Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-21-2022

News Update

The UN General Assembly approved an Israeli-sponsored resolution yesterday condemning any denial of the Holocaust and urging all nations and social media companies “to take active measures to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial or distortion.” The resolution was passed by consensus, without a vote.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki criticized U.S. President Biden for moving too slowly to reverse all of the Trump administration’s adverse policies against the Palestinians and not using Washington’s special relationship to pressure Israel to abandon “its rejection of a two-state solution and peace negotiations.” To read more, click here.

The foreign ministries of France, Germany, Italy and Spain urged Israel to stop the construction of new housing units in east Jerusalem. Earlier this month, Israel approved the construction of 3,500 new housing units in east Jerusalem. In a statement, the European countries said that the hundreds of new buildings would “constitute an additional obstacle to the two-state solution.

Israel announced it will be buying 3 submarines from Germany for around $3.4 billion. The German government will fund part of the deal through a special grant. In addition, a €850-million agreement was signed with the German economics and technology ministry to invest in Israeli industries, including defense companies.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-19-2022

News Update

An Israeli delegation has reportedly landed in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum today.

Thousands of protesters gathered in dozens of locations across the country last night to protest government policies. Opposition lawmakers took part in some of the gatherings, protesting under the slogan “Israel is in danger — we want a Jewish state.” Organizers said they were protesting against “the loss of Zionist values, legal persecution and the danger to the Jewish identity of the State of Israel.”

The Health Ministry reported 71,593 new covid cases on Tuesday. The actual number of new cases is assumed to be much higher, closer to 200,000. Hospitals are treating 526 patients in serious condition. The government is discussing whether to abolish the “Green Pass” requirement for public venues, since the Omicron variant is infecting vaccinated people as much as those unvaccinated. Health officials are also considering scrapping isolation requirements for children who were exposed to a carrier but remained asymptomatic.

Another winter storm is hitting Israel thru Thursday. Snow fell in the Golan last night. There could be a dusting in Jerusalem. The rest of the north and center of the country will have to settle for some rainfall and heavy winds. The Water Authority said the water level in the Sea of Galilee had risen by 1.5 centimeters since Tuesday and now stands at 209.56 meters below sea level, 76 centimeters below full capacity.

 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-17-2022

News Update

Israel has reportedly signed a deal to supply Lebanon with natural gas via Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The pipeline will take several years to construct. The deal was supervised by the United States and Russia, in an effort to provide Lebanon with an alternate solution to its energy crisis that does not come from Iran. Lebanon’s Energy Ministry has issued an official statement denying the existence of a deal. Acknowledging the deal would mean recognition of Israel, which Lebanon will not officially do. To read more, click here.

According to new polls, the majority of Israelis oppose a plea deal for former Prime Minister Netanyahu, and want him to go to trail and receive a verdict.

The Jerusalem Municipality ordered the demolition of a mosque in the Palestinian neighborhood Beit Safafa in east Jerusalem. The Al-Rahman Mosque – built before Israel’s founding in 1948 – reportedly drew criticism from several Israeli NGOs due to its striking similarity to the Dome of the Rock. According to court documents, the municipality approved the demolition based on a floor of the building that was built without a permit and that 700 square meters of the compound were built without a permit or the approval of certified engineers

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz on Sunday instructed senior officials in his ministry to reduce the number of days required for quarantine for people infected by COVID or those who had come into close contact with a confirmed patient to 5 days.

Next month, international indices company MSCI will publish its decision on whether to include Israel in its leading European stock indices. The decision will be made after a survey among leading asset managers and other interested parties in the global market. If included, the Israeli capital market could receive billions of dollars of new investment flow.

 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-14-2022

News Update

Maj. Ofek Aharon and Maj. Itamar Elharar, company commanders in the elite Egoz unit, were killed by friendly fire near their base in the Jordan Valley. According to the IDF, around 11pm, the officers were performing a patrol around the Nabi Musa training base in the Jordan Valley after a nighttime training exercise. As they were walking, they spotted a suspicious figure walking nearby. The officers attempted to arrest the suspect, first calling for him to halt and then firing their weapons into the air. A soldier from their unit heard the gunfire and fired at them, misidentifying them as possible terrorists, and fatally wounded them.

The Shin Bet and Israel Police arrested several Israeli women suspected of communicating with Iranian intelligence officers, who attempted to recruit them as spies. The women were Jewish immigrants from Iran. To read more, click here.

Hamas is accusing Israel of using specially trained Dolphins to spy on them. Ok then…

Over 2,000 Bedouin staged a violent protest near Bersheva against tree planting in the Negev by the Jewish National Fund. Protesters threw rocks at police, who managed to push them back off of the highway that they were blocking. Protesters claimed that the police infringed on their right to protest. To read more, click here.

The Health Ministry today reported 40,430 new Covid cases on Thursday, resulting in a 12.65% infection rate. Hospitals are currently treating 306 Covid patients in serious condition, out of whom 76 are connected to ventilators.

Israel is being hit by a winter storm, which should last through the weekend. Major flooding is expected.

 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-12-2022

News Update

Yesterday, a terrorist rammed his car into a group of soldiers stationed near the settlement of Halamish in Samaria. A 19 year old soldier was injured and taken by helicopter to the hospital in moderate condition. The terrorist was apprehended.  Hamas praised the attack.

Police and military forces have been deployed in the southern Negev as a result of rioting by local Bedouins who are protesting tree planting by the Jewish National Fund on land that belongs to the government that they claim is their territory. The Arab Ra’am party, which is the key member of the fragile 61 seat government coalition, is threatening to leave the coalition if the tree planting efforts are not halted. Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin of the New Hope party, whose ministry oversees the tree planting, is opposed to halting the work. To read more, click here.

The Health Ministry today reported 43,815 new Covid cases on Tuesday, resulting in a 12.09% infection rate. Hospitals are currently treating 781 people for the virus, with 254 of them being in serious condition, out of whom 63 are connected to ventilators. Although the number of infected is skyrocketing, as long as the hospitalization rate remains relatively low, there will most likely not be new lockdowns.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has tested positive for coronavirus. He is quarantining at his home in Tel Aviv and says that he is feeling well. Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz has also tested positive for Covid, as did Public Security Minister Omer Barlev. Last night, PM Bennett said in a speech that millions of Israelis would probably be infected with the virus. He added, “The next few weeks will be tough, but we will pull through. Every one of us must take responsibility and not congregate unnecessarily. There’s no room for panic and no room for hysteria. The tsunami comes and goes.”

Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-10-2022

News Update

The Health Ministry today reported 21,501 new Covid cases on Sunday, resulting in a 12.31% infection rate. Since vaccinated individuals are only required to use home rapid tests, there are most likely many more Covid cases than officially reported. But as long as the cases do not require hospitalization, the situation is not as worrisome as during the initial waves of the virus, pre-vaccine.  There are 222 Covid patients hospitalized in serious condition, with 57 on ventilators. The country is open to tourists from most countries, including the US.

The cabinet voted to remove the requirement of possessing a Green Pass in order to enter malls, after retailers complained of challenges in enforcing the rule.

Former PM Netanyahu is suing former PM Ehud Olmert for defamation and is seeking nearly $270,000 in damages. The reason for the suit is that last April Olmert criticized Netanyahu and said that “what is irreparable is the mental illness of the prime minister, his wife and his son.” Olmert was convicted of fraud in 2014 and served most of a 27-month prison sentence. Netanyahu is currently on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes. [You can’t make this stuff up! All you can say is “OY”.]

Israel’s national library says the number of visitors to its Arabic website more than doubled last year. Around 650,000 users, predominantly from the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Algeria, visited the National Library of Israel’s English and Arabic sites in 2021. One of the most heavily trafficked resources on the Arabic website is a newspaper archive with more than 200,000 pages of Arabic publications from Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine.

Despite nearly two years of low occupancy, since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, construction of new hotel rooms in Israel is at a five year high. To read more, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-5-2022

News Update

IDF helicopter pilots Lt.-Col. Erez Sachyani and Major Chen Fogel were killed when their helicopter suffered electrical failure after its left engine caught fire and crashed landed in the sea off the coast of Haifa Monday night. A third crew member on the flight, Captain Ron Berman of the Israeli navy, was able to jump out of the helicopter right before it crashed. He then attempted to rescue the pilots, but was unsuccessful. He was then rescued by the navy and is recovering in hospital. The IDF is investigating the incident, and has grounded all training flights with the particular model of helicopter that crashed.

Lt.-Col. Erez Sachyani (38) served as deputy commander of the Ramat David airbase in northern Israel. He was married and a father of three. Major Chen Fogel (27) was a helicopter pilot and Deputy Commander of the 193 Squadron at Ramat David. Thousands attended their funerals today.

The Health Ministry today reported 11,958 new Covid cases on Tuesday, resulting in a 6.65% infection rate. There are 125 Covid patients hospitalized in serious condition, with 38 on ventilators. Health officials expect the number of hospitalizations to rise to several hundred in the next few weeks, which would strain the healthcare system. Meanwhile, 2,825 flu patients have been hospitalized. [Get your flu shot.]

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced that fully vaccinated Israelis under the age of 60 who came into contact with a confirmed carrier can now take a rapid home test and make initial determinations of whether or not they should quarantine for themselves. The Health Ministry will reserve PCR tests for people aged 60 and older, as well as groups at higher risk of developing a serious illness from coronavirus. To read more, click here.

Israel’s census agency published a report that evaluated life expectancy, the density of housing, satisfaction with the cleanliness of the area, satisfaction with parks and green areas, and general confidence about the residential neighborhood. Kfar Saba, a city of just over 110,000 people in central Israel, ranked first. Tel Aviv ranked sixth. Jerusalem came in last. To read more, click here.

Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana has appointed Rabbi Benayahu Brunner to head the Conversion Authority. Rabbi Brunner is associated with Tzohar, an independent religious zionist rabbinic organization. The appointment of R. Brunner came after Kahana terminated the tenure of the acting head of the Conversion Authority, Moshe Veller, who is a close associate of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau. R. Brunner currently serves as head of conversion in the rabbinical courts of Safed and Haifa, and is considered to be an important dayan, or religious judge, in the field of conversions. United Torah Judaism (UTJ) MK Moshe Gafni called the appointment like “placing an idol in the Temple.” Minister Kahana responded by defending Rabbi Brunner’s qualifications and expertise, and said that he would not be bullied by Gafni or anyone else. To read more, click here.

US Investment bank Goldman Sachs is doubling its staff in Israel, as its revenue in Israel soars. To read more, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-3-2022

News Update

On Saturday, 2 rockets fired from Gaza landed in the sea just west of Tel Aviv. Hamas claimed the rocket launch was triggered by a lightning storm and was not instigated by the terror group but officials in Israel said they believed the Islamic Jihad was behind the incident. In response, IDF fighter jets, helicopters and tanks struck a rocket manufacturing site and military posts belonging to Hamas, whom Israel holds responsible for all terror coming out of Gaza. In a rare move, Hamas fired two anti-aircraft Sam-7 missiles at the Israeli helicopters carrying out the strikes. The helicopters were not hit.

The Health Ministry today reported 6,562 new Covid cases on Sunday, resulting in a 4.83% infection rate. There are 110 Covid patients hospitalized in serious condition. PM Bennett warned Sunday that daily cases could soon surge to around “50,000 per day” – and various health officials said the spread of the new Omicron strain would peak in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Israel is lifting restrictions on allowing in foreigners who have been triple vaccinated or have recovered from Covid. The Health Ministry said travelers from 199 countries Israel has designated “orange” would have to prove in advance they are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 and would be subject to PCR testing before and after arrival. The US, however, is still considered a “red” country, which means that visitors require special permission to enter Israel. PM Bennet said yesterday that Israel would this week begin loosening curbs on international travel, based on a recommendation from health experts who claim that travels curbs are unnecessary since less than 5% of newly confirmed cases in Israel emanated from travel abroad.

Israel today began offering a 4th Covid vaccine dose to people over 60 and to healthcare workers. The 4th dose can be given at least 4 months after the third.