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Israel Update 13.8.20



Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached an historic peace deal on Thursday that will lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations. The agreement was the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the United States. Read more here




This past week, there have been a number of severe incidents involving incendiary and explosive balloons from Gaza. In Arad, an explosive landed in the industrial zone. Another explosive detonated in Netivot and shrapnel hit homes and cars. Another device was found near the entrance to a kibbutz. Over 68 fires were sparked by incendiary balloons in Israel on Tuesday. Read more here

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The IDF has deployed new interception technology using lasers. Read more here


After Israeli civilian contractors working on the security barrier along the border with Gaza came under fire on Sunday, they were evacuated by an IDF force,who also came under fire. Read more here


Hamas fired several missiles toward the Mediterranean Sea on Monday morning in a warning to Israel. Read more here


In response to these attacks, Israel closed the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing into Gaza “until further notice” on Tuesday. Fuel and humanitarian aid, including food continue to cross into Gaza. Read more here


As the launches continued, Israel’s Defence Ministry has halted the transfer of fuel into Gaza. Read more here


Senior Egyptian intelligence officials have reportedly warned leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to stop the incendiary balloon attacks on Israel. Read more here




Israel’s coronavirus death toll has reached 643, the Israeli Health Ministry reported on Thursday. 386 patients are in serious condition, including 114 who are intubated. 1,612 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 in the last day. Read more here


Israel’s coronavirus cabinet is convening on Thursday afternoon and is set to vote on further limiting the number of people allowed in confined spaces and to approve the reopening of airports.  Read more here


In recent weeks, most of the people infected with Covid-19 in Jerusalem live mainly in Arab neighbourhoods… Local Arab families have recently held weddings in the West Bank to bypass the prohibition on large gatherings in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Municipality says mass prayers on Fridays on the Temple Mount are also contributing to the growing number of infections. Read more here




An initial clinical trial of a coronavirus-testing technology that is believed to detect viruses in a fluid sample in less than a second has achieved a 95% success rate. The test was designed by Israeli start-up Newsight Imaging. Read more here




The world’s first clinical trial for a coronavirus drug made from antibodies started well, with all three patients involved released from hospital days after receiving it. They had been in moderate condition, with COVID-19-induced pneumonia, when given the drug, manufactured from antibodies found in the plasma of recovered coronavirus patients, earlier this week. The drug was developed by Hadassah Medical Centre and Israeli biopharm firm Kamada. Israeli patients have been given antibodies  from recovered patients since early in the pandemic, but this drug, while based on antibodies, is “very different” according to Kamada’s CEO. Read more here




Israeli engineers are working on a system using voice detection to screen for potential coronavirus carriers. Development recently got a boost thanks to Israeli teams collecting tens of thousands of voice samples from confirmed COVID-19 patients in India. Read more here




Israeli researchers have discovered that there is a correlation between BCG  (TB) vaccination and protection against the coronavirus. This was significant among those 24 years old and younger who had received the tuberculosis vaccination in the last 15 years. There was no effect among older adult. Read more here




Israeli programmers say they have built a state coronavirus tracking app that keeps the government firmly locked out of citizens’ phones. The developers say that relying on Bluetooth can keep many people out of unnecessary quarantine. Read more here




Clalit Health Services has signed an agreement with local startup PulseNmore to provide its pregnant members with a handheld device that docks with a smartphone to perform at-home ultrasound scans, limiting the need for doctor visits as physicians review the scans remotely. Read more here




Professor Yoni Yehuda, an Israeli psychotherapist provides therapy for people with mental health conditions by asking them to care for animals. He has hundreds, from horses and turtles to an exotic Jesus lizard that runs on water and a ring-tailed South American coati. Most were rescued and for various reasons cannot be returned to the wild or re-homed. Read more here




A member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, was indicted on Sunday for the murder of two Israeli soldiers in a 2010 attack along the Gaza border. He had entered Israel last month to donate bone marrow to his brother and was permitted to undergo the medical procedure while under arrest.  Read more here




Following a successful co-operative research project, Israel has donated ground breaking medical equipment to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences one of India’s leading hospitals. The technology, developed in Israel and found to be highly effective in combating the coronavirus, includes sensory systems that can treat patients remotely. Read more here


Israeli precision irrigation solution firm Netafim has secured a deal estimated at $85 million to provide advanced irrigation systems to 35,000 farmers in India. (news in brief item from No Camels.com  at this link)




Israel’s Defence Ministry on Wednesday said hackers from a group linked to the North Korean government targeted Israeli defence officials, luring them with fake job offers in a failed attempt to gain access to the databases of the country’s top defence industries.   Read more here




British Airways is set to resume flights to Israel with a new triweekly schedule starting 13 August. Read more here




An EU-sponsored study to examine whether textbooks used by schools in the Palestinian Authority incite against Israel actually examined textbooks in Arabic used in the Israeli school system which do promote coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.   Read more here




Israel has reprimanded the Belgian Government for giving aid to a group of NGOs whose goals include “mitigating the influence of pro-Israel voices” – taking issue with the fact that the goal was explicitly anti-Israel, as opposed to pro-Palestinian. Read more here




Dr. David Wurmser: Lebanese are universal in their belief that Hizbullah rules the critical areas of the port as a government within a government. Hangars 9 and 12 are the closest to the water, meaning they are prime warehouses for unloading ships without being detected. Lebanese port workers regarded Hangar 12 as an off-limits Hizbullah zone.

The ammonium nitrate may well have been a Hizbullah stash to send to their operatives around the world, such as those caught in 2015 in London with 3 tons of ammonium nitrate, those caught in Cyprus with 9 tons of ammonium nitrate, and those caught in Germany with ammonium nitrate. Read more here