Israel news summary

Israel News for 9-14-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 3,182 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. There are currently 40,561 active cases of which 529 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 135 on ventilators. There have been 1,126 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Cases in Gaza continue to rise, but there have been just a few pandemic related deaths reported.

On Sunday, PM Netanyahu announced that the government had approved a three-week lockdown to be imposed on the entire country beginning on Friday. The Jewish high holidays begin Friday night. Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, of the ultra-orthodox UTJ party, announced his resignation, claiming that the lockdown is an affront to the religious public.

Finance Minister Israel Katz said he will introduce an aid package to businesses impacted by the lockdown and to people who stand to lose their jobs as a result.

Bahrain has become the second Gulf state to normalize relations with Israel. The peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain, brokered by US President Trump, will be signed at a White House ceremony on Tuesday. PM Netanyahu arrived in Washington today. Oman, another Gulf state, praised the agreements and Morocco is expected to begin allowing direct flights from Israel. [Times are changing, primarily thanks to the efforts of President Trump and the Iranian threat.]

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Israeli airstrikes targeted ammunition depots and vehicles used by pro-Iranian militias near the city of Albu Kamal in eastern Syria this morning, killing at least 10 militants.

Satellite photos reveal extensive damage to a missile production facility used by Hezbollah in Syria, after an airstrike attributed to Israel on Friday. Another production facility nearby was destroyed in May.

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 9-11-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 4,013 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, a record high. There are currently 33,691 active cases of which 488 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 143 on ventilators. There have been 1,077 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Ministerial Committee on the Coronavirus Pandemic has decided to impose a full two-week lockdown on the entire country starting next week.

In the first stage of the plan, movement will be restricted to within 500 meters from a person’s home. Stores will close except for food and pharmacy outlets and only people with essential jobs will be allowed to work outside the home. Schools will close as well as all tourism and leisure services, and restaurants will only be allowed to offer home deliveries. Prayer and other gatherings would be permitted under the restrictions imposed on red zones, with a limit of no more than 10 people congregating indoors and no more than 20 outside.

In the second stage, between October 2 -11 (the Sukkot holiday) travel between cities will be banned, schools will remain closed, stores, tourism and leisure services will remain closed, and private sector places of work will be limited to 30-50% of regular capacity.

In the third stage, Israel will return to the current traffic light plan, if the numbers of new infections have fallen significantly. Otherwise a lockdown could continue.

The lockdown plan must now be approved by a vote of the entire cabinet on Sunday.

The Israel Institute for Biological Research announced yesterday that it will begin human trials of its potential coronavirus vaccine next month. Human testing will be conducted at Sheba and Hadassah medical centers and will include approximately 100 volunteers.

Syrian state media reported that Israeli warplanes fired missiles at targets in the suburbs of Aleppo this morning. The report claimed that Syrian air defense systems shot down most of the missiles.

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 9-9-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 3,496 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. There are currently 30,079 active cases of which 458 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 140 on ventilators. There have been 1,048 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Jerusalem leads the country with 3,686 active cases, followed by Bnei Brak with 1,651. There are 802 active cases in Tel Aviv. At least 40 locations across Israel, with high infection rates, were placed under night-time curfew on Tuesday. Most of the locations have predominantly Haredi (ultra-orthodox) or Arab populations. The curfew will be in effect between 7pm and 5am for a period of one week, but police are apparently not really enforcing the regulations. More comprehensive restrictions to stem the virus were blocked by Haredi ministers.

Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein and coronavirus czar Prof. Gamzu have both entered quarantine after coming into contact with a confirmed patient.

[While many are blaming PM Netanyahu for failing to properly manage the coronavirus crisis as the infection rates continue to rise, making Israel the country with the highest per capita infection rate, the true blame most likely rests with the general Israeli public which continues to, in large part, ignore social distancing and mask wearing regulations. There’s only so much a government can do to fight the virus, short of completely locking down the country for an indefinite period of time, which no one wants. The responsibility rests with the people — and they are apparently failing.]

Palestinian leaders have toned down their rhetoric against the peace agreement between Israel and the UAE. A draft resolution to be presented by the Palestinians at an Arab League meeting in Cairo today does not include a call to condemn or act against the UAE. PA President Abbas also issued instructions banning any offensive statements or actions towards any Arab leaders.

On Friday, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying that Kosovo and Israel had decided to “establish full diplomatic relations between the two countries.” The arrangement was apparently a part of an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia brokered by the US administration. Now Serbia is reportedly refusing to move its embassy to Jerusalem if Israel recognizes Kosovo as an independent country. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Kosovo would be the first Muslim country to have an embassy in Jerusalem.

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 9-4-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 2,766 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. On Wednesday new cases exceeded 3,000. There are currently 25,277 active cases of which 416 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 123 on ventilators. There have been 991 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. The coronavirus czar, Prof. Gamzu, said that there was a good chance that Israel would be locked down for the high holidays, later this month.

Cabinet Ministers decided yesterday to impose lockdowns on 30 localities with high infection rates, starting Monday. Under these new restrictions, residents will be prohibited from venturing more than 500 meters (1600 feet) away from home except for food, medicine, and other essential house maintenance needs. All “non-essential” businesses will be closed. Schools will be closed except for kindergartens and special education. Travel to, within, and from the cities, and even certain neighborhoods, will be restricted. Police will announce which cities will be locked down on Sunday.

According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, Israel ranks first in the world in the number of new coronavirus infections per capita. It is then followed by Bahrain, Brazil, Kuwait and the United States.

The New York Times reported yesterday that PM Netanyahu “privately condoned” the American sale of advanced F-35 fighter jets to the UAE despite his public claims to the contrary. The paper quoted senior American officials as saying that Netanyahu chose not to oppose the deal as it progressed in a parallel track to talks on the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE. The US officials said that Netanyahu “stopped publicly complaining about the proposed arms sale after a meeting with [U.S.] Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem last week that brought the Israeli prime minister back in line.”

According to unnamed Israeli officials, Bahrain will be the next Arab country to follow the UAE in normalizing relations with Israel.

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 9-2-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 2,085 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. There are currently 20,960 active cases of which 416 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 109 on ventilators. There have been 957 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

An IDF soldier and a policeman were lightly wounded in a car-ramming attack at Tapuach Junction in the northern West Bank this morning. The terrorist approached from the direction of the Arab village of Huwara in southern Nablus and rammed his car into a police checkpoint. The terrorist then exited the vehicle and continued to advance towards the men with a knife drawn. The injured police officer shot and wounded the terrorist.

Eleven pro-Iranian militiamen were killed in an air strike south of Damascus on Monday night. Syrian media blamed Israel for the strike. Israel declined to comment.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed yesterday to set up a joint committee to cooperate on financial services, to promote investment between the two countries. UAE’s media office tweeted, “Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Invest in Israel set out plans for bilateral investment cooperation, during a landmark first meeting when both parties explored mutually beneficial areas of partnership with a strong focus on innovation and technology.” A top UAE official also said that the UAE had received assurances from both Israel and the US that Israel would not proceed with plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

A Jordanian man was apprehended on a beach in Eilat after he swam across the border. The man said that he wanted to seek a better economic future in Israel.

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has officially allowed independent rabbinic organizations to provide kosher supervision to food establishments. The establishments may now display a certification describing what kosher standards they observe but they may not use the word “kosher” and they must clearly state that they are not supervised by the rabbinate.

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