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.