Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-29-2021

News Update

PM Bennett met with Swiss President Guy Parmelin and asked him to take decisive steps against Iran’s nuclear ambitions in Switzerland’s capacity as member of the board of the International Atomic Energy Association. The two also discussed ways to bolster bilateral relations with an emphasis on innovation and scientific development.

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden released a statement urging Israel not to carry out plans to build 3,000 new housing units in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

PM Bennett was quoted as saying, in a closed meeting, that he predicted that the rotation agreement that would give Yair Lapid the prime minister job in the summer of 2023 will never occur, since the coalition will fall apart before then. The PM’s Office confirmed the remarks but added that Bennett was committed to fulfilling the rotation agreement.

As of Thursday, Google Earth and other online map services show photos of the nuclear facility in the city of Dimona in the Negev, with an option to alter dimensions to improve photo resolutions and see the installations from up close.

The change in the online map services policy came after former U.S. President Donald Trump had ordered to lift restrictions on American-owned satellite imaging – an order that came into effect last summer and reversed a 1997 law lobbied by Israel to protect its military bases. Israel’s military censor did not prevent publication of the images and their availability, although among the military installations open to scrutiny are major air bases where Israel Air Force’s helicopters are clearly visible.

[Before writing this, I had never really used Google Earth. But I tried it out now, and it’s just incredible. Take a trip to the Holy Land from your living room. Amazing!]

The Health Ministry reported that there were 651 new daily COVID-19 on Tuesday. The infection rate now stands at .92%. There are currently 227 people in serious condition being treated in hospitals, with 133 on ventilators. The number of people who have dies from the virus since the start of the pandemic is 8,081. Israel will probably begin vaccinating children under 12 towards the end of November or sooner. This will hopefully be over very soon.

Thousands of people marched in Tel Aviv today, to urge the government to take action to protect the earth’s climate. The PM announced today that Israel will join the list of nations pledging to become carbon neutral by 2050.

It turns out that Jordanian Air Force planes took part in the Blue Flag aerial drill conducted by the Israeli Air Force this week. The news was leaked when a German photographer posted a photo of the drill, which included a Jordanian aircraft. The secret is out…

The shekel is at its strongest levels ever. That’s not such good news for American’s — the US dollar will only buy you 3.15 shekels. But Israelis will be able to get more for their money on overseas trips!


Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-27-2021

News Update

The US Homeland Security Agency is considering waiving visa requirements for Israeli citizens who wish to visit the US. Other countries also being considered for the visa waiver are Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus. The US recently added Croatia to the list of 40 countries on the visa waiver program. So what’s taking so long to add Israel to the list?

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked declared the northern community of Maghar as an official city. It is the first city in Israel with a Druze majority. 57% of the 24,000 inhabitants of the city are Druze, 21.4% Muslim and 21% Christian. The Israeli Druze are loyal to the state and serve in the IDF, primarily in combat roles.

Last week Israel outlawed six prominent Palestinian civil society groups over alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is recognized as a terror organization by many Western governments. The groups banned include the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), Addameer, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) and the Union Of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC). The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called the move an attack on human rights and demanded that it be immediately revoked. The US has also asked for clarification from Israel.

A controversial proposal by Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahane (Yamina) to open up Kosher supervision to private organizations instead of it remaining under the sole jurisdiction of the country’s Chief Rabbinate has been approved by the Knesset’s Religious Services Committee and will now be voted on by the entire Knesset. Under the plan, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel will no longer be the sole provider of kashrut certification but will instead serve as a regulator for independent kashrut organizations which will provide certification to restaurants and products.

The rabbinate will set the national Kosher standards and head an oversight body which will determine the compliance with those standards of the various kashrut organizations. A company that wishes to can choose to meet a more basic standard than that set by the rabbinate if the standard is approved by three municipal rabbis.

There are currently many private kashrut supervisory organizations, but they can only provide certification in addition to a certification provided by the official rabbinate. That means a company or restaurant wishing to use a private certification must also pay for the certification of the rabbinate in addition to the private one. The new law will allow establishment to pay for only one certification. The law is opposed by the Chief Rabbinate, which claims that it will degrade Kosher standards throughout the country. Proponents of the law say that competition will improve the quality of kosher certification, especially the service provided by the rabbinate.

The Health Ministry reported that there were 727 new daily COVID-19 on Tuesday. The infection rate now stands at .85%. There are currently 237 people in serious condition being treated in hospitals, with 137 on ventilators. The number of people who have dies from the virus since the start of the pandemic is 8,063. Israel will probably begin vaccinating children under 12 towards the end of November or sooner. This will hopefully be over very soon.

The Israel Air Force will hold its largest drill this week, which will include forces from the US, France, Great Britain, Germany and India.

A Gaza fisherman turned chef, with Jewish roots, owns a chain of 13 fish restaurants in Gaza. Go figure. To read more, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-25-2021

News Update

U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported an Israeli airstrike against pro-Iranian Hezbollah targets in the Quneitra Province on the Syria Golan Heights. Missile batteries were hit in the outskirts of the city of al-Ba’ath and the village of al-Krum. This is the first reportedly Israeli strike in Syria since PM Bennet met with Russian President Putin on Friday.

A pro government Turkish newspaper has released photos of 15 alleged Mossad operatives who were arrested by Turkish authorities earlier this month. According to the report, the senior operative among the arrested, named only as “AZ,” is a Mossad officer based in Germany who was allegedly in charge of the network. All the agents are of Arab descent. For more, click here.

The government yesterday approved a 5 year, NIS 30 million, plan for social and economic development in Israel’s Arab communities. The government plan also allocates funding for Arab population in the mixed Arab and Jewish cities where racial riots broke out last May. To read more, click here.

The Health Ministry reported that there were 810 new daily COVID-19 on Sunday. The infection rate now stands at 1.01%. There are currently 279 people in serious condition being treated in hospitals, with 150 on ventilators. The number of people who have dies from the virus since the start of the pandemic is 8,409.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-22-2021

News Update

PM Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin today at the sea side Russian resort of Sochi. Putin said that he viewed relations between Israel and Russia as important, especially since there are over 1 million Russian speakers living in Israel, including many Red Army WWII veterans. He said he hoped that trade and high tech cooperations between the two countries would increase. He also said that he is looking forward to discussing regional matters, including Syria and the fight against terror. Bennet called Putin a friend of the Jewish People.

Israel plans to approve 3,000 new housing units to be built within settlements in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). 1,300 new housing units for Palestinians will also be approved.

The United States and Israel are planning to form a team that will hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinian affairs. Israel currently opposes the reopening of the consulate.

The Health Ministry reported that there were 983 new daily COVID-19 on Tuesday. The infection rate now stands at 1.19%. There are currently 311 people in serious condition being treated in hospitals, with 155 on ventilators. The Health Ministry announced that vaccinated tourists will be able to enter Israel from November 1.

Perhaps Israel should take a lesson from Syria on how to deal with arson sparked wildfires. Yesterday the Syrian government executed 24 people convicted for starting wildfires last year that left three people dead and burnt thousands of acres of forests. Eleven more people were given life sentences.

Although this story is not about Israel, it was published in one of the Israeli publications we read, so here goes…A father and son practicing as Orthodox rabbis in the US for decades have been accused of actually being Christians. To read the story first published in The Jewish Chronicle (England), click here.


Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-20-2021

News Update

Security forces clashed with Palestinian rioters near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. The rioters threw rocks at passing vehicles. Police arrested 22 rioters. The riots erupted shortly after thousands marched through East Jerusalem in honor of the birthday of the Prophet Mohamed according to Muslim tradition, led by local activists of the Fatah movement. To view video, click here.

Israel is in talks to normalize relations with the Comoros, a Muslim-majority island nation off the coast of eastern Africa. Also, in an interview with Emirati website Erem News published Monday, Israel’s Minister of Regional Cooperation Issawi Frej said that Qatar, Tunisia, Oman and Malaysia may join the Abraham Accords.

The government has approved a budget of $1.5 billion (NIS 5 billion) to prepare a plan for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear program. The funds will be used to purchase various types of aircrafts, intelligence-gathering drones and unique armaments needed for such an attack, which includes heavily fortified underground sites.

A scuffle broke out between the leader of the Arab Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh and Religious Zionist party member MK Itamar Ben Gvir when Odeh came to visit and support a Hamas security who is on a hunger strike at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. Ben Gvir was there to complain that the prisoner was being treated in an Israeli hospital. Ben Gvir said that he will press charges against Odeh for pushing him. To view a video, click here.

Justice Minister Gideon Saar has drafted a proposed law that would prevent a Knesset member who is indicted for an offense punishable by three years or more in prison from forming a government. The law would therefore prevent Netanyahu from ever forming a new government. The law is opposed by the right-wing faction of the government, including Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, but the law can still be passed with the support of the Joint List.

The Health Ministry reported that there were 1,130 new daily COVID-19 on Tuesday. The infection rate now stands at 1.28%.

The first case of the highly contagious AY.4.2 Delta sub-variant of coronavirus has been identified in Israel, in an 11 year old boy returning from Moldova. It is not clear yet whether the new strain is more contagious or dangerous than the Delta variant.

Israel’s State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman found that Israelis overpay billions of shekels in taxes annually because they are ill-informed about their tax entitlements.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-18-2021

News Update
Syrian media is claiming that Israel assassinated Midhat Saleh, a 54 year old former member of Syria’s parliament, who previously spent 12 years in an Israeli prison. The assassination reportedly took place in the Syrian village of Ain al-Tinah, overlooking Majdal Shams on the Israeli side of the border. The area has a heavy Hezbollah military presence. Saleh was allegedly killed by sniper fire from the Israeli side of the border. Israel media reported that he was known to be helping establish the Iranian military presence in Syria. The IDF spokesman had no comment.

A 37 year old Palestinian woman holding a knife was arrested by Border Police officers as she approached the settlement of Har Adar.

Qatar has resumed providing millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to Gaza. The money, $100 per individual, is given directly to the individual via a special credit card that draws the funds held by the UN. Israel approved of this system of money transfer, since it prevents the money from going directly into the hands of Hamas.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde is visiting Israel. After visiting Yad Vashem she tweeted, “A very painful but crucial visit. On behalf of Sweden I promise that we say never again and mean it. We will continue to take actions to combat antisemitism in all its form and to make sure we never forget.”

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev said yesterday that the status quo on Temple Mount will remain unchanged. That means Jews will continue to be prohibited from praying on the mount.

The Health Ministry reported that there were 1,199 new daily COVID-19 on Sunday. The infection rate now stands at 1.45%. At least 372 patients are in severe condition, of whom 162 are ventilated. The official death toll now stands at 7,999. The Health Ministry today approved the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine to adults over 18.

Palestinians living in the Palestinian Authority and in Gaza and now getting vaccinated in much greater numbers. To read more, click here.

Today Israel will mark 26 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by extremist Yigal Amir in 1995.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-15-2021

News Update

An IDF force shot at two terrorists who threw Molotov cocktails at the road connecting Gush Etzion and Jerusalem. One of them was killed and the other was arrested.

Syria’s official SANA news network reported that the IAF carried out an air attack from the direction of the Al-Tanf area towards the Palmyra area in the countryside of Homs on Wednesday night. The airstrikes hit several Iranian-backed militias’ centers, including a training center and a communications tower located several kilometers east of T4 airbase and west of Palmyra city. One soldier was reportedly killed and 2 others wounded. The IDF is on high alert for possible Syrian or Iranian retaliation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “there is no alternative to the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” He added that Russia is “interested in continuing consultations with our Israeli partners on security and stability issues in the Middle East” and that “comprehensive solutions to the problems of the region must necessarily take into account the security interests of Israel.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the US will move forward with opening its consulate in east Jerusalem, which will primarily serve Palestinians. Blinken did not set a date for the reopening.

Sudan’s justice minister Nasredeen Abdulbari, and Israeli Cabinet ministers Idan Roll and Edawi Frej met in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

An IDF officer and another soldier were attacked by settlers, who sprayed tear gas into their vehicle, after the soldiers were called in by an Arab farmer who claimed that the settlers were perpetrating a hate crime on his property. While the soldiers were questioning the farmer, a group of settlers arrived and demanded that the soldiers remove the farmer from the area. An altercation ensued and the soldiers placed the farmer in their vehicle for his protection, and then tried to drive off. The settlers chased their vehicle, and one of them managed to reach into the car and spray tear gas into it. Police are investigating the incident.

The international aerial military exercise, codenamed “Blue Flag”, will begin this coming Sunday at the Ovda Air Force Base in southern Israel. Dozens of air force crews from Germany, Italy, the United States, India, Greece, France and the United Kingdom will participate in the exercise.

The Health Ministry reported that there were 1,325 new daily COVID-19 on Thursday. The infection rate now stands at 1.47%. At least 385 patients are in severe condition, of whom 164 are ventilated. The official death toll now stands at 7,976.

The number of new homes sold in Israel in the first eight months of 2021 has already exceeded the total number of homes sold last year and in every year since 2007. To read more, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-13-2021

News Update

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris yesterday in Washington. Today, Secretary of State Blinken will meet with Lapid and his UAE counterpart first separately, and then together. The three countries will also be setting up two new working groups at the meeting, U.S. officials said, with one group focusing on religious coexistence and the other on water and energy issues.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will host PM Bennett for talks on Iran’s nuclear program and other regional security issues, in Sochi on October 22.

Justice Minister Gideon Saar said that Israel will continue to oppose the US decision to reopen the US consulate in east Jerusalem, to primarily serve Palestinians. Saar said that reopening the consulate requires Israeli approval and “we will not compromise on this issue.” The issue will most likely be discussed at Secretary of State Blinken’s meeting with FM Lapid in Washington today.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said that the military’s most recent draft cycle in August saw the highest number of recruits enlisting in combat units in the last 7 years. He said, “This is a testimony to the readiness and sense of mission of the recruits.”
Israel will double the amount of water supplied to Jordan annually according to an agreement signed yesterday by Energy Minister Karik Elharar and her Jordanian counterpart Mohammed Al Najjar in Jordan. The additional water will  come from the Sea of Galilee (Kineret). Most of Israel’s drinking water comes for desalination plants.
The Health Ministry reported that there were 1,793 new daily COVID-19 on Tuesday. The infection rate now stands at 1.7%. At least 412 patients are in severe condition, of whom 178 are ventilated. The official death toll now stands at 7,959.

Electra Consumer Products (TASE: ECP) has signed a 20-year franchise agreement with the US-based international convenience store chain 7-Eleven to operate the brand in Israel, with an option to extend the agreement for a further 50 years. Electra Consumer Products plans to invest NIS 60 milion in opening stores throughout Israel, according to the memorandum of understanding that both sides signed in November 2020. The company plans to open 300-400 7-eleven convenience stores around Israel with the first store scheduled to open in Tel Aviv next year. The stores will be closed on Shabbat.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-11-2021

News Update

Syrian media reported that Israel launched a missile strike on a military airbase in central Syria last Friday night. Two foreign fighters were killed and 6 Syrian army soldiers were injured.

Addressing a conference about the Golan’s future, Bennett said the internal Syrian strife had “persuaded many in the world that perhaps it is preferable that this beautiful and strategic territory be in the State of Israel’s hands. But even in a situation in which – as could happen – the world changes tack on Syria, or in relation to Assad, this has no bearing on the Golan Heights.” The PM said that his government will approve the establishment of two new settlements on the Golan Heights during a special cabinet meeting that will be held in the Golan next month. He said that the population of the Golan Heights that now numbers some 27,000 residents, must be increased to 100,000 and that his government will allot the funds for that purpose.

The government today approved the appointment of Ronen Bar as the new director of the Shin Bet domestic security agency. Bar served in the elite IDF commando unit Sayeret Matkal before joining the agency after his army service. He was tapped to lead the Shin Bet’s Operations Division in 2011, became head of the service’s resource development department in 2016 and was appointed the deputy head in 2018. Bar, 55, is married and the father of three. He has a bachelor’s degree in political sciences and philosophy from Tel Aviv University and a masters in public management from Harvard. PM Bennett said that Bar “is a brave soldier and commander, who throughout his life worked on the most important task of all – protecting Israel.” He added, “Bar grew from among the agency’s ranks, where he made enormous contributions to the security of the country and its citizens. I’m sure his appointment will raise the Shin Bet to new heights.”

Eight firefighting teams and two firefighting aircraft are battling a fire in Begin Park that reignited between Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem on Monday. The fire is not under control. The fire broke out in the same location where arson sparked a wildfire over the weekend.

Israeli archaeologists announced today that they have unearthed a massive ancient winemaking complex in the town of Yavneh in central Israel, that dates back 1,500 years to the period of Byzantine rule. To read more, click here.


Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-8-2021

News Update

The government issued a warning to all Israeli diplomatic missions abroad to be on alert for potential Iranian threats. This comes after authorities in Cyprus arrested an Azerbaijani national in a suspected hit plot on Israeli businesspeople on the Island.

Firefighters are battling a wildfire in Begin National Park between Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh. Israel Fire and Rescue Services announced today that firefighters found evidence on the ground that the fire had been purposely ignited. The fire was sparked from seven locations dozens of meters from one another in areas that are hard to reach. An initial report to the control center of the Jerusalem district stated that a person was seen driving an off-road vehicle while carrying a torch and lighting fires while he drove. A 30 year old woman was arrested on Thursday for possibly starting the fire.

The Social Equality and Energy Ministries have allocated around NIS 1.5 billion for the development of water and sewerage infrastructure in Arab cities and localities, as part of a five-year plan.

A bus in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Ramle was set on fire, in what investigators suspect was a terror attack. Another bus was torched in Ramle last week. Graffiti in Arabic was found on the walls of a Jewish neighborhood saying, “Regiments of the Martyrs of Al Aqsa.” Police are warning of increased tensions and violence in mixed cities.

The committee tasked with approving the appointment of the new head of the Shin Bet domestic security agency received an anonymous letter accusing the candidate of “inappropriate behavior.” To read more, click here.

Israel’s Health Ministry reported that 2,064 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed on Thursday. The infection rate is 2.14%. 460 coronavirus patients are hospitalized in serious condition, with 183 on ventilators. Since the start of the pandemic, 7,885 people have died of coronavirus.

Israel opened its pavilion at the world’s fair in Dubai yesterday with a big party and festivities.

Western Wall Prayers

For nearly 2,000 years, since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70CE, the Western Wall has served as the primary gathering place for Jews and believers of all faiths to pour out their hearts in prayer to the Almighty. While God listens to our prayers wherever we are, we turn our faces towards the Temple Mount in Jerusalem where our Holy Temple once stood, and will one day soon stand again.

Therefore, it is considered efficacious to pray at the Western Wall. It is also customary to insert a written note with your prayer into the crevices of the Western Wall’s stones.

We will be visiting the Western Wall on a regular basis during the year.

  • To have us insert your prayer note at the Western Wall, click here.
  • To have us include the name of your loved one in our prayer for healing at the Western Wallclick here

Our next journey to Jerusalem will be on Sunday Oct. 10.