Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-28-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry confirmed that an Israeli who returned from Italy on Sunday tested positive for the coronavirus. His wife, who did not travel to Italy, has also tested positive. Both have been moved to the dedicated quarantine area at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv and the entire family has been quarantined at home. Anyone who was in close proximity to the two has been told to self quarantine for 14 days. The man’s son attended school in central Israel for several days before the father tested positive for the coronavirus.

Earlier this week the ministry added Italy to its travel ban. Yesterday Israeli officials refused to allow 25 Italian passengers on a Ryanair flight from Bergamo, Italy, to enter the country.

But the many Israeli citizens returning from Italy on Thursday were allowed to return home on their own to self quarantine, without any Health Ministry examination or transportation. They were allowed to walk freely through Ben Gurion airport, where non of the airport personal were wearing masks. Some of these potentially infected passengers had to make their way back to their homes on their own, using public transportation.

150 IDF soldiers are under house quarantine due to concerns that they contracted coronavirus after returning from a private trip abroad, or by meeting with the South Korean delegation which was later found to be infected with the virus. Another 300 soldiers who recently spent time in Italy will also be immediately quarantined.

El Al’s CEO has ordered the company’s human resource director to prepare a plan to lay off 1,000 of the company’s 6,300 employees. El Al earlier reported to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that damage from the coronavirus was liable to total $70 million in lost revenue in January-April. The estimate was given before the company was forced to halt all flights to Italy.

Israeli researchers at the Galilee Research Institute claim they have developed a vaccine against the coronavirus for poultry and are only three months away from testing a vaccine on humans. An American company has also submitted a vaccine to the USFDA for testing.

IDF jets intercepted a drone dispatched from Gaza yesterday. The drone was shot down over the Mediterranean, 8 miles off the Gaza coast.

Syrian media is reporting that an Israeli drone fired a missile at a car in southern Syria, near the Golan Heights, killing one person. According to the some reports the fatality was identified as Emad al-Tawil, who was involved in the Iranian entrenchment in the area. There was no comment from Israel.

With Israeli elections only 3 days away, the latest poll shows Likud leading Blue and White by 35 to 34 seats. The right-wing block would get 58 seats versus 56 for the center-left. But both blocks would still be short of the 61 seats required to form a government.


Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-26-2020

News Update

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There are currently 1,600 Israelis in quarantine for coronavirus all across the country, stretching from Kiryat Shmona in the very north all the way down to Be’er Sheva in the south. According to Health Ministry regulations, any Israeli returning from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand or Macau must spend 14 days in isolation either at home or in a medical facility. The same regulations apply to anyone who was in contact with the South Korean pilgrim group whose members tested positive for the virus after they returned from a recent sightseeing trip to Israel.

Both PM Netanyahu and President Rivlin expressed condolences to the Egyptian people on the death of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. They also praised Mubarak for his contributions to establish peace and stability in the region.

A joint Israeli and American team is working on mapping territory in Judea and Samaria that would officially become part of Israel under the Trump peace plan.

Meanwhile, the PM said that he is moving forward with a plan to build around 3,500 homes in the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, in order to effectively connect it to Jerusalem. The construction has been held up for years as a result of international pressure.

The Gaza-Israel border is quiet, and life is returning to normal in the south of Israel. The IDF said more than 100 rockets were fired into Israel during the two-day round of cross-border violence. The Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted about 90% of the rockets, although several civilian targets – including a playground – were hit.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-24-2020

News Update

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At least 6 rockets were fired into southern Israel from Gaza today by the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad. The Iron Dome intercepted 5 of the rockets. There were no injuries, but shrapnel from the rockets hit a playground and the yard of a Yeshiva in Sderot.

The latest flareup of violence between Islamic Jihad and Israel began after IDF forces shot and killed 2 Islamic Jihad terrorists who were attempting to lay explosives near the Gaza border on Sunday morning. The Islamic Jihad then fired more than 20 rockets and mortars at Israel. In response, Israel launched airstrikes against Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza and near Damascus, killing at least 6 terrorists.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett warned, “We are preparing a plan to fundamentally change the situation in the Gaza Strip.” PM Netanyahu warned that Israel may be forced to launch a large scale military operation, which he called “the mother of all operations”.

Israel has banned all visitors from South Korea and Japan, after 29 South Korean tourists who returned home from Israel tested positive for the Corona virus. Around 200 Israeli students and teachers were instructed to enter isolation due to being in several tourist sites at the same time as the Korean group. Israeli citizens returning from South Korea and Japan or who were there in the last 14 days must quarantine themselves at home for two weeks upon their return.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-21-2020

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A female terrorist shouting “Allahu Akbar” attempted to stab people walking on the promenade in the Armon Hanetziv neighborhood of Jerusalem today. The terrorist was overpowered and disarmed by other civilians in the area. No one was seriously hurt.

One of the 11 Israeli passengers of a cruise ship quarantined in Japan who just returned to Israel has been diagnosed with the Corona virus and is being quarantined at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv. The other 10 are also in quarantine. Four other Israelis who contracted the virus remain hospitalized in Japan. According to the World Health Organization, over half of the corona virus cases outside of China were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

PM Netanyahu announced plans for the construction of 4,000 homes in east Jerusalem. 3,000 of the homes will be built in the new Jewish neighborhood of Givat HaMatos, near Har Homa. The other 1,000 will be for Palestinians in the town of Beit Safafa. The PM also announced the expansion of the neighborhood of Har Homa, with an additional 2,200 homes. The construction plans were originally submitted 8 years ago, but were halted due to international pressure.

The trade crisis between Israel and the Palestinian Authority seems to have abated. The Palestinians have begun accepting Israeli beef exports and Israel is allowing Palestinian agricultural exports. Back to normal.

In an effort to win votes in the Ethiopian community ahead of the upcoming election, PM Netanyahu has promised to bring to Israel 8,000 Ethiopians of Jewish descent who have been waiting to be allowed in, and 400 of them within the next few weeks. However, only 43 will actually arrive in the next week, due to government health restrictions.

The Ethiopians are part of the Falash Mura, who were converted to Christianity during the 19th century and early 20th century. Many of them have relatives in Israel. The ultra-orthodox parties have reluctantly agreed to allow 400 of them into Israel, but not the 8,000 promised by the PM. Blue and White leader Gantz has promised to bring them all to Israel if elected.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-19-2020

News Update

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Israel announced that it will extend the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza to 15 nautical miles and issue an additional 2,000 entry permits to Palestinian merchants in Gaza, raising the total number to an unprecedented 7,000. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said the decision to ease the restrictions on Gaza stems from the recent relative quiet on the southern border. But he warned that all previous sanctions would be restored if the rocket and balloon attacks resume.

Meanwhile, today IDF troops in Israel were fired upon by a group of Islamic Jihad terrorists in Khan Yunis, in the southern part of Gaza. The troops returned fire, wounding one terrorist. No Israelis were hurt.

The IDF is forming a directorate that will focus exclusively on countering Iran. The move is part of a massive restructuring going on at the IDF, to make the force more effective.

PM Netanyahu has challenged Blue and White leader Gantz to a televised debate. Gantz dismissed the challenge as an attempt to distract the public from Netanyahu’s corruption trial, which begins on March 17th. Gantz said, “Netanyahu has been refusing to debate for ten years now and suddenly, the same day his trial was announced, he wants a debate. He’ll have a debate with the prosecutor in court.”

Israel has banned the entry of non-nationals who have visited Thailand, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong in the past two weeks, in an attempt to curb the spread of the corona virus. Twelve Israelis who were quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan will be returning to Israel, where they will be quarantined again for an additional 14 days. Three Israelis from that ship were diagnosed with the virus and hospitalized in Japan.

A cold front that has swept through Israel in the past 24 hours intensified today with showers and thunderstorms set to hit most parts of the country. Rainfall is expected to continue until Thursday afternoon when it will cease for over 24 hours and resume again on Saturday.

The Kinneret is reported to be just 1 meter short of its maximum level. When the lake is full, the dam at the southern end of the lake near Kibbutz Deganya will be opened, allowing the water to flow down the River Jordan to the Dead Sea.