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....

President Trumps has done it again!

US/Trump Recognizes Israeli Sovereignty on the Golan Heights

After over fifty years of Israeli control in the Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967, the President of the United States first tweeted and then signed a written proclamation this week recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the entire area. The whole rest of the world continues to disagree, which is probably President Trump's favorite part. 

Much could be written about this, it is a massive geo-political moment with wide-reaching ramifications. Suffice it to say, its the first time that the US has ever recognized Israeli sovereignty on land captured during war. Based on previous Trump decisions/statements, the left, right and arabs all agree that it might not be the last time either. Trump has once again "changed the game" and its huge! 

Secretary of State Pompeo, who was just recently in Israel, has stated that this move increases the chance of peace between Israel and the "palestinians". No idea what that means, but I love it. The "palestinians" don't seem so enthused. 

The reality is that hezbollah/iran are now entrenched facing Israel on the Golan Heights. Its hard to imagine what it would take to remove them and return the area to the way it was before the Syrian civil war. Therefore, acknowledging the reality of Israeli ownership into the foreseeable future seems quite logical and sends  a strong message to hezbollah and those supporting them to watch out! 

Rocket from Gaza

This week a rocket was shot from the Gaza Strip into Israel and struck a house in a community called Mishmeret, on the coast just north of Tel Aviv. Very fortunately, when the sirens went off, the father of the house had quickly woke his wife, children and other family members and evacuated the house on the way to the bomb shelter when the rocket scored a direct hit. The family's dogs were killed, (no response from PETA at this time!) but all the people survived, some with minor injuries. Hamas claimed the firing of the rocket was an accident, possibly caused by the weather. (think Milli Vanilli: "Blame it on the rain...")

Regardless of the lack of serious injuries, this is a serious escalation and the second time that rockets have been fired this far up the coast in as many weeks. So far, the Israeli Air Force has leveled a good number of empty buildings in Gaza in response. However, Prime Minister Netanyahu cut short his visit in the US to return to Israel and ordered additional combat forces to the Gaza area. Area residents have been told to be ready for a serious outbreak of hostilities, especially before or on this coming Friday. "Land Day" (ie. we hate the fact that there are Jews on this land day) is commemorated this week - so that allows for even more fun.

My bet remains on not much happening, but I guess one of these days, Israel will have to actually attempt to stop these attacks. I just don't think it will be now. 

Israeli Election Update

For the first time in a while, a few polls have the Likud party overtaking the "Blue and White" party and securing the most Knesset seats. "Blue and White" have been slipping in the polls for a while, so this is not very surprising. But don't forget, Israeli polls are always wrong. Israelis find a certain glee in lying to pollsters. 

Also this week, R' Eli Yishai suspended his party's campaign and endorsed the United Torah Judaism party. Since polls showed Yishai of having very little chance to enter the Knesset, this is a win for the right-wing, as assuredly all of Yishai's potential voters will now vote for other right-wing parties and not squander their votes. 

The Otzma Yeudit party has petitioned the Supreme Court about....who cares, no chance they rule in Otzma's favor. Doesn't matter what it is. 

More Details on the Heroism on Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, hy'd

After the tragic murder of Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, hy'd, last week, more details have emerged on what exactly happened. It was already reported that the Rabbi had driven past the area of the attack and returned to take on the terrorist. Here's the new details: the terrorist was aiming at a pregnant woman when the Rabbi began shooting at him. The Rabbi was killed, r'l, but the woman was saved and had the baby! One of the Rabbi's sons served as the sandek at the bris and the baby was named after the Rabbi. Video of the naming is available online, worth a look. His memory should be for a blessing. 

And by the way, there was no Russian collusion. Just sayin'

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem