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The Health Ministry reported 1,609 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. The significant drop in cases may be a result of the lockdown restrictions combined with a major drop in testing in ultra-orthodox communities as a result of the Sukkot holiday. There are currently 51,698 active cases of which 823 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 224 on ventilators. There have been 1,983 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Since the start of October, 394 have died of corona.
The cabinet officially approved the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE yesterday. PM Netanyahu said that he would meet with the UAE crown prince soon. A delegation from the UAE is expected to arrive in Israel on October 20 to finalize the details of the normalization agreement.
Israel and Hamas are reportedly close to reaching an agreement on a six-month ceasefire along the Gaza border. A growing economic and humanitarian crisis exasperated by the coronavirus is pushing Hamas to reach an agreement. As part of the agreement, Qatar would transfer $100 million to Hamas in exchange for a total stop to attacks from Gaza. Israel is demanding the release of two Israelis believed to be held captive in Gaza and the return of the bodies of two IDF soldiers who fell in the 2014 Gaza war.
Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said yesterday that Israel will oppose any U.S. sale of F-35 warplanes to Qatar. Cohen made the comments on Israeli Army Radio when asked about a Reuters report that Qatar had submitted a formal request to Washington to buy F-35 fighter jets. The US is reportedly planning to sell F-35s to the UAE.
Chief Rabbi David Lau urged the government to ease travel restrictions for members of wedding parties, so that weddings can continue to take place during the current lockdown. The weddings will still be limited to 20 participants outdoors and 10 indoors.
Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress who achieved fame playing Wonder Woman, will play the role of Cleopatra in an upcoming blockbuster movie. [is that newsworthy? These days, we’ll take any good news…]