Israel news summary

Israel News for 8-20-2021

News Update

Syrian media reported an Israel airstrike in the Damascus area on Thursday.

Satellite images provided by NASA indicate that the massive wildfires in the Jerusalem hill were started by arsonists. Police are investigating.

Israel agreed to resume the transfer of Qatari funds to Gaza. According to the agreement reached, Qatar will send $100 allotments to 100,000 impoverished families in the strip, who will receive it by way of the international organization’s World Food Program. The families will be given a special rechargeable card with which they can withdraw the money from banks in Gaza. The grant will also include funding for the purchase of fuels from Israel to maintain the enclave’s sole power station operating. However, the agreement did not include salaries to Hamas clerks, estimated to be at millions of dollars a month. It is not clear yet whether Hamas will approve the agreement.

PM Bennett plans to meet with President Biden in Washington late next week. US Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “Prime Minister Bennett’s visit will strengthen the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel, reflect the deep ties between our governments and our people, and underscore the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security. The visit will also be an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss efforts to advance peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians and the importance of working towards a more peaceful and secure future for the region.”

Hezbollah has organized shipments of oil from Iran to Lebanon, to help alleviate severe fuel shortages in the country caused by a massive financial and political crisis. Hezbollah leader Nasrallah warned the US and Israel not to interfere with the shipments.

The Health Ministry today reported 5,024 new corona cases on Thursday. At least 599 patients are in severe condition, of whom 104 are ventilated. The official death toll now stands at 6,748.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 8-18-2021

News Update

Syrian state media reported that Israeli missiles struck a Hezbollah military outpost that overlooks the Golan Heights, in the Quneitra province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Iranian-backed militias were operating from the site. Some sources claim that a precision missile production facility was at the site.

Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Dedy Simhi announced Tuesday evening that the Jerusalem-area wildfire was finally contained. Around 1,500 firefighters and 20 aircraft took part in the effort to battle the fire in seven different locations. Over 6,000 acres of forest were destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of animals, including numerous species of reptiles, rodents, insects and hundreds of different species of mammals are believed to have perished in the fire. The fire chief said that it would likely take decades to replace what was lost.

On Monday, several rockets were launched from Gaza into southern Israel. On a visit to troops near the Gaza border, the PM said that Israel would respond to the rocket fire at “a time, place and conditions that suit us — and nobody else.”

Despite the rocket fire, Israel today approved the import of construction materials and other goods into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom border crossing. In addition, around 1,800 Gazan laborers and traders entered Israel for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Israeli security officials confirmed that there has been progress in indirect talks between Israel and Hamas, mediated by the United Nations, over the transfer of Qatari aid funds to Gaza. Israel has been withholding those funds.

Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel arrived in Israel today to meet with PM Bennett and DM Gantz on the continued efforts to reach a settlement with Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

Jordan’s King Abdullah met with PA President Abbas and other PA officials in Amman this week. The meeting comes after a recent visit by Abdullah to Washington, where he met with President Biden. To read more, click here.

The Health Ministry today reported 7,832 new corona cases on Tuesday, putting the infection rate at 5.6%. At least 578 patients are in severe condition, of whom 104 are ventilated. The official death toll now stands at 6,708.

Researchers from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science are working on a new way to combat the coronavirus. To read more, click here.

 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 8-16-2021

News Update

Massive wildfires broke out in the Jerusalem hills yesterday. Some fires are still burning today. Over 17,000 dunams (420 acres) have been burned and 10,000 people have evacuated their homes. Some homes were burned. Fire and Rescue Commissioner Dedi Simchi said 12 firefighting planes were deployed, along with crews from around 60 fire engines.

An IDF special counterterrorism unit entered Jenin last night, disguised as Arabs, to arrest a wanted terror suspect. As they were leaving the city, a large number of terrorists, including snipers, attacked the unit with heavy gunfire from close range. The until returned fire, killing at least 4 terrorists. No Israeli casualties were reported.

The Health Ministry today reported 5,075 new corona cases on Sunday, putting the infection rate at 6.07%. At least 519 patients are in severe condition, of whom 92 are ventilated. The official death toll now stands at 6,668. Despite the increase in infections, the number of patients with severe conditions is dropping. The country is in the process of offering a third vaccine dose to those over 50. Close to a million people have already received their third dose.

Sahar Ismail, a senior adviser for Arab affairs in the Education Ministry and a member of the New Hope party (right wing) was shot to death yesterday outside his home in the village of Rameh in the Galilee. No motive has been discovered yet.

The first Israeli citizen was born in Dubai on Saturday. The little girl, Maya, is the daughter of Ilan Sztulman, the head of Israel’s consulate in Dubai. Mazal Tov!

Israel news summary

Israel News for 8-11-2021

News Update

A Palestinian woman attacked IDF soldiers near Nablus (Shechem) on Monday. Soldiers stopped the attacker by shooting her in her lower body. No soldiers were hurt.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid landed in Rabat, Morocco today to kick off a 2 day visit. He is the first Israeli FM to visit the country in 18 years. Lapid will inaugurate Israel’s diplomatic mission in Rabat, visit Casablanca’s historic Temple Beth-El and hold talks with Moroccan FM Nasser Bourita. He will also meet with representatives of the local Jewish community. There are currently around 2,000 members of the Jewish community in Morocco. Prior to 1948 the community numbered around 250,000, many of whom emigrated to Israel.

Minister for Regional Cooperation Issawi Freij (Meretz) revealed that Israel was in contact with Saudi Arabia on issues related to Iran. Freij said that his personal dream as a Muslim was to go on pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, without having to travel through a third country, such as Jordan, in order to do so. He said, “I am convinced we will see such an opportunity soon.”

CIA Director William Burns held talks with PM Bennett in Jerusalem today. A statement released by the PM’s office said, “they discussed the situation in the Middle East, with emphasis on Iran, and possibilities for expanding and deepening regional cooperation”. The Director of the Mossad gave Burns an intelligence report warning that recently elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is mentally unstable and incapable of abiding by any international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Burns will also meet with PA President Abbas in Ramallah.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan yesterday demanded an immediate UN investigation into reports that the Hamas terror group prevented inspections of a recently uncovered attack tunnel under schools in the Gaza Strip operated by the international body’s Palestinian refugee agency. To read more, click here.

The Health Ministry today reported 5,755 new corona cases on Tuesday, putting the infection rate at 5.4%. At least 400 patients are in severe condition, of whom 62 are ventilated. The official death toll now stands at 6,580. The coronavirus cabinet will meet today to discuss the possibility of reinstating restrictions.

 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 8-9-2021

News Update

PM Bennett said yesterday that Israel views the Lebanese government responsible for rocket fire launched from its territory, whether the Hezbollah terror group fired the weapons or not. His comments, at the weekly cabinet meeting, came just days after 2 rockets fired from Lebanon hit open areas near Kiryat Shemoneh in northern Israel.

The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted a senior Western diplomatic source as saying that the U.S. had pressured Bennett not to change the rules of engagement against Hezbollah ahead of the renewal of Iran nuclear talks next month in Vienna. The pressure reportedly came due to concerns that Iran would use any attacks on its Lebanese proxy as an excuse to pull out of the talks. According to the report, the recent Hezbollah rocket fire was the Iranian-backed group testing PM Bennett’s resolve. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Saturday evening the group could escalate its cross-border actions against Israel in the future.

The Health Ministry today reported 3,371 new corona cases on Sunday, putting the infection rate at 3.8%. At least 360 patients are in severe condition, of whom 57 are ventilated. The official death toll now stands at 6,542, after two more patients died on Sunday.

The Defense Ministry announced that work began yesterday to make the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron accessible to disabled people. The project, which will take around 6 months, will include the construction of an access road from the parking lot to the plaza of the tomb and a wheelchair lift with a bridge that will allow worshipers of all religions to reach the site.

Israel’s former President Reuven Rivlin, 81, has been appointed president of Israeli technology company ElectReon Wireless, which is developing and implementing wireless Electric Road Systems (ERS) – a platform that charges electric vehicles while driving, using coils under the asphalt. ElectrRon said that Rivlin’s job would involve promoting cooperation between the company and foreign governments and international companies and exposing activities to “decision makers around the world.”

Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram, 22, won the gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics on Saturday in Tokyo. It is Israel’s second gold medal in this olympics. The Russians were not too happy with the results, calling them rigged. Ashram became the first non-Russian rhythmic gymnast to win the coveted Olympic gold medal in the competition since the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. The Russians took the silver this year. Sorry guys…

Israel news summary

Israel News for 8-6-2021

News Update

A barrage of at least 10 rockets were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel today. The Iron Dome missile defense system knocked most of the rockets out of the sky while several landed in open areas. No damage or casualties were reported. The IDF responded with artillery fire at the sources of the rocket launches.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack and claimed that they were responded to IDF airstrikes. On Wednesday 2 rockets fired from Lebanon hit open areas near Kiryat Shemona. The IDF launched artillery strikes in response. Early on Thursday, the IDF launched airstrikes at “the launch sites and infrastructure used for terror in Lebanon.”

Following a meeting between PM Bennett, Defense Minister Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and other security officials, an IDF spokesman said that Hezbollah had deliberately fired the rockets at open areas and not populated cities like Kiryat Shmona. He said, “This is the terror group’s attempt to show that it controls the region in southern Lebanon after a rogue Palestinian faction fired rockets at Israel on Wednesday.” He added, “We have no interest in intensifying the conflict or in starting a war, but we will not let the border area become an active front line.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry warned Israel not to take military action against it, in retaliation for the Iranian attack against an Israeli managed ship in the Arabian Sea last week. The warning came in response to threats by Defense Minister Gantz on Thursday.

The Palestinian Authority is facing a major economic crisis. It has accumulated a staggering amount of debt, and will probably be unable to pay the salaries of government employees and civil servants. Israel and the international community is trying to figure out ways to help.  To read more, click here.

Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said that Israel will send a delegation of 15 firefighters and rescuers to Greece to help put out the huge fires that are ravaging that country.

The Health Ministry reported 3,843 new covid cases on Thursday, following another over 3,000 case day on Wednesday. The infection rate is at 3.7%. Almost 350,000 Israelis over 60 have already received a third vaccine dose since it became available on Sunday.

PM Bennett said that the prospect of a lockdown during the Jewish High Holidays next month is dependent on the number of people who get vaccinated. He said, “Every one of you has to go out and get vaccinated because if not, you endanger yourself, you are really endangering the environment, as if you are walking around with a machine gun and shooting Delta viruses at everyone. This is a selfish and irresponsible decision, none of you want to kill other people by mistake.” He added, “The Delta is different from the original coronavirus pandemic, It’s a different pandemic. It is completely different from the original epidemic, so there is a real need for two main basic rules — to get vaccinated and wear masks.”

 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 8-4-2021

News Update

The IDF reported that 3 rockets were fired from Lebanon today, with 2 rockets landing in Israel. One of the rockets fell near the northern town of Kiryat Shemona. There were no casualties. The IDF responded with several artillery strikes into Lebanon.

The PM said Israel was enlisting an international response to Iran’s alleged attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman last week, but added that if necessary, “we are able to act alone.”  The UK has asked the UN Security Council to “respond to Iran’s destabilizing actions and lack of respect for international law.”

Yesterday, an undercover Border Police counterterrorism unit (Yamam) came under a massive gunfire and explosive attack during an arrest operation in the city of Jenin. The unit responded, neutralizing 6 of the attackers.

The commander of Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service is reporting that arsonists are starting large numbers of fires in the West Bank as the heat wave in the country continues.

The Health Ministry reported 3,226 new covid cases on Tuesday, following another over 3,000 case day on Monday. The infection rate is at 3.3%. The government placed the U.S. and 17 other countries under severe travel warning. From August 11, all travelers from these specified destinations will be required to quarantine for a minimum of seven days, regardless of whether they had been vaccinated for or recovered from coronavirus.

A record of almost 210,000 new cars came on to Israel’s roads in the first seven months of 2021, just 2% less than in all of 2020, and up 48% over the January-July 2020 period. In July, which is usually considered a ‘vacation’ month when deliveries dip, 26,177 new cars were delivered in Israel, up 15% from July 2020. Sources in the car industry say that at the moment demand for many models outstrips supply with consignments due to arrive towards the end of the second quarter sold out in advance. To read more, click here.

 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 8-2-2021

News Update

The US and UK both have concluded that Iran was responsible for the attack against an Israeli managed tanker in the Arabian Sea near Oman last week. PM Bennett also blamed Iran for the attack and warned that Israel would respond in its own way. A British and Romanian sailor were killed in the attack.

In two separate incidents last night, the IDF captured 4 terrorists trying to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza. Three of the four were armed with knives. It’s unclear whether the 2 incidents were connected. Despite the high-tech fence along the Gaza border, there are still some gaps.

A bus carrying IDF soldiers accidentally entered the area of Hebron controlled by the Palestinian Authority yesterday. Palestinians attacked the bus with stones until PA security forces escorted the bus out of PA territory. There were no casualties and minimal damage.

The Cabinet unanimously approved a state budget for 2021-22 today. It is the first budget approved in the past 3 years. The new budget must still be approved by the Knesset.

Google has announced plans to build and operate two submarine cable systems to connect the Middle East with southern Europe and Asia by 2024. One of the projects, the Blue Submarine Cable System, will tie Israel to Italy, France and Greece. The other, called the Raman Submarine Cable System, will connect Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman and India. The cables will each carry 16 fiber optic pairs that will increase network capacity and decrease latency.

Ukrainian-born Israeli gymnastic Artem Dolgopyat, 24, gave Israel its first gold medal in the Tokyo olympics by winning the men’s floor competition in the Artistic Gymnastic sport. He was congratulated by the PM and the President. It is only Israel’s second gold medal ever. Israel has also won a bronze in Tae Kwan Do and Judo in the Tokyo games. Israel’s baseball team lost to the US on Friday, beat Mexico on Sunday and lost to S. Korea today. It will play the Dominican Republic tomorrow, and still has a chance at the bronze medal.

The National Library of Israel announced recently that billionaire and philanthropist David Geffen will be funding an auditorium on its campus.

The Health Ministry reported 2,114 new covid cases on Sunday, with a 2.95% infection rate.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-30-2021

News Update

IDF troops shot and killed a 20 year old Palestinian man during rioting in Beit Ummar, near Hebron, yesterday. The rioters threw rocks at the troops after the funeral of Mohammed al-Alami, 12, who residents say was killed by army fire while riding in a car with his father on Wednesday.

An Israeli-owned merchant ship was attacked off of Oman in the Arabian Sea. The incident is being investigated.

Hundreds of farmers rallied across Israel yesterday over a reform that would reduce the taxes on agricultural produce from Turkey and Egypt. The tax reform would lower prices for Israeli consumers, but potentially hurt local farmers.

PM Bennett announced yesterday that a 3rd dose of the Pfizer covid vaccine would be offered to vaccinated people over 60.  The PM said, “Our goal is to keep the State of Israel open. But we must understand that there is a race between the vaccine campaign and the pandemic. We must make sure the vaccinations rate beats the pandemic’s spread. We all have the shared obligation to protect one another. Go get vaccinated!” Israel is the first country to offer a 3rd vaccine dose. President Herzog has already received his third dose. PM Bennett stressed that Israel would not go into another lockdown, which would cost the country billions of dollars.

The Health Ministry reported 1,448 new covid cases on Thursday.

Israel’s baseball team lost to South Korea in the Olympics. The team is currently playing the US team at the time of this writing.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-28-2021

News Update

A Palestinian man, 41, attempted to attack an IDF patrol with an iron bar near the village of Beita (West Bank) yesterday. The troops fired warning shots into the air, but when the attacker continued rushing towards them they fired, killing him.

The Human Rights Watch NGO yesterday accused the IDF of carrying out attacks that “apparently amount to war crimes” during its 11-day war against Hamas in Gaza. The international human rights organization issued its conclusions after investigating three Israeli airstrikes that it said killed 62 Palestinian civilians. It said “there were no evident military targets in the vicinity” of the attacks.

The HRW report also accused Palestinian factions of apparent war crimes by launching over 4,000 unguided rockets and mortars at Israeli population centers. Such attacks, it said, violate “the prohibition against deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians.” The report, however, focused on Israeli actions during the fighting. The IDF has stated that it took extensive precautions to prevent civilian casualties and blames Hamas for placing military targets within civilian population centers.

Israel announced that it will issue 16,000 additional work permits to Palestinians living in the West Bank allowing them to work in the construction and hotel industries in Israel. The new permits will bring the number of Palestinians allowed to work in Israel to 106,000, with another 30,000 Palestinians authorized to work in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

PM Bennett, DM Gantz and Finance Minister Lieberman have agreed on a NIS 58 billion defense budget for 2022.

Ninety MKs, from all factions in the Knesset, signed a letter today asking Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, to immediately revoke the company’s decision not to sell its products in the Israeli settlements. The letter called the decision hypocritical and said, “This is shameful, abusive behavior and above all a decision that excludes large sections of the very public that Ben & Jerry’s world management ostensibly seeks to support.”

The Health Ministry reported over 2,000 new covid cases, for the second day in a row. The infection rate stands at 2.4% of those tested. At least 153 patients are in serious condition, of whom 28 are ventilated. According to the Health Ministry’s analysis, 102 of the severely ill patients are aged 65 and over, 76 of whom are fully vaccinated. At least 39 of severely ill are between the age of 40 and 65, while 16 of them are fully vaccinated. Six of severely ill are below the age of 40, and only one of them is fully vaccinated.

The Health Ministry is expected to recommend a third vaccine dose, which has already begun to be administered to those with compromised immune systems and the elderly. The third dose could begin to be administered as early as next week.

Idit Harel Segal, a 50 year old kindergarten teacher from northern Israel, has donated a kidney to a 3-year-old Palestinian boy from the Gaza. To read more, click here.