Israel news summary

Israel News for 9-30-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 4,949 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, despite limited testing. There are currently 65,149 active cases of which 810 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 205 on ventilators. There have been 1,547 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Israel has now surpassed the US in the number of daily deaths per capita from COVID-19. According to a report by the Coronavirus Information and Knowledge Center, run by the IDF, “Given the rise in infections in those over the age of 60, we expect that the number of serious cases will continue to rise significantly in the near future.”

Large crowds gathered at several newly opened Coronavirus testing centers in ultra-orthodox neighborhoods. But the crowds were not, for the most part, socially distant, which could exacerbate the contagion rate. A third of all new infections is coming from the ultra-orthodox community.

The Knesset today passed a law banning Israelis from holding demonstrations more than 1 km from their homes, in order to stem the spread of the virus. Critics of the new law say it was really intended to block protests near PM Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem. For weeks, thousands of Israelis have been gathering at the official residence to protest against Netanyahu and call for his resignation.

During a speech to the UN General Assembly yesterday, PM Netanyahu identified several sites in Beirut where Hezbollah is allegedly storing thousands of missiles. The weapons, stored in residential neighborhoods, could cause massive explosions, like the one that recently claimed hundreds of lives at the Beirut port.

Audio for 9-30-2020

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 9-25-2020

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 7,527 new coronavirus in the past 24 hours. That makes 3 days in a row with over 7,000 new cases. There are currently 60,786 active cases of which 669 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 167 on ventilators. There have been 1,378 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. A stricter nationwide 2 week lockdown goes into effect today.

The Israeli navy and defense establishment tested a new Israeli developed missile system yesterday “that will ensure the maritime superiority of the Navy.” According to the IDF, the missile system has more accurate and flexible attack capabilities, longer ranges, and a better ability to deal with advanced threats.

Amazon plans to hire 150 new employees for its research and development centers in Israel. This will bring the company’s total employee count in Israel to 1,300.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins Sunday night and ends on Monday night. It is a day of prayer, fasting and repentance. It is also the day upon which God promises to grant atonement to those worthy of it. May we all merit atonement and be granted a healthy, happy and successful new year.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 9-23-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 6,923 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. There are currently 54,322 active cases of which 631 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 163 on ventilators. There have been 1,316 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Coronavirus cabinet will reconvene today after failing to agree upon new restrictions in a 9 hour meeting yesterday. The main issue discussed was wether to restrict the mass protests against PM Netanyahu, which are feared to be major virus spreaders. Ministers also debated closing all synagogues.

A delegation of Israeli officials departed for Bahrain today to finalize the details of the normalization agreement signed last week.

Defense Minister Gantz met with Pentagon officials in Washington this week, to discuss new weaponry that Israel wants to buy from the US as well as the issue of the US selling advanced F35 fighter planes to the UAE. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper pledged on Tuesday to help maintain Israel’s military superiority in the Middle East.

Israel and Italy have signed an agreement in which Israel agreed to sell Italy Spike anti-tank guided missiles and aircraft simulators and Italy will sell Israel training helicopters to replace the IDF’s aging fleet.

A major UAE based investment company has signed an agreement with Sheba Medical Center, the largest hospital facility in Israel, to cooperate on a series of key medical challenges, including the battle against COVID-19, medical education and research, medical tourism, and the future of hospital care.

Audio for 9-23-2020

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 9-16-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 5,523 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. There are currently 40,689 active cases of which 535 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 138 on ventilators. There have been 1,147 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Ministers voted to shut down all schools on Thursday, one day before the general lockdown goes into effect.

Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed peace agreements, brokered by US President Trump, at the White House yesterday. During the ceremony the UAE Foreign Minister thanked Israel for halting the annexation of territory and the Bahrain FM stressed the need to now come up with a deal between Israel and the Palestinians. President Trump told PM Netanyahu in a private meeting that several other Arab countries would soon be “coming along very quickly” to sign agreements with Israel, but he did not mention any names.

While the ceremony was getting underway, Hamas fired rockets into Israel from Gaza. Three people were wounded by rocket fragments at a shopping mall in Ashdod. The IDF responded last night with 10 airstrikes against Hamas military targets in Gaza.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, begins this Friday evening and lasts until Sunday evening. The new year according to the Hebrew calendar with be 5781. According to Jewish tradition it is the time when God sits in judgement and reviews the actions of every human being. May we all merit to be inscribed in the Book of Life. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and successful new year. And may God grant Israel a year of peace and prosperity. [We’ll see you back here on Monday.]

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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Audio for 9-14-2020

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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.

Audio for 9-11-2020

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