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 (www.heritagehouse.org.il) and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives (www.youngjewishconservatives.org). He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....

This Week Today
Current Events from Israel

Well that escalated quickly! After pro-Iranian protesters attempted to storm the US embassy last week in Baghdad, everyone pretty much expected a strong response from President Trump. This also followed the shooting of rockets by pro-Iranian proxies at a base housing US troops in Iraq that killed a US citizen and wounded US soldiers. In classic Trump style, he shocked pretty much everyone! 

This week President Trump ordered the US military to assassinate General Qassem Soleimani, leader of the "Quds Force" of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The assassination was carried out by missiles fired from drones as Soleimani had just arrived in Iraq. Other terrorist leaders were killed in the strike as well, including the head of pro-Iranian proxy forces in Iraq. This is a MAJOR blow to Iran. Soleimani was the most active and successful instigator of terror in the world. His violent activities spanned numerous countries and even multiple continents. He had been in the position for approximately 20 years. US General (ret.) David Petraeus claimed that the killing of Soleimani was more significant on the war on terror than that of Bin Laden. (as Trump outdoes Obama once again!)

Fallout from the assassination: 
-Iran promised to retaliate proportionately. (whatever that means)-Missiles have been fired from Iran at a base housing US troops in Iraq. No casualties reported to any US forces as of yet. Trump's response: "All is well"
-Over 50 killed by stampedes at Soleimani's funeral in Iran
-Suspicious commercial plane crash in Tehran, killing all 176 aboard (may have been hit by errant missile)
-Oil prices have gone up
-Some Democrats are forced to condemn killing of terrorist because Trump can't do anything right (in their twisted minds)
-Entire Middle East is on high alert

Pompeo Doctrine
This week, a conference was held in Israel by the Kohelet think tank. At the conference, Amb. David Friedman spoke about the importance of Judea and Samaria. He emphatically emphasized that Jews have a right to live there, as do the arabs. He further suggested that the actions of the Trump Administration, especially the "Pompeo Doctrine", bring the sides closer to peace than before. Once again, Trump outdoing Obama. 

Also speaking at the conference were Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett. Netanyahu promised to never allow any more Jewish communities to be destroyed and Bennett advocated for annexing Area C of the "West Bank" in its entirety. Nice speeches. Not so much action from two people who are actually in positions to do alot of action. 

Israeli Election Update
There is still no unity among the small right-wing parties nor the small left-wing parties and the deadline for forming such partnerships is next week! As of now, there are least two parties on the right in danger of not passing the electoral threshold - New Right and Ichud Leumi (National Union). There are reports that they may form a technical bloc to run together. I personally think that's unlikely and National Union will join with Bayit Yehudi and Otzma Yehudit. But you never know. On the left side, there was an attempt to join small parties with the "Blue and White" party, but that was quickly rejected. Definitely more drama to come over there. 

Shorts
-As reported last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu requested immunity from prosecution while in office from the Knesset. Attempts are now being made by his political enemies to fast-track his request, ie. reject it as soon as possible. The Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, is fighting these attempts. They are threatening to try to remove him as speaker if his efforts on behalf of Netanyahu continue. Its all real classy. 

-The Leviathon natural gas rig is pumping! No problems so far. A deal was reached with Greece and Cypress to build an additional pipeline to Europe so that gas can soon be easily exported to there as well. #winning. 

-Its raining like crazy in Israel this week. This is great news for water resources, but its causing flooding which has already led to at least 5 deaths. 

Happy News! 
Tonight is our 16th wedding anniversary. Without my wife's enduring support, there would not be this wonderful, hilarious, so incredibly informative news report. So wish her mazel tov and thank her if you see her.