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

As I begin to write this brilliant news update, Prime Minister Netanyahu was just escorted off a stage in Ashkelon because of incoming rockets from Gaza. The rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome system. This is the second time this has happened. Last time, the person responsible for the attack was subsequently assassinated by the Israeli Air Force and this led to hundreds of additional rockets being fired at Israel. Naftali Bennett, Israel's relatively new Defense Minister, has regularly called to kill the heads of Hamas if rocket fire continues.  Avigdor Lieberman did the exact same before and during his time as Defense Minister. I guess we will find out soon if there is any real difference between the two of them. 

Speaking of All Talk and No Real Action...
This week the lead prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced that she was opening an investigation against Israel for possible war crimes. She will be focusing on the Israeli military's actions during the Gaza War of 2014 and the recent riots along the Gaza border fence. Additionally, she will be looking into the possible war crime of Jews living in their ancestral homeland, specifically in Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. Me, she is investigating me. I'm not going to write too much about this woman, there is only so much self-restraint that I'm capable of. Let's just point out that before she had this so very important job, she was the former minister of "justice" for an African dictator. And that's at least 2 reasons to not take her seriously. I guess we'll continue to follow this story, if only for how ridiculous it is. 

But enough about folks who Israel should target for assassination, let's talk about internal Israeli politics. 

-Tomorrow (Thurs), the Likud party will hold a primary vote as to determine who will lead the party into the near future. The race is between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Member of Knesset Gidon Saar. Saar has very little chance of winning, but he has successfully established himself as Netanyahu's main rival and most likely successor. Not a bad move by him. 

-In a surprise move, Bayit Yehudi, led by Rabbi Rafi Peretz, announced they have reached an agreement to run together with Otzma Yehudit in the next elections. They even already agreed on spots on the candidate list for each party. Most people thought that Bayit Yehudi would first make a deal with the National Union party and then maybe with Otzma after that. However, Betzalel Smotrich, leader of the National Union, had been eyeing taking the top spot on any joint list for himself. I guess if he had made a deal with Otzma first, he probably would have got it. The second spot ain't bad, he should take it. The Bayit Yehudi central committee still has to ratify the deal, but its expected to easily pass. 

-Ayelet Shaked announced this week that she would remain with Naftali Bennett at the "New Right" party. Makes political sense, but the longevity of their partnership is starting to look weird. 

-Amir Peretz's Labor party is running with the "Gesher"  party again. Nobody cares. Totally irrelevant, unless they don't pass the threshold and disappear altogether. That would be a heckuva thing, and is quite realistic. 

Rough Hanukah for Iran So Far
Iranian targets in eastern Syria were attacked at least twice this week, resulting in at least 8 killed and much damage. Additionally, one of Iran's MIG-29 fighter planes crashed and 2 pilots were killed. More importantly, the plan was also killed. Those things don't grow on trees, especially after they crash into them. Riots continue in Iran and as more details come out, things are alot worse than the Ayatolla wants you to know. Like the Greeks, its seems the Iranians have bitten off a little bit more than they can chew. Purim is right around the corner!