Defense Minister Benny Gantz met yesterday with King Hamad Bin Isa al Khalifa of Bahrain in the royal palace, on his first official visit to the country. Gantz signed a defense cooperation agreement between the two countries. Gantz also met with Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman Bin Hamad al Khalifa, as well as the commander of the Bahrain armed forces and Defense Minister, Abdulla bin Hasan Al Nuaimi. Gantz also visited the U.S. Central Command’s Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain. Gantz’s visit to the base comes days before the start of a major 60-nation U.S.-led Middle East naval exercise in which Israel will take a symbolic part for the first time.
The U.S. state department approved a potential sale of military equipment to the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. According to the Pentagon, the deal with the UAE is estimated at 65 million dollars for various military equipment. The deal with Saudi Arabia is estimated at 23 million dollars for an information distribution system. The deal with Jordan is estimated at 4.21 billion dollars and will include the sale of F-16 fighter jets.
DM Gantz said this week that Israel has offered aid to the Lebanese army on several occasions.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said today that Turkey and Israel can work together to carry Israeli natural gas to Europe and that the two countries will discuss energy cooperation during talks next month.
The Health Ministry said on Thursday that 755 people have died from COVID-19 complications since January 1, 2022 and in total 9,013 have succumbed to the virus since the pandemic began. According to the ministry, 25% of the fatalities were in their 90s, 37% in their 80s, 22.1% in their 70s and 9.9% in their 60s.
Magen David Edom, Israel’s version of the Red Cross, said that their blood supply was severely low, apparently due to a recent boycott by some religious Jews, who take offense to a change in the intake form from the previous “mother” and “father” to “parent 1” and “parent 2”. The change in the form was made out of consideration for the LGBTQ families. Many among religious leaders were divided between the obligation to save lives and their rage over what they call “surrender to the LGBTQ” and “consciousness changing policies” But some said they would remain determined to not donate any blood until the forms were changed back to their previous version. To read more, click here.
El Al has agreed to buy all the shares of Arkia, Israel’s low cost local airline.