Israel news summary

Israel News for 12-2-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 1,227 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. There are currently 10,513 active cases of which 266 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 94 on ventilators. There have been 2,865 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. The head of Hamas in Gaza reportedly has Covid [thought you’d want to know that].

A senior Health Ministry official said that Israel is currently seeing the beginning of a third coronavirus wave due to a continued rise in infection.

A recent study by Tel Aviv University shows that around a third of all Israelis are experiencing severe levels of anxiety, up from 10% pre-pandemic.

Blue & White Chairman and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said his party will vote today in favor of a bill to disperse the Knesset and hold another election. He said that he will not support the no-confidence vote if PM Netanyahu agrees to pass the two-year budget, which he has so far refused to do.

If the long-term budget is passed, Netanyahu would be forced to commit to the PM rotation agreement next year and yield power to Gantz. But if the government collapses, Netanyahu would remain as prime minister throughout the three-month election campaign and until a new coalition is formed.

Netanyahu would also benefit by further delaying the budget talks, which would give him more time for the coronavirus vaccine to arrive and the economy to begin recovering next year — and a boost in a new election.

A 40 member delegation from Bahrain arrived in Israel yesterday for two days of talks on boosting economic cooperation and tourism.

Israel has transferred over $1 billion in funds to the Palestinian Authority. The transfer of tax and customs funds had been halted after the PA halted all cooperation with Israel in May, in response to Israeli plans to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria. Those plans were put on hold after Israel signed peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain.

Audio for 12-2-2020

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-30-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 985 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. There are currently 9,897 active cases of which 263 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 114 on ventilators. There have been 2,864 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The head of the Israel Institute for Biological Research said that an Israeli made vaccine could be available in the summer. He criticized what he perceived as a lack of support for the institute’s efforts and the decision to acquire vaccines from foreign companies. He also blamed the abundance of government regulations for delaying the vaccine.

Bethlehem’s mayor and town leaders said that Christmas celebrations will take place this year, although with some restrictions due to the pandemic.

A source with the Lebanese military said today that an upcoming round of maritime border talks with Israel due to take place on Wednesday has been postponed. This comes after Israel accused Lebanon of changing its stance in the negotiations.

Tesla plans to begin selling its electric cars in Israel in the second half of 2021. All cars sold in Israel are imported by independent companies, but Tesla will sell directly, without any middleman. To read more about this click here.

The Israeli Defense Ministry is in negotiations to sell 29 retired F-16 fighter jets to a Canadian company. The deal is valued at $100 million and will be the largest of its kind ever. The planes will be used to simulated enemy attacks in air force training exercises in Canada, the US and Australia.

Audio for 11-30-2020

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-25-2020

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 832 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. There are currently 9,064 active cases of which 268 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 120 on ventilators. There have been 2,822 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. The coronavirus cabinet voted to reopen schools in areas with low infection rates. Some indoor malls will also be allowed to open, on a one week trial basis.

Syrian sources are reporting that Israeli planes struck a military base south of Damascus last night, killing 8 pro-Iranian militants. The base houses Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Israeli planes also reportedly attacked a village near the Israeli border.

PM Netanyahu said yesterday that he spoke with the crown prince of Bahrain and would visit the Gulf state soon. Bahrain’s foreign minister visited Israel last week.

The U.S. Justice Department announced last Friday that Jonathan Pollard, the man imprisoned for 35 years for spying for Israel, had completed his parole. He is now free to leave the country. PM Netanyahu spoke to Pollard by phone yesterday and told him, “Your nightmare is over and you can come home to Israel” and We’re waiting for you.”

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-23-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 745 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. There are currently 8,456 active cases of which 298 people are hospitalized in serious condition. There have been 2,806 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Israel has signed an agreement with Uk vaccine maker AstraZeneca for 10 million doses of the company’s new vaccine, which is reportedly over 90% effective.

The Health Ministry on Sunday warned the public to refrain from entering the sea at every beach across the country, because of pollution from overflowing drainage systems due to recent heavy rains across the country.

PM Netanyahu and Mossad Director Yossi Cohen made a secret trip to Saudi Arabia yesterday for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also at the meeting. Neither Defense Minister Gantz nor Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi were informed of the trip in advance.

One Israeli man was seriously injured this morning when his car was stoned by terrorists near the settlement of Yitzhar in Samaria. The stoning also caused the car to collide with another car, injuring another 3 Israelis. Security forces are searching for the terrorists.

Minister of Defense Benny Gantz announced yesterday that he has decided to set up a government committee of inquiry to investigate the procurement by the Israel Navy of submarines and surface vessels. The committee’s main work will be on the procurement of three new submarines from Germany, and the prime minister’s demand for the preparation for the purchase of a fourth submarine. Netanyahu’s critics claim that this was in order to promote the business interests of his cousin Nathan Milikowsky, who had business ties with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, which is building the submarines. It is also claimed that Netanyahu hid some of the information relating to the procurement from the ministers of defense during the period concerned. The implication of Gantz’s move is that his Blue & White party is sure that Israel is headed for an election.

Audio for 11-23-2020

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Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-20-2020

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 758 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. There are currently 8,427 active cases of which 315 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 127 on ventilators. There have been 2,742 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Almost half of all new virus cases have come from the Arab sector. Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel, has been classified a red zone. The coronavirus cabinet is discussing whether to impose a lockdown on the city. Other Arab towns were locked down this week.

During his visit to the Psagot winery and settlement in the West Bank, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that all imports from Israeli settlements in the West Bank will now be labeled “Made in Israel” or “Product of Israel”. He also said the US would immediately withdraw support from any organization engaged in anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions). He said, “We will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic,” and, “We will immediately take steps to identify the organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support from such groups.”

The Palestinians are sending ambassadors back to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain after recalling them in protest of the peace agreements signed with Israel.

A report published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) states, “The Israeli economy entered the COVID-19 pandemic from a position of strength, and the authorities mounted a large and rapid response to the crisis. Timely and decisive measures introduced by the Bank of Israel at the outset of the pandemic have helped preserve market and financial stability and access to credit. Fiscal support to the health system, households, and businesses has also helped soften the economic impact of the pandemic.” The IMF report found that the output of the Israeli economy was harmed less than that of other developed economies in 2020, and that it should recover rapidly in 2021.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-18-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 815 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. There are currently 8,310 active cases of which 309 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 132 on ventilators. There have been 2,735 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Israel has signed an agreement with US vaccine maker Moderna for a million and a half doses and is negotiating for more.

Israeli warplanes struck military targets in southern Syria today, in response to explosive devices that were found planted on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights border. Targets included storage facilities and military compounds belonging to the Syrian army and to Iranian militias, as well as Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries. Ten people were killed, including Syrian soldiers and Iranian militiamen.

The IDF spokesman said, “This was a powerful strike. We attacked targets near the border and all the way to the Damascus area including a central command center of the Iranian forces deployed near the capital’s airport and a secret compound which houses high level Iranian visitors, just south of the city.” Additional Iron Dome batteries have been added in northern Israel.

Bahrain’s first official government delegation to Israel, led by Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani, landed at Ben-Gurion Airport today on the first Gulf Air commercial flight to Tel Aviv. Al Zayani will meet with PM Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is also in Israel on a visit.

President Reuven Rivlin and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan exchanged invitations yesterday to visit their respective countries.

President Rivlin and PM Netanyahu spoke on the phone with President-Elect Joe Biden yesterday. The conversation was reportedly “warm” with Biden reiterating his “deep commitment to Israel and its security.” The PM said that that the, “special bond between Israel and the U.S. is the basis for Israel’s security and its policies.” The two agreed to meet soon in order to discuss the many issues on the agenda and stressed the need to “continue strengthening the strong alliance between the United States and Israel.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Netanyahu refused to comment when asked in an interview on Israel Radio who he believed won the U.S. election. He said, “Why do I have to express an opinion. They have an internal process – the Electoral College. I think everybody more or less understands what… is apparently going to happen officially.”

The Palestinian Authority has resumed security and civil coordination with Israel. Hamas denounced the resumption of cooperation.

7-Eleven, the US convenience store chain, will soon be coming to Israel. Plans are to eventually open over 100 stores. The first stores will probably open in late 2021.

Audio for 11-18-2020

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