Israel news summary

Israel News for 11-18-2020

News Update

To listen to an audio version click here. (for supporters)

The Health Ministry reported 815 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. There are currently 8,310 active cases of which 309 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 132 on ventilators. There have been 2,735 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Israel has signed an agreement with US vaccine maker Moderna for a million and a half doses and is negotiating for more.

Israeli warplanes struck military targets in southern Syria today, in response to explosive devices that were found planted on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights border. Targets included storage facilities and military compounds belonging to the Syrian army and to Iranian militias, as well as Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries. Ten people were killed, including Syrian soldiers and Iranian militiamen.

The IDF spokesman said, “This was a powerful strike. We attacked targets near the border and all the way to the Damascus area including a central command center of the Iranian forces deployed near the capital’s airport and a secret compound which houses high level Iranian visitors, just south of the city.” Additional Iron Dome batteries have been added in northern Israel.

Bahrain’s first official government delegation to Israel, led by Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani, landed at Ben-Gurion Airport today on the first Gulf Air commercial flight to Tel Aviv. Al Zayani will meet with PM Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is also in Israel on a visit.

President Reuven Rivlin and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan exchanged invitations yesterday to visit their respective countries.

President Rivlin and PM Netanyahu spoke on the phone with President-Elect Joe Biden yesterday. The conversation was reportedly “warm” with Biden reiterating his “deep commitment to Israel and its security.” The PM said that that the, “special bond between Israel and the U.S. is the basis for Israel’s security and its policies.” The two agreed to meet soon in order to discuss the many issues on the agenda and stressed the need to “continue strengthening the strong alliance between the United States and Israel.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Netanyahu refused to comment when asked in an interview on Israel Radio who he believed won the U.S. election. He said, “Why do I have to express an opinion. They have an internal process – the Electoral College. I think everybody more or less understands what… is apparently going to happen officially.”

The Palestinian Authority has resumed security and civil coordination with Israel. Hamas denounced the resumption of cooperation.

7-Eleven, the US convenience store chain, will soon be coming to Israel. Plans are to eventually open over 100 stores. The first stores will probably open in late 2021.