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

Its SO SO HOT in Israel right now! Almost too hot for any real news. Tempting to just make some up, but this ain't cnn/msnbc. I'll do my best. 

Iran's Revenge? 

Ever since their oil tanker, originally illegally bound for Syria, was commandeered by England at Gibraltar, iran has been threatening to kidnap a British ship in retaliation. It may have happened this week, just not to a British ship. A UAE flagged ship went missing near iranian waters this week. Since then, there has been no contact with the ship and its not  at all clear what has happened to it. Could it be iran? Seems alot like it could be. Stay tuned. 

Israeli Election Update

Not so much happened this week, and much had been expected to happen. With less than 2 weeks left until official party lists must be submitted, no one is sure what will be on the right or the left. Nonetheless a few thoughts: 

-I said last week that Ehud Barak's bad start to his campaign could get worse, AND IT HAS!!! This week, pictures emerged of Barak entering Jeffrey Epstein's Manhattan residence with at least 4 women and he is covering his face in an attempt to either hide his identity or stay warm or both. This all happened after Epstein was already convicted and registered as a sex offender. Could it still get worse? You know it can! 

-Ayelet Shaked has still not announced her intentions for the coming elections. Naphtali Bennett has made it pretty clear that he'd like to run with Shaked and Zehut. He has openly and harshly criticized the United Right, especially Otzma Yehudit. Meanwhile, Shaked continues to poll amazingly among religious right-wing voters. She destroys current party leader, Rafi Peretz, by about 40 percentage points. They clearly want her to be in charge, but the Rabbis are opposed. Can't be sure what will happen here. My bet is that she sticks with Bennett and they run together with Zehut. 

-Finally, some fake news polling. According to recent polls, it doesn't matter if all the left and/or right-wing parties unite, there still won't be enough support for a coalition on either side because of Avigdor Lieberman, who is now polling at 10 seats. In my opinion, this is quite disingenuous. Its certainly true for the left, but not all certain that the right can't do it. In the last election, the right missed the ability to form a "right-wing" government by a few hundred votes, not counting Lieberman. Watch for the same thing to happen again, but without the loss of those votes and an easy-to-form governing coalition. 


There have once again been  many fires throughout Israel today, seemingly the result of a tremendous heat wave that took effect today. Supposed to cool off tomorrow. In the meantime, firefighters are fighting fires in numerous locations. Approximate 10 house have been lost and a good amount of damage caused. Thank G-d, no loss of life. And in the Middle East, that's a breath of fresh air. .

Newly Redeemed House in Ir Dovid (City of David)

Following on the heels of the recent opening of the "Pilgrimage Road" in the City of David, ELAD (the organization that operates the City of David) successfully evicted an arab family from  property that they legally bought years ago. The specific property is very close to the entrance of the visitors' center of Ir Dovid and its of strong strategic significance. More of this to come. And this is something that the extreme left is 100% right about - each house acquired and inhabited by Jews in Jerusalem further  pushes away the possibility of dividing the city and expelling Jewish residents. Less likely by the day! 

President Trump spent the week defending Israel and attacking opponents of the Jewish State  on Twitter. Many American Jews are somehow bothered by this. But many American Jews ain't great at being Jews. I wish it was, but that ain't fake news.