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Israel Update 12.12.19



Israel sent an emergency medical team in coordination with the World Health Organisation to Samoa in response to the Samoan measles outbreak. At least 63 people, mostly children, have died since the outbreak began in mid-October. Read more here


Albania’s Prime Minister Rama on Monday hailed the work of Israeli IDF engineers who are helping to determine whether buildings left standing in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake can still be inhabited. “They are from Israel and they are No. 1,” Rama told a resident who was hesitant to enter a building. Read more here


Israel has supported the Kurds for many decades. The relief organisation Israeli Flying Aid. has been providing covert support to Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons since 201, including humanitarian aid for Syrian Kurds.  Read more here


As a UN-recognized international volunteer humanitarian organization, ZAKA’s International Rescue Unit works in cooperation with Israel’s Foreign Ministry and military to respond to disasters worldwide and has trained 49 volunteer groups overseas. They plan to establish autonomous ‘operations hubs’ in strategic locations in Western countries. Read more here




Maj.-Gen. Jamal Hakroosh of the Israel Police, a Muslim Arab, addressed the UN World Conference against Discrimination and Racism in Geneva. Having served in the police for 40 years, he said, “I was the commander of three big police stations, providing policing services to Arab and Jewish citizens alike….The Israel Police is a decent institution that opens doors before every citizen in the country, regardless of their background or religion.” “Not only did the Israel Police open doors to (me) an Arab citizen, but also my friends and colleagues of my generation can now be found among directors of medical wards in Israeli hospitals, and lecturers in Israeli universities.” In 2016, the government created a special unit to improve policing services in Arab society under Hakroosh’s command. In the last two years, eight police stations have been added in Arab communities, and more than 600 Arab men and 55 Arab women have joined the police. Read more here




Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) missed its deadline on Wednesday to nominate a candidate for prime minister, officially launching a third election in less than a year. Read more here




Last weekend terrorists fired 3 rockets towards Sderot and in response the IDF early Sunday struck a number of Hamas targets in Gaza. Read more here


After a three-week pause, 4,000 Gazans resumed weekly riots at the border fence last Friday. Read more here


Gazan terrorists have fired 2,600 rockets and mortars into Israel over the last two years. These are no longer crude Qassam rockets. Hamas is continually testing new models, to improve their accuracy and distance and also has a drone workshop to produce copies of Iranian weapons-bearing, kamikaze UAVs…For items it is unable to manufacture, Hamas receives them via barrels dropped into the sea off the coast of Gaza. Hamas has also built up its naval commando unit.Read more here




A report by the ICC’s chief prosecutor includes a warning that Palestinian stipends to attackers and their families could constitute a war crime. The Palestinians … and President Mahmoud Abbas’ government appeared to have been caught off guard by the criticism, expressing “great concern” over the report. Read more here




Several recent Twitter accounts posted a video of a policeman pinning down a young boy, with the text, “An Israeli policeman strangles a Palestinian child to death Saturday during a demonstration in front of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.” Alt News performed a reverse image search and found that the video is of a 2015 incident in Malmo, Sweden, where a security guard at the Malmo central station detained a boy after he was thrown off a train for travelling without a ticket. Read more here




The ruling coalition in the Norwegian parliament announced on Dec. 5 that it will instruct the government to “reduce or withhold financial support to the Palestinian Authority if they do not provide satisfactory improvements in school materials within a reasonable time.” Norway is a major funder of the PA Ministry of Education. The decision was due to “examples of content in the school books that include references to violence, martyrdom and terror. The coalition considers this to be devastating to the peace process and the development of democracy in the region, as well as being an expression of irresponsible pedagogy, and finds it unacceptable that Norwegian funds support a school system that promotes such destructive values. Read more here




Hizbullah has beefed up its presence along Israel’s Lebanon border, aiming to attack Israel. Last December, the IDF uncovered a network of Hizbullah tunnels built to infiltrate Israel. Hizbullah has taken over houses in Lebanese border villages to hide soldiers, ammunition, cameras and intelligence-gathering equipment. Hizbullah positions are just a few hundred metres from where Israeli civilians, farmers, and children pass by daily. Read more here




Iran is building an underground tunnel within a military base in eastern Syria to store missiles and large-scale weapons, according to satellite images.  Last week the New York Times reported that Iran is secretly moving hundreds of short-range missiles to Iraq that are capable of hitting Israel, Saudi Arabia, and U.S. troops in the region. Read more here

An Israeli intelligence firm released photographs of the Iranian tunnel being dug along the Syria-Iraq border to assist in the movement of weapons to Tehran’s proxies throughout the Middle East. Read more here




The Czech Republic’s defence ministry has signed a deal to buy eight mobile MADR 3D radars, made by Elta Systems, from Israel. These radars are the detection systems for the Iron Dome batteries that Israel uses to intercept rockets. Read more here




The formation of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) with Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, and the PA is creating the diplomatic space to facilitate a sustainable regional gas market, providing Israeli gas with export opportunities to its neighbours while increasing regional economic interdependence. Read more here




Aiming to solve severe agricultural challenges posed by the recent decline in honeybees, Israel’s Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture has developed a unique pollen harvesting and mechanical pollination system which promises high-quality viable pollen. Field trials in Israeli almond orchards substantially increased crop yields. Read more here




Nir Raz, a medical clown at Schneider Children’s Hospital in Israel, visited the pedriatic ward in Mumbai’s JJ Hospital to cheer up the young patients. In Israel, one has to undergo a two-year course to become a medical clown, and today almost every Israeli hospital has a medical clown to handle stress and trauma.  Read more here




Israeli startup Sight Diagnostics has received US FDA clearance to market a blood test device that can extract the results of a standard complete blood count test from just a drop of blood in minutes. Read more here


Researchers from Ben-Gurion University and Soroka Medical Centre, together with researchers in the U.S., have developed a new technology to unblock and remove secretions from the respiratory tract. Read more here


Ben Gurion University student biologists have discovered that a bacteria in the gut of the mosquito can be activated to poison the larvae, paving the way to a pesticide-free method of killing mosquitos. Read more here




Units from the IDF Commando Brigade, alongside several air force squadrons, have taken part in a large training exercise in Cyprus.
It was the IDF’s fourth exercise in Cyprus in the past three years alongside Cypriot troops.
Read more here



The U.S. and NATO rely heavily on Israel when it comes to counter-terrorism. The intelligence information shared by Israel is vital to U.S. security and that of the alliance. Israel coordinates closely with the Americans and Western Europeans when it comes to the battle against ISIS and the threat from Iran. The joint exercises that America and some other NATO allies conduct with Israel are also an indication that even though Israel is not a formal part of NATO, it is an essential element in the defence of the West.                   Read more here




A new book, Beating the Odds Together, describes how Israeli military advisors helped Singapore establish the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) after other countries such as India and Egypt declined its calls for help. Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965 amid a communist insurgency and armed confrontations in the region, prompting Singapore to make defence capability an existential priority. Read more here




Israeli journalists attending the Regional Economic Conference in Bahrain in June were surprised to find local music stores selling CDs by Israeli artists such as Eyal Golan, Sarit Hadad and Moshe Peretz. Their music is described in Israel as Middle Eastern or Mediterranean,….Israel has a large population of Mizrahim, Jews from Arab lands…“Our bond with our neighbours through music is natural, because we are the Jews of the Middle East, with our own rich culture,” said a Yemen-born singer-songwriter. “We never left the region, nor were we influenced by European culture. We have nothing to change about ourselves in order to integrate into the Middle East. We are an essential part of it.” Read more here

A-WA, three sisters from Israel’s Arava have enjoyed international success. Here’s a recent release: View here




Tel Aviv ranked 7th in the BBC good food guide 2020 destinations for “foodies”. Read more here




Jason Greenblatt: No one with any credibility denies the attachment of Muslims and Christians to Jerusalem. Yet, shockingly, there are many who deny Judaism’s spiritual and historical ties to Jerusalem…in 2016, UNESCO tried to pretend that over 3,000 years of the Jewish people’s ties to Jerusalem did not exist, when its executive board voted to refer to the Western Wall and Temple Mount only by their Muslim names. Some prominent Palestinians accused Israel of attempting to “Judaize” the city of Jerusalem, as if it was not a Jewish city for thousands of years. Such actions are thoroughly outrageous and deceitful.  Those countries who think that a solution to this extraordinarily complicated conflict can be resolved by making unrealistic demands of Israel, such as rejecting their claim to Jerusalem, by endlessly arguing legal positions about the conflict, by international conferences, or by UN resolutions, are tragically misleading Palestinians….When countries do not make clear that the only realistic path to peace is through direct negotiations between the parties, they prolong the conflict. Read more here


Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Authority leaders are opposed to the construction of a new hospital in Gaza. They are also opposed to an Israeli initiative to construct an artificial port off the coast of Gaza. Why? Because the PA is strongly opposed to any plan in which Israel and the U.S. are involved to help the Palestinians in Gaza… PA leaders would rather lie about Israel and the U.S. than give them an ounce of the credit they deserve for their continual attempts to help the Palestinians in Gaza. The next time anyone talks about the harsh conditions in Gaza, the world needs to realize that those who are trying to block aid to the people in Gaza are the Palestinian leaders. Read more here


Yoni Ben Menachem: Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister is advancing an initiative for all EU states to recognize a Palestinian state. It should be made clear to European countries that recognition of a Palestinian state is a premature determination of an outcome that should come from negotiations and is something that Israel cannot accept. The Oslo Accords did not recognize the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and did not stipulate that settlements should be stopped; the PLO signed it and must respect it.  Read more here