently something like 3 right-wing leaning parties that might not pass the electoral threshold by earning at least 4 Knesset seats. If all three were to pass, that would add at least a potential of 12 seats to a right-wing coalition government. If all three don't pass (in which case, their votes are spread out evenly among those that do pass the threshold), then its hard to see how either right or left would be able to form a coalition. If this doesn't make sense, message me and I'll try to explain it even better. 

And Another Jewish Building in the "Muslim Quarter"

Last week another property was reclaimed by its Jewish owners from arab squatters in the "muslim quarter" of the Old City of Jerusalem. As if that wasn't enough, yesterday a building recently purchased by Jews was inhabited by individuals representing the Ateret Cohanim organization, even deeper inside the "muslim quarter". As the country songs says: when it rains, it pours. The new building is being named after the recently murdered hero Ari Fuld, hy'd  - "Beit Ari." The purchase of Beit Ari is connected to another property that was acquired and inhabited a few months ago called Beit Gita. Both are in the area of the Flowers Gate - Shaar Perachim. This is an area that had a large Jewish population before they were violently forced out in the 1930's and an even larger one before the crusades wiped it out  hundreds of years before that.  

There is a not-yet-approved building plan that calls for the construction of around 30 Jewish residences and a large education facility just inside the Flowers Gate. Additionally, Ateret Cohanim was able to help facilitate the relatively recent purchase of a large space just outside of the Flowers Gate as well. In short, soon the idea of splitting the Old City of Jerusalem (G-d forbid) will be a thing of the past. So it is for Jerusalem, so may it be for the entire Land of Israel - united and strong, under Israeli Sovereignty. 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem