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

Happy Passover! Since this is the Jewish State, everyone is on vacation this week! 

Islamic terrorists didn't take the week off in Sri Lanka and the death toll now stands at 359. Certainly the overwhelming majority of those killed in the suicide bombings targeting churches and hotels on easter were christian. ISIS has taken credit for the attacks and posted a picture of the bombers with their flag prior to the bombings. Arrests have been made, but it remains unclear how those arrested are connected to the terrorism. Apparently there were many warnings before Sunday, but to no avail. If this really was the work of ISIS, perhaps this is a blueprint of what to expect now that the last of their territory in Syria/Iraq has been conquered. The choice of christians as the target instead of the much larger buddhist population points towards a continuation of the global struggle between islam and christianity, as opposed to a local conflict. 

Israel Government Coalition Negotiations

Negotiations have started between Prime Minister Netanyahu and his potential coalition partners. Alot of demands have been made by various parties. Some will be accepted and some won't. Its pretty much a foregone conclusion to which parties will be forming the coalition. I'm not sure if that helps with the demands or hurts them. Will be interesting to see how quickly Netanyahu can put this thing together. 

Some things each party has to get: 

-Netanyahu/Likud - immunity from prosecution

-Ultra-Orthodox Parties (United Torah Judaism/Shas) - new draft bill exempting Yeshiva students from compulsory military service

-United Right - This one is interesting. They have a whole slew of requests that run the gambit from simple legislation to major legislation to control of certain ministries/committees. I bet if they get 50% of what they want, they'll be happy

-Kahlon/Lieberman - acknowledgement that they are relevant ought to be enough

Holding Pattern:

Alot of this stuff and other things, like the Trump Deal of the Century Peace Plan, are probably going to be delayed for at least 6 weeks. Passover is almost finished, but ramadan is right around the corner (oh joy) and that's a great excuse for Jews to take another month off from serious work. However, its not guaranteed and Prime Minister Netanyahu may sneak something in while the arabs are sleeping off all that late night feasting. 

President Trump Puts more Smackdown on Iran

This week President Trump's Administration decided to increase the stringency of economic sanctions on Iran. Additionally, it was reported that America is actively searching for the funding mechanisms of the terror group hezbollah in order to shut down as much as possible. These actions would be the polar opposite of the obama administration that gave $150 billion to Iran. 

Concurrently to all this, in response to the United States recently listing the Iranian Republican Guard as a terrorist entity, Iran has now designated all US military forces as terrorist entities. What we appear to have here is a pissing contest between President Trump and Iran and that might explain all the flooding in Iran recently. Heyo! Happy Passover! 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem