Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-17-2021

News Update

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The Health Ministry reported 4,389 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, putting the infection rate at 6.4%. There are currently 964 people hospitalized in serious condition. 40% of new serious coronavirus patients in the country are below the age of 60. There have been 5,441 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Over 4 million Israelis have already received the first dose of the vaccine, and over 2.7 million the second dose.

The government is drafting legislation that would mandate that employers require employees to present either proof of vaccination, a negative covid test or proof of having recovered from the virus, in order to come to work. Although no specific profession was named in the draft, officials say the bill targets teachers, police officers and medical teams or people who must come into contact with many people in the course of their work. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel said the legislation is a violation of privacy rights and “could be seen as illegal discrimination on the basis of disability or opinion and could constitute harm to the individual’s right to employment.”

A shipment of 1,000 Russian “Sputnik V” vaccines will be arriving in Gaza. Two weeks ago, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah received about 100,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine as a gift from Russian authorities, 2,000 of which were donated specifically to the Hamas-ruled enclave.

Cabinet ministers were summoned Tuesday evening to an urgent meeting amid intensive talks between top Israeli and Russian officials on a humanitarian issue pertaining to Syria.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday that President Biden’s first call with a Middle East leader will be with PM Netanyahu, and that it will be soon.

A ministerial committee approved a NIS 15 billion arms purchase from the US, including a new F-35 squadron, four new refueling planes, a large quantity of munitions and components for the Arrow missile system and the Iron Dome defense system.

A major snowstorm hit northern Israel yesterday, dropping several inches of snow in the Golan and parts of the Galilee. Jerusalem is expecting snow later today.