This Week Today: Current Events from Israel

Ben Packer,

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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

If you thought the explosions were over in Lebanon, well then you just don't know anything about Lebanon. Their civil war lasted, officially, for 15 years and still nobody really won! It's fair to say that they've earned the right to not be judged like all the other messed up disasters of failed countries.

Explosion in Lebanon Continues to Reverberate

Although most sources agree that the prime ingredient in the massive explosion that rocked Beirut last week was ammonium nitrate, it's still quite unclear why it was there in the first place and what ignited it. Hezbollah is doing everything they can to conceal this information. Not since OJ Simpson has someone appeared more guilty and yet claimed they weren't. I'm not sure exactly what Hezbollah was doing, but they did it.

Meanwhile, the entire Lebanese cabinet has resigned their po‎sitions in response to the disaster. Where Lebanon goes from here politically is anyone's guess. The current President of Lebanon has asked that everyone stay on to help with transition, but unclear what they will be transitioning to. There are even some in Lebanon calling for a return of French rule and let's just say you don't hear that everyday. I don't think I've ever heard it before. Maybe in France during World War II. Maybe.

For the time being, it appears that the threat of another attack by Hezbollah on Israel has been significantly reduced. You can never be certain with maniac terrorists, but for now the IDF has pulled back the additional forces that had previously been sent to the border to reinforce Israeli forces there.

There remains the widespread belief among many in the Israeli public that the materials that exploded in Beirut were intended by Hezbollah to explode in Israel. The head of Hezbollah had previously stated that exact intention specifically. Moshe Feiglin - no idea what to title him - probably said it best when he said that he's happy it exploded there and not in Israel. Of course there were some who thought his statement was insensitive - and they have no business living in the Middle East....or maybe anywhere.

Coalition Crisis/Early Elections?

There continues to be daily drama between the Likud Party and the Blue and White Party. The main fight now is over the budget. Blue and White wants a 2-year budget and Likud wants a 1-year budget. Or maybe Likud doesn't really care, however the coalition agreement says that if a budget isn't passed by a certain date, then elections will be called and Prime Minister Netanyahu would remain Prime Minister, at least until those elections. This is possibly the only way for that to happen, hence the view that Netanyahu is carefully orchestrating this coalition crisis just to prevent Benny Gantz from ever becoming prime minister.

A compromise was recently proposed and accepted (in theory) by all parties to delay the deadline as to when the budget has to get passed. I think the ex‎pression that most accurately describes this idea is to "kick the can down the road". In the meantime, nothing else is really getting done. Maybe with the delay, something will get done - like curing Corona!

Corona in Israel

Coronavirus cases continue to increase in Israel at a rate of over 1000 a day. The numbers of deaths and seriously ill patients continue to rise as well. The government official in charge of Corona continues to threaten a countrywide lockdown if numbers don't get better. Nobody, including the Knesset, seems to be taking him very seriously. Israel is planning to soon open its borders to foreign tourists from designated countries and allow outdoor events, like concerts. Outside of ultra-orthodox areas, there is no enforcement of wearing masks. In ultra-orthodox areas, not wearing a mask remains a serious crime that requires violence to be implemented on the perpetuator, regardless of age, immediately upon detection.

Anti-Netanyahu Protests Continue

Speaking of not wearing masks or social distancing, thousands of leftists continue to protest against Prime Minister Netanyahu in the streets and parks of Jerusalem. Some leftists publications were trying to suggest that right-wing people had now joined the protests as well. They made the mistake of identifying the "right-wing" protestors who all turned out to be quite the outliers. Fake news is what they do. All current polls put the Likud party, led by Netanyahu, way ahead of any other party and these corona-spreading protests seem to have had very very little effect.

Extending Sovereignty

Earlier this week, there were reports that US Ambassador David Friedman had flown to the US for intensive discussions on US support for applying Israeli sovereignty to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Soon it was quickly changed to be a "personal visit". Now the left is reporting that the "palestinian authority" says they have been promised that sovereignty will not happen. Wow, who is less believable - the leftist press or the terrorists in Ramallah? Seth Rogen. Seth Rogen is less believable.