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 we have to start in America. First the terrible violence in Jersey City and then President Trump taking on anti-Semitism on campus. 

Its still a developing story, but it appears (from the very clear video) that 2 black criminals in Jersey City, NJ, after murdering someone the day before and then murdering a police officer, charged into a kosher grocery story and killed 3 more people before being killed by police. They also wounded some more people as well, all of whom are expected to survive. Details are still emerging, but the bitter reality is stark: there is a serious problem with anti-Semitism in the New York area black community. Video footage is now being publicized of the reactions of local Jersey City blacks to the shooting and, putting it mildly, it ain't great. I would characterize the reactions as a spectrum from really bad to amazingly horrible. Anyone who has followed the daily attacks against Jews by blacks in Brooklyn for the recent past should be surprised by none of this. I will not pretend that this situation is easily fixable, but I think more should be expected from elected officials and community leaders than what is happening right now, which is not much. 

Unlike New York area officials, President Trump is doing something. A little over a year ago, President Trump appointed Ken Marcus as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. Part of Mr. Marcus' job is to deal with anti-Semitism, especially on college campuses. This week he scored a major success when President Trump issued an executive order to recognize Judaism as a nationality, in addition to a religion. This allows the Education Department to withhold federal funding from schools that allow attacks on Jews.

This is probably the most significant thing to ever happen to Jewish college students. For years Jewish students have been targeted for their support of Israel and other views. After President Trump's order, now if schools continue to allow persecution of Jewish students, they will be risking their federal funding. Good luck without that. Donations from Linda Sarsour and Ilhan Omar aren't going to make up for that. Hell, not even Qatar cam make up for that! Real potential game-changer. Some self-hating Jew(s) will probably challenge it in court. 

Bahrain is Lovely This Time of Year

In an unprecedented event, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Jerusalem traveled to Bahrain this week. He met with other religious officials there, who even posed with him for pictures. He also met with the small local Jewish community (40 people). This is another major breakthrough for Israeli diplomacy, specifically in the Middle East/muslim world. And its a Rabbi leading the way. Fascinating! 

Israel Political Update

Its official - ELECTIONS!!! AGAIN!!! The current Knesset has now officially been dissolved and elections have been declared to take place on March 2nd. Of course, everyone is blaming everyone else.  Despite all the negotiations, no coalition was able to be formed.  The polls show....its too early for polls!!!! Hold on tight, here we go again!