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Israel Update 11.3.20



At the time of writing (Wednesday afternoon), the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel has risen to 82.



Israeli and P.A. officials met last week to coordinate joint efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. They agreed to cooperate on epidemiologic investigations, particularly those involving tourists who visited both Israel and the PA. The Israeli Civil Administration health coordinator said, “We’ll continue investing efforts to help the PA to eradicate the spread of the coronavirus in the territories.”         Read more here


The IDF coordinated the exit of dozens of tour groups from the West Bank last week and transported them directly to Ben Gurion Airport for immediate departure after several foreign embassies and consulates requested Israel’s help. The airport  prepared refreshments to receive the large number of passengers from Austria, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Poland & Romania – over 3,000 people. Israel assisted some of those leaving when direct flights were not available after cancellation by airlines, purchased tickets for others and in some cases, special flights were arranged for the leaving tourists. Read more here


Israel is making a massive effort to help the Palestinians contain a coronavirus outbreak after several Palestinians in Bethlehem tested positive for the disease. Israel has transferred hundreds of coronavirus test kits to the Palestinians and conducted joint training sessions for Israeli and Palestinian medical personnel.  “We will continue working to help the Palestinian authorities curb the spread of the virus, both as an Israeli interest and for humanitarian reasons,” said the Israeli Civil Administration Health Coordinator “We will expand medical training to Palestinian personnel as much as possible, as well as the transfer of medical equipment to the Palestinian healthcare system.” Read more here


Israel coordinated the entry of 20 tons of disinfectant into the West Bank on Tuesday.  Materials such as hydrogen peroxide and chlorine, which are used in cleaning and sanitation, both of which are important factors in maintaining hygiene preservation, were included in the delivery.    Read more here



On Wednesday it was announced that Israel is limiting crowd gatherings to a maximum of 100 people.     Read more here


On Monday, the P.M. announced that everyone arriving in  Israel will be required to enter 14-day isolation, both Israelis and foreign travellers. The measure was effective immediately for Israelis and will go into effect for foreigners at 8 pm on Thursday. No non-citizens will be able to enter Israel without proving they have a place to stay during their quarantine.Read more here


The government announced an emergency package of more than NIS 10 billion ($2.8 billion) Wednesday, as it sought to stabilize the economy.  Some NIS 8 billion ($2.2 billion) will be dispersed to businesses, & NIS 1 billion ($281 million) to the health system.                       Read more here


An effective Israeli-developed oral vaccine for coronavirus is on track to be ready for testing within “a few weeks,” though it won’t be available for months because of the length testing and approval process, a member of the development team said Tuesday. The potentially rapid progress by the state-funded Migal Galilee Research Institute stems from the fact that the institute has been working for four years toward a vaccine that could be customized for various viruses, and has now adapted that work to focus on the coronavirus. Read more here


The Bank of Israel Governor said Monday that he expects the coronavirus outbreak to cause a loss of 0.7% to Israel’s growth, meaning GDP growth in 2020 of 2%. Read more here


Two Israeli companies have joined forces to make handwashing 100 percent effective in killing viruses — without harsh substances like bleach. The Soapy hygiene microstation, (already in use in several countries) provides an optimal amount of water (taken from the atmosphere) and soap per 20-second handwashing. A computer vision interface verifies that the handwashing was done properly. On request, the soap will now include a plant-derived substance proven to kill tobamovirus – which is more resistant than coronavirus.   Read more here




An Israeli official attended the Warsaw Process Counterterrorism and Illicit Finance working group in Marrakech, Morocco, on Wednesday and Thursday, in another indication of warming ties between Jerusalem and some Arab countries.
Read more here




Border Police officers arrested an east Jerusalem Palestinian man who attempted to stab them outside Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday. Read more here


IDF soldiers identified two Palestinians preparing to throw firebombs at passing vehicles near  a West Bank highway on Wednesday. The soldiers fired at and injured the two, who were arrested. Read more here




At Israel’s Beilinson Hospital, for the first time a lung cancer patient has undergone surgery in which his entire left lung was separated, taken from his body, the cancerous tumour it contained removed and the now-healthy lung reinstalled successfully back in his body. Read more here




Israeli researchers from Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute have developed an innovative method to influence the process of memory formation in one of the two hemispheres of the brain during sleep. The technique, which uses scent to stimulate memory, could help those who have suffered brain damage to strengthen their memory. It could also restore brain balance for people suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.  Read more here




Tzaar Baalei Chaim (Jerusalem’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) looks after stray dogs for as long as it takes to find them new homes. Now it also finds new owners in the USA and Canada, as well as in Israel, and raises funds for the airfare for the dog and a handler. Read more here


Normal milk industry practice is to remove calves from their mothers almost immediately after birth. Israeli kibbutz Yotvata has begun a pilot project where female calves remain with their mother until they are weaned. It improves the strength of the calf and reduces distress to the mother. Read more here




Israeli Eyal Hirak designed the FuGuSense swimsuit after his daughter nearly drowned. The swimsuit contains sensors to monitor vital signs. If drowning is detected, an integrated, reusable airbag is inflated to bring the swimmer to the surface. Read more here




Khaled Abu Toameh: On March 7, as Israel was helping dozens of foreign tourist groups leave Bethlehem after the discovery of 19 coronavirus cases in the city, the Palestinian daily Al-Quds claimed that Israel had been releasing wild boars in the West Bank to destroy Palestinian crops. It is hard to find one Palestinian who does not carry a smartphone. Palestinians regularly document the actions of Israeli soldiers and settlers. Why has no one snapped even one photo of an Israeli truck carrying the animals into Palestinian villages? How come the hundreds of thousands of Jews living in the West Bank have not been attacked by wild boars? And how are the boars able to distinguish between Arabs and Jews? Read more here


Zev Chafets: Critics say that (Israel’s) hardline virus defence policy is exaggerated. But that is unknowable in advance. Risking lives to placate treasury officials, tourist agencies, business travellers or disappointed children on Purim is a step responsible officials can’t contemplate. Read more here


Aaron B. Andrews: What’s going on in Israel’s laboratories is saving lives all over the world. For example, take Israel’s medical breakthrough in treatment for multiple sclerosis over a decade ago, or consider its advances in treatment for Parkinson’s disease. BDSers should be asking themselves if they would really say no to a vaccine just because it was created in Israel. Read more here


Uriel Heilman: My family is among 80,000 Israelis living in quarantine. Here’s what it’s like: Coping with confinement involves scared delivery drivers,…calls from the health authorities and a fear of returning to the outside world. Read more here