Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Fourth time’s a charm? I guess we’ll find out. It’s now official that Israel will be heading to new elections in March. What can we say as of now is:

* Gidon Saar’s party continues to poll well, but Likud remains well in front of it and every other party too. It seems that Saar is drawing support from previous supporters of Likud, Blue and White, and Yamina. Whether this support actually continue and translate into votes on Election Day very much remains to be seen.

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* Blue and White, the party most responsible for the disintegration of the government and the upcoming elections, is polling absolutely terribly – between 4-5 seats. Might be time for Benny Gantz to change careers. A bunch of high-ranking folks quit the police force this week, so maybe…

* Naftali Bennett of the Yamina Party has declared his desire to be prime minister. Him being elected to that position in March is about as likely as me growing taller. In other words, not terribly likely. It remains to be seen if Yamina will stay together in its current combination of Jewish Home, National Union, and the New Right. It might not, and that might not be the end of the world either.

* The long-time mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, is threatening to start another left-wing party and run in the election. He must just really hate the other folks on the left and want to make their lives more difficult. Good for him, but no actual impact is realistically possible.

 

Covid Vaccinations Begin in Israel

Israelis began receiving the vaccination against Covid-19 this week. It’s expected that tens of thousands of Israelis will be vaccinated by the end of the month. Prime Minister Netanyahu is confidently declaring that Israel will be one of the first countries to emerge from the pandemic. Let’s hope so, but for now, it seems we’ll be seeing more restrictions rather than fewer.

Here’s Looking at You, Morocco

A joint U.S.-Israel delegation flew to Morocco this week from Israel to further the recent normalization agreement between the two countries. So far, all looks very friendly. Reminds me a lot of a high school reunion – everyone is happy to reunite and see familiar faces and therefore chooses to ignore how some folks tortured other folks back in the day.

Grissly Terrorist Murder

On Sunday, Esther Horgan, Hy”d, of Tal Menashe went for a jog/walk in the forest next to her home. When she didn’t return, her husband notified the police. Her body was found the next day with signs of extreme violence. Terrorism is suspected and a manhunt is underway.

Mrs. Horgan was the mother of six and a prominent member of her community. Prime Minister Netanyahu has reportedly committed to doubling the size of Tal Menashe in wake of her murder.

Soldier Removed from Duty

An IDF soldier this week was confronted on a highway by a terrorist. At first it appeared that the terrorist sought to physically engage the soldier, but then stepped back, lit a Molotov cocktail, and proceeded to throw it at the soldier.

During the entire incident, the soldier failed to shoot and didn’t in any way attempt to stop the terrorist from fleeing the scene. Fortunately, there was no explosion and the soldier wasn’t injured. Unfortunately for the soldier, the whole thing was caught by surveillance camera and released to the public.

The soldier has now been relieved of duty. One has to wonder what caused the soldier to refrain from shooting the terrorist. I mean, there are so many examples of soldiers getting in trouble for doing the right thing that it’s hard to know which specific example the soldier was thinking of at that specific time.

That doesn’t mean the soldier is blameless, but there is more than enough blame to go around. Speaking of blame….

Youth Killed By Police Chase

Every week there are many, many incidents of stone-throwing by Arabs on the highways of Judea and Samaria (and sometimes in the Negev as well). This week, Israeli police reportedly received information of Jews throwing rocks from their vehicle at Arab vehicles. An unmarked police cruiser gave chase to the car of the accused Jewish perpetrators who supposedly fled the scene.

What happened after that remains unclear – to people who really aren’t very bright. The fleeing car crashed off the side of the road, and one of the youths inside was trapped underneath the car and killed. The other four occupants were arrested and taken to a hospital.

The injured youths say the police car hit their car and knocked it off the road. If so, you would expect there to be some damage on the police car. Guess what? There is!! But the police tried very hard to keep people, including a Knesset member, from being able to take pictures of the police car.

Some people are suggesting this is what the police have to do during car chases. However, the roads in the area of the incident are not built like regular roads and are more like bridges passing through rocky terrain. Let me know the next time you see a police car bump another car off a bridge during a car chase and claim standard operating procedure.

The dead youth’s parents have filed a complaint against the policemen involved in the chase and there have been protests in various locations since the incident. Doubtful any real action will be taken. The kid just looked way too Jewish…

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