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

Israel Update 3-13 April 2020


At the time of writing (Monday afternoon) Israel’s coronavirus death toll has sadly risen to 112, with 11,235 confirmed cases. 181 patients are in serious condition, including 133 in need of ventilator support. Hospitals are treating 750 patients, while 7,257 people are fighting the virus at home. Another 1,058 people are currently in specially designated hotels.1,689 patients have recovered from the virus. Read more here


As of 7 am yesterday, Sunday morning, all Israelis are required to wear a protective mask that covers the mouth and nose when leaving their home and going out in public. Read more here


About 75% of the infections in Jerusalem have occurred in ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods. Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv also has high coronavirus infection rates. These areas are currently under strict lockdown. Read more here


Some 4,500 elderly residents of Bnei Brak aged 80 years and over were due to be evacuated (voluntarily) from the city last week and placed in self-isolation in quarantine facilities operated by the Home Front Command.       Read more here




Last week, all intercity traffic was banned from 7 pm on Tuesday until 6 a.m. Friday.  A tight curfew imposed from 3 pm Wednesday until 7 a.m. Thursday prevented Israelis from venturing out further than 100 metres from home in an attempt to stop people visiting each other for the festive Passover Seder meal. Read more here




Three elderly women patients, aged 91, 96 and 97, recovered from COVID-19 and were released from hospital in Nahariya.. Read more here


A couple, who were married for 69 years aged 90 and 87 respectively, have both returned home from hospital in Ashkelon after recovering from the virus.  Read more here




Six critically ill coronavirus patients in Israel who were treated with Pluristem’s placenta-based cell-therapy have survived in a compassionate use trial. Four showed improvement in respiratory parameters and three are in the advanced stages of weaning from ventilators.Israeli company Pluristem’s PLX cells have “immunomodulatory properties,” meaning they induce the immune system’s natural regulatory cells to reduce inflammation of lung tissue. Read more here


A 29-year-old coronavirus patient has improved from serious to serious but stable condition, after receiving multiple doses of plasma from a donor who had recovered from the virus. The plasma is being used to create a “passive vaccine” Read more here



Israel is among the first countries to receive an experimental Japanese drug to treat coronavirus, Avigan and is testing it at several hospitals. Read more here



Dozens of doctors, nurses and medical personnel in Gaza have been trained by Israeli teams in techniques to treat patients infected with the coronavirus. Read more here


A Palestinian woman from Bethlehem was recently admitted to an Israeli hospital for treatment after suffering from complications stemming from the coronavirus. Read more here


BGI Group, a Chinese genome sequencing company is partnering with Israel’s AID GENOMICS to build a testing lab for Palestinians in West Bank & Gaza that can carry out around 3,000 coronavirus tests per day.                      Read more here




Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced that they have developed a new method of testing for COVID-19 which is not only 4-10 times faster than the tests most commonly used today, but also significantly cheaper, while supplying the same level of accuracy. Most of the materials required to perform the new test are already available in Israel. Read more here


Israel is to begin locally producing the reagents needed to conduct coronavirus tests as production  facilities in South Korea and Germany had stopped supplying them to Israel.  Read more here



A hospital in Haifa on Friday became the first to use a new type of protective mask created in Israel which creates an “air curtain” for medical personnel treating patients with COVID-19.  Read more here


Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems have developed cutting-edge coronavirus symptom detectors using radar and camera technology, enabling medical teams to screen patients from another room, thereby greatly enhancing their safety. Read more here


The system is currently being trialled in 2 Israeli hospitals. Read more here


Israel’s AnyVision Interactive Technologies will deploy thermal cameras, which can measure body temperature from a distance and are capable of determining whether a high temperature is caused by disease, at Ichilov Hospital, Tel Aviv. Read more here


Commonly deployed by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, advanced facial recognition technology developed by Tel Aviv-based Corsight  is now  being deployed to recognize and protect individuals wearing medical face masks, including key hospital staff.   Read more here


A professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Department of Neurobiology, noting that coronavirus victims experience a sudden inability to smell has built a website smelltracker.org to help people keep tabs on their odour-assessing abilities.Read more here


Israelis who have beards for religious reasons will get the option of custom-made face masks to protect them from the virus rather than being told to shave.  Read more here



Israel helped evacuate five Palestinian sheikhs from Indonesia, with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations, after the country banned all foreigners. Read more here


A group of 110 Arab Israeli students landed Wednesday at Ben Gurion Airport on a flight from Istanbul, after an earlier repatriation flight was cancelled by Turkey. Israel has dispatched rescue flights to Peru, India, Costa Rica, Brazil, Australia and other destinations to bring its citizens home.  Read more here




IDF troops are helping the Magen David Adom (MDA) medical  emergency service and have been tasked with assisting at-risk and elderly populations purchase food and other necessities, while soldiers from the education corps are overseeing the children of medical professionals who must continue to work.The IDF has converted a resort in Ashkelon for use by soldiers with mild coronavirus infections, and has opened several  hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for civilians with mild cases, in order to alleviate pressure on civilian hospitals. Read more here


The Shayetet 13 naval commando unit is helping in the IDF’s fight against the virus by developing advanced solutions to compress oxygen.The elite unit trains divers and has a great deal of experience in underwater breathing technologies and oxygen tanks. Read more here

The IDF on Thursday deployed two battalions from the Paratroopers and Commando Brigades to assist the Home Front Command to provide food, medicine and other services to those in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak, a coronavirus hotspot…Over 12,000 soldiers “get up each morning to fight the coronavirus.” …One commander and four soldiers have been assigned to each of 200 assisted living facilities around the country, providing help. Read more here


Two Druze brothers Col. (res.) Saleem Wahab and Maj. (res.) Zohar are spearheading the IDF’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic in the Arab sector. Read more here




As a plane laden with medical aid from China touched down on Monday, it was revealed that much of the cargo had been donated by former tourists and academic exchange alumni who have fond memories of Israel. Additional flights coming to Israel with medical goods from China would also be carrying donations, alongside goods that Israel is buying.  The strategic adviser to the Israeli consulate in Shanghai, said people are inundating the diplomatic mission with medical materials for shipping to Tel Aviv. Read more here


Israel’s Defence Ministry has recruited Israeli start-up Qlarium to assess the reliability of Chinese medical equipment suppliers.The company gathers information from a range of sources which helps Israel to avoid middlemen, defective equipment and fake companies. Read more here




In less than three weeks, more than 10,000 Israelis have signed up to “Adopt A Doc,” to assist the health care professionals who are saving lives while braving exposure in long hours at hospitals. Besides providing for needed protective gear and other medical supplies, an army of volunteers has carried out grocery shopping, delivered homecooked meals, babysat for children and even walked the pets of health care providers. Nearly 1,000 doctors, nurses and other overworked medical personnel now have a designated volunteer who cares for their personal needs. Some 3,000 other volunteers offer support in other ways. Read more here




Hamas launched rockets towards the sea Thursday in a test aimed at improving its rocket arsenal.                       Read more here


Hamas-run security forces have arrested several peace activists in the Gaza Strip on treason charges after they took part in a web conference with Israeli activists. Read more here





Former terrorist Mohammed Massad spoke about his desire for peace: “I only want peace. But I am not alone. There are hundreds of thousands like me, who want to lead a peaceful life along with Israelis,” he said, referring to the 150,000 Palestinians who work in Israel in agriculture and construction and who rely on Israel for an income. “We can still make this area better if we only educate our children not to repeat our mistakes and not to differentiate between Jews, Muslims and Christians. After all: we are all human beings.” Read more here


Khaled Abu Toameh: The Hamas leaders who are now complaining about the lack of ventilators in their hospitals are the same as those who have invested tens of millions of dollars on manufacturing and smuggling weapons, including rockets, to attack Israel. Since 2014, Hamas has invested about $120 million in digging terror tunnels. Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar told Hamas TV on April 2: “If ventilators are not brought to Gaza [by Israel], we will take them by force and stop the breathing of six million settlers.” Sinwar neglected to mention that in the past week, Israel had dispatched hundredsof coronavirus test kits to medical personnel in the Gaza Strip.He also forgot to mention that it was Israeli doctors who saved his life when he had brain surgery to remove a tumour while he was serving time in Israeli prison for murdering several suspected collaborators.  Read more here