The Health Ministry reported 758 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. There are currently 8,427 active cases of which 315 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 127 on ventilators. There have been 2,742 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Almost half of all new virus cases have come from the Arab sector. Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel, has been classified a red zone. The coronavirus cabinet is discussing whether to impose a lockdown on the city. Other Arab towns were locked down this week.
During his visit to the Psagot winery and settlement in the West Bank, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that all imports from Israeli settlements in the West Bank will now be labeled “Made in Israel” or “Product of Israel”. He also said the US would immediately withdraw support from any organization engaged in anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions). He said, “We will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic,” and, “We will immediately take steps to identify the organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support from such groups.”
The Palestinians are sending ambassadors back to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain after recalling them in protest of the peace agreements signed with Israel.
A report published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) states, “The Israeli economy entered the COVID-19 pandemic from a position of strength, and the authorities mounted a large and rapid response to the crisis. Timely and decisive measures introduced by the Bank of Israel at the outset of the pandemic have helped preserve market and financial stability and access to credit. Fiscal support to the health system, households, and businesses has also helped soften the economic impact of the pandemic.” The IMF report found that the output of the Israeli economy was harmed less than that of other developed economies in 2020, and that it should recover rapidly in 2021.