Israel news summary

Israel News for 9-17-2021

News Update

In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine published on Wednesday, Defense Minister Gantz said, “The current U.S. approach of putting the Iran nuclear program back in a box, I’d accept that.”  While he admitted that it was highly doubtful that a purely diplomatic initiative would succeed, he said that Israel was anxious to see what he called “a viable U.S.- led plan B,” that would include political, diplomatic, and economic pressure imposed on Tehran by the United States, Europe, Russia, and China, should the nuclear talks fail.

Gantz claimed that Israel has a plan C that would involve military action. “If push comes to shove, we’ll get there,” he said, adding that although Israel does not equal the power of the United States, “we have our capabilities.”

PM Bennett said that his meeting with Egyptian President el-Sisi earlier this week, “laid the foundations for deeper ties down the road.” The PM said he and el-Sisi discussed “a number of issues concerning state, security and economic affairs, as well as ways to further deepen relations and boost the interests of both nations.”

Earlier this week the PM ruled out meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to promote a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said, “My perception is different than that of the defense minister [Gantz], although we work in harmony. I oppose a Palestinian state and I think it would be a grave mistake to import the failed Gaza model of Hamas which shoots rockets at us, and turn the entire West Bank to that.”

The Jerusalem District Court ruled on Monday that Hamas must pay NIS 38 million ($11.8 million) to the families of three teenagers kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank in June 2014. The families of the victims originally sought NIS 520 million ($162 million) in compensation, citing tremendous damage done to them during the two and a half week-long searches after their loved ones.

The families won the case by default in the absence of defense from the Hamas defendants, noting that the amount of punitive damages is based on a past Supreme Court ruling that significantly reduced the amounts of damages in terrorist claims. Representatives of the slain teenagers’ families expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling and claimed it will not deter future terrorists from carrying out similar acts.

The families of the victims said they will appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court in a bid to stop the flow of funding from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to Hamas. The lawsuit indicated that Israel could deduct the compensation from garnished tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the PA.

Haim Garon, a witness for the prosecution in former PM Netanyahu’s fraud and corruption trial was killed in a plane crash in Greece, along with his wife. The cause for the crash of the plane, a Cessna 182 that operates from a small airfield in Haifa, is still unknown, but most likely stemmed from technical difficulties before landing. The four-passenger aircraft is considered very safe and reliable and is mainly used for training flights and leisure flights among other civilian uses.

The Health Ministry today reported 10,997 new corona cases on Thursday, with an infection rate of 6%. At least 654 patients are in severe condition, of whom 186 are ventilated.  7,456 have died from the virus since the start of the pandemic.

A new Israeli study published in “The New England Journal of Medicine” yesterday found that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine booster shot enhances the body’s ability to fight off coronavirus by ten times. To read more, click here.

The European Union (EU) and Israel have reached a reciprocal agreement to recognize each other’s Covid vaccination certificates. Joining the EU’s digital Covid certificate program will ease travel between Israel and the EU and could renew incoming tourism. To read more, click here.