Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Hope everyone had a lovely Passover holiday! Things were pretty much back to normal in Israel, except no visitors from other countries and masks on everyone’s chins. And all the political talk because of the recent election. Let’s get to that first.



Israeli Election

As many might remember from the numerous previous elections over the past two years, the real drama in Israeli elections happens after the votes are counted and the coalition building begins. The rhetoric/trash talking began immediately after Election Day and definitely added to some folks’ simchas chag.

While it currently appears that no one has the ability to assemble a governing coalition of at least 61 seats, President Rivlin has officially given the mandate to try to do it to current Prime Minister Netanyahu. How will this help him get people who have sworn not to join his government? Unclear.

Certainly the highlight of the process, at least for me, was Naftali Bennett’s nominating himself. I suppose if he actually does end up being the prime minister as a result of this election and his seven seats won, I will have to tip my hat to him. In the meantime, I’m still making fun of him.

He does magically keep that tiny kippah on his bald head, so maybe he’s got some other tricks up his sleeve as well. The only realistic chance he has of forming a government is with the left-wing. Most folks would be worried what other people would say about them for even contemplating to do such a thing. Not Bennett, the man has endless (misplaced) confidence.


Coronavirus in Israel

Bad numbers continue to go down. By the end of this week, Israel will likely have less than 300 serious cases and less than 5,000 total cases. Additionally, about 5 million citizens will have had their 2nd shot of the vaccine.

Foreign tourists are still not being allowed entry into Israel, but Israel will now be allowing close relatives of Israeli citizens from abroad to visit them. How efficient the system to get approval will be is anyone’s guess. Probably not great.

More Pfizer vaccines were supposed to be delivered to Israel, but due to a current hissy fit being thrown by Benny Gantz, the cabinet can’t meet to approve the purchase. I don’t claim to be the most mature person all the time, but… this looks pretty, pretty bad.

Word on the street is that Israel will be eliminating the requirement to wear masks in the street next week. If this in fact happens, I’m not sure what everyone will use to cover their chins. These masks are quite cheap and reliable for that very important function. Speaking of chins…


Iran Takes Another Shot to the Chin

Reports are flooding out that an Iranian “intelligence” ship in the Red Sea has been attacked by some kind of explosive device. It remains unclear how much damage was caused and who is responsible for it.

However, many fingers are being pointed at Israel, obviously. Probably wouldn’t have happened if they had been wearing a mask on their chin and/or if they didn’t constantly engage in constant terrorism and other shenanigans.


Terrorist is Freed and Celebrated

After serving 30+ years for the murder of an Israeli soldier, an Israeli-Arab terrorist was freed from prison this week. His family had been receiving money from the Palestinian Authority while he was in jail. Upon the terrorist murderer’s arrival to his Israeli-Arab village, he was met with huge celebrations and cheering.

Needless to say, this didn’t go over very well with some folks. One member of the Knesset is now proposing a law to strip similar terrorists of their Israeli citizenship. I don’t think this law will go anywhere and even if it does, I’m pretty sure that the Supreme Court will strike it down. It just makes too much sense and they hate stuff like that.

I’m not a big believer in affirmative action, but it might be time to mandate a Sephardic majority on the Supreme Court. Could fix a lot of these problems.

Truly awful scenes of Israeli citizens celebrating someone for the sole reason that he tortured and murdered an Israeli soldier because he was Jewish. And no one in the videos is wearing a mask, not even on their chin. So they should all at least get fined, if not deported.

Don’t forget to count the Omer!


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