Israel news summary

Israel News for 3-8-2021

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 2,331 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. There are currently 708 people hospitalized in serious condition, of whom 223 are on ventilators. There have been 5,899 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

PM Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein met the five millionth Israeli to receive the coronavirus vaccination this morning. The PM announced that Israel would be building factories in Israel to produce vaccines within the country.

IDF troops entered the Palestinian city of Tobas in the Jordan Valley to arrest a terror suspect. The suspect attempted to stab one of the soldiers, but was stopped by the commander, who fired at him.

Early this morning a Palestinian woman entered the Sde Efraim farm in the West Bank and attempted to stab the wife of the owner. Local residents stopped her. No one was injured.

Israel Police arrested two suspects allegedly involved in assaulting an IDF soldier and stealing his weapon last week in the Haruvia Forest in northern Israel. The suspects are residents of the Bedouin village of Ibtin. One of them was a former soldier in the IDF.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 3-5-2021

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 2,075 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. There are currently 697 people hospitalized in serious condition, 215 of whom are on ventilators. There have been 5,821 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

PM Netanyahu announced that Israel, Austria and Denmark will establish a joint research and development fund, and possibly production facilities, for COVID-19 vaccines. Yesterday, Israel began vaccinating over 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel.

The PM condemned the decision of the International Criminal Court in the Hague to formally investigate alleged war crimes by Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian territories. He said, “The State of Israel is under attack tonight. The biased court in The Hague has made a decision that is the essence of anti-Semitism and hypocrisy. It has ruled that our heroic and moral soldiers, who fight against the cruelest terrorists on Earth, are actually war criminals.” The US opposes the actions of the ICC, claiming that it has no jurisdiction over the matter. The Palestinian Authority and the Arab League praise the ICC’s devision.

The IDF has completed the sophisticated new underground barrier on the Gaza border which is used to detect and prevent tunnel-digging by terror groups into Israeli territory. The barrier is a thick concrete wall going dozens of meters underground and lined with sensors meant to pick up any digging activity.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 3-3-2021

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 4,240 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, putting the infection rate at 4.8%. Almost half of those newly infected are under the age of 19. There are currently 717 people hospitalized in serious condition, 224 of whom are on ventilators. There have been 5,797 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. The government voted to open event halls and restaurants starting next week, and to reopen Ben Gurion airport to up to 3,000 daily returning Israelis.

4,811,712 Israelis — 52% of the total population — have received the first vaccine dose, and 3,503,621 (38%) have also received the second.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said on Tuesday that Israel and the United States have agreed that neither nation will make decisions pertaining to Iran and the Iran nuclear deal without informing the other first. He also said that he expected Israel to establish relations with more Arab countries in 2021.

The IDF will award a special medal to IDF and South Lebanon Army (SLA) soldiers who fought in the buffer zone in southern Lebanon between September 1982 and May 2000. During that period, 559 IDF and 660 SLA soldiers were killed while serving in the buffer zone. Following Israel’s withdrawal, nearly 6,000 SLA soldiers and their families fled to Israel.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion yesterday inaugurated a new youth center in the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat in East Jerusalem. The youth center will provide various activities for east Jerusalem’s young population, along with community-based programs expected to include youth movements, leadership workshops, a volunteering center, career development and guidance, and social activism, all intended to strengthen the local Arab community. The center will also provide professional training programs in various fields, with an emphasis on digital literacy.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 3-1-2021

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 3,089 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, putting the infection rate at 5.9%. There are currently 742 people hospitalized in serious condition, 294 of whom are on ventilators. There have been 5,758 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Despite overnight curfews over the Purim holiday weekend, thousands of Israelis took part in large parties and celebrations.

The PM announced that Israel will extend the current school year until the end of July in order to make up for the studies missed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Israel will begin vaccinating the 130,000 Palestinians workers who work in Israel.

Syrian media reported that Israel launched a missile attack against Iranian-linked targets near Damascus last night.

PM Netanyahu blamed Iran for an explosion that hit an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman last week. The ship, a vehicle carrier, was traveling from the Saudi port of Dammam to Singapore when the blast occurred on Thursday. The crew was unharmed in the blast, but the vessel sustained two holes on its port side and two on its starboard side just above the waterline.

Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah, the new UAE ambassador to Israel, arrived in Israel today for a short visit during which he will meet with the PM and other officials and scout out suitable locations for the embassy and his home. Al Khajah has opened a Twitter account that posts messages in both English and Hebrew. So far he has gained nearly 30,000 followers.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-24-2021

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 4,395 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, putting the infection rate at 6.1%. 77.1% of the new cases were in people under the age of 39 and only 5% were in the over-60s. There are currently 795 people hospitalized in serious condition. There have been 5,648 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The government voted to impose a nighttime curfew, from 8:30pm to 5am, during the three-day Purim holiday break from Wednesday through Sunday. There will also be a ban on traveling more that one kilometer from home.

Eleven people who flew on an El Al rescue flight from New York to Israel on Sunday tested positive upon arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport, after apparently presenting the negative test required to board the plane. To read more about this, click here.

Over 4.5 million Israelis have already received the first dose of the vaccine, and over 3.1 million the second dose.

Security forces are searching for a Palestinian who attacked and attempted to stab a 22 year old resident of the settlement of Yitzhar today. The man managed to fend off the attacker and escape. To see footage of the incident, click here.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi today that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was best for ensuring Israel’s future. Blinked tweeted, “Great speaking with @Gabi_Ashkenazi today to discuss our partnership, regional challenges, and Israel’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States remains unwavering in its commitment to Israel’s security.”

Blinked also said today that the US would run for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, but he said, “We urge the Human Rights Council to look at how it conducts its business. That includes its disproportionate focus on Israel. We need to eliminate Agenda Item 7 and treat the human rights situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories the same way as this body handles any other country.”

Alex Ziloni, aged 105, one of the founding members of the Israel Air Force (IAF), was promoted last week to the rank of colonel in honor of his “many decades of dedication to the State of Israel,” according to statement released by the IDF. Ziloni immigrated to Israel from Poland at age five. After graduating from school, he joined the Haganah in Jerusalem in 1934. Ziloni moved to England in 1936 to study aviation engineering and later volunteered to serve as an engineer in the British Royal Air Force during World War II.
He went on to become a founding member of the IAF in May 1948, during Israel’s War of Independence. He served until 1960 and participated in aerial operations in the 1956 Suez War. Ziloni retired with the rank of lieutenant-colonel and later served as a military attaché in Washington.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-22-2021

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 3,038 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, putting the infection rate at 6.3%. 75% of the cases were in people under 40. There are currently 838 people hospitalized in serious condition. There have been 5,585 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The IDF sunk a suspicious boat off the Gaza coast, which it said posed a threat to navy ships in the area.

Palestinian sources revealed today that the Likud party has held talks with officials in Ramallah over potentially supporting PM Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections. According to sources, the talks with Palestinian Authority officials were initiated in an effort to encourage Israeli-Arabs to vote for Likud or abstain from voting for the predominantly Arab Joint List party. Likud was represented by Druze politician Fateen Mulla, who currently serves as the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. Likud denied the report, but Mulla confirmed the talks, but downplayed their importance.

Israel and Egypt agreed to lay underwater pipeline as part of a bigger pipeline project to convey natural gas from Israel to Europe via Greece and Italy.

Tons of tar have piled up on Israel’s beaches stretching along the entire coastline, from Gaza to Lebanon, as a result of an oil spill from a passing ship. Thousands of volunteers and IDF soldiers are racing to clean up the mess, which has already caused extensive ecological damage.

Israeli website building company Wix.com has become Israel’s most valuable company.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-19-2021

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 1,876 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, putting the infection rate at 6.8%. There are currently 907 people hospitalized in serious condition with 297 on ventilators. There have been 5,501 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Over 4.25 million Israelis have already received the first dose of the vaccine, and over 2.85 million the second dose. Data released by Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer showed that coronavirus infections were reduced by 75%, and an 85% reduction in symptomatic infections, after the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

On Wednesday a 25 year old Israeli woman crossed into Syria from the Golan and was arrested by Syrian authorities in a Druze village near the border. The woman, a former resident of the ultra-Orthodox West Bank settlement of Modi’in Illit, had previously attempted to cross into Gaza, but had been stopped by the army.

Today, the woman was returned to Israel on a flight from Moscow, where she was sent as part of a prisoner swap brokered by Russia. In exchange for her return, Israel transferred to Syria two Syrian shepherds who were arrested after crossing the border, and pardoned Israeli Druze prisoner Nihal al-Mkat. The shepherds were suspected of being Hezbollah operatives. Israel also provided further compensation, the details of which are prohibited from publication.

US President Biden called PM Netanyahu on Wednesday for the first time. According to a statement from the PM Office, “The conversation was very friendly and warm and lasted about an hour. The two leaders noted the long-standing personal connection between them and said they would work together to further strengthen the strong alliance between Israel and the United States. President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed further advancing peace agreements, the Iranian threat and the region’s challenges and agreed to continue talks between them. The president also congratulated the prime minister on his leadership in the fight against coronavirus, and the two exchanged views on how to deal with the pandemic.”

Israel’s Ministry of Defense officially announced the start of development of the Arrow 4 missile defense system, which will replace the Arrow 2 as part of Israel’s multi-layer ballistic missile shield.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-17-2021

News Update

To listen to an audio version click here. (for supporters)

The Health Ministry reported 4,389 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, putting the infection rate at 6.4%. There are currently 964 people hospitalized in serious condition. 40% of new serious coronavirus patients in the country are below the age of 60. There have been 5,441 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Over 4 million Israelis have already received the first dose of the vaccine, and over 2.7 million the second dose.

The government is drafting legislation that would mandate that employers require employees to present either proof of vaccination, a negative covid test or proof of having recovered from the virus, in order to come to work. Although no specific profession was named in the draft, officials say the bill targets teachers, police officers and medical teams or people who must come into contact with many people in the course of their work. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel said the legislation is a violation of privacy rights and “could be seen as illegal discrimination on the basis of disability or opinion and could constitute harm to the individual’s right to employment.”

A shipment of 1,000 Russian “Sputnik V” vaccines will be arriving in Gaza. Two weeks ago, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah received about 100,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine as a gift from Russian authorities, 2,000 of which were donated specifically to the Hamas-ruled enclave.

Cabinet ministers were summoned Tuesday evening to an urgent meeting amid intensive talks between top Israeli and Russian officials on a humanitarian issue pertaining to Syria.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday that President Biden’s first call with a Middle East leader will be with PM Netanyahu, and that it will be soon.

A ministerial committee approved a NIS 15 billion arms purchase from the US, including a new F-35 squadron, four new refueling planes, a large quantity of munitions and components for the Arrow missile system and the Iron Dome defense system.

A major snowstorm hit northern Israel yesterday, dropping several inches of snow in the Golan and parts of the Galilee. Jerusalem is expecting snow later today.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-12-2021

News Update

The Health Ministry reported 4,922 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, putting the infection rate at 6.7%. There are currently 985 people hospitalized in serious condition. There have been 5,286 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Over 3.7 million Israelis have already received the first dose of the vaccine, and over 2.4 million the second dose.

Iraqi media outlets blamed Israel for a daylight attack on a convoy carrying advanced weapons from Iran to Syria. The attack occurred near the Syrian border with Iraq. Other than damage to equipment, there were no reports of casualties. Iraqi militias backed by Iran have been using the corridor between Iraq and Syria to deliver weapons.

A senior Israeli military commander said that, according to Israeli military estimates, Hamas has around 7,000 rockets and 300 anti-tank and 100 anti-aircraft missiles. It also has acquired dozens of unmanned aerial vehicles and has an army of some 30,000 militants, including 400 naval commandos who have received sophisticated training and equipment to carry out seaborne operations.

The White House yesterday said that President Biden plans to speak with PM Netanyahu soon. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a news briefing, “The president looks forward to speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu. He’s obviously somebody that he has a long-standing relationship with. Obviously there’s an important relationship that the United States has with Israel on the security front and as a key partner in the region.” He added, “He’ll be talking with him soon – I don’t have a specific date or time for you on that call yet.”

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-10-2021

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 6,062 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, putting the infection rate at 7.8%. There are currently 1,020 people hospitalized in serious condition and 317 on ventilators. There have been 5,223 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Over 3.6 million Israelis have already received the first dose of the vaccine, and over 2.2 million the second dose.

PM Netanyahu reiterated that the Golan would forever remain part of Israel. His remarks came after US Secretary of State Blinken said on Monday that he saw control of the Golan as being “of real importance to Israel’s security” but added, “Legal questions are something else and over time, if the situation were to change in Syria, that’s something we look at, but we are nowhere near that.” President Biden’s advisers have said that he would not withdraw U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

An IDF intelligence report published Tuesday said that Hezbollah is looking to initiate a “limited offensive” against Israel for the first time since the Second Lebanon War in 2006.  The report says the group has a trained a “shock” unit, which it will utilize for a limited offensive lasting two to three days, without being dragged into an all-out war. To read more, click here.

Egypt yesterday opened its border with Gaza, at Rafah, indefinitely. Rafah is Gaza’s only passage to the outside world.

Likud today signed a surplus vote-sharing agreement with the far-right Religious Zionism party led by Betzalel Smotrich. Vote-sharing agreements, which are widely used in Israeli elections, allow parties to ensure that extra votes they win that don’t add up to a Knesset seat do not go to waste. Assuming that Religious Zionism passes the 3.25% vote threshold to enter the Knesset, any additional votes they get that do not add up to an additional seat will be transferred to Likud.

In the agreement, Religious Zionism vowed to not support anyone but Netanyahu as prime minister for the entire term of the 24th Knesset, while Likud promised to have representatives of Religious Zionism in any government formed by Netanyahu.

Israeli company Aleph Farms, in a joint statement with the Technion Institute of Technology, announced that it has made the world’s first laboratory cultivated rib-eye steak, with all the flavor and texture of regular meat. The company uses a unique three-dimensional bioprinting technique. The bioprinting technology uses “natural building blocks of meat” developed from real cow cells, which are then encouraged to grow, differentiate, and interact to obtain the texture and qualities of a real steak. The process involves no genetic engineering. Aleph expects it will take two to three years before the technology has advanced to a point where the meat will be available commercially. To read more, click here.