We are Modern Orthodox and are a constituent member of the United Synagogue

Israel Update 20.2.20



Israel’s Sheba Medical Centre will use top-of-the-line Israeli tele-medicine technologies to treat 11 nationals returning from the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan. The Israelis will be placed in isolation for 14 days. Medical robots, devices and AI-powered sensors operated remotely by doctors to monitor patients and conduct basic check-ups will be used providing Sheba staff with the clinical data they require to make fully informed decisions from a safe distance, without physical exposure to the patients or any contact between the patients.” Read more here


The Israeli-developed CoughSync machine, currently manufactured in China, could save medical teams valuable time by offering a non-invasive way of shortening patients’ time on a respirator. A press release by Israel’s ALYN Hospital stated that the device “is at the most weeks away from being used to help treat patients with coronavirus in China.” Read more here


For the past two weeks, Chinese and Israeli pupils from grades 1-10 have been signing in to video sessions facilitated by their educators, to speak to each other, share experiences and commentary on music and popular culture, and take part in group lessons. This Israeli learning initiative is bringing together Chinese pupils currently confined mainly to their homes as the country tries to contain the spread of a deadly new coronavirus, and their Israeli peers. Read more here


A report on six initiatives based in Israel aimed at either providing humanitarian aid and relief to China, developing diagnostics and ways to combat the spread, or just showing solidarity. Read more here


Israel’s Minister of the Interior announced on Monday that Israel would prohibit foreign nationals who have recently stayed in in Thailand, Macau, Singapore or Hong Kong in the preceding two weeks from entering the country. Restrictions were imposed on foreign nationals entering from China earlier this month.  Read more here


Israeli travellers returning from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Thailand are being required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Those who knowingly violate the quarantine could be sentenced to seven years in prison, while those who do so out of negligence could get a three-year sentence. Read more here



Watergen, an Israeli company that produces water from air has installed one of its water-producing machines  in Gaza as part of a pilot programme. The machine, entitled “GEN-M” is an atmospheric water generator (AWG) that pulls water from the air and turns it into clean drinking water and can make as much as 800 litres of water per day. The GEN-M only needs solar panels to fuel itself.  Read more here


Gazan workers who legally crossed the border on Wednesday morning, expressed their feelings of gratitude after Israel’s decision to issue a record number of entry permits  for Gazan merchants. One said: ‘Everyone wants to work here,’ Read more here




A bunch of balloons carrying a suspected explosive device from Gaza landed in an Israeli town last Friday morning. Last Thursday (13/2)  saw a number of balloon-borne incendiary devices explode over Israeli communities, including one that detonated above a school. Friday’s incident came after an Israeli defence official said Thursday night that Hamas had “sent messages to Israel that they’d decided unilaterally to stop launching balloons and rocket fire at Israel.” Read more here


Two rockets fired from Gaza landed in Israel on Saturday evening. In response, Israeli planes struck Hamas targets in Gaza early Sunday.  Read more here


Measures by Israel to ease conditions in Gaza were cancelled following the continuation of rocket fire. These measures had included expanding the fishing zone for Gazan fisherman and the transfer of cement into Gaza. Read more here


A rocket-propelled grenade was found in Israel on Tuesday, flown across the border from Gaza attached to a large plastic bag filled with helium. The second RPG this month. Read more here


The IDF attacked a group of Palestinian Islamic Jihad snipers in Gaza after the terrorists fired at Israeli soldiers on Wednesday.   Read more here



On Feb. 18-21, the Coalition to Save Palestinian Child Soldiers is holding a Solidarity Week, campaigning against the use of Palestinian children as soldiers. They say that these children “have fulfilled the role of combatants, human shields, rioters, labourers, support staff, and even as suicide bombers, and as a result, their childhoods have been shortened by death, severe injury, or imprisonment.” Unwillingness to address the issue “has emboldened organizations such as Hamas, Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and PFLP in their exploitation of children as war resources.” An estimated 10,000 children are trained in Gazan terrorist camps each year, while at least 160 have died digging terror tunnels into Israel. Read more here




The World Scouting Movement is investigating whether a branch in Lebanon – the 45,000-member Imam Al-Mahdi Scouts – is training young people to become Islamic terrorists. Al-Mahdi is actually the youth wing of Hizbullah…its Scouts have provided “honour guards” at the funerals of Hizbullah terrorists, while other members have been pictured posing with armed fighters, wearing military uniforms and headbands with anti-Israel slogans. Read more here




Britain joined the U.S. in publicly opposing the creation of a UN database of companies operating in the West Bank. A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “The UK, along with a number of other European countries, opposed the creation of this database.”     Read more here


Israeli medical tech startup Healthy.io announced recently that its digital urinalysis service for identifying UTIs (urinary tract infections) would now become available at hundreds of pharmacies across the UK. Read more here




The Mayor of Ariel said: “At a municipal level, Ariel strives to create steps for true coexistence between Jews and Arabs…Ariel University, which has 16,000 students, will have a new medical centre that once finished will serve both Israelis and Palestinians. The Ariel Industrial Park employs about 6,000 Palestinians along with 2,000 Israelis. There, Palestinians have real jobs, including managerial and engineering jobs. Israelis and Palestinians work side-by-side, and Palestinians make the same wages as Israelis.”
Read more here


Israel seeks to improve living conditions in eastern Jerusalem and better integrate the Arab population. In the past three years, the Israeli government has designated nearly $50 million to upgrade waste and sewage systems as well as enhancing transportation and adding classrooms. There has also been a push for more Arab schools to adopt the Israeli curriculum, including Hebrew instruction. Meanwhile, there has been an increase in eastern Jerusalem residents obtaining Israeli citizenship. A Hebrew study programme for Arab adults opened its first class in 2018 and has expanded to 10 more classes for 200 people. Read more here




Numerous states, organizations and world-renowned jurists have applied to the International Criminal Court for amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) status in deliberations to determine whether the court in The Hague has jurisdiction to investigate alleged war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem. Australia, Austria, Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany and Hungary support Israel’s position that the court has no jurisdiction in these territories. Read more here




The Trauma and Intensive Care Unit at Benjamin Mkapa Hospital in Tanzania has saved the lives of more than 2,000 people since it opened in 2018, assisted by the government of Israel. Doctors from Israel continue to offer training to their counterparts at the Trauma Unit. Read more here




Over the past two weeks, the Arabic branch of the Department of Digital Diplomacy at the Israel Foreign Ministry has been swamped by Arabic-language comments on its social media pages that originate in Sudan, in the aftermath of PM Netanyahu’s meeting with the Sudanese leader two weeks ago. The majority of Sudanese commentators  say they welcome normalization with Israel and that every country should think of its own national interests, adding that hollow, hate-filled slogans against Israel have not benefited the Sudanese people. Read more here




During an official visit to Fiji, Israeli President Rivlin announced the establishment of 100 new scholarships for students of agriculture to train at a college in Israel starting in August 2020. The last visit of an Israeli  president  to Fiji was in 1986.                Read more here




Dov Lipman: What kind of parent tells their child that they cannot play with balloons, kites, balls, or toy airplanes?  Either horrible, mean parents or loving, caring parents who happen to live in Israel near the Gaza Strip. Why would caring parents instruct their children not to go near balloons, kites, and other toys? Because beginning in 2018, Palestinian terrorists began sending Gaza balloons and kites laden with explosives to harm Israelis, spark wild fires, and weaken Jewish morale. Read more here


The UN Human Rights Council’s “blacklist”


Editorial The Australian. It is not in breach of international law for the 112 companies to operate in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. “They are legitimate businesses providing goods and services…they are not breaking any international laws.”                 Read more here


Nadav Shragai: The UNHRC’s “database” of companies conducting business in the West Bank infringes on the human rights of tens of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians who work together daily. This is the true incubator of peace and coexistence…Does the UNHRC really have nothing better to do than target the myriad of businesses that serve both the Jewish and Palestinian communities?      Read more here


Ben Dror Yemini:The industrial areas of the West Bank employ close to 20,000 Palestinian workers. They are not taken advantage of, nor are they abused by a colonialist system. Many Palestinians hold senior positions and earn up to three times the salaries paid in the P.A. Their income is a vital part of the Palestinian economy…Read more here


Stephen Daisley: The people the UN harms when it works to isolate and delegitimize Israel are the Palestinians. It tells them that their long, painful campaign of national self-harm is just and holds out false hope that it will one day triumph. It won’t. Read more here


Evelyn Gordon: What horrendous activities do the 112 companies on the UN blacklist engage in?…In short, almost all the companies on the blacklist simply provide the most fundamental human necessities – food, water, transportation, communication.                   Read more here


The U.S. Peace Initiative


Zalman Shoval: The security-based essence of the plan – Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley and security control in the West Bank – has been one of the fundamentals of Israel’s security doctrine since repelling aggression in the Six-Day War. As Henry Kissinger told me in 1991, “Peace is secondary; security is vital.” The U.S. plan is the first time Israel has been accorded the right to set its own security borders. The plan has been castigated as one-sided. It is not. It is a pragmatic approach, taking into account realities as they are and not as some want them to be. It looks after Israel’s security concerns and provides extensive economic and political advantages, including future self-governance, to the Palestinians, while setting a mutually beneficial framework for Jewish-Arab coexistence in the land shared by both. Read more here