Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-29-2021

News Update

The Health Ministry said yesterday that it identified the second case of the new Omicron covid variant in Israel yesterday. The person, living in Raanan, recently returned from a visit to South Africa. Over the weekend the government decided to shut down Ben Gurion International airport to all foreigners for 14 days. Israelis returning from abroad must self isolate. The government also voted to authorize the use of mobile phone surveillance for contact tracing to curb the spread of the variant.

President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would take steps to improve ties with Egypt and Israel. To read more, click here.

Foreign Minister Lapid and his British counterpart wrote a joint Op-Ed in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper that their two countries would work together to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

New US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides arrived in Israel today to begin his post. Nides will be residing in a rental house in Jerusalem. To watch ambassador’s welcome video, click here.

The government has approved the aliyah (immigration) of 3,000 Ethiopians with family members living in Israel. The government, however, does not consider these people as Jewish, under Jewish religious law.

Despite the latest shut down of the airport to foreigners, the Miss Universe beauty pageant will be hosted as planned in Eilat on December 12. Pageant participants will receive special waivers. The pageant will be broadcasted in 174 countries.

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. The holiday, celebrating the Jewish victory over, and freedom from, the Syrian-Greek empire in around 164 BCE. It also commemorates that miracle in the Temple, when the only remaining flask of non desecrated oil that was supposed to light the Menorah for only 1 day, last for 8 days. That’s why we light our own menorahs for 8 days. Last night, PM Bennett lit the menorah at the Western Wall and President Herzog lit the menorah at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

May we all merit to see miracles in our own lives and for the State of Israel. Happy Hanukkah!

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-26-2021

News Update

The Health Ministry announced today that they had identified the first known case of a new, mutated and highly contagious, strain of Covid-19 recently discovered in South Africa. PM Bennett has restricted travel to South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Namibia. He called it an “emergency situation”. Travelers arriving from these countries might be required to self-isolate for a period of at least 10 days upon touching ground in the Jewish even if they have had three doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry said yesterday that it will have no ambassador in Israel for the time being, bringing the mission level down to that of Israel’s mission in Poland. The tension comes in the wake of a new Polish law that, for all practical purposes, makes it impossible for holocaust survivors and their descendants to reclaim or be compensated for the properties they owned in Poland that were confiscated during the war and still remain in the hands of the Polish government.

Morocco is reportedly considering buying pilotless planes and anti-missile systems from Israel, days after the defense minister’s of both countries signed a memorandum of understanding that lays the foundation for security cooperation, intelligence sharing, and future arms sales.

The Jerusalem municipality has approved the building of a new neighborhood in Atarot, located over the “West Bank” boundary near the Palestinian city of Ramallah. The site was previously an airport. The plan, which requires further stages of approval, is for 3,000 homes to be built, with a view to eventually adding another 6,000. The area covers 310.75 acres, which will also have commercial and office space and hotels as well as public buildings and open spaces. The historic airport terminal building will be preserved. The Palestinians are urging the US to intervene. There was no comment from the US embassy in Jerusalem.

There are major problems in Israel’s prison system. To read more, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-24-2021

News Update

Syrian state media reported an Israeli airstrike around the city of Homs today, killing 4 and injuring 7. There was also material damage. The Syrians claim that they intercepted some of the missiles in air. A Syrian opposition war monitor said the strikes hit positions housing Syrian fighters loyal to Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.

The defense ministers of Israel and Morocco signed a memorandum of understanding that lays the foundation for security cooperation, intelligence sharing, and future arms sales. Times are definitely changing.

Israel resent its charge d’affaires Tal Ben-Ari Ya’alon to Poland after recalling her when Poland passed a law making it practically impossible for holocaust survivors to receive compensation or restitution for the property they lost as a result of the war. That included property currently owned and managed by the Polish government, which continues to profit from Jewish assets.

The government announced that it will increase the pay of IDF soldiers by 50% next year. The defense and finance ministries’ announcement came following a major public backlash against the military over the stagnation of salaries for low-ranking troops while the pensions of retired career officers get boosted on a regular basis. Israeli soldiers are technically not paid a salary, but receive “subsistence costs” which are much lower than the NIS 5,300 ($1,711) minimum wage. Front-line units, which get paid the most, currently receive NIS 2,032 ($656) per month. Soldiers in administrative units receive a mere NIS 823 ($266) per month. Following the pay increase, expected to go into effect January 2022, front-line units will receive NIS 3,048 ($984) and administrative units NIS 1,235 ($399).

Australia has listed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, extending its existing ban on the military wing to the political as well.

The shekel is weakening against the US dollar. To read more, click here.

If you’re interested in exploring the links between Jewish Food and Jewish Cultural History, check out my old friend Joel Haber’s blog

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-22-2021

News Update

Terror in Jerusalem: Yesterday morning, 42-year-old Fadi Abu Shkhaydam from Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, a respected teacher at a high school  — who was also a senior member of the Hamas political wing and who prayed at the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount every day — opened fire on Jews on their way to and from the Western Wall. Eli David Kay, a 26 year old from Modiin, was killed and two other Jews, both rabbis, were wounded. One of the wounded remains in serious condition. Two of the policemen who managed to kill the terrorist were also wounded. The terrorist’s wife and children left for Jordan 3 days before the attack, making it clear that they were aware of his murderous intentions. The attack took place on a street that is one of the primary way that locals and tourists walk through the Old City to visit the Western Wall.

Eli David Kay, Z”L, immigrated to Israel from South Africa several years ago and served as a paratrooper in the IDF. He was currently working as a tour guide at the Western Wall and was on his way to morning prayers there when he was gunned down for no reason other than because he was an Israeli and a Jew. His parents and younger sister immigrated to Israel a few months ago and live in Modiin [in the community that I am part of]. They just celebrated his older brother’s marriage. Eli was engaged to be married in just a few months. He was laid to rest today in Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuchot cemetery. Thousands attended his funeral. May his memory serve as a blessing for us all.

PM Bennett pledged to increase security in Jerusalem’s Old City. The US State Department condemned the terror attack saying, “We strongly condemn the terrorist attack today by a Hamas gunman in Jerusalem’s Old City, which killed one person and injured others. We offer our condolences to the victims and their families.”

Hundreds of Palestinians in Shuafat rallied in support of the terrorist. The crowd set tires on fire and threw rocks at Border Police forces that arrived at the scene while chanting “the martyrs are going to Jerusalem in the millions”. They also called for a general strike in the neighborhood today. The terrorist attended the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount daily, where he incited worshippers against Israel. Hamas praised the terrorist in an official statement, saying that “the Holy City continues to fight against the foreign occupier, and will not surrender to the occupation.”

[Warning: The words within these brackets are my personal opinion. If you aren’t interested in that, just skip on to the next story.

Dear Friends, how can we go on living this way, allowing those who rejoice in murdering us to live within our holiest city, the capital of our state? How can we continue to let a mosque that preaches our destruction exist on our holiest place, the Temple Mount? At least in the Middle East, Islam is a religion of war and destruction against those who do not accept its primacy. It is a religion that propagates Jihad, holy war, and is bent on the destruction of the Jewish State in what they consider to be their domain.

On the other hand, the Jewish nation continues to bend over backwards to placate those who seek its destruction. Can you imagine the Moslems allowing a synagogue in the center of Mecca? Or perhaps a synagogue in St. Peter’s Square in Rome? No, I don’t think so.

Is it because we fear the wrath of the Moslem world? They’ve already started several wars with us, and have been soundly defeated each time. And the moment they feel that they can prevail over us, will be the day the next war begins. But they don’t have the power. Syria is barely functioning as a state. Same with Lebanon and Iraq. Egypt and Jordan have no interest in fighting us again — and they don’t have the military might to do so. And Iran? Aren’t they already out to destroy us?

World opinion? Will the world consider us a pariah nation if we act in our own interest of survival? Much of the world already does, and always has, and yet they deal with us because of what they feel they can gain from us. Perhaps we should have done something permanent to defend ourselves during the last US administration. But times have changed.

The bottom line is that a situation where Jews must risk their lives to pray at the Western Wall in the sovereign State of Israel is simply absurd. We can’t let it continue. No country or people would.

That’s the end of my words. If you strongly disagree and feel the need to tell me so, please don’t. Just keep on reading the news, or click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email. All angry emails will be ignored and deleted.]

Also yesterday, an 18-year-old Palestinian from Jenin stabbed an elderly Jewish Israeli man in Jaffa. The victim survived the attack with moderate wounds. Police arrested the terrorist shortly after the attack, on a nearby street.

PM Naftali Bennett announced that the coronavirus vaccination campaign for children aged 5-11 will begin on Tuesday.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-19-2021

News Update

The Israeli couple arrested in Turkey last week after they took a photo of the presidential palace, was released yesterday. The husband and wife were held in separate prisons. PM Bennett and FM Lapid had been in contact with the couple throughout their imprisonment. The PM spoke with Turkish President Erdogan to thank him for his role in the couple’s release. It was the first conversation between an Israeli PM and a Turkish president in 8 years.

After meeting with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and other officials yesterday, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that Israelis will be able to travel to the United States without the need for a pre-issued tourist visa as of 2023.

The Shin Bet arrested 37-year-old Omri Goren Gorochovsky, a cleaner at Defense Minister Gantz’s personal residence, for allegedly offering to install a virus into Gantz’s personal computer for an Iranian linked hacker group, in exchange for monetary compensation. The suspect confessed his activities. He has an extensive criminal record that includes five convictions and 14 charges between 2002-2013, including two bank robberies, burglary, theft and more. He also was sentenced to four prison terms, the last of which for robbery, was for four years. The Shin Bet said that while the suspect posed a potential danger to national security, he “was not exposed to classified material and subsequently none was passed on from him to the elements with whom he made contact”. [Apparently, cleaners are in short supply, considering that the country’s defense minister has to employ this type of character.]

The Israel Police arrested cryptocurrency mogul and owner of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team Moshe Hogeg on suspicion of fraud, sex crimes, providing alcohol for minors, and conspiracy to commit a crime. Hogeg denies the charges.

Qatar and Egypt have signed agreements to supply fuel and basic building materials to Gaza. Gaza officials estimate it will take $479 million to rebuild homes and infrastructure damaged in last May’s fighting. Qatar and Egypt have each pledged $500 million for Gaza reconstruction.

The Health Ministry today published a warning against swimming at beaches in the greater Tel Aviv area, Hertzliya and Bat Yam, where polluted waters were streaming toward the sea after rainfall on Thursday.

The UK is declaring the entire Hamas organization, including the political wing, a terror organization.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-17-2021

News Update

Syrian state media reported that Israeli missiles fired from the Golan hit early today and destroyed an empty house south of Damascus. There were no reported casualties.

The head of the Shin Bet internal security agency held a secret meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah last week. They discussed a number of issues, including the deteriorating economic situation in the PA and its continued security cooperation with Israel.

Border Police forces evacuated and demolished an illegal outpost near Shilo in Samaria (the West Bank).  A group of 20 masked people arrived at a nearby hill and began throwing stones at the Border Police, damaging a patrol vehicle. The Border Police then continued to another nearby illegal outpost, Ramat Migron, where five people were arrested during clashes with police and four patrol cars were damaged. The evacuation comes amid continued violence between settlers and Palestinian in the West Bank.

Turkish media slammed the Turkish government for the continued detention of an Israeli couple who took a photo of the Presidential Place in Istanbul during their touring of the area. To read more, click here.

PM Bennett said today that private investment in Israeli defensive and other cyber technologies has reached $6 billion this year, triple the figure for 2020.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke on the phone with China’s President Xi Jinping. To read about what they spoke about, click here.


Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-15-2021

News Update

U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley, who will lead the US delegation in the upcoming nuclear talks with Iran later this month, arrived in Israel yesterday for a series of meetings with Defense Minister Gantz and other senior Israeli officials. To read more, click here.

India’s Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane arrived in Israel yesterday. He will meet with the IDF Chief of Staff and visit IDF headquarters. His visit comes after the recent visits of India’s Defense Minister and Foreign Minister. India is Israel’s largest arms client, accounting for 43 percent of the total amount sold.

Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin, the commander of the Israeli Air Force (IAF), is visiting the UAE. He is the first IDF official to visit the country. He will meet with the UAE’s air force chief and will visit the Dubai Airshow, where Israeli companies are displaying their wares.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted in favor of a bill to limit the term of a Prime Minister to 8 years or 2 terms following 2 elections. The draft bill must clear three Knesset plenum readings before becoming law and will not be retroactive. That means it will not prevent former PM Netanyahu, who served for 15 years, to hold office again.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced yesterday that it will partner with Israel to launch a joint task force to combat ransomware and address cyber security issues.

Several large forest fires broke out in northern Israel over the weekend. Arson is suspected in some of them. The weather was unseasonable hot and dry.

The Israeli couple arrested in Turkey last week for taking photos of the Presidential Palace in Istanbul is still being held by the Turks as suspected spies. To read more, click here.

The Health Ministry reported 390 new Covid cases on Monday, with an infection rate of .54%. 145 patients are in serious condition, with 98 connected to ventilators. The death toll since the start of the pandemic is 8,143.

Facebook has partnered with Tel Aviv based Inomize to develop advanced virtual reality and augmented reality chips.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-12-2021

News Update

An Israeli couple, both Egged bus drivers from Modi’in, were arrested in Turkey after taking a photo of the presidential palace in Istanbul. They were unaware that it was illegal to do so. The couple will appear before a judge in Istanbul today. They will hopefully be deported to Israel.

Israel is participating in a naval drill in the Red Sea with the US, Bahrain and the UAE. A senior Israeli naval official said that the drill was meant to send a “direct message” to Iran and its “power projection” in the region. To read more, click here.

IDF troops busted a drug smuggling operation along the border with Egypt yesterday. Soldiers seized more than 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of drugs worth more than NIS five million ($1.6 million).

The Health Ministry reported 391 new Covid cases on Thursday. 149 patients are in serious condition, with 101 connected to ventilators. The death toll since the start of the pandemic is 8,138.


Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-10-2021

News Update

IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said Tuesday that the Israeli military was “speeding up the operational plans and readiness for dealing with Iran and the nuclear military threat.” Last month Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that “if a terror regime is going to acquire a nuclear weapon we must act.”

It was revealed yesterday that Mansour Abbas, the leader of the Ra’am party (which is part of the government coalition), met with Jordan’s King Abdullah about a month ago, after receiving the approval of PM Bennett. According to Jordan’s Royal Palace, the two discussed recent developments in the West Bank, as well as ways to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, namely by advancing a two-state solution. The king also reportedly stressed his “support of the Palestinians in their efforts to achieve just and legitimate rights.”

Immigration and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano Shata and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked agreed yesterday to fast-track the emigration of over 3,000 first-degree relatives of Israeli citizens currently waiting in refugee camps in Ethiopia.

The Health Ministry reported 458 new Covid cases on Sunday, resulting in a .59% infection rate. 156 patients are in serious condition, with 103 connected to ventilators. The death toll since the start of the pandemic is 8,130.

Eilat will be hosting the E-Sports championship, a global competition of the world’s best gamers in various video games. Around 500 top professional players from 85 different countries will be arriving in Eilat for the competition.

Israel’s roads are facing more traffic jams than ever before. To read more, click here.


Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-8-2021

News Update

An Iron Dome battery fired a missile at a Hamas drone that crossed into the sea from Gaza. The drone was intercepted.

PM Bennett will hold an emergency government meeting to deliberate whether to airlift to Israel the families of around 10,000 Ethiopian Jews living Israel, as rebels in Ethiopia engage in intense fighting in a bid to overthrow the government there. The problem is that a mass rescue attempt could result in trouble with, and for, the Ethiopian government. Also, there are questions whether most of the family members stranded in Ethiopia are in fact Jewish. To read more, click here. 

A group of IDF generals met with Egyptian generals in the Sinai yesterday. The meeting was to approve Egypt adding reinforcements to troops near their border with Gaza. Israel approval is required as part of the 1976 peace treaty between the 2 countries.

A delegation of European Parliament members (MEPs) took part in a special tour of Hezbollah terror tunnels along Israel’s northern border last week. The tour was organized by The European Leadership Network (ELNET), which aims to strengthen relations between Israel and Europe. The purpose of the tour was to show the Europeans how their exports and aide to Lebanon can, and have, been misused by Hezbollah.

Morocco is reportedly considering purchasing Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, to use against rebels in the Western Sahara.

The Health Ministry reported 498 new Covid cases on Sunday, resulting in a .63% infection rate. Out of 6,155 active patients, 164 are in serious condition, with 106 connected to ventilators. The death toll since the start of the pandemic is 8,123.