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Corona continues to attack Israel, Israel continues to attack Iran, nobody seems to know what’s going on with extending Israeli sovereignty, but we’re still getting stronger!



Coronavirus on the Offensive

This week, cases of coronavirus infections continued to rise throughout Israel. In the last few days, there have been more cases recorded during some days than back on the worst days a few months ago.

The number of critically-ill has dramatically increased. So far, only a small rise on people connected to respirators has been reported. The government has responded by closing various venues, further limiting people who can gather together, and more than doubling the fine for not wearing a mask in public – from 200 shekels to 500 shekels.

Critics are saying this doesn’t go far enough. Speaking of critics, Gilat Bennett – wife of Knesset member and former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett – says that her husband should be put in charge of the government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus.

I haven’t asked my wife yet if she thinks I should be put in charge (she probably doesn’t), but I think it’s safe to assume that Prime Minister Netanyahu won’t be listening to my wife or Bennett’s wife any time soon.


Israel on the Offensive – Against Iran

Throughout the last week, there were numerous “accidental” explosions at important Iranian sites, including at least one connected to their nuclear weapon development program. Much damage was caused and an unspecified number of deaths were reported.

These explosions seem to have been triggered via the computer systems of the facilities. The whole world is looking at Israel. But the world is keenly aware that Iran previously tried to disrupt Israel’s water supply through cyber warfare, so despite their regular levels of anti-Semitism, everyone is just grabbing the popcorn and sitting back on this one.

Iran is definitely missing President Obama and praying to Allah for Joe Biden to rescue it in a few months. In the meantime, it’s responding the same way Mayor De Blasio demands the NYPD respond to violent assault – just taking it in the face. The major difference is that Iran deserves every hit it gets.

Prime Minister Netanyahu just extended the head of the Mossad’s term by another 6 months, so I think we can reasonably expect a continuation of Israel putting Iran in its place.


Extending Israeli Sovereignty into Parts of
Judea and Samaria – Not on the Offensive?

Radio silence. That pretty much describes the last week. It’s been one week since the first possible date that Prime Minister Netanyahu, based on the governing coalition agreement, could bring up a proposal to extend Israeli sovereignty into parts of Judea and Samaria.

But he didn’t do it last week and he hasn’t done it since. He hasn’t even mentioned it. Crickets. Why not?  Anyone’s guess. However, most folks assume that it has either something to do with mapping technicalities of the specific areas to be affected or possibly some hesitation on the part of the U.S. government.

Either way, this won’t go away. It’s 53 years in the waiting since the Six-Day War and also about 2,000 years in the waiting since the Second Jewish Commonwealth. Something is going to happen. At least that’s what I think.


Regardless, Ir Dovid Scores Victories

In the past week, ELAD, which administers the Ir Dovid archaeological site and strengthens the Jewish presence in the area – also known as Silwan just outside the Old City of Jerusalem, scored two major victories for the Jewish people.

Late last week, Jewish families entered a property purchased by Jewish interests and vacated by the previous Arab residents a few months ago. This property is located on the edge of Silwan and abuts the decrepit Jewish Sambusty Cemetery. The cemetery is in need of serious restoration and protection, and hopefully this permanent neighboring Jewish presence will help with that.

Additionally, the Sumarin family lost their final appeal in the Jerusalem District Court to prevent their eviction from another house in the area that is strategically located near the Ir Dovid Visitors Center.

Both of these victories display the incredible work ELAD is doing and point to many more successes in the near future.  There are also major projects planned to increase and better facilitate tourism in the area. All very good for the Jewish people and the Jewish presence in Jerusalem!


Jordan’s Chutzpah is Offensive

There probably hasn’t been enough jokes in this week’s report, so we’ll end with some humor. Jordan (it’s still a country somehow) demanded this week that Israel stop all projects around the Western Wall since it is the rightful custodian of the site according to international law. The Jordanian demand is being perceived as a form of protest against the possible extension of Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria.

If this is the best Jordan can muster, we should probably go ahead and extend Israeli sovereignty all the way to the Euphrates River. Jordan has got about as good a chance of stopping that as it does do of stopping projects around the Western Wall area.

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