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....

Short week this week after the Shavuos holiday and folks just getting back into their regular routines. Especially the arabs after a month of ramadan. But the Israeli Supreme Court (surprisingly) got right back to work and the results are monumental. 

Jaffa Gate is (almost) in Our Hands!

This week a panel of three Israeli Supreme Court justices rejected an appeal by the greek orthodox church to invalidate the sale of 3 formerly greek orthodox properties to Jewish interests. This sale took place approximately 15 years ago and has been in court ever since. 

Although the church has changed its story a few times, their basic claim is that the church representative that made the deal was not authorized to do so and/or took a personal bribe for doing so and therefore the sale should not be recognized. There are alot of obvious reasons as to why this is not the case, but suffice it to say, the court ruled against them, as has every other court. 

As a result of the ruling, ownership of the three large buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem will be transferred to the Jewish-owned companies. Two of the properties are located inside the Jaffa Gate area and one is located in the "Bub Huta" neighborhood, near the Lions Gate. Until now, there has been little to no Jewish presence in both these areas, excluding much foot traffic through the Jaffa Gate. It would seem that the situaiton will dramatically change now and the majority of the area will be under Jewish ownership. 

It still remains to be seen when exactly Jews will enter and take control of the buildings, but its not too early to call this a huge victory. The bulk of the credit for this big win would go to the Ateret Cohanim organization. They have relentlessly refused to back down over these many years of legal dispute in this specific case and continue to acquire more and more properties throughout the Old City and surrounding area for the Jewish People. Words of praise for their efforts are not nearly enough. Financially supporting them would make more sense!

Fires, Gaza and Otherwise

There has been a dramatic uptick in arson attacks, both from Gaza and throughout the country. It also now appears more and more likely that the recent fire that destroyed Moshav Mevo Modiin ("the Moshav") was such an arson attack by forces seeking to damage the State and its citizens. Fires are raging continuously along the Gaza border for the past few days, with no end in sight. Additionally, arson attacks have destroyed valuable and strategic farmland in the Shomron (Samaria) area. So far, no arrests or retaliation by Israeli authorities. They just keep putting out the fires as quickly as they can. 

Moldova to Jerusalem

First, Moldova has announced that they are moving their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They will become the 3rd country to do so, after the US and Guatemala. Second, yes, Moldova is an actual independent country! Who knew?! 

Israeli Election Update

-The head of the left-wing Labor Party, Avi Gabbay, has announced that he is quitting politics. This is not great news for the right-wing, they thought he was doing an incredible job of losing. They will be sorry to see him go. 

-Ayelet Shaked says that she is running in the next elections and should be in charge of whatever party she runs with. For some reason, I think that's a funny thing to say for someone who didn't make it into the Knesset in the last election. But got to admire her spunk. 

-Meanwhile, Naftali Bennett says that his party, with or without Shaked, will likely partner with another party in the next election. Alot of folks are thinking that it will be with Moshe Feiglin's Zehus Party. 

-The "New Right" running with Zehus might be their only option as strong words have been exchanged recently between the "New Right" and the "United Right". Not impossible for them to run together, but seeming more and more unlikely. 

-When is the last time anyone heard Benny Ganz say anything? No idea, really no idea. 

Butthurt-igieg vs. Israel/Ambassador David Friedman

Earlier in the week, US Ambassador to Israel, Mr. David Friedman, stated that Israel would certainly retain at least parts of Judea and Samaria in the future. Its difficult to find the chiddush (unique new aspect) of his statement, but I guess its just because its the Ambassador saying it? Or maybe just because President Trump is involved? Anyway, this didn't sit well with the mayor of a mid-size town in the American midwest, Pete Buttigieg. Pete Butt is running for President and threatened that, if elected, he would cut off US funding to Israel if it annexes any of the territory in Judea and Samaria. This received widespread media coverage. Besides his hilarious name, I have no idea why. 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem