Israel news summary

Israel News for 6-29-2020

News Update

To listen to an audio version click here. (for supporters)

The Health Ministry today reported 492 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. There are currently 6,556 active cases, of which 58 are in moderate condition, 46 in serious condition and 24 on ventilators. The rest are displaying mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said he had recommended reimposing restrictions on public gatherings and events, warning that Israel was at the “beginning of a second wave” of coronavirus infections. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri reportedly criticized what he said were the Health Ministry’s “excessive demands,” adding: “No further steps are needed. You have to learn to live with the coronavirus.” The special coronavirus cabinet made no decisions yesterday and will meet again today.

In a letter to the coronavirus cabinet, former Health Minister Litzman recommended closing all schools, which he said are the main source of infections. He wrote, “It’s clear to everyone that young children cannot be expected to wear masks and adhere to the proper and necessary rules of hygiene. Therefore, there is no option other than to remain at home until things calm down.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz told US officials today that Israel would most likely push back plans to annex areas of the West Bank on July 1st, while it focuses on getting the coronavirus pandemic under control. Gantz told US envoy Avi Berkowitz, “July 1 is not a sacred date,” and that, “dealing with the coronavirus and its socioeconomic and health consequences is the more pressing issue that needs to be tended to right now.”

US officials reportedly have said that they would not approve annexation of the Jordan Valley, which is something that PM Netanyahu has promised to do. It seems that the annexation of 30% of the West Bank, based on the Trump peace plan, is now off the table.

An annual report by the US State Department has ranked Israel as one of the top countries in the battle against human trafficking.