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

We will not have a weekly update this week because of coronavirus.... just kidding, its not a group effort, I write it alone, so I guess its allowed. Anyway, let's start with some corona. 

Coronavirus in Israel

So far, just over 400 people in Israel have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus. Thankfully, no one has died and there only about 5 people in serious condition with the rest being described as light. They will begin to house the "light'" patients in empty hotels soon. I wonder how their behavior will compare with Birthright groups. Meanwhile the government says that a "total lockdown" is coming in the next few days, whatever that means. I'm pretty good at this Israeli politics stuff, but I don't understand this pandemic situation at all. For now, they are starting to test many more people, which means more people will come back positive, but I'm not sure how that changes anything. 

The dictator and his comrades in charge of the "palestinian authority" are all really old, so they are taking this old person killing disease very seriously. They also don't have to worry about civil rights or bad press, so they're pretty good at this forced quarantine thing. However, because they are working so hard on this, terrorist attacks are way down (mathematically Corona may actually end up saving lives in Israel!), but if it succeeds in killing these old terrorists, than it might end up saving tons of lives! And that's without to talk about the situation in Iran. In short, all the good people should have a complete healing and soon! 

Israeli Political Situation

Tons of drama! Earlier this week, President Rivlin awarded the mandate to try to form a government to Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party. Why did he do this? Because he's a disgrace. Besides that, Gantz was supported by the left-wing parties (minus one former member who refused to go along with it), Avigdor Lieberman and the Arabs. Together they made up 61 seats out of the 120 member Knesset. Prime Minister Netanyahu has only been able to muster 58 seats worth of support, so far. 

With all that said, putting together a functioning stable coalition government is a totally different accomplishment than receiving the mandate. And at this point, it would seem that there are enough members of the Blue and White party who oppose joining a government with the terror supporting Arab parties to prevent that from happening. And before anyone starts screaming racism, go take a look at what some of these particular elected Arabs have said about Israel and terrorism - it will make you sicker than coronavirus. Until you realize that Benny Gantz and the 2 other former heads of the Israeli army in his party are actually seriously trying to do this - then you might actually throw up a lung or two. 

I generally try to stick to the facts and things that I think are funny on these reports, but its difficult to grasp just what would possess these former generals and their army radio dj friend (Yair Lapid)  to think this is a good idea. Everyone is plenty distracted right now, but I certainly hope when folks do come to their senses, they'll realize exactly what these "leaders" are proposing and how sick it is. Indeed, according to recent polls, Blue and White supporters are abandoning their party faster than Iranians are....well anyway, real fast. This one terrorist supporter in the Balad party, Heba Yazbak (spits), makes Ilhan Omar look like a saint, and Omar just married the guy she committed adultery with after having been previously married to her brother. I'm not sure which offense she should be stoned for first, but ISIS would. Never thought we'd all need their moral compass so much.   

Anyway, it still seems unlikely at this point that even if Blue and White do some sort of teshuva (repentance), that they will join with Netanyahu in a unity government between the two largest parties. It also seems unlikely, at least for now, that Netanyahu would be able to form a government, possibly with defectors from Blue and White. In short, not going with the terrorists doesn't equal supporting Netanyahu. So maybe we'll have another round of elections (4th this year!). The polls right now certainly suggest it would be very good for the right-wing. Therefore, as long as Netanyahu can hold on to his position as Prime Minister for now until another election, he'll be very happy with that. And the longer the Blue and White party goes with this strategy, the worse the future looks for them. Just now, the wife of former chief of staff  and Blue and White leader Gabi Ashkenazi came out of their house and told protesters that her husband would never join with the Arabs. Its a real circus folks. 


-Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is just 12 centimeters (5 inches) from being full enough that water is released into the Jordan River for the first time in almost 30 years! 

-An Israeli cyber security company was just sold for $1.1 billion dollars, making it the 3rd biggest deal in Israeli history

-The 120 new and old Knesset members were sworn in this week - 3 at a time. In the meantime, many of them are in quarantine and the place is closed. Its sad that it takes a pandemic to make this country run this well and with this much peace. Might as well start cleaning for Pesach!