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

The main news this week in Israel is political, but let's start with everyone's favorite country: Iran. 

It was Iran. Shocking. 

It has been confirmed that Iran did in fact shoot down a Ukrainian civilian airliner over Tehran last week, killing all on board. While this would be appear to have been accidental/negligent, possibly the plane was mistaken for a hostile aircraft or missile, it has led to protests by Iranians throughout the country. President Trump tweeted support for the protests in the Iranian language of Farsi.  This is of course not the first time there have been protests against the ruling mullahs in Iran, so its hard to predict if they will have any real effect this time around. Regardless, another bad week for Iran. 

Not So Immune After All

Last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu formerly requested immunity from prosecution from the Knesset. At the time it was assumed that a committee to decide couldn't and/or wouldn't be formed before the next round of elections. , However, now after a legal decision was rendered, its looks like a committee will be formed which will then promptly reject the immunity request. Looks like its only a matter of time now. 

Israeli Election Update

Tonight was the deadline for submitting final party/candidate lists for the Knesset in the upcoming Israeli election on March 2. Below is a summary of the most recent events:

-All parties to the left of the Blue and White party have united onto one unified slate. There was a risk that one or both groups of left-wing parties would not pass the electoral threshold and squander their votes. This risk has now been averted. 

-An Ethiopian Knesset Member from Blue and White was removed from their list because they are racist. Just kidding, he had threatened to leave Blue and White and join Likud because they offered him a better spot on their list, so they removed him. He will now run as #20 on the Likud list. This could potentially bring more seats to Likud, but since they just lost at least 2 tonight by messing over Otzma, it probably won't matter. More on that now. 

-Who is the biggest liar? Its actually a three-way tie between Naftali Bennett, Betzalel Smotrich and Rafi Peretz. Earlier in the week: Peretz made a deal to run with the Otzma Yehudit Party, Smotrich said he was going to join them and Bennett said his party was going to run alone. Now, the three of them are running together, with Bennett in charge, and Otzma and their voters are out. Its relatively safe to assume that their voters will not vote for the liars, so that looks like 2 seats lost to the right-wing. Personally I think those voters should shift to the Ultra-orthodox parties, but that would take alot of campaigning effort, so I don't think it will happen. The "right" probably lost the election tonight. No one to blame but themselves. 

The Gas is Flowing

Last week we reported that natural gas has begun flowing from the Leviathan rig in the Mediterranean to Israel and onto Jordan. This week, pumping has begun to Egypt as well. This is not only huge money for Israel, but this is huge money for Egypt who will now be able to supply fuel to other countries in Africa. Big win-win. A clear sign to other Sunni Arab countries that peace with Israel provides the potential for serious beneficial dividends. Other countries should and will take notice. Ireland won't notice because they are drunk. 


More projectiles were launched at Israel tonight. It seems there were 4 in total fired. Israel response: the same as the past: nothing of any significance. So Bennett lied when he said that Israel's response would be different now that he's Defense Minister? We've already covered that subject.