This Week Today - Current Events in 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

There was mostly good news this week and some not so good news. Can't lie, we bringin' it like it is. #notfakenews

Iran Shoots and Scores - A Direct Hit on Themselves

This week, the Iranian Navy got a little cocky in the Persian Gulf and unloaded on what they thought were practice targets, but was actually a fellow Iranian naval vessel that was in the process of putting the targets in the water. At least 19 Iranian sailors were killed, probably more. President Trump had recently threatened to blow up any Iranian boats bothering US forces in the Persian Gulf. The man can't lose!

Pompeo in the House

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived this week in Israel to discuss progress on the "Trump Plan of the Century". Of course he was greeted very warmly and the atmosphere was very positive. This wasn't always the case during the Obama administration. The one sticking point that came up was how Israel should be dealing with China, especially after the whole Corona thing. This is not a new issue, but apparently some were surprised that it came up. Otherwise, Secretary Pompeo said that all was good and the US is just waiting on Israel to map out their communities in Judea and Samaria and then to officially impose Israeli sovereignty on them so that the US can recognize it.

Speaking of sovereignty, more voices were heard this week in Europe and the US contemplating how to punish Israel if they actually implement it. You would think that after the Holocaust and Obama, folks would realize how little Israelis value their opinions on our security.

Coalition Government Update

Prime Minister Netanyahu announced tonight, and personally informed the President, that he has successfully formed a coalition government and almost everything is ready for the official ceremony. He still needs to figure out exactly which Likud party members get which specific ministries, but that all seems to be coming together. The last main question mark is will any part of the Yameena party be part of the coalition in any way. As it appears now, there seems little chance that Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked will join, but there is still a very real chance that Rabbi Rafi Peretz will break with them and join. On so many levels, that would just be hilarious. They are same the folks who forced him to break his agreement with the more right-wing Otzma party and join them right before the previous election and now Pertez might join the government as a minister and the rest of Yameena to the opposition, with little influence. Can't make this stuff up!

The Sad, Very Sad News

This week an Israeli soldier was killed during an arrest mission in an arab village in the northern Shomron (Samaria). At a certain point during the operation, a group of arabs gathered on a rooftop. They then proceeded to throw a rock in between two soldiers below. When one of the soldiers looked up to try and identify the source, they threw a large piece of marble onto his face from three stories up. I know that was graphic, but that's what happened. Sgt. Amit Ben-Yigal, hy'd, died at the scene of the attack. The Israeli army and intelligence services continue to search for the attackers.

The incredibly sad story became even sadder when it became known that Amit was actually an only child and his parents had officially agreed to allow him to serve in combat. He served in a special forces unit of Golani and died a hero.

A little less heroic is how apparent it had become that these kinds of attacks were happening to Israeli army forces virtually on a nightly basis. Jeeps and other vehicles set of fire, barrages of rocks and molotav cocktails. The video footage is just awful. Someone should have to answer for it, but they probably won't. Fortunately, since the killing, when IDF forces were attacked near Hevron, they shot and killed one of the attackers and wounded others. Hopefully the message will be received. If not, more and more messages will need to be sent.


Thank G-d, Corona has pretty much been defeated in Israel. More and more things are back to normal everyday. There is now talk of opening Ben-Gurion Airport soon. Tourists may even arrive from specific countries in the near future. Almost all kids are back in school and soon restaurants will reopen. Big events coming up are Jerusalem Day, Shavuos and the end of Ramadan .There's still some concern that new outbreaks could occur, but things are definitely looking better in Israel!

Got to end positively: Today I traveled out to the destroyed Jewish community of Homesh in northern Samaria, not far from where the Israeli soldier was killed. The area is totally beautiful. However, I was much more inspired by the young people I met out there. Studying Torah in the blistering heat under the trees for shade, making due with quite spartan conditions - although they now have a reliable power source from solar panels. Can't wait to visit again and really can't wait for the Israeli government to come to their senses and to legally allow and support the rebuilding of Homesh!