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

A little cooler this week in Israel, so things started happening. Also, only one week to go until official Israeli election party lists have to be submitted. Is everyone going to wait until the last minute? Have you met Jews? Of course they are waiting! And the arabs are doing it too. But more on that later. 

Iran Gets Revenge

Iran successfully raided and hijacked a British ship in the Persian Gulf - just like they said they would. Got to give them credit on that one. I guess the British Navy is not what it once was. Been a long time since they defeated the Spanish Armada. Now Iran says that they will free the ship if Britain frees their ship that they previously detained on its illegal way to Syria. What will Britain do? They just got a new Prime Minister today, so 72 hours to get situated seems reasonable, but after Shabbos, some decisions need to be made! 

Israel Kills some Iranian/Hezbollah in Syria; Syria Watches

Two notable incidents with possible Israeli strikes in Syria this week. It is alleged that Israel struck bases in Syria that mostly housed Iranian/Hezbollah forces. Additionally, chemical weapons production sites were struck as well. Syria claims to have shot down some of the missiles. As the Brits say: Not bloody likely. 

It was reported a while back that Hezbollah has formed a special unit to oversee the Golan Heights border with Israel and to be prepared to attack. This week one of the heads of that group was mysteriously blown to bits in his car. Could have been an ex-boyfriend, but probably it was Israel. As the Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation, and I'm not making this up, pointed out this week in classic Israeli style: “For two years now, Israel has been the only country in the world killing Iranians.” That might change soon and we might be joined by others, but point made. 

A Few Illegal Buildings Too Far in Jerusalem

Tons of fake news out there on this one. Its actually shockingly simple. So as of 2011, Israel publicly prohibited the building of new buildings within 400 meters of the security fence. Buildings already built could stay. The palestinian mafia governmentt issued permits to arabs in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Tzur Baher  to build within 400 meters of the fence. They probably figured that Israel wouldn't really knock them down. After all, there are other houses within the 400 meters and they aren't going to be knocked down. After getting the go ahead from the Supreme Court, Israel moved forward and knocked down approximately 12 buildings, almost all of which were still under construction at the time. Tons of threats from the international community and the palestinian authority. Nothing is going to happen. They went too far and now they know it. 

Israeli Elections Update

-Its official - Ayelet Shaked has replaced Naftali Bennett as the head of the "New Right" party. You may be asking yourself why this is so important since this party did not even make into the Knesset in the previous election. But the polls, the same ones that said they would make it last time, say they will make it in easily with Shaked at the head (rhymes). 

Despite the promises of the polls, Shaked is now looking to gain more support by uniting with other right-wing parties. She has already met with Rafi Peretz, the head of the "United Right" and reportedly has met with Otzma Yehudit as well. In an interesting twist, Prime Minister Netanyahu has become heavily involved and discouraged the "United Right" to join with Shaked and instead encouraged them to join with Otzma. He even supposedly promised ministerial po‎sitions if they do as he said. If this did happen, unlikely, the New Right could still partner with Zehut and pretty much insure their entrance to the Knesset. Of course the whole point of all this is to not throw away votes by not getting past the electoral threshold (4 seats). If the right however united gets enough seats they can guarantee the Prime Minister victory. This should have happened in the last election, but the "New Right" fell just short of the threshold and this is what actually prevented the forming of a right-wing government. 

-This week, the leader of the Labor Party, Amir Peretz, reached an agreement with another party that leans right on issues with the arabs, but left on social issues to run together in the upcoming elections. Many (there aren't actually many at all) on the left are horrified by this. This seemingly reduces the chances of some kind of unified front with Labor, Meretz and Ehud Barak. Still one week left to decide. 

-Ehud Barak is still running. No idea why. 

-The arabs still have not united, but they probably will. One of their parties almost missed the threshold in the last election. Too important to allow that to almost happen again. Meanwhile, Ehud Barak apologized to the arabs for the way they were handled by Israeli police during violent demonstrations/riots back in the early 2000's when Barak was prime minister. I'm sure this means the world to them. Honestly they are probably more interested in hearing about the "adventures" during the time that Barak spent with Jeffrey Epstein in the last few years, after he was ordered to register as a sex offender. 

-August 1st is the deadline for party lists, so negotiations better finish up soon. Likely on July 31st. Because waiting until the last minute is an old Jewish tradition.