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The Health Ministry reported 630 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. The contagion rate is at 1.8%. There are currently 11,254 active cases of which 410 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 190 on ventilators. There have been 2,511 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The White House notified Congress that it intends to sell 50 F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales. Israel would ordinarily oppose the sale of advanced weapons to an Arab country, but it is not, based on U.S. guarantees that Israeli military superiority will be preserved.
US and UN sponsored talks between Israel and Lebanon over disputed maritime borders have been productive and are expected to resume next month. Lebanese and Israeli officials have declined to comment on the secret, indirect talks. But Lebanese media, quoting informed officials, said the government is pushing for new maps to demarcate disputed maritime borders that effect potentially lucrative oil and gas deals. An Israeli official said the negotiations should be on the lines previously submitted by the two countries to the U.N.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced yesterday that U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem will now be able to list Israel as their birthplace on their passports. The move is consistent with the recognition by the US of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Norway has agreed to allow Israeli couples to get married at its Tel Aviv embassy. Since marriages in Israel must be registered exclusively through the Rabbinate, many Israelis who want secular marriages usually travel to Cyprus or other nearby countries to marry. Their marriages are then accepted by the government for all legal purposes, albeit not by the Rabbinate. But because of Covid related travel restriction, Israelis must now find an alternative “foreign” territory within Israel. Norway is willing to provide that territory.