The Health Ministry reported 522 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. The contagion rate has risen to 2.4%. There are currently 8,958 active cases of which 322 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 138 on ventilators. There have been 2,674 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Health officials are warning the government that it is opening up the economy too quickly, after most retail shops were allowed to open yesterday. Israelis flocked to stores, in many cases standing in long lines to enter.
The IDF shot and wounded a terrorist who tried to stab soldiers near the town of Fawwar, southwest of Hebron. No soldiers were hurt. The terrorist was a 41-year-old resident of the city of Dura, who said he had hoped to die in the attack. He was taken to the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva for treatment.
PM Netanyahu yesterday tweeted his congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory in the US Presidential election. He added, “Joe, we’ve had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel. I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the U.S. and Israel.”
The PM also tweeted, “Thank you @realDonaldTrump for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights.
President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi all congratulated Biden on his election and praised him as being a strong, long-time, friend of Israel.
The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee met today to discuss the sale of fifty F-35 jets and other advanced weapons systems by the U.S. to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The meeting revolved around the question of PM Netanyahu’s knowledge of, and tacit agreement to, the sale. Mideast expert Amos Gilboa said Democrats could block the weapons sale to avoid unnerving Iranian officials, with whom President-elect Joe Biden already said he wants to negotiate in an effort to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. He said, “The assumption is that [Biden] won’t follow [Trump’s] path of that regional alliance because of his desire to negotiate a deal with Iran. Supplying arms to Gulf states and adding more countries to the regional alliance with Israel will infuriate Iran, so he might put that on hold.”
The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) has begun steadily rising after last week’s heavy rainfall. The level of the lake is currently 209.99 meters below sea level, 1.19 meters from its maximum level of 208.80 meters below sea level. The Kinneret has risen 2.5 centimeters over the past few days and is beginning the winter at its highest level for 17 years, after well above average rainfall last winter.