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The Health Ministry reported 844 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. The contagion rate is at 2.2%. There are currently 12,768 active cases of which 453 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 196 on ventilators. There have been 2,483 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The U.S. is lifting a ban on U.S. funding of Israeli scientific research projects conducted in the West Bank and Golan Heights. Past scientific accords with the U.S. government stipulated that Israeli research projects receiving U.S. grants could not be carried out in areas that came under Israeli administration in 1967. PM Netanyahu and the U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman will sign amended scientific cooperation agreements at a special ceremony in Ariel (West Bank) today.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz is attacking PM Netanyahu for stalling on the passage of a budget for this year and next. He said failure to pass a budget would be, “a crime against the state and its citizens.” Critics accuse Netanyahu of holding the budget hostage because of a clause in the coalition agreement that allows him to remain transitional leader if the government collapses due to failure to pass a budget. If a budget for 2021 is approved, Gantz is guaranteed to take over as prime minister in November 2021, as per the coalition agreement. This budget crisis could lead to a government collapse and new elections.