Israel news summary

Israel News for 4-27-2020

News Update

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Deaths from the coronavirus in Israel have risen to 202. There are 303 people being treated in hospital, with 96 of them on ventilators. Only 23 new cases have been reported.

Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the Shin Bet (the internal security service) to stop tracking the cell phones of coronavirus patients. The court ruled that the tracking required legislation to legalize it. The order will take effect on April 30th. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz condemned the High Court ruling as “excessive and unnecessary intervention.”

Heath Minister Yaakov Litzman has announced that he will be resigning from his ministry post after heading it for over a decade, saying that he feels that he has done all he can for the ministry. Many sources, however, believe that the Rebbe of Gur, the leader of the largest Hassidic group in Israel of which Litzman is a member, ordered Litzman to resign because he was unhappy that Litzman imposed lockdowns on ultra-Orthodox areas during the current pandemic.

Litzman is now slated to receive the housing and construction portfolio, but sources say that there are some within his own party (UTJ) that are trying give the portfolio to MK Moshe Gafni. Gafni apparently would prefer to remain the head of the Knesset’s Finance Committee. But the severe housing shortage in the ultra-Orthodox community makes the portfolio a vital priority for the party.

The Health Ministry is slated to go to current Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, but Blue and White is trying to get the ministry for itself. Let the horse trading begin!

Beginning tonight, Israel will commemorate Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron), to remember and pay tribute to the 23,816 men and woman who died defending the country since 1873, and to the 4,166 victims of terror. As a result of the pandemic, all cemeteries will be closed starting today and the entire country will be under lockdown for Israel Independence Day, which begins on Tuesday night.

Israel will turn 72 on this Independence Day, with a population of 9.19 million.The population has grown by 1.9% or 171,000 since last Independence Day. Over the year, 180,000 babies were born, 32,000 people immigrated to Israel and 44,000 people died.

Syrian media reported an Israeli air strike against Iranian and Hezbollah bases in the Damascus area last night in which 4 militants were killed.

The membership of the Labor party, with only 3 seats, has voted to join the coalition government, which its leaders had already done on their own last week.