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Israel announced that it will extend the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza to 15 nautical miles and issue an additional 2,000 entry permits to Palestinian merchants in Gaza, raising the total number to an unprecedented 7,000. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said the decision to ease the restrictions on Gaza stems from the recent relative quiet on the southern border. But he warned that all previous sanctions would be restored if the rocket and balloon attacks resume.
Meanwhile, today IDF troops in Israel were fired upon by a group of Islamic Jihad terrorists in Khan Yunis, in the southern part of Gaza. The troops returned fire, wounding one terrorist. No Israelis were hurt.
The IDF is forming a directorate that will focus exclusively on countering Iran. The move is part of a massive restructuring going on at the IDF, to make the force more effective.
PM Netanyahu has challenged Blue and White leader Gantz to a televised debate. Gantz dismissed the challenge as an attempt to distract the public from Netanyahu’s corruption trial, which begins on March 17th. Gantz said, “Netanyahu has been refusing to debate for ten years now and suddenly, the same day his trial was announced, he wants a debate. He’ll have a debate with the prosecutor in court.”
Israel has banned the entry of non-nationals who have visited Thailand, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong in the past two weeks, in an attempt to curb the spread of the corona virus. Twelve Israelis who were quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan will be returning to Israel, where they will be quarantined again for an additional 14 days. Three Israelis from that ship were diagnosed with the virus and hospitalized in Japan.
A cold front that has swept through Israel in the past 24 hours intensified today with showers and thunderstorms set to hit most parts of the country. Rainfall is expected to continue until Thursday afternoon when it will cease for over 24 hours and resume again on Saturday.
The Kinneret is reported to be just 1 meter short of its maximum level. When the lake is full, the dam at the southern end of the lake near Kibbutz Deganya will be opened, allowing the water to flow down the River Jordan to the Dead Sea.