This Week Today
Current Events from Israel
This week Israel commemorates both Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day for security forces and terror victims) and Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Independence Day). Very powerful and emotional days.
This year they fall out during the beginning of the Muslim month of Ramadan, which moves nomadically around the calendar like a Bedouin. Undoubtedly there were many wondering how this was all going to work out logistically. So far, and we’re just at the beginning, but when the loudspeakers from the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount kept making noise leading up to the Yom HaZikaron ceremony at the Western Wall, Israeli security forces just shut them off. Jordan is angry, but the speakers are silent. Some things are just so much easier than folks think.
Israel Keeps Pounding Away on Iran
In a widely reported attack, universally attributed to Israel, a single or series of explosions caused significant damage to an Iranian nuclear plant this week. Some reports suggest that the effects were felt as far as 50 meters underground – that’s almost 2000 inches). The Iranian nuclear program was definitely set back, some estimate up to 9 months. Additionally, it just doesn’t look good for Iran – another attack on their own soil. And this time, Israel is pretty much openly taking credit.
Iran Responds, sort of
Seemingly in response to Israel’s latest attack, Iran attacked an Isreali-owned commercial vessel off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. A missile was fired at the ship, but caused little damage and the ship continued on its way. Iran also claims to have attacked a “Mossad outpost” in northern Iraq and captured Israeli spies in Iran. Unclear how true either of these things are. What must be true is that Iran must be plenty annoyed with all these successful Israeli attacks. Maybe just enough to make a mistake big enough to really get them hit hard. Tough spot to be in. Maybe supporting constant terrorism wasn’t the best move.
Governing Coalition Construction Effort Continues
Prime Minister Netanyahu, after receiving the mandate to form a coalition government from President Rivlin, continues to try to do just that. Negotiations are continuing with Naftali Bennett and his Yamina party about joining a possible Netanyahu-led government. However, this still would not give Netanyahu enough seats to form a government. He would still be short 2.
Some analysts are suggesting that Bennett is betting on this scenario to continue and after Netanyahu’s time is up and he fails to successfully form a 61-seat coalition, Bennett will jump in and attempt to form a government, with him as Prime Minister, with the left-wing parties. Bennett is pretty quiet about this, but has been very vocal that he will do anything to prevent another election.
In short, so far, no one is actually budging. Netanyahu’s deadline is May 2. There’s a lot of fasting between now and then for the Muslims.
Coronavirus in Israel
All bad numbers continue to decrease. There are currently about 3000 positive cases in the country in total. Of those, about 230 are in serious condition. Sadly, the death toll has reached 6300. As a result of the positive numbers, it is expected that masks will no longer be required outdoors as of next week. More importantly, it has been announced that foreign tourist groups will start being allowed into the country in late May. Obviously this is a really big deal for a large segment of the economy and a long awaited announcement.
Massive Success for Ateret Cohanim and the Jewish People in Jerusalem
Last week, the Ateret Cohanim organization entered 3 properties that they purchased in the Kfar Shiloach/Silwan neighborhood, just south of the Old City of Jerusalem. The recently acquired buildings can house up to 15 families. The additional families will almost double the current size of the local Jewish community to approximately 40 families. One can see the large Israeli flags waving from the buildings from quite a distance. The Jewish presence in Jerusalem has undoubtedly been significantly strengthened by this successful operation and one gets the feeling that there is much more to come! Kol HaKavod to Ateret Cohanim!
There’s breaking news out of New York that Governor Fredo Cuomo made a profanity-laced comment about Sukkahs. He’s probably just annoyed that he got splinters when he went to touch one without consent.