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Israel Update 31.1.19

AID TO BRAZIL

 

130 IDF soldiers left Israel on Sunday for the area of the collapsed dam in Brazil. The delegation includes engineering experts, doctors, search and rescue teams, firefighters, and soldiers from the Israeli Navy’s underwater missions unit. Search and rescue teams are equipped with advanced means of cellular location, underwater radars and drones.

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The IDF delegation arrived in Brazil on Monday following the collapse of a dam that killed at least 58 people and left hundreds missing over the weekend.

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IDF soldiers have recovered at least 20 bodies but no survivors. Israel was the only country to send rescue forces to Brazil.

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THE UK

 

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the CFI’s Annual Parliamentary Reception on Tuesday ” “UK support for Israel’s right to self defence is absolutely unconditional”, and “The democracy of which Israel is a shining beacon, and which Britain always stood for, these democratic values cannot be taken for granted in the modern world…We have to stand together as fellow democracies….”

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Mr Hunt described Britain’s 1939 white paper capping Jewish immigration to Palestine as a “black moment” in history, in what is believed to be the first such admission by a British foreign secretary.

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Britain has named Neil Wigan as the next ambassador to Israel.

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MALAYSIA

 

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Sunday stripped Malaysia of the right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships this July after it banned Israel’s participation. The IPC said that when it signed a contract with the Paralympic Council of Malaysia in September 2017 to host the event, it was assured that all eligible athletes and countries would be allowed to participate.

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Former Olympic swimmer Bart Kizierowski has turned down Malaysia’s offer to coach its national swimming team following the country’s decision to ban Israeli athletes from participating in the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships.. Kizierowski, who is from Poland, said he declined the “very attractive coaching position” due to “recent statements made by Malaysian politicians regarding the refusal of visa for athletes”.

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HIZBULLAH THREAT

 

Israeli President Rivlin told French President Macron in Paris last week that Israel could be forced to strike Hizbullah’s rocket-building operations in Lebanon. Rivlin said. “Hizbullah is creating facilities to produce and convert precision-guided missiles in the heart of Beirut under civilian cover and with Iranian support. This threatens Israeli security and could force us to respond, dragging the region into escalation that could badly harm Lebanon.”

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Israel has notified the UN about “underground infrastructure” dug by Hizbullah in Lebanon, including tunnels that have not yet crossed the border into Israeli territory.  Israel recently destroyed six cross-border tunnels dug by Hizbullah.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Israeli public radio that it was “important and right” that Israel defends itself from Iranian forces in Syria. “Iran has policies that are threatening to Israel…Israel must secure its existence.” Germany was also working to ensure that Iranian forces do not approach the Golan Heights near the Israeli border, she added.

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ATTACK THWARTED

 

A knife-wielding Palestinian teenager ran towards a checkpoint and tried to stab a soldier before being shot. Israeli security officials have said that many attacks by Palestinians, especially women, are driven by personal and domestic issues, more than by ideological considerations.

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JERUSALEM FIREBOMB ATTACKS

 

Israel Border Police entered an east Jerusalem neighbourhood to arrest Palestinian youths who were throwing firebombs at passing motorists. One of the youths refused to stop the attacks, leading undercover officers to shoot and wound him. Two other assailants were arrested.

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JAMIE OLIVER

 

British chef Jamie Oliver was spotted on Tuesday in Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market, and is reportedly in Israel to film segments for a cooking show.

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MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY

 

UK’s Advanced Medical Solutions Group, a maker of surgical and wound care products, has acquired Israeli startup Sealantis, which develops medical adhesives that mimic the process that allows algae stick to rocks in water. The main advantage of the technology is the fact that it is based on a polymer produced from algae, which does not contain proteins, and therefore the risk of infection or allergy is “significantly lower than that of competing products produced from animals,

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ANTI -DRONE TECHNOLOGY

 

Elta Systems, a division of Israel Aerospace Industries, has sold hundreds of its Drone Guard units to more than 10 countries. “We have means to also take over the drone, to capture it. And there are situations where it is threatening and one can activate hard-kill solutions,” said Elta’s director of marketing. According to Elta, the radar “can detect more than 200 targets,” which allows it to counter a drone swarm.

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INTEL

 

Tech giant Intel is to invest $11 billion to build a new manufacturing facility alongside its present semiconductor manufacturing facility in Kiryat Gat, Israel.

 

TRAVEL TECH

 

Refundit, an Israeli startup which revolutionises tax-free shopping for tourists, eliminating queues and paperwork, won first place in the UN World Tourism Organisation travel-tech competition. 2,771 companies from 132 countries competed. Out of the 10 finalists, 4 were Israeli. One of Refundit’s co-founders is Uri Levine co-founder of WAZE the internationally successful real-time navigation app.

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THE MOON

 

Israeli non-profit SpaceIL has shipped its privately developed Moon lander, Beresheet, (Hebrew for In the beginning or Genesis) to Cape Canaveral for its mid-February launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The lander…will spend two months travelling to the Moon ahead of a touchdown in Mare Serentitas this April… If successful, Beresheet will make Israel the fourth country to soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon, following the United States, Russia, and China.

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Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has teamed up with leading German space company OHB System AG to assist European Space Agency missions reach the moon.

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VENEZUELA  

 

Israel on Sunday officially recognized the interim government of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido who took a symbolic oath of office last week proclaiming himself the nation’s constitutional leader on grounds that Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent — an allegation supported by the US, the EU and many other nations.

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 EUROVISION

 

The first official Eurovision 2019 event in Tel Aviv was held on Monday, with Mayor Ron Huldai formally receiving the traditional host city insignia from the deputy mayor of last year’s host city, Lisbon, and the contest’s semifinal allocation draw taking place.

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The BBC on Wednesday rejected calls by some British cultural figures to relocate the 2019 Eurovision song contest from Israel, saying the competition “is not a political event”. Among those supporting the boycott of Israel are Roger Waters, Peter Gabriel, Vivienne Westwood, Julie Christie, Maxine Peake & Miriam Margoyles.

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COMMENT & OPINION

 

Yossi Kuperwasser: In recent weeks, Iran has been accelerating its efforts to use Syria to build up its capability to hit targets in Israel, both by its own forces or through supporting its surrogates – Hizbullah and other militias – in Syria and Lebanon. This accelerated after the Americans announced they are going to leave Syria soon…Iran’s actions were followed very closely by Israel, which responded by resuming its attacks against Iranian military targets in Syria. Iran tried again to hit targets in Israel with rockets, as it had already done twice last year, (but failed) What we should learn from these events is that Iran remains committed to building a military base in Syria from where it can threaten Israel. Iran is not going to give up easily and Israel will have to go on with its policy to deny Iran its goal.

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Khaled Abu Toameh: While the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to arrest and intimidate Palestinian journalists in the West Bank, its loyalists are also waging a campaign against Arab journalists who dare to visit Israel…  If, in the eyes of the PA leadership, normalization with Israel is an act of “treason” and a “big political and national sin,” the Trump administration may be wasting its time on a peace plan at this time. To achieve peace with Israel, Palestinian leaders need to prepare their people – and all Arabs and Muslims – for peace and compromise with Israel, and not the exact opposite, as they are now doing.

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