Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-25-2022

News Update

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issued a statement yesterday saying, “The Russian attack all across Ukraine is a serious violation of international law and Israel condemns it. Israel has known conflicts and war is not the way to resolve them. One can still stop and settle the disputes.” He added that, “has good relations with both Russia and Ukraine” and called on Israeli citizens still in Ukraine to leave the country. PM Bennet, however, did not condemn Russia in comments he made about the invasion. US Secretary of State has reportedly asked Israel to vote to condemn Russia in the UN.  [the presence of the Russian military in Syria obviously makes the situation more complicated and sensitive]

Meanwhile, the Russian UN Mission tweeted, “We’re concerned over Tel Aviv’s announced plans for expanding settlement activity in the occupied #GolanHeights, which contradicts the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention. Russia doesn’t recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Golan Heights that are part of #Syria.”

Around 500 Israelis evacuated Ukraine by land to Poland yesterday, on buses organized by the Israeli embassy, which is currently located in Lviv. According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, its staff in Lviv is in touch with thousands of Israelis in Ukraine by phone and is giving them instructions on how to reach the western land border crossings, where Israeli diplomats from the neighboring countries are stationed.

More than 200 Israelis, most of whom are of Ukrainian origin, protested against the Russian invasion last night opposite the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv. A similar protest also took place in Jerusalem.

To read an in-depth JTA article about the Jewish community in Ukraine and how the Russian invasion is effected them, click here.

Syrian media reported that Israel fired missiles at military targets near Damascus yesterday, killing three soldiers and causing material damage. State TV quoted an unnamed Syrian military official as saying that most of the Israeli missiles were shot down by Syrian air defenses.

Our thoughts are prayers are with the Ukrainian people in these dark and dangerous times they are going through.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-23-2022

News Update

According to Syrian state media, Israel fired several surface-to-surface missiles toward Syrian military positions near the town of Quneitra, which is near the Israeli border. Damage was reported, but no casualties. Israel did not comment on the attack.

IDF troops fired at three terrorists who threw firebombs at passing Israeli vehicles along highway 60, outside the village of al-Khader near Bethlehem. One of the terrorists was shot and succumbed to his wounds, after getting first aid from soldiers. The terrorist was 13 years old.

Israel appointed its visit Muslim member of the High Court of Justice, Judge Khaled Kabuv.

The Nature and Parks Authority has dropped a plan to create a national park on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives that would encompass Christian holy sites, in the face of opposition from the various Christian denominations with sites in the area.

With Israel issuing more work permits to Gaza residents, more Gazans are learning Hebrew. To read more, click here.

Paz Oil Company Ltd. is preparing to set up a network of fast electric vehicle charging points around Israel. The points will be able to deliver up to 180 kilowatts and will be able to add a range of 100 kilometers for electric vehicles, within a few minutes. The network will begin operating in the second quarter of 2022. To read more, click here.

Delek Drilling announced that the company is in advanced negotiations for offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in Morocco. To read more, click here.

Danish toy giant Lego has announced the official opening of its first stores in Israel. The first store will open in Tel Aviv before the summer.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-18-2022

News Update

Yesterday, Israel downed a Hezbollah drone, sent from Lebanon, over northern Israel. Today, another drone was identified on radar and Iron Dome defense system was activated but the drone was not intercepted. The IDF is investigating the incident.

The Israeli navy completed its participation in the International Maritime Exercise, led by the US navy. The 18-day drill focused on unmanned naval systems and the use of artificial intelligence. Israel was one of 60 nations to participate.

Israeli security forces thwarted a gun-smuggling attempt along the Israeli-Jordanian border last night, seizing around 50 weapons. The IDF has stepped up efforts to halt smuggling attempts along the Jordanian border in recent months, but officials admit that the IDF has failed to achieve much success.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-16-2022

News Update

PM Bennett met with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman Bin Hamad al Khalifa in the royal palace in Bahrain yesterday. Bennett also met with Bahraini cabinet ministers to discuss cooperation in various fields including economy, innovation and technology. He also met with representatives of the local Jewish community. In an interview with the local paper the PM said, “I see Israel and Bahrain as close partners in all aspects, such cooperation between us is natural. I expect our mutual commerce to grow, and of course when the COVID pandemic ends, I hope the people of Israel and the people of Bahrain learn more about each other through cultural and other means. Both our countries are faced with great security challenges originating from Iran, which is destabilizing the entire region. We will assist our friends in strengthening peace security and stability.” Bennett also met the commander of the US Fifth Fleet, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper. The fleet is based in Bahrain.

The U.S. Navy is considering adding unmanned Israeli boats to its Middle East operations. A U.S. official said the fleet was examining dozens of unmanned vessels as part of current Gulf exercises, and it was interested in Israeli-made surface drones as possible complements to flying and underwater drones.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the Knesset today that, “The U.S. remains ironclad, I keep using that word, in our support of Israel’s security and its regional stability.” Pelosi is on an official visit to Israel.

Israel will begin exporting natural gas to Egypt via Jordan. Israel also supplies Jordan.

Two small earthquakes were felt in northern Israel yesterday within a few hours of each other. Geologists are warning that a major earthquake could hit Israel in the near future, since Israel is situation along the Great Rift Valley — a particularly active fault line. Major earthquakes in the area happen on average once every 80 years, and the last occurred over a century ago. Geological experts warn that close to a million buildings in Israel are in danger of collapsing if such a devastating tremor does hit, potentially causing countless casualties and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless across the country.

A giant strawberry grown in Israel and weighing 289 grams (10.19 ounces) has been confirmed as setting a new Guinness World Record as the heaviest ever.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-14-2022

News Update

IDF troops set to demolish a floor of the home of a convicted terrorist in the village of Silat al-Harithiya last night were fired upon by Palestinians. Also, hundreds of Palestinians threw rocks and fire bombs at the soldiers. The troops returned fire and used riot dispersal methods. One Palestinian was reportedly killed and 10 wounded. An IDF soldier was moderately wounded.

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will visit Israel on Wednesday.

Israel ordered all diplomats and government employees to leave Ukraine, in the face of what looks like an imminent invasion by Russia. To read more, click here.

Violence between Palestinian and Jewish activists in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem broke out on Saturday and lasted through Sunday, after a firebomb was thrown into a Jewish home in the neighborhood on Friday. The Jewish family was away for the weekend. Far-Right Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir set up a makeshift office in front of the house. Police made twelve arrests. The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said 31 Palestinians were wounded, and at least six were hospitalized following the clashes. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry condemned Israel over the recent clashes between police and Palestinian protesters. To read more, click here.

Tesla has begun supplying cars to Israeli corporate leasing companies.

El Al airlines cabin staff have received a letter informing them that the airline has decided to trial organized in-flight prayers on its long-haul flights between Tel Aviv and North America. The prayer gatherings will be held in the galley at the back of the aircraft, after the meals have been served. The time of prayers will be announced prior to the flight. The formally organized prayer sessions, which will be announced on the passenger’s screens and over the aircraft’s public information speaker system, “at times regulated by the cabin crew,” are designed to replace the current ad-hoc prayers, in which aisles are sometimes blocked at awkward times causing inconvenience and discomfort to some passengers.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-11-2022

News Update
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova yesterday said, “Israel’s continuing strikes against targets inside Syria cause deep concern. They are a crude violation of Syria’s sovereignty and may trigger a sharp escalation of tensions. Also, such actions pose serious risks to international passenger flights.” She added that Moscow “systematically and resolutely opposes attempts to turn Syria into a scene of armed confrontation between third countries.” She said, “Once again we are insistently calling upon the Israeli side to refrain from such use of force.”

Turkish media is reporting that Turkish authorities foiled an Iranian plan to assassinate an Israeli businessman in the country. To read more, click here.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made her first official visit to Israel yesterday. She met with the PM and the FM, and reiterated Germany’s support of a resumption of the Iran nuclear deal and said that the deal would bring greater security to the entire region including Israel. PM Bennett said that it would be a mistake and a threat to the Mideast.

Palestinian Authority President Abbas called Israel’s killing of 3 terrorists in Nablus this week “a brutal act of the Zionist occupiers” and said, “We will not be silenced and cannot allow things like that to take place.” He made these comments when he paid a condolence call to the family of the terrorists. [Are you getting the irony?]

Justice Minister Gideon Saar on Wednesday published a draft list of proposed new temporary regulations that will decriminalize recreational cannabis use in Israel. If approved, under the new regulations recreational cannabis use will not be considered a criminal offense and instead will be changed to an administrative offense – similar to most traffic violations. To read more, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-9-2022

News Update

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit reported that a Syrian SA-5 rocket exploded in the air and was not intercepted by Israeli air defenses, but it activated warning sirens near the town of Umm el Fahm, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Jerusalem, and in the northern part of the West Bank. There were no reports of injuries or damage there.

In response, Israel struck Syrian facilities used in targeting Israeli aircraft near Damascus, including a radar and anti-aircraft batteries. According to Syrian state media, a Syrian soldier was killed and five others were wounded.

Security forces killed three Palestinian terrorists in Nablus yesterday. The terrorists were suspected of carrying out at least four shooting attacks against troops and settlers in the West Bank over the past two weeks. To read more, click here.

Two Palestinians crossed the Gaza fence into Israel and set on fire an empty IDF maintenance truck. They then crossed back over to Gaza.

The government on Monday unanimously approved the appointment of Gali Baharav-Miara as the new attorney general, making her the first woman to ever take up the position. To read more, click here.

The Knesset advanced a bill for final approval on Tuesday that would limit any future prime minister to no more than 8 years in power. The bill would force a prime minister to step down after eight years in power, or, alternately, after serving two terms that followed two elections. However, the eight-term limit would not apply retroactively, meaning Netanyahu could return to power.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-7-2022

News Update

US President Biden told PM Bennett, in a phone conversation yesterday, that he was planning to visit Israel later this year. The White House released a statement saying, The two leaders also discussed global challenges outside of the Middle East region, including the potential of further Russian aggression against Ukraine,” and that, “The president underscored his commitment to expanding stability and partnerships across the Middle East region, as exemplified by the Abraham Accords, together with Israelis and Palestinians enjoying equal measures of security, freedom, and prosperity.” Biden also emphasized his full support for replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. Bennett congratulated the President for the successful US raid that killed the leader of ISIS.

A report released today claims that the Israel Police used Pegasus spyware to hack into the phones of senior government officials, mayors, activist leaders, journalists and family members and advisers to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. To read more, click here.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett have ordered the Judea and Samaria High Planning Committee to suspend discussions on approving the construction plan for the E-1 area, which connects Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem. According to the Israel Hayom report, the directive to stop the discussions and stop promoting the plan followed fierce objections by the Meretz party, which made it clear that it considered the E-1 plan a “red line”, and the US administration.

Israel Hayom notes that for years, there has been an almost complete consensus in Israel regarding the need to connect Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem through the construction of E-1, and in the future – to apply Israeli sovereignty over this area, as part of the permanent borders of the State of Israel. Eight prime ministers, including Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, pledged to build in E-1, but with the exception of the construction of a police station in the area, construction has not advanced due to pressure and opposition from the US and the EU.

Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh urged the African Union to withdraw Israel’s accreditation, as the 55-member bloc opened a two-day summit in Addis Ababa. To read more, click here.

Some Israeli and Palestinian politicians are trying to create a peace proposal that would include an independent Palestinian state, the annexation of major Jewish settlements by Israel, and permission for Jewish settlers to live in the Palestinian state as permanent residents as well as the permission for Palestinians currently living outside of Israel to reside in Israel as permanent residents. To read more about this, click here.

Israel’s Finance Ministry is planning a series of tax and tariff cuts aimed at curbing rises in food and energy prices. The new measures include reductions in the gasoline tax and significant cuts to import taxes on meat, fruit, vegetables, and dairy products.

Over 20% of Israel’s population has tested positive for COVID-19 in 2022. The real number is probably higher. The average daily infection rate this year has been 49,000. Currently, 1,254 are hospitalized in serious condition with complications of COVID-19, with 288 connected to ventilators. The death toll since the start of the pandemic is 9,175.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-4-2022

News Update

Defense Minister Benny Gantz met yesterday with King Hamad Bin Isa al Khalifa of Bahrain in the royal palace, on his first official visit to the country. Gantz signed a defense cooperation agreement between the two countries. Gantz also met with Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman Bin Hamad al Khalifa, as well as the commander of the Bahrain armed forces and Defense Minister, Abdulla bin Hasan Al Nuaimi. Gantz also visited the U.S. Central Command’s Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain. Gantz’s visit to the base comes days before the start of a major 60-nation U.S.-led Middle East naval exercise in which Israel will take a symbolic part for the first time.

The U.S. state department approved a potential sale of military equipment to the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. According to the Pentagon, the deal with the UAE is estimated at 65 million dollars for various military equipment. The deal with Saudi Arabia is estimated at 23 million dollars for an information distribution system. The deal with Jordan is estimated at 4.21 billion dollars and will include the sale of F-16 fighter jets.

DM Gantz said this week that Israel has offered aid to the Lebanese army on several occasions.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said today that Turkey and Israel can work together to carry Israeli natural gas to Europe and that the two countries will discuss energy cooperation during talks next month.

The Health Ministry said on Thursday that 755 people have died from COVID-19 complications since January 1, 2022 and in total 9,013 have succumbed to the virus since the pandemic began. According to the ministry, 25% of the fatalities were in their 90s, 37% in their 80s, 22.1% in their 70s and 9.9% in their 60s.

Magen David Edom, Israel’s version of the Red Cross, said that their blood supply was severely low, apparently due to a recent boycott by some religious Jews, who take offense to a change in the intake form from the previous “mother” and “father” to “parent 1” and “parent 2”. The change in the form was made out of consideration for the LGBTQ families. Many among religious leaders were divided between the obligation to save lives and their rage over what they call “surrender to the LGBTQ” and “consciousness changing policies” But some said they would remain determined to not donate any blood until the forms were changed back to their previous version. To read more, click here.

El Al has agreed to buy all the shares of Arkia, Israel’s low cost local airline.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-2-2022

News Update

A large force of 150 Border Police entered the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem to seal the home of Fadi Abu Shkhayda, the terrorist who killed Eliyahu Kay and wounded two others, in a shooting attack in the Old City last November. Some clashes with local Palestinians broke out.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the need for reform in the Palestinian Authority in a phone call yesterday with PA President Mahmoud Abbas. They also discussed “the need to improve quality of life for the Palestinian people in tangible ways.”

PM Naftali Bennett says that within a year the IDF will introduce a system for intercepting missiles and drones using lasers. Bennett said that the system would make it possible to surround Israel with a laser wall that would protect it against missiles, rockets, drones, and other threats. To read more, click here.

Amnesty International, in a new 211 page report, accused Israel of subjecting Palestinians to a system of apartheid founded on policies of “segregation, dispossession and exclusion” that it said amounted to crimes against humanity. Israel said the report was filled with lies. In a statement, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said “Israel is not perfect, but it is a democracy committed to international law and open to scrutiny with a free press and a strong Supreme Court. I hate to use the argument that if Israel were not a Jewish state, nobody in Amnesty would dare argue against it, but in this case, there is no other possibility.” To read more, click here.

The IDF dismissed two officers and reprimanded a battalion commander over the death of an elderly Palestinian man after he was detained by troops searching for terrorists in his village. The man was also a US citizen. To read more, click here.

An international group of Israeli and American researchers has discovered a vertebra from a hominin species dated to 1.5 million years ago that lived in the Jordan Valley. The bone was from a child aged 6-12 and is the most ancient evidence of a human presence in today’s Israel, as well as the second oldest human remain found outside of Africa. To read more, click here.

The water level in the Kinneret rose by 2 cm in the last 24 hours, reaching 210.26 meters below sea level. The lake is now just 146 cm from capacity.