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Israel Update 5.12.19



A special Israeli aid mission departed Tuesday for Albania, following the devastating earthquake. The aid mission,consists of 10 officers and engineers who will survey damaged buildings to determine whether they remain structurally sound after the earthquake. Items included in the humanitarian aid shipment include tents and logistical support for casualties. The mission is headed by the commander of the National Search and Rescue Brigade.  Read more here




Iran is reportedly  taking advantage of unrest in neighbouring Iraq to stockpile short-range ballistic missiles there. American intelligence officials said that the missiles threaten US allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as American troops stationed in the area. Ashort-range missile with a range of 600 miles could strike Jerusalem from Baghdad. Read more here


France, Germany and the UK say “Iran’s development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles” contravenes a UN Security Council resolution calling on Tehran not to undertake any activity related to such missiles. They asked the UN Secretary-General on Wednesday to inform the council that Iran’s ballistic missile activity is “inconsistent” with the council’s endorsement of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The letter cites footage on social media of a previously unseen flight test of a new Shahab-3 missile that “is technically capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.”  Read more here


Six EU nations, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Finland and Sweden declared in a joint statement last Friday that they will join the INSTEX mechanism for trade with Iran.  The U.S. ambassador to Germany denounced the timing of the announcement soon after 161 people were killed in protests in Iran. Read more here




France’s National Assembly voted 154-72 to approve a resolution calling on the government to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism. The resolution states, “Anti-Zionist acts can at times hide anti-Semitic realities. Hate toward Israel due to its perception as a Jewish collective is akin to hatred toward the entire Jewish community.” Read more here




Over 1,500 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel over the past year from Gaza and over two dozen fired from Syria. The Israel Security Agency reported that 2,600 rockets and mortars were fired over the past two years from Gaza, the majority during rounds of conflict in November 2018 and in March, May and November 2019. Read more here




The IDF launched airstrikes against Hamas in Gaza early Saturday after weapons were fired at Israel. Earlier on Friday evening aircraft had attacked a Hamas target in in response to a rocket attack that also set off alarms in Israel Read more here


The IDF’s new precise warning system cut down the number of incoming rocket sirens by 50%  during last month’s 50-hour round of rocket fire by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The new system implemented in June allowed 500,000 Israeli civilians who would have heard sirens under the old system, but were not directly in harm’s way, to continue to go about their daily lives. “There are some communities that didn’t hear even one siren during the last round, whereas with the old system they would have heard 10.”            Read more here


Israeli security forces last week seized 325 packages of military equipment ordered online from AliExpress and Amazon and destined for terrorist groups in Gaza. The goods included military and electronic equipment such as knives, scuba gear, drones, satellite communications equipment, and binoculars. Read more here




Two East Jerusalem Arabs were indicted on Sunday for attempting to join Islamic State in Sinai and planning to carry out terrorist attacks on Israel’s next Independence Day in April. Read more here




A new treatment developed by Tel Aviv University could induce the destruction of pancreatic cancer cells, eradicating the number of cancerous cells by up to 90% after two weeks of daily injections of a small molecule known as PJ34. Read more here




Three Israeli food-tech initiatives were among 15 startups pitching groundbreaking, sustainable solutions for the food and agriculture industry at  Foodbytes by Rabobank in London recently. Redefine Meat of Rehovot won the People’s Choice Award, one of three top prizes. The company is developing a plant-based steak using a proprietary recipe of sustainable and natural ingredients and a 3D printer to produce a vegan food with the appearance, texture and flavour of meat. Read more here



Israel wants the UN to recognize as refugees hundreds of thousands of Jews who fled Arab and Muslim countries in the last century, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon told the General Assembly on Tuesday. “We don’t hear the international community speak of them when they discuss the refugees of the conflict, perhaps because it doesn’t serve the Palestinian narrative,”.Danon said 850,000 Jews were forced out of Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, and many other countries during the 20th century after enduring violence and persecution. Many fled to Israel around the time of its establishment, where the uprooted Jews were absorbed. Read more here


Thirteen countries on Tuesday changed their voting pattern at the UN, by opposing an annual resolution expressing support for a pro-Palestinian UN agency traditionally critical of Israel. Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Brazil and Colombia for the first time voted against the resolution  The UK, France and Spain abstained The resolution passed by 87 to 54 with  23 abstentions.    Read more here




Israeli security software firm Indeni has partnered with the New York City Police and Fire Departments to protect their critical computer networks. The company has developed a security infrastructure automation platform enabling organizations to proactively detect and prevent computer system malfunctions before they affect vital operations. The company currently names Mastercard, Bloomberg and Boston Scientific among its customers. Its platform will also be used by the U.S. space agency NASA to identify and fix computer malfunctions. Read more here




Students at Israel’s Technion have developed a safe landing guidance system for aircraft whose engines have been disabled during flight, The system outlines the optimal flight path in real time after evaluating the direction and intensity of the wind. In an actual flight test, the system detected two possible landing strips, calculated the route to the preferred destination, and guided the pilot to the preferred landing spot. Read more here


Israel takes airport security extremely seriously…a mandatory pre-flight interview takes place before check-in… But Israel does not fret about liquids, nor electronics in your cabin baggage. “The system is based on a common-sense approach of identifying negative intent rather than the carriage of prohibited articles,” says Philip Baum, visiting professor of aviation security at Coventry University. Instinct can be smarter than technology. Read more here




International credit rating agency Moody’s has reaffirmed Israel’s A1 sovereign debt rating saying Israel “is one of only a handful of advanced countries that has a lower debt-to-GDP ratio now than before the global financial crisis.” “Israel’s economic growth has outpaced most other advanced industrial countries over the past decade, driven by a strongly competitive high-tech export sector and a diversified economic base that now includes energy exports.” Read more here



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Ron Malka (Israel’s Ambassador to India & Sri Lanka): Israel had to develop techniques to increase water sources as well as practices to efficiently manage and control water usage. A country with over 60% desert and less than 20% naturally arable landmass, Israel has become a world leader in water management and water recycling. Over 90% of Israel’s water is recycled, and nearly 80% of drinking water consumed is desalinated or recycled. Israel has reduced the amount of water needed for irrigation by more than 30%.  Israeli drip irrigation systems have been used by Indian farmers since 1993. 32 Israeli-led water projects in 13 states provide technology know-how in drip irrigation, water treatment and water planning infrastructures. Israel is also providing guidance and training in water management practices in 28 Centres of Excellence in India. 7 desalination plants on the coast of India are already using Israeli desalination technology. Israel is keen to help the government realize its vision of a water-abundant India.                   Read more here


A useful background to the current Gaza situation with an explanation of the origins of the blockade by both Egypt and Israel.       Read more here