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Israel Update 6.8.20


(At the time of writing, Thursday afternoon, no reply to Israeli offers of help has been received from the Lebanese government)

Several Israeli hospitals offered to treat victims of a massive explosion that rocked Beirut on Tuesday, despite the fact that Lebanon and Israel are considered enemy countries.  Among them was Ziv Medical Centre, which has for years secretly treated thousands of patients from hostile countries such as Syria.  Read more here


Dr. Masad Barhoum, the Arab-Israeli director-general of Galilee Medical Centre in Nahariya, on Wednesday took to social networks and the radio appealing directly in Arabic to the Lebanese president and prime minister, and even Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, to allow him to help.Read more here


Within hours of the explosion, Israel offered humanitarian assistance to Lebanon through the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the UN and France. Israel offered medical supplies and an option of treating some of the wounded, including UNIFIL workers, in Israeli hospitals. Read more here


Israeli officials urged Lebanon to set aside the animosity between the two countries at a time when easing human suffering should be placed above all else, but have also expressed concern that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite terrorist group that wields enormous political power in Lebanon, would sooner see Lebanese people suffer than accept Israeli aid. Read more here


The massive blasts were not caused by Israeli activity, according to sources in Lebanon and Israel.  Lebanese officials indicated that the explosions were accidental. Read more here




Lebanon’s flag was projected onto Tel Aviv’s city hall on Wednesday. Mayor Ron Huldai said “Humanity comes before any conflict, and our hearts are with the Lebanese people in the wake of the terrible disaster that befell them,” Read more here


Many Lebanese took to social media on Wednesday to express their ire over the attempted gesture of solidarity by the Tel Aviv municipality. Using the hashtag “We don’t want it,” many Lebanese expressed their rejection of both Israeli solidarity and offers of medical aid. Read more here




On Sunday night an IDF force foiled an attempt to place explosive devices along the border with Syria An IDF force and an aircraft opened fire together on the four-member cell and hit them.” The attack took place near the site of the former IDF field clinic that provided medical treatment for thousands of Syrians in 2017-18. Read more here


The IDF then scanned the area and found a gun, as well as a backpack with several more bombs ready for use. The items were found 25 metres inside Israel’s border. Israeli officers showed the scene to UN peacekeepers.  Read more here




On Sunday the Iron Dome missile defence system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza into Israel. As sirens blared, dozens of citizens were enjoying the inauguration screening at a new drive-in cinema complex at Sderot’s municipal market. A vehicle was damaged by shrapnel following the interception. Read more here




Israel reported 1,689 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as the infection rate dropped slightly. 345 patients are in a serious condition, of whom 100 are ventilated. The death toll has sadly increased to 569. The number of active patients is 24,576. Meanwhile, a coronavirus patient, Marina Chibatova, 74,was released from The Shaare Zedek Medical Centre in Jerusalem after 99 days of hospitalization. Read more here


The new coronavirus czar, Prof. Ronni Gamzu,, on Sunday said that the army’s Home Front Command would call on 3,000 reserve soldiers to assist the health system. They will conduct epidemiological investigations, boost the staff at the coronavirus hotels, and help in locales where the rate of infection is high. Read more here


The IDF has stepped up its efforts to help residents of Jerusalem’s Arab neighbourhoods as they face a sharp increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.  Col. Itay Levi, Commanding Officer of the Jerusalem and Central District, said: “The pandemic does not differentiate between Jew and Arab. Our mission as an army and soldiers is to help people during disasters….In the beginning, everyone thought it would be difficult for the IDF to deal with the Arab residents. I believe we are making history when you see [IDF] soldiers working shoulder-to-shoulder with Arabs in Jerusalem.” Read more here




Israel-based sparkling water maker SodaStream and Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital have jointly developed a device that helps address the critical need for respirators. StreamO2, inspired by the technology of the countertop carbonated water machine producer, is expected to provide respiratory assistance to COVID-19 patients in mild to moderate conditions. It can also allow more mechanical respirators to be freed up for patients in more serious condition. A clinical trial has already begun.     Read more here




U.S.-Israeli NeuroRx pharmaceutical company, partnered with Geneva-based Relief Therapeutics Holdings, has developed RLF-100, or aviptadil, a synthetic form of a natural peptide that protects the lung, for treating critically ill Covid-19 patients. Patients recovered rapidly from respiratory failure after three days of treatment with RLF-100, a therapy granted fast-track designation in the U.S.    Read more here



The Israel Institute for Biological Research has reportedly developed a vaccine that shows close to 100% protection against the virus in lab animals.Read more here


Human trials of the vaccine are due to start in mid-October. Read more here



An Israeli wastewater management technology firm’s pilot project  conducted to detect coronavirus outbreaks in sewage was successful. The firm, Kando, was able to identify outbreaks down to specific neighbourhoods and streets in Ashkelon. Read more here



Israel in recent months has extended aid to 15 countries around the world, including Guatemala, India, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Nepal, in an effort to assist the global battle against the spread of Coronavirus .The aid includes tens of gallons of alcohol gel, sanitizers, personal protective gear, handwashing stations, medical equipment, advanced technologies, and essential food supplies.Read more here




Israeli company Skylock has sold its personal anti-drone system to the U.S. Army and NATO forces.Intended for mobile forces, like a presidential guard or special army units, the system weighs only 1.5 kg.
It includes a drone detector and an anti-drone jammer, and is capable of neutralizing any drone within 1 km. Read more here


The world’s largest plane, the massive Antonov An-225, landed Monday at Ben Gurion I Airport carrying a cargo of US Army Oshkosh trucks to  be fitted with parts to install Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system, for use by the US military. Hundreds of aviation enthusiasts gathered near the airport ahead of the legendary six-engined plane’s arrival to watch it land. Read more here




50:50 Startups is an initiative that creates startup collaborations between Israelis and Palestinians to show they can create ‘partnerships of equals’.  Read more here




Prof. Daphne Weihs said that her biomedical engineering lab at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has discovered a new method to give an instant assessment of how likely a cancer patient is to develop a secondary tumour. “Our method is more rapid, accurate and quantitative than pathology results,” she said. Read more here





With masks and social distancing, the third season of “Shtisel” and other Israel shows, have resumed filming. Read more here




ITV featured this amazing story of a collaboration between conservationists, an Israeli hi-tech company and the IDF, using a UAV (drone) to feed a griffon vulture chick. The baby chick’s mother died when she flew into overhead cables and the father could not rear the chick alone. View video at either link: (3 minutes)

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