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Israel Update 18.12.19

I wish all my readers Chanukah Sameach.



A forthcoming visit by Prince Charles next month,  will be only the second official visit to Israel by a member of the  British royal family since the State of Israel was founded in 1948. Two previous trips by the Prince in 1995 and 2016, when he represented the Queen at the funerals of Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin respectively, were stated to be “private visits”. During those visits, Prince Charles also visited the grave of his paternal grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, at the Church of Mary Magdalene on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.  Read more here



Terror tunnels will play a major part in the next armed conflict on Israel’s northern and southern borders, according to the IDF head of counter-tunnel warfare development efforts. He said  “There is a 100% chance that we will face the challenge of the tunnels in Gaza and in Lebanon… In the northern sector, “Every village has tunnels….We don’t have the intelligence capability to discern the location of each and every tunnel.” Read more here


Israel is ready to stop a potential Hezbollah invasion, including from tunnels that the IDF has yet to destroy, the head of the IDF’s Underground Warfare Department in the North said on Monday adding that in 2018 the IDF found a Hizbullah tunnel near the Israeli town of Misgav Am that came up to Israel’s border but did not cross it, so the military left it. Hizbullah is believed to have additional similar tunnels. Read more here




Israel has become a key producer of anti-drone products In September, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) released its Popstar system, which can detect and track drones up to 4 km. away, day or night. ..Vorpal, another Israeli company, has compiled a database of signals emitted by 95% of drones that are available to buy…Vorpal’s system also allows users to locate the drone operators.  Read more here




An Israeli military aircraft on Tuesday struck an armed terrorist in Gaza who approached the security fence along the border with Israel. Read more here


The IDF shot and arrested a Palestinian who was throwing firebombs at Israeli vehicles near Beit Jala, northwest of Bethlehem, on Tuesday. Read more here


Israeli security forces in the West Bank have uncovered and dismantled a 50-person terror cell of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The cell was involved in shooting attacks near Ofra in December 2017 and March 2019, as well as the deadly Dolev bombing in October 2019, and planned to carry out additional attacks in the near future. A large number of weapons were seized including M-16s, Kalashnikovs, Uzis, Galil rifles, pistols with silencers, ammunition, fertilizer to build bombs, as well as walkie-talkies and telescopic devices. Read more here




The Turkish Navy forced an Israeli research ship near Cyprus to move away from its position two weeks ago. The Bat Galim vessel was doing research approved by the government of Cyprus in Cyprus’ territorial waters, in an area where Turkey does not have jurisdiction. Read more here


Turkey is allowing senior Hamas operatives to plot attacks against Israel from Istanbul, as President Erdogan hosts to the terrorist group’s leaders.  Transcripts of Israeli police interrogations show that senior Hamas operatives are using Turkey to direct operations in Jerusalem and the West Bank, including an assassination attempt earlier this year on the mayor of Jerusalem Last weekend Erdogan met Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, and Turkish intelligence agents maintain close contact with the group’s operatives in Istanbul. Read more here




Walmart.com, the ecommerce arm of the world’s largest retailer, is now distributing the made-in-Israel DarioHealth digital diabetes management system.            Read more here





Brazil opened a trade office in Jerusalem on Sunday and the Brazilian President has pledged to move the Brazilian Embassy to the Israeli capital Hungary has also opened a trade office in Jerusalem.  Read more here




Israel’s Mossad was behind Denmark’s arrest of 20 terrorists planning a wave of attacks. Danish security officials seized a variety of weapons. Read more here



The IDF Military Intelligence Directorate helped to find a Chilean military transport plane that vanished en route to Antarctica last week. After Chilean authorities asked Israel for help, IDF aerial photographic and satellite image interpreters, geologists and technology experts analyzed satellite images and significantly reduced the search area.  Read more here




In the Bundestag, the Chancellor’s own Christian Democratic Union together with the Christian Social Union, the Social Democratic Party, and the Free Democratic Party have urged Angela Merkel to ban Hizbullah activities in Germany.. Hizbullah raises funds, recruits new members, and spreads anti-Semitic and jihadist ideologies in Germany. Read more here




All of the major parties represented in the Austrian Parliament have agreed to support a resolution condemning the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic.  Read more here




Threat intelligence researchers at the Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. helped to identify and fix a new vulnerability in the popular messaging app WhatsApp that could have allowed a malicious group chat message to be delivered  that would crash the app for all members of the group.           Read more here




Intel Corp. has bought Israel-based artificial intelligence (AI) firm Habana Labs for $2 billion Habana’s chips are aimed at deep learning, a subset of machine learning, being done in data centres. Read more here




Israel won the 10th edition of the Admiral’s Cup Sailing Regatta at the Indian Naval Academy on Friday. Read more here




Jerusalem is the world’s fastest growing tourist destination, UK business intelligence company Euromonitor International reports. The city welcomed 3.93 million overseas tourists in 2018, up 12% from 2017, and is expected to enjoy 38% growth in 2019 to 4.8 million. Read more here




Eilat is the first Israeli resort to ban disposable cups and bags from its beaches . Beach-goers will be forbidden from bringing disposable items onto the beach, whether made of plastic, aluminium, cardboard or paper. Such items will not be sold at kiosks or restaurants by the shore.                                                                                                                                                                                 Read more here



Singer Lionel Richie has changed the start time of his March 2, 2020, performance in Israel from 7 pm to 8.30 pm to avoid a clash with 10 p.m. exit polls for the Knesset elections that will be taking place the same day. Read more here


EXPO 2020


The Dubai Expo 2020 trade fair will gather nearly 200 countries vying for the attention of a projected 25 million visitors over nearly six months starting October. Israel is hoping to boost nascent ties with regional neighbours as it is thought that an Israeli pavilion at an Arab-hosted expo presents a unique opportunity to speed up the “normalization” of relations and reach out to Arab peoples. Read more here



Egyptian-born Muslim Hussein Aboubakr, 30, defines himself as a Zionist. His sympathy for Israel forced him out of Egypt and in the last seven years he has been living in Los Angeles. Growing up in Egypt, he believed that Jews were the source of all evil, but at age 14 he began to search the Internet and “discovered that reality was totally different and that Israel has values such as tolerance and humanity. It was a difficult moment. ..All of a sudden, you realize that there is nothing to the stories that were drilled into you, that there’s no one in Israel who gets up in the morning and thinks up ways to harm Egypt.”…In 2018, he visited Israel for the first time. “It was the first time I was in an environment that was very similar to the one I knew in Egypt,” he said. “For the first time, I experienced the culture I came from – the food, the smells, the atmosphere, the noise, the mentality – with an atmosphere of freedom. It made me want to explain to the Arabs how it feels to live their life, only with freedom. Israel is what the Arab world can be but is unable to be.” Read more here