If you follow news from Israel, you likely know that there has been a lot happening in the Holy Land! With all that’s going on, this week’s article will give a short synopsis of the chaotic headlines of recent weeks.
The Muslim holiday of Ramadan began on April 12th, and Arab protests, riots, violence, and terrorism followed shortly thereafter. Ramadan is a time when Israel’s security forces normally increase their vigilance, but this year’s upheaval has been more violent than usual. Another contributing factor to the violence was the publication of multiple TikTok videos showing Arabs insulting and attacking Jews. One video shows a Palestinian walking up to an Orthodox Jew on the lightrail in Jerusalem and slapping him in the face. His friend filmed the video and published it to TikTok.
The largest scene of the riots has been based around the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Almost nightly, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of Arabs rioting and attacking any unsuspecting Jew who happens to pass by. There have been several instances of near murder – one Jewish man barely escaped with major injuries to his body when he was surrounded by Arabs and beaten all over his body. He escaped with multiple broken bones only when the police arrived. Another near murderous attack was only stopped when a Jewish man fired his personal weapon into the air, which stalled the attackers long enough for the police to arrive.
Ironically, the Arab shopowners in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City have asked the police to put a stop to the violence. After their businesses suffered greatly during the COVID lockdowns of the past year, they were looking forward to the holiday of Ramadan when Arab tourists would return to Jerusalem, causing their businesses to flourish once again.
Just when one thought that things could not get more complicated, Israel’s politics have also gone downhill. Since elections took place last month, Netanyahu was given the mandate to try and form a government. Since many of the parties on the left and right of the political spectrum took a vow to boycott support for him becoming prime minister, he has so far been unsuccessful in forming a government. His last-ditch effort to pass a law allowing for direct elections for prime minister also seems to be failing, and he only has a few days left before the mandate expires.
Following the expiration of Netanyahu’s mandate, Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, has several options as to what to do next. He could hand the mandate to the Knesset body, in which case they will be tasked with collectively deciding who will be the next prime minister and coalition government. Or, he could hand the mandate to Naftali Bennet of the Yamina party, or Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party.
If Lapid or Bennet receive the mandate, they will likely try to form a broad coalition consisting of left, center, and right wing parties. This government would exclude the Netanyahu-led Likud party for the first time in many, many years. Many conservatives in Israel have major concerns about such a coalition government, and rightly so. Because the 24 ministerial portfolios would be divided up evenly across the political spectrum, many worry that the positions that would be allocated to the left would lead Israel in a negative direction.
At a time when the US is considering removing sanctions on Iran as an attempted jumpstart to bringing Iran back to the JCPOA deal of 2015, Israel cannot afford to have weak leadership. Iran is a major threat to the region, not only in Iran, but from Hezbollah and their proxy armies in Syria. More than ever, Israel needs a strong military and defense establishment to keep the Iranians from obtaining a nuclear bomb.
As in all of our content coming from HaYovel and the Joshua & Caleb Network, we always look for positivity when it comes to the news from Israel. This week there is a surprising bit of encouraging news, from Europe of all places! In a move never before seen in their history, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for inciting hatred in its curriculum and demanding that the content be “removed immediately.” It has long been known that UNRWA school curriculum for Palestinian refugees contains incitement to violence against Israel. However, this is a major move for the EU to condemn the material, and long overdue!
By the way, if you have not yet seen this week’s Joshua & Caleb Report, it’s one that you don’t want to miss. We went to an Israeli settlement and an Israeli outpost and asked the question: Is there a Jewish housing crisis in Judea and Samaria? You might be surprised to know just how much power the White House holds when it comes to every single building permit that is issued in Israel’s biblical heartland. Watch this week’s adventure show here.
On a sadder note, please pray for Israel – during the holiday of Lag Ba’omer, 44 people were killed and hundreds injured when a stampede broke out amongst the thousands of worshippers who made pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, located in Meron in the north of Israel. Israel is still trying to figure out exactly what caused the stampede.