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Israel Update 27.5.20

Chag Shavuot Sameach (Happy Pentecost) to my readers.

Note: the trial of Israel’s PM Netanyahu, which began on Sunday, is outside the scope of this Update.



At least three groups of incendiary and explosive balloons were launched from the Gaza Strip on Monday. Countless incendiary and explosive balloons have been launched by Gaza’s terrorists in recent years. They sometimes have books or toys attached to lure children, and many have sparked large wildfires in Israel. Read more here




Hizbullah is preparing the Syrian Arab Army’s 1st Corps for a future war against Israel, training its commanders and soldiers as well as deploying it for intelligence-gathering against the IDF in the Golan Heights. If Hizbullah carries out an attack from the Golan Heights, the 1st Corps will provide Hizbullah with better mobility, firepower, and manpower. Read more here


Since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hizbullah’s capabilities have strengthened both quantitatively and qualitatively, and its rocket arsenal has increased more than ten-fold. Read more here




Many of Israel’s leaders sent holiday greetings to the country’s Muslim citizens on the eve of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which began on  Sunday. closing of the holy month of Ramadan. Among them, President Reuven Rivlin lauded the Israel’s Arab-Muslim leadership “who contributed to the containing of the virus and caring for the health and safety of all Israelis, Jews and Arabs, Jews and Muslims alike.” Read more here


Jubilant over low virus rates, Israeli-Arabs  enjoyed Eid as ‘Victory Day’ over the pandemic. With lower infection levels than the general population, the Israeli-Arab community’s dearth of retirement homes and abundance of health care workers is seen as working to its advantage. Read more here




A senior Palestinian official has conveyed to Israel that, despite the announcement of a severance in ties by PA President Abbas, at least some aspects of security cooperation will continue…The official vowed that terror groups will not be permitted to act freely in areas under PA control. Read more here


Israeli security forces arrested seven Palestinian suspects in the West Bank in predawn raids on Wednesday in the first operation since the PA froze security coordination with Israel. Yet no clashes were reported with Palestinian security forces, indicating some degree of ongoing coordination. Read more here




An East Jerusalem man armed with a utility knife and tear gas attempted to stab a police officer, who shot him.   Read more here




Millions of dollars of international funding for the Palestinians’ coronavirus emergency response, coordinated by the World Health Organization and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), have gone to organizations with links to terrorism, a new report has found. Several of the funded groups are tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is recognized as a terrorist organization in Israel, the EU, U.S. and Canada. Read more here




Restaurants, bars, swimming pools and amusement parks were among businesses set to reopen on Wednesday (under certain Health Ministry restrictions) after the government approved the easing of more coronavirus curbs due to the declining number of new diagnoses. Read more here


Phone surveillance by the Israel Security Agency was responsible for the early discovery of 1/3 of all verified coronavirus cases in the country, As of May 10, 4,089 cases had been identified in this way, and 80,072 text messages were sent out informing people that they had been in contact with a carrier. Read more here




Israel’s Defence Ministry-run Institute for Biological Research has found two drugs used to treat Gaucher’s disease are also effective against the coronavirus and potentially other viruses as well. As one of these drugs, Cerdelga, has already been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration and the second, Venglusta,  has almost completed the approval process, they may be fast-tracked for use with COVID-19 patients Read more here




An Israeli scientist has invented technology that aims to make face masks clean themselves using power from a phone charger. Read more here


IsraeIi start-up Sonovia’s Sonomask has now been recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration as “Registered for Marketing,” As reported earlier this year, Sonovia developed an almost-permanent, ultrasonic, fabric-finishing technology for mechanical impregnation of zinc oxide nanoparticles into textiles… tests showed that it has a 99.8877% viricidal effect, meaning the fabric works to deactivate viruses so that they cannot enter host cells…Read more here


A variety of masks. Read more here




Israel’s IDE Technologies will construct the Sorek 2 desalination plant, the government announced on Tuesday. The U.S. had warned Israel against awarding the contract to the Chinese Hutchison Company, one of the groups bidding to build the plant. Read more here




Google’s newly released, state of the art wireless earphones have arrived – with a little help from Israeli ingenuity.  According to Ofer Elyakim, CEO of DSPG, the top of the line earphones come with an innovative artificial intelligence chip developed by the Israeli tech firm. Read more here


Monday.com, an Israeli startup that makes software to help employees work remotely, has 100,000 customers in 160 countries as employers seek ways to manage employees who have had to work from home due to the pandemic. Read more here




Avi Jorisch’s book Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World has been translated into over 30 languages.Jorisch said “It quickly became clear to me that Israel was much more than the start-up nation. It was playing a disproportionate role in helping solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.” Read more here




David Horowitz: Iran’s parliament has unanimously passed legislation banning “any cooperation” with Israel — specifically including the use of Israeli computer hardware and software — as a crime against God. Given the centrality of Israeli innovation and technology to so many aspects of modern life, the new anti-Israel legislation, if implemented as required by the Iranian parliament, will set Iran back decades. (article goes on to list multiplicity of  Israeli innovations essential to modern life) Read more here


Khaled Abu Toameh: Last week, several Palestinians were invited by Jewish settler leaders to a Ramadan iftar meal, with which Muslims end their daily fast at sunset during the holy month of Ramadan….Instead of welcoming the iftar meal, many Palestinians are now expressing outrage  over the encounter and condemning  it as a treacherous act. They are also denouncing the Palestinian participants, dubbing them as “traitors.” Some of the Palestinians who attended the iftar meal predicted the outrage, and requested  in advance that their names and photos not be made public. Palestinians, in other words, are afraid for their lives because they committed the “crime” of eating with Israelis. Read more here


Shai Doron:As the corona crisis unfolded in Jerusalem…at the Jerusalem Foundation we had to change our direction overnight from major capital projects to supporting the city’s most vulnerable populations: children with special needs, at-risk youth, children in women’s shelters, people with disabilities, families who found themselves without money to buy food, and the elderly, the population most at risk.It was amazing to see situations that we couldn’t have anticipated of strict Orthodox volunteers packing food baskets for Arabs so they could break their fast for Ramadan with a proper meal, and Arabs from eastern Jerusalem who volunteered to purchase medication for the elderly, from all sectors, who could not leave their homes. Read more here