Israel news summary

Israel News for 6-17-2020

News Update

To listen to an audio version click here. (for supporters)

The Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center today reported 299 new corona cases over the past 24 hours. The cabinet is set to convene in the afternoon to discuss further reopening of the economy, including cinemas, theaters and other cultural centers.

To get a very good medical overview of the coronavirus epidemic, including answers to many often asked questions, please read this Times of Israel interview with Prof. Yehuda Carmeli, the head of Israel’s National Institute for Antibiotic Resistance and Infection Control. Click here

Israel and Greece are discussing plans to open air travel between the two countries on August 1, without requiring passengers to quarantine after flights. The Greek prime minister brought a cabinet delegation to Jerusalem yesterday to discuss several issues including resuming tourism with Israel and a natural gas pipeline.

According to a Palestinian Authority official, IDF forces entered Ramallah last night in search of terror suspects. Troops searched 3 homes and arrested one suspect in a refugee camp outside the city. Palestinian youths reportedly threw rocks at the troops, who responded with tear gas. This is the first IDF incursion into Palestinian Authority territory since the PA cut security cooperation with Israel last month. The IDF confirmed an arrest was made in the refugee camp, but a spokeswoman said that the army “did not enter Ramallah overnight”.

Regarding the proposed Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank planned for July, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in parliament yesterday: “I believe that what is proposed by Israel would amount to a breach of international law. We have strongly objected. We believe profoundly in a two-state solution and we will continue to make that case.”

In a video conference with U.S. members of congress, Jordan’s King Abdullah warned that “any unilateral Israeli measure to annex lands in the West Bank is unacceptable and undermines the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the region.” He believes that peace will only come with an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. It is unclear as to what measures, if any, Jordan will take if Israel goes ahead with annexation.

Audio for 6-17-2020

This content is for IsraelAM supporters.

To become a supporter, simply make a donation by clicking here.

We will email you your password.

(all supporters were already emailed their passwords)

If you mailed in a donation or have not received your password, please send us an email letting us know so we can send you your password.

To access content please enter your password below:

Israel news summary

Israel News for 6-15-2020

News Update

To listen to an audio version click here. (for supporters)

While Jerusalem remains the city with the most cases of Coronavirus, Tel Aviv has, over the past few days, become the city with the highest infection rate — twice as high as Jerusalem. The Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center, which is part of the IDF’s Security and Intelligence Division, has urged the government to reinstate restrictions on large gatherings – only 24 hours after it permitted events with up to 250 people. The IDF also urged the government to strictly enforce existing health regulations such as mask wearing and social distancing.

The PM warned yesterday that there has been no improvement in the rate of infection, and that the current total of new cases continues to be over 200 per day, which is a red flag. He urged Israelis to adhere to the health guidelines, particularly the wearing of masks.

Israel is deporting the son of American media magnate Shari Redstone for violating the coronavirus quarantine rules while paying a secret visit to his Israeli girlfriend.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, Israel is expected to lose two-thirds of the $300 million of annual income brought in by its heritage tourism industry, which includes trips by Birthright and Masa.

According to new numbers from the National Insurance Institute, 69% of those unemployed or put on unpaid leave due to coronavirus (738,000) have not returned to work.

Border Police and Civil Administration forces clashed with settlers while dismantling six illegal structures in the Givat HaBaladim outpost and six other illegal structures in the Maoz Esther outpost, both located in Israeli controlled territory in the West Bank.

PM Netanyahu announced yesterday that planning will begin on the building of a town in the Golan which will be named Ramat Trump, in honor of the US President’s recognition of the Golan as being part of Israel, last year.

According to the Beirut-based Al Akhbar newspaper, Israel has agreed to transfer $50 million of Qatari aid to Gaza and continue the social projects started by the Gulf states in exchange for Hamas’s pledge to stop incendiary balloon attacks. On Friday a cluster of balloons was launched from the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the center of the Gaza Strip, but non of the balloons managed to cross into Israel.

Audio for 6-15-2020

This content is for IsraelAM supporters.

To become a supporter, simply make a donation by clicking here.

We will email you your password.

(all supporters were already emailed their passwords)

If you mailed in a donation or have not received your password, please send us an email letting us know so we can send you your password.

To access content please enter your password below:

Israel news summary

Israel News for 6-12-2020

News Update

To listen to an audio version click here. (for supporters)

PM Netanyahu warned Israelis to follow the Health Ministry regulations and guidelines regarding the coronavirus in the face of a steepening curve of new cases. The PM said, “The rise in cases is steep and if it continues, we will be back to where we were at the height of contagion and that would mean people being gravely ill and even dying and we must stop this now.” He warned that if the increase in the number of cases continues there would be a need to impose restrictions on the economy again.

Meanwhile, the second highest official in the Health Ministry, Prof. Itamar Grotto, has been waiving the 14 day quarantine requirement for those returning to Israel from overseas for a select group of VIPs including billionaires and celebrities. The Director General of the ministry is investigating.

Israeli officials are reportedly creating an alternate annexation plan that would only include extending Israeli sovereignty to Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria and not to territory outside of the towns. This would leave the status of the other territory open, as opposed to designating some of it as part of a Palestinian state.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina) said that the alternative plan could obviate some of the challenges created by the original version of the plan. He said, “There are advantages to applying sovereignty just to the towns themselves and not to entire areas, since in this case it allows us to dispense with the need for drawing up maps and borders.”

He added, “It also provides an answer to the real fears in Israel that the drawing up of maps could pave the way for the establishment of a Palestinian state. This way, we could both normalize life in these towns and continue to develop them, while also avoiding the dangers of drawing up fixed borders and a de facto agreement to Palestinian statehood.”

In a first for an Arab diplomat, Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the United States, published an op-ed in Israel’s Yediot Aharonot today, urging Israel to abandon plans to extend Israeli sovereignty over roughly 30% of Judea and Samaria as part of the larger Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.

He warned, “It will ignite violence and rouse extremists. It will send shock waves around the region, especially in Jordan whose stability – often taken for granted — benefits the entire region, particularly Israel.”

He also said, “Annexation will certainly and immediately upend Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and with UAE. With the region’s two most capable militaries, common concerns about terrorism and aggression, and a deep and long relationship with the United States, the UAE and Israel could form closer and more effective security cooperation.”

The Palestinian Authority cannot pay the salaries of their government employees for May after refusing to accept tax revenues collected for it by Israel. The tax revenue comprises 60% of the PA’s budget.

Audio for 6-12-2020

This content is for IsraelAM supporters.

To become a supporter, simply make a donation by clicking here.

We will email you your password.

(all supporters were already emailed their passwords)

If you mailed in a donation or have not received your password, please send us an email letting us know so we can send you your password.

To access content please enter your password below:

Israel news summary

Israel News for 6-10-2020

News Update

To listen to an audio version click here. (for supporters)

The Health Ministry reported yesterday that there were 148 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. Many Israelis are disregarding the mask wearing and social distancing regulations. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein warned that Israel would soon exceed 200 new daily coronavirus cases if the public continued to ignore health guidelines.

Violence erupted in Jaffa last night after hundreds of residents, waving Palestinian flags, took to the streets to protest the killing of an autistic Palestinian man in Jerusalem 2 weeks ago by Border Police, who mistakenly thought he was a terrorist when he did not heed their orders to stop and instead began to run from them. The protests began peacefully at the Jaffa Clock Tower square but quickly spread and turned violent as demonstrators began lighting fireworks, setting garbage bins on fire and throwing rocks at busses.

Settler leaders are preparing to launch a campaign against the current formulation of the Trump peace plan, which calls for the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state in the areas of Judea and Samaria that will not be annexed by Israel. The campaign includes extensive print and digital messaging and activities on the ground aimed at promoting the application of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank but without recognition of a Palestinian state, a settlement construction freeze or isolating remote settlements.

Israel’s Supreme Court yesterday struck down a law that had retroactively legalized about 2,000 settler homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank. The 2017 law allowed settlers to remain on land if they had built there without prior knowledge of Palestinian ownership, or if homes were built at the state’s direction. Eight justices voted in favor and one against.

After cutting security ties with Israel because of Israel’s intention to annex parts of the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority has reportedly begun cooperating with the rival Tanzim militant group to maintain order in Palestinian localities that are under Israeli control.

Special emergency committees have been set up in Palestinian towns, comprised of Tanzim activists, past and present security personnel, and local dignitaries. The committees are meant to mediate internal disputes and conflicts that may arise between civilians of the same town, or between residents of neighboring towns and villages. These disputes often end in violence and result in casualties.

Prior to the cessation of security coordination, Israel allowed Palestinian armed forces to enter these areas as disputes spiraled into violence. Since security ties were severed, armed Palestinian security personnel are no longer allowed to move freely within Israeli-controlled territories. This has led to a spike in the number of casualties from violent conflicts, since Palestinian police forces are no longer allowed to enter these areas and restore order. Israeli officials are concerned that the cooperation between the PA and the Tanzim could embolden the Tanzim to use weapons against Israeli security forces in potential confrontations.

The Likud and Blue and White parties have agreed to jointly promote a reform that would lead to legalizing marijuana use. A statement released by the parties said the reform would introduce “a responsible model that will fit Israel and the Israeli population.”

Audio for 6-10-2020

This content is for IsraelAM supporters.

To become a supporter, simply make a donation by clicking here.

We will email you your password.

(all supporters were already emailed their passwords)

If you mailed in a donation or have not received your password, please send us an email letting us know so we can send you your password.

To access content please enter your password below:

Israel news summary

Israel News for 6-8-2020

News Update

To listen to an audio version click here. (for supporters)

Due to new coronavirus cases, 130 schools and kindergartens have thus far been closed and 17,605 students and staff members are now in quarantine. Health officials fear a new outbreak could be occurring in Jaffa, where the number of new infections has increased in recent days.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that the government is manufacturing N95 masks in Sderot, in anticipation of a second wave of the virus. The machines to make the masks were imported from China.

The Shin Bet announced the arrest of the Palestinian who threw a large cinderblock at the head of IDF First Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal, which killed him, during an arrest operation in the West Bank last month. The suspect is Namzi Abu Bakr, a 49-year-old resident of the house in the Yabed of village from which the soldier was attacked. Both the PM and the President praised security forces for the arrest.

The US administration has reportedly told Israel to hold off on its plans to annex parts of the West Bank, planned to begin on July 1. Germany’s foreign minister, who will visit Israel on Wednesday, is expected to warn Israel not to proceed with unilateral annexation or face major economic repercussions and the recognition of a Palestinian state by EU member countries.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister of Finance Yisrael Katz have decided to abolish a series of duties and purchase taxes on certain products including mobile phones, clothing and footwear, baby products, electronic entertainment equipment, domestic electrical products, toys and games, perfumes, and more. This will lead to lower prices for consumers.

There have been several crime related murders in the Arab community of Ramle, a city in central Israel which is about 75% Jewish and 25% Arab. Police suspect the violence is part of a war between organized crime organizations.

An Indian crested porcupine was found in the Knesset’s public bathrooms last night.The bathrooms were left open overnight to allow the porcupine to leave on its own accord, which it apparently did. No Knesset members, or porcupines, were hurt.

Audio for 6-8-2020

This content is for IsraelAM supporters.

To become a supporter, simply make a donation by clicking here.

We will email you your password.

(all supporters were already emailed their passwords)

If you mailed in a donation or have not received your password, please send us an email letting us know so we can send you your password.

To access content please enter your password below: