Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-26-2021

News Update

Israeli warplanes hit a Hamas military base in southern Gaza deemed responsible for launching incendiary balloons into Israel that caused 3 fires. The Defense Ministry ordered the reduction of the Gaza fishing zone from 12 to 6 miles. PM Bennett has compared the launch of incendiary balloons to rocket fire.

One of the Israeli airstrikes on Iranian related targets in Syria last week reportedly killed Hezbollah military commander Imad al-Amin and an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) senior official.

General Vadim Kulit, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, told the Russian news agency TASS that Russian-made Buk-M2E systems of the Syria air defense units intercepted 2 guided missiles fired from Israeli warplanes flying outside of Syrian airspace yesterday. The Russians claim that it was the 3rd Israeli airstrike in the last week. The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported yesterday that Russia intends to curtail Israel’s military operations in Syria by supplying the Syrian government with stronger air defenses. The paper reported that Moscow is reportedly “running out of patience” regarding Israeli airstrikes in Syria.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II confirmed, in a CNN interview on Sunday, that he had recently met in secret with PM Bennett and Defense Minister Gantz. The King said, “I came out of those meetings really encouraged and I think we’ve seen, in the past couple weeks, not only a better understanding between Israel and Jordan but the voices coming out from both Israel and Palestine that we need to move forward and reset that relationship.”

Israel’s environmental protection ministry said yesterday that it was delaying implementation of a proposed oil transport deal with the United Arab Emirates because of environmental concerns. According to the proposed agreement, oil would be shipped to the Port of Eilat from the UAE by tanker, and then transported overland via pipeline to the Port of Ashkelon, from where it would be shipped to Europe.

Israel yesterday pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% from 2015 levels by 2050. To read more, click here. 

The IDF arrested a man who swam from Lebanon into Israeli waters last night. The man was unarmed.

Israeli Olympian Avishag Semberg, 19, won a bronze medal in taekwondo in the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Saturday.

The Health Ministry today reported 1,398 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. The infection rate stands at 2.08%.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-23-2021

News Update

Syrian media reported that Syrian air defenses intercepted Israeli missiles over Homs province early Thursday. The strike destroyed several Hezbollah weapons depots. It was the second Israeli airstrike into Syria this week.

The IDF captured two suspects who crossed into Israel from Lebanon yesterday. The IDF said the two were most likely migrants looking for work.

At Israel’s request, the US administration will delay reopening the American consulate in Jerusalem, which is meant to serve Palestinians.

Israel has established a commission to investigate allegations that NSO Group’s controversial Pegasus phone surveillance software was misused. The Israeli company’s software has been implicated in possible mass surveillance of journalists, human rights defenders and 14 heads of state.

Unilever’s chief executive said that the company was “fully committed” to Israel and has invested over $300 million in the country over the past decade. He said that the decision made by its subsidiary Ben and Jerry’s to not renew its Israeli franchisee’s license because it continued to sell product in the West Bank was made by the company’s independent board, over which he had no oversight.

The U.N.’s Human Rights Council announced yesterday that former United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay will head an international commission of inquiry into alleged crimes committed during the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the rabbi of the Samaria Regional Council area, was driving to his home in Elon Moreh last night when his car was attacked by Arabs near the village of Huwara. The Arabs began throwing items at his vehicle and pursued it for some distance, and at one point, an Arab managed to intercept the vehicle and smash the front windscreen with a metal rod. The rabbi was able to escape uninjured.

The Health Ministry reported Thursday that the efficacy of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in preventing infection has dropped to 39%, while the effectiveness in preventing severe illness is 91%. The data suggests that the efficacy of the vaccine declines over time. 5,770 fully vaccinated people have been recently diagnosed with COVID, after 1,152,914 tests were conducted. Of those, 495 patients were hospitalized, 334 were hospitalized in a serious condition, and 123 died.

Israel’s national jiu-jitsu team won 11 medals, including 3 gold, 2 silver and six bronze, at the European Championship in Germany this week. Nest stop is the World Championship in Abu Dhabi.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-21-2021

News Update

Yesterday, 2 rockets were fired into northern Israel from Lebanon. One of them was intercepted by the Iron Dome and other fell in an open area. The attack occurred just hours before Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was due to visit the city of Ma’alot-Tarshiha in the Galilee. In response, the IDF fired artillery shells into Lebanon.

Lebanon is currently in the midst of a severe economic depression that has led to the collapse of the government and the inability of the country to form a new government. The Lebanese army, which is considered to be a stabilizing influence in the country, is suffering from personnel defections and has warned that it could collapse if international aide to prop up the country is not provided. The IDF is closely monitoring the situation, fearing that Hezbollah could fill the vacuum and take control of the country or that Iran could gain a foothold in the country by providing aid.

On Monday, Israel launched airstrikes against Iranian related targets south of Aleppo in Syria. Syrian state media reported that Syrian air defenses shot down most of the missiles. Syrian military sources say Iran has a strong presence in the province in northern Syria, including elite Revolutionary Guard officers at the Kuweires military air base 30 kilometers east of the city. The airstrike is the first since Israel’s new government came into power last month.

Around 100,000 worshipers gathered at the Al Aqsa compound on the temple mount in Jerusalem to celebrate the Moslem holiday of Eid al-Adha. The holiday commemorates the binding of Isaac by Abraham, although the Koran substitutes Ishmael for Isaac. President Isaac Herzog and Defense Minister Benny Gantz both spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and wished him a happy holiday. Gantz’s office released a statement saying, “the two had a positive conversation and raised the need to promote trust-building steps between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will help the security and prosperity of the entire region.”

Israel warned consumer goods giant Unilever Plc on Tuesday of “severe consequences” from a decision by subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling ice cream in Israeli-occupied territories, and urged U.S. states to invoke anti-boycott laws. Ben and Jerry’s said that it would not renew the license of its Israel franchisee because it refused to stop selling in Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). PM Naftali Bennett’s office said that he spoke with Unilever CEO Alan Jope about the “glaring anti-Israel measure” by the ice cream maker and told Jope that, “From Israel’s standpoint, this action has severe consequences, legal and otherwise, and it will move aggressively against any boycott measure targeting civilians.”

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked today visited Ben & Jerry’s factory in Israel in a show of support for Ben & Jerry’s Israel CEO Avi Zinger. She said, “It’s not the Israeli Ben & Jerry’s that needs to be boycotted – the opposite, we need to buy Ben & Jerry’s Israel.” She added, “I call on Israeli citizens – keep buying Ben & Jerry’s Israel. This factory employs 160 workers and many dairy farms in the area. We have a year and a half to change this antisemitic decision.” Shaked said the government was working with Jewish groups, evangelical communities and Israel supporters in the United States to boycott the ice cream brand there, until it reverses its decision.

US Air Force troops and equipment landed in Israel last night to take part in joint exercises.

The Health Ministry reported that 1,400 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Ten percent of those cases were in travelers arriving from abroad. The infection rate currently stands at 1.76%.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-16-2021

News Update

The IDF announced yesterday that it arrested, along with the Shin Bet and police, between 20 and 30 students who were part of a Hamas terror cell at Birzeit University near Ramallah.

The IDF released photos identifying a large weapons warehouse belonging to Hezbollah in the southern Lebanon village of Ebba, just 25 meters from a school where 300 students, from first to twelfth grade, attend.  The army said that this was one of thousands of similar targets whose positioning is intended to endanger the lives of innocent Lebanese citizens.

An IDF drone crashed in Lebanon due to a technical malfunction. The IDF said that there was no danger that information was leaked.

PM Naftali Bennett spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the two had agreed to continue expanding cooperation in the fields of industrial technology, information technology, communications and the development of start-ups

A spokesman for Turkey’s ruling party said that Turkey and Israel are working towards improving their strained relations following a phone call between Turkish president Erdogan and Israel’s president Herzog earlier this week.

An investigation into the May riots in mixed Arab-Jewish cities revealed that police faced a major shortage of weapons and equipment. The police subsequently has have purchased a sufficient amount of weapons to maintain order for 35 consecutive days in case of extreme violence.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz named Brig.-Gen. Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi as the IDF’s next military advocate general (MAG), which would make her only the second woman to hold the rank of major general in Israel’s history.

Tisha B’av will be observed Saturday night and Sunday. Tisha B’av, the 9th day in the month of Av, commemorates the date that both the first and second Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed, first by the Babylonians in 586 BC and then by the Romans in 70 AD. The day is observed with fasting and reciting lamentations.

The Talmud attributes the reason for the destruction of the Second Temple to baseless hatred. The political and social situation in Israel at the time of the destruction was rife with infighting and strife. Instead of focusing on fighting the Romans, the various Jewish factions fought and killed each other before finally uniting to face the Romans, when it was already much too late. Had the Jews been united, perhaps the destruction, even the war itself, could have been avoided.

The destruction of the Second Temple marked the start of a close to 2,000 year period of statelessness and exile, filled with persecution and massacres, and culminating in the ultimate horror of the Holocaust.

We have returned to our homeland, reestablished our sovereignty over it and made it thrive. Now we have a second chance to correct the mistakes we made the first time around. If we can unite and exist in harmony, we can remain invincible in our land forever. That is the message, and challenge, of Tisha B’av, and why we continue to commemorate the day of our greatest defeat (seriously, what other nation commemorates defeat?).

Will we learn our lesson and correct the mistake of Tisha B’av? That’s a question that only we can answer.

May this be the last Tisha B’av we commemorate, and may we come together as one family, one people, in unity and harmony, to continue to build our homeland and our destiny in peace.

For more information about Tisha B’av click here (Chabad.org).

BIG NEWS

Starting next week, IsraelAM will be published in Modiin, Israel. That’s because we are moving there on Monday! So there probably won’t be an email on Monday, but after that, your Israel news will be coming directly from the Holy Land!

Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-14-2021

News Update

The United Arab Emirates opened its embassy in Tel Aviv today. President Herzog attended the ceremony. Israel opened its embassy in the UAE last month.

The ambassadors from France, Germany, England and Romania boycotted a Fourth of July celebration held at the US embassy in Jerusalem because their countries do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the U.S. embassy building is located beyond the Green Line.

President Herzog had a 40 minute long phone conversation with Turkish president Erdogan this week. Erdogan congratulated Herzog on his election as president, and the two discussed relations between their countries including cooperation in the fields of energy, tourism and technology.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid addressed his 26 European counterparts during a speech to the EU Foreign Affairs Council. Lapid said it is “no secret” that he supports a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, but he noted that the conditions are not currently in place for a peace agreement. Lapid said he supported all humanitarian activities in favor of the Palestinians and any efforts made to improve their economic situation. He also declared that Israel is seeking to open a new chapter in its relations with the EU, emphasizing the liberal values shared by Israel and European states.

The Knesset opposition, let by former PM Netanyahu, is working on a bill that would bar the United States from reopening its diplomatic mission for Palestinians in Jerusalem. The bill is a clear attempt by the opposition to place the government in conflict with the US administration. PM Bennett has tried to delay the reopening of the US mission to avoid conflict within his fragile coalition.

An Arab terrorist, armed with a knife, attempted to infiltrate into the Israeli settlement of Yitzhar in Samaria this morning. Soldiers intercepted the terrorist and shot him in the legs when he tried to stab them. The terrorist had been released from an Israeli prison several months ago following a series of attacks on Israeli security personnel and the chief of security for Yitzhar.

For the second straight day, the Health Ministry Wednesday morning reported over 750 new coronavirus cases.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-9-2021

News Update

PM Naftali Bennett met secretly with Jordan’s King Abdullah II last week at the king’s palace in Amman. The two leaders discussed Israel supplying more drinking water to the drought-hit kingdom. It was the king’s first meeting with an Israeli prime minister in 3 years.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with Jordanian FM Ayman Safadi at the Allenby Bridge Border Crossing on Wednesday. They discussed several economic issues and agreed to increase Jordan’s potential exports to the West Bank from $160 million to $700 million a year. Israel also agreed to sell Jordan an additional 50 million cubic meters of water this year. After the meeting Lapid tweeted, “The Kingdom of Jordan is an important neighbor and partner to the State of Israel, the Foreign Ministry will continue to will continue to hold an ongoing dialogue in order to preserve and strengthen relations, we will expand economic cooperation for the benefit of both countries.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered security forces to seize Hamas cryptocurrency accounts. Hamas has been waging an online campaign to raise donations for its military wing.

The Biden administration is reportedly reluctant to allocate a budget for the Abraham Fund, probably as a result of massive domestic government spending. The fund is a $3 billion commitment by the U.S. to develop an initiative meant to promote regional, economic cooperation in the Middle East as part of the agreements. The freezing of the fund can negatively impact the economic cooperation between Israel and the UAE.

The U.S. Congressional Budget Committee has approved the budget for the reopening of the American Consulate for the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Israel drew criticism from the US after it demolished the home of the terrorist who murdered a 19 yr. old yeshivah student in May. In a statement after the home was destroyed, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem called on “all parties to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “This certainly includes the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes. As we stated numerous times, the home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual.”

The Health Ministry announced today that all travelers, including those vaccinated and recovered from COVID-19, would be required to self-isolate for up to 24 hours upon arrival to the country, starting next week, until they receive a negative covid test.

Japanese venture capital firm Softbank is appointing former Mossad director Yossi Cohen to head its activity in Israel. SoftBank is considered the world’s leading technology fund. To read more, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-7-2021

News Update

Isaac Herzog will be sworn is as Israel’s 11th president today, replacing Reuven Rivlin. The job is primarily ceremonial, except for the president’s role in choosing a politician to form a government after elections.

The director-general of the Foreign Ministry, Alon Ushpiz, flew to the Moroccan capital Rabat on Tuesday, as part of a diplomatic mission initiated by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. Ushpiz will meet his Moroccan counterpart Fouad Yazur and other senior officials of the Moroccan Foreign Affairs Ministry during his trip. On Sunday a Moroccan Air Force plane landed in Israel, at Hatzor Airbase in the center of the country, ahead of a joint international exercise with the Israel Air Force.

A law preventing Palestinians from obtaining Israeli citizenship through marriage failed to be renewed in the Knesset because Likud and the other right wing opposition parties voted against it. Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked promised to resubmit the bill and make sure it passes, in a few weeks. The law has historically been supported by right-wing parties as necessary for security and for ensuring Israel maintains a Jewish majority. But the right wing opposition voted against it to embarrass and weakening the governing coalition. To read more, click here.

The Health Ministry reported over 500 new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row today. The number of serious cases has risen from 33 to 40 and 16 people are on ventilators.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-2-2021

News Update

The IDF struck several Hamas targets in Gaza overnight in response to the launch of several incendiary balloons into Israel that started some small fires.

A female IDF soldier was stabbed in the back and moderately wounded by a terrorist who tried to steal her weapon, near the soldier’s base in the West Bank. The terrorist was apprehended.

The U.S. State Department’s annual “Trafficking in Persons” report downgraded Israel from the top Tier 1 category to Tier 2, which means that it doesn’t meet international standards for fighting trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. No penalties are attached to a Tier 2 designation. Other US allies downgraded were Cyprus, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Israel yesterday. He met with President Rivlin and PM Bennett and visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Steinmeier reiterated Germany’s support for Israel.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on the Palestinian Authority to allow peaceful protests, after claiming that PA security forces beat and fired tear gas at protestors. She said, “Many people, including journalists and human rights defenders, were assaulted.” She also said that women appear to have been singled out, whether they were protesting or reporting for the media or were just bystanders, with many reporting being sexually harassed.

A record number of Israeli companies went public on US exchanges in June. To read more about this, click here.