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

This week, two new leaders looked poised to take control of two north African countries - one in Algeria and the other in Libya. One peacefully and the other not so much. Keep in mind this is the region where the arab spring started and don't forget all the havoc that it caused, mostly for arabs. Anyway, enough of that, let's get to what you really care about (ie. what actually is really important!): 

Israeli Election Results!!!!

Its important to point out that election results are not yet final and won't be until Thursday morning at the earliest. Despite this, there is already plenty to report. I will not go into every detail, but will try to just hit the major points. As always, feel free to send me questions or whatever. 

-Likud and "Blue and White" seems to have tied for first place with 35 seats each. 

-From the time when Yair Lapid and Benny Ganz teamed up their two parties into "Blue and White", it became seemingly very necessary to both Prime Minister Netanyahu and many somewhat right-wing voters that Likud (Netanyahu's party) get as many seats as possible - specifically at the expense of the smaller right wing parties. This is because many parties on the right chose not to join together, but to all run separately, with the notable exception of the "United Right" religious Zionist partnership of 3 distinct parties into one. This was somewhat risky. Some parties might not make it in and that appears to possibly have happened to the "New Right" and "Zehut" (a total loss of at least 6-8 seats). 

-As was pointed out repeatedly in past updates, there was never any real danger (in my opinion) of Netanyahu not winning - meaning getting enough support to form the next governing coalition. The only questions were how many seats would Likud get and how many would the "right" get in total. However, there was never any realistic chance of "Blue and White" being able to form a coalition, despite what the fake news reported. I hate fake news. Fake news is bad.

-My prediction was that that the "right" would increase their numbers by 3-5 seats. So far, this has not happened and it looks like it will be more or less that same as last time. However, there is still a small chance that the "New Right" (Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked) could still get in if enough soldiers voted for them. (Right now they are just below the necessary 4 seat threshold to enter the Knesset). If that happens, then both Netanyahu and the "right" will be in a much stronger position, immune to blackmail from Lieberman and Kachlon. 

Short takeaways: 

-Netanyahu is the king! His party did very well (35 seats) and decimated his main (perceived by him) rivals - Naftali Bennett and Moshe Feiglin - currently both are not projected to enter the Knesset. Netanyahu must be giddy as a school girl on the first day of school. Would love to see those private victory dance moves. 

-Ganz and his team did very well, but never really had a chance. Will be interesting to see how they handle life in the opposition. 

-The Hareidim (ultra-orthodox) did great! Unity really paid off for the Ashkenazic party and I have no idea how/why Shas did so well. (8 seats to each of them) 

-The right-wing religious parties uniting was huge and saved the day for Netanyahu - it was his idea and he went to great lengths to make sure it happened.

-The Labor party got destroyed, but wasn't unexpected. Global trend. Particularly bad leadership and just not the same world that they used to do well in. Current projection: they have no future. 

-arabs did fine, looks like they will all sneak in. Unclear if they will have any impact at all, other then screaming and cursing during patriotic speeches

-Lieberman and Kachlon are back in - just like when they make a sequel to a bad movie but you have to watch it. Hope the popcorn comes with butter, otherwise just too painful to sit through. 

-Betzalel Smotrich promises that the Otzmah party representative (Itamar Ben-Gvir) will make it into the Knesset somehow. Icing on the cake. 

In other news, Israel will be trying to land on the moon tomorrow! No doubt the arabs will immediately claim to have already been there forever. 

Too much winning? No such thing!! 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem