Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-13-2020

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 817 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. The contagion rate has risen to 2.1%. There are currently 8,059 active cases of which 303 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 133 on ventilators. There have been 2,706 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

PM Netanyahu announced that Israel has signed a deal with Pfizer for 8 million doses of the company’s new vaccine. Israel will begin receiving the vaccine in January. Israel is also in talks with other vaccine development companies.

Israel’s supreme court has ordered the state to justify, within 21 days, the legal agreement at the core of the current unity government that regulates its power-sharing deal and the institution of the alternate prime minister. To read more about this click here.

The body of IDF Corporal Sagi Ben David, who had been missing since Tuesday, was found near the Hizma checkpoint near East Jerusalem. Ben David was serving at the Anatot base near Jerusalem, where he was last seen. He apparently turned off his phone when he left the base. The IDF and police are investigating the circumstances of his death, but sources said it appears his death was not terror related.

During the World Health Organization’s Thursday meeting on the global response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, 30 delegations took the opportunity to blame Israel for “allegedly violating the health rights of Palestinians and Syrians in the Golan Heights.” Included in those delegations were Venezuela, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Malaysia and Lebanon. The WHO session concluded with a vote of 78 to 14, with 32 abstentions, to adopt a resolution, co-sponsored by Syria, Cuba, Turkey, Qatar and the Palestinian delegation, requiring the WHO to hold the same debate at next year’s assembly, and to prepare another report on the “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

England’s Prince Charles has made a private donation to the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, making it the first time a member of the British royal family has made an official personal donation to an Israeli cause. British Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan said, “The contribution to the Peres Center reflects the impact of the prince’s visits to Israel, and the importance of the relations between Britain and Israel.”

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-11-2020

News Update

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

The Health Ministry reported 663 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. The contagion rate has dropped to 1.6%. There are currently 8,105 active cases of which 304 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 126 on ventilators. There have been 2,683 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The IDF reported yesterday that it shot down a Hezbollah drone that entered Israeli airspace.

The IDF is in a heightened state of alert ahead of the one-year anniversary on Thursday of the assassination of Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu Al-Ata. Additional Iron Dome batteries have been deployed in the south.

Saeb Erekat, 65, the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, died from Covid in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem after being treated there for 3 weeks. He will be buried today in Jericho.

The Trump administration formally notified Congress on Tuesday that it plans to sell 50 stealth F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates as part of a broader arms deal worth around 23 billion dollars. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had authorized the sale in keeping with the administration’s Middle East peace efforts.

Audio for 11-11-2020

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-9-2020

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 522 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. The contagion rate has risen to 2.4%. There are currently 8,958 active cases of which 322 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 138 on ventilators. There have been 2,674 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Health officials are warning the government that it is opening up the economy too quickly, after most retail shops were allowed to open yesterday. Israelis flocked to stores, in many cases standing in long lines to enter.

The IDF shot and wounded a terrorist who tried to stab soldiers near the town of Fawwar, southwest of Hebron. No soldiers were hurt. The terrorist was a 41-year-old resident of the city of Dura, who said he had hoped to die in the attack. He was taken to the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva for treatment.

PM Netanyahu yesterday tweeted his congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory in the US Presidential election. He added, “Joe, we’ve had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel. I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the U.S. and Israel.”

The PM also tweeted, “Thank you @realDonaldTrump for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights.

President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi all congratulated Biden on his election and praised him as being a strong, long-time, friend of Israel.

The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee met today to discuss the sale of fifty F-35 jets and other advanced weapons systems by the U.S. to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The meeting revolved around the question of PM Netanyahu’s knowledge of, and tacit agreement to, the sale. Mideast expert Amos Gilboa said Democrats could block the weapons sale to avoid unnerving Iranian officials, with whom President-elect Joe Biden already said he wants to negotiate in an effort to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. He said, “The assumption is that [Biden] won’t follow [Trump’s] path of that regional alliance because of his desire to negotiate a deal with Iran. Supplying arms to Gulf states and adding more countries to the regional alliance with Israel will infuriate Iran, so he might put that on hold.”

The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) has begun steadily rising after last week’s heavy rainfall. The level of the lake is currently 209.99 meters below sea level, 1.19 meters from its maximum level of 208.80 meters below sea level. The Kinneret has risen 2.5 centimeters over the past few days and is beginning the winter at its highest level for 17 years, after well above average rainfall last winter.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-6-2020

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 560 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. The contagion rate has dropped to 1.7%, but fewer tests were conducted this week, which could account for the drop in new cases. There are currently 8,958 active cases of which 327 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 147 on ventilators. There have been 2,639 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

This week the IDF razed a Bedouin village, comprised of 80 dwellings, near Tubas in the Jordan Valley (West Bank). The IDF said it had destroyed structures “built illegally in a firing zone”. The Jordan Valley falls in the West Bank’s Area C that is fully controlled by Israel. Under Israeli regulations, Palestinians cannot build structures in the area without permits, which are typically refused, and demolitions are common.

Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich called for Israel to apply sovereignty over the West Bank before the next U.S. presidential term begins, in the event that VP Joe Biden wins the 2020 presidential elections. U.S. vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris said she and Biden would oppose unilateral action by Israel that “undermine” a two-state solution, and reinstate funding for the Palestinians.

The United Nations approved a draft resolution that spoke of the Temple Mount solely as an Islamic holy site, by referencing it only by its Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif. It was one of seven pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel resolutions that the UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee in New York passed on Wednesday. Nine countries, including Israel, voted against the resolution. These were: Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Hungary, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and the United States. 16 countries abstained, including Austria, Belarus, Cameroon, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Honduras, Kiribati, Sao Tome Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Togo, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

A German representative, who spoke on behalf of the European Union, said that in spite of the support of many of the member states, the EU opposed the solely using al-Haram, al-Sharif to describe the Temple Mount. He stressed the “need for language on the holy sites of Jerusalem to reflect the importance and historic significance of the holy sites for the three monotheistic religions.“

The Tel Aviv municipality dumped sewage into the sea as a result of heavy rains that overwhelmed the city’s sewage system. The dumping caused the city’s beaches to be covered by residues of dirt, oils, animal carcasses and other contaminants. The beaches were closed.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-4-2020

News Update

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

The Health Ministry reported 863 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. The contagion rate has dropped to 2.3%. There are currently 9,769 active cases of which 382 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 164 on ventilators. There have been 2,580 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

A Palestinian terrorist opened fire on an IDF post south of the city of Nablus today. Soldiers returned fire and killed the terrorist. No soldiers were hurt. The terrorist was identified as a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces.

Heavy rains today have caused widespread flooding in southern Israel. The city of Ashdod seems to have taken the biggest hit, with flooding in several neighborhoods submerging cars on the streets. Rain is expected to continue until Thursday evening.

United Arab Emirates airline FlyDubai announced today that it would start direct fights to Israel this month with twice daily service between Dubai and Tel Aviv. No visas are required.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan condemned Israel for supplying arms to Azerbaijan. The two countries are engaged in a war over disputed territory.

Malawi’s Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka said that Malawi will open its embassy in Jerusalem before the summer of 2021.

Audio for 11-4-2020

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-2-2020

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 676 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. The contagion rate has again increased to 3.1%. There are currently 11,254 active cases of which 372 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 170 on ventilators. There have been 2,554 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. The cabinet will meet today to discuss further steps to ease the lockdown.

With the US election tomorrow, PM Netanyahu praised the Middle East policies of the Trump administration, although he did not openly take sides in the election. But I think it’s pretty clear who the PM, and the overwhelming majority of Israelis, want to win. The Palestinian leadership has openly expressed their support for a Biden victory.

[I personally cannot see how any other president could show greater support towards Israel. Especially not someone supported by a very powerful and vocal left-leaning faction of his party that has been openly anti-Israel. Of course, American voters must base their decision on many factors — but if Israel were the only issue, I think the choice would be clear.]

The IDF today demolished the home of Khalil Abd al-Khaliq Dweika, the terrorist who murdered Rabbi Shai Ohayon in a stabbing attack in August. The IDF Spokesperson said approximately 150 Palestinians rioted in the village of Rujeeb, near Nablus, while bulldozers destroyed the home. The Supreme Court had rejected the appeal of the terrorist’s family and permitted the demolition.

Israeli companies are quickly establishing economic ties with companies in the UAE. To read more about this click here.