Photo Credit: Jewish Press

I don’t want to, but we have to start with Corona. Cases are increasing all over the world, even in utopian Sweden! What should be done? No one in the world seems to know. In Israel, despite the lack of clarity, we must do something to show that we are at least trying to do something.

Right before Rosh Hashanah started, a government-imposed lockdown took effect throughout Israel. The reason given for the lockdown was the spiraling increase in overall infections, serious cases, and deaths.


Everyone agrees that these numbers are up, but that’s pretty much where agreement ends. Will the lockdown decrease the numbers? Are the hospitals really overwhelmed? Are people dying who could be saved? Is all this Prime Minister Netanyahu’s fault? These are just some of the questions being debated right now.

The most pressing issue being discussed is whether the current lockdown should be stricter. This was argued about by government officials for hours on Tuesday and no conclusion was reached. Another meeting will be held soon.

The government is considering closing synagogues for Yom Kippur. It’s also considering prohibiting large protests, like the ones that have been going on for weeks against the prime minister throughout the country, but mostly in Jerusalem. It’s all very unclear and hard to understand.


The New Middle East

Now for something easy to understand: The Middle East! Without to get into all the specific drama going on, here is a brief synopsis:

* Reports are swirling that up to nine more Middle Eastern/northern African countries are interested in making peace/establishing official relations with Israel. It would appear that at least two or three of these countries will do so in the coming days/weeks.

* Meanwhile, Turkey is threatening to attack Greece and Iran is threatening to attack everyone.

* It basically boils down to this: The Middle Eastern Muslim world is currently split into three different alliances:

1) Iran (Shiite Muslims) and its proxies in Lebanon, Syira, Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain

2) Turkey (Sunni Muslims) and its fanatical/Muslim Brotherhood allies in Syria, Hamas, and Islamists in Libya

3) Moderates (Sunni Muslims) in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states (with the exception of Qatar whose foreign policy could best be described as mentally unstable)

The folks in the third category are racing to make peace/establish diplomatic relations with Israel. The folks in the first and second groups are looking to rumble and assert dominance over as much area as possible. Hence the folks in the first category’s need for Israel/America/whoever to help protect them from their aggressive fellow Muslim neighbors.

Jockeying for Power in the Palestinian Authority

Not only is Palestinian Authority leader Abu Mazen in the 16th year of his four-year presidential term, he’s also old and sick. It’s incredibly unlikely he’ll make it to year 20. This being the case, rivals are already jockeying to succeed the aging and ailing terrorist.

This week, supporters of Abu Mazen’s main adversary, Mohammed Dahlan, were detained by Palestinian Authority forces. Of course, the fact that Dahlan fled years ago to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UAE just established relations with Israel is probably not connected to the arrests. Or obviously they are.

Just to add fuel to this fire, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman was (intentionally) inaccurately quoted as saying that the U.S. is interested in changing the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

Meanwhile representatives of both Fatah and Hamas have traveled to Turkey to ostensibly work towards some form of reconciliation between the two terror groups.

In short, Abu Mazen is being closed in on from all sides and trying to delay his inevitable exit. Maybe he’s hoping to make it until next Rosh Hashanah and then die so that the Reform movement will declare him a “tzaddik.” They even got Biden to say that nonsense. It’s the only sentence he’s been able to say clearly the entire campaign so far.


Over the span of the last six months, during the “Corona crisis,” there have been a few significant court decisions on evictions of Arab squatters from Jewish-owned properties. All have been in favor of the Jewish owners and evictions have been ordered.

The properties are located in Kfar Teimanim (Silwan), City of David (Wadi al-hilweh), and Shimon Hatzadik (Sheikh Jarrah). These evictions are currently on hold during corona, but once the corona thing has passed, we are likely to see a significant strengthening of the Jewish presence in all areas around the Old City of Jerusalem.

I’ve generously given y’all alot to pray for on Yom Kippur. Gmar chasima tova to all, but especially to our loyal readers!


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Rabbi Ben Packer is the director of the Jerusalem Heritage House.