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Israel Update 10.9.20



At a video conference of Arab foreign ministers on Wednesday, the Arab League failed to condemn last month’s normalization deal between Israel and the UAE. Read more here


Israeli budget footwear chain Scoop Shoes has announced that it will be opening five stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Read more here


The heads of Israel’s two biggest banks Bank Hapoalim  and Bank Leumi are travelling to the UAE this month to meet government and trade officials and the heads of the largest banks in the UAE. Read more here


Healthcare innovation will soon be accelerated in the UAE after the country’s APEX National Investment signed a memorandum of understanding with Sheba Medical Centre to promote a range of healthcare solutions in the region. Read more here


As part of the normalization deal, a number of hotels in the UAE will begin to offer kosher food. Read more here




Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia “agreed to open their airspace not just to flights from Israel to the United Arab Emirates and back, but to all eastward travel” from Israel. “That will save people a lot of time. That knocks down a barrier that’s been up for 72 years.”  Read more here


Bahrain indicated on Thursday it would open its air space to all flights to the UAE (including Israeli planes) potentially shortening flights to Dubai by several minutes. Read more here




Two Bedouin-Israeli men were indicted on Monday after their arrest on suspicion of planning a bomb attack on behalf of Hamas. One is married to a woman living in Gaza and is able to travel there. Allegedly, having been recruited by Hamas, he collected intelligence including the locations of the Iron Dome missile defence system. He underwent training by Hamas on how bomb assembly and had chosen a bus stop in central Israel to attack.  Read more here





3,904 new coronavirus cases were reported on Wednesday – a record high. As of Thursday morning, there are 474 people in serious condition including 133 on a ventilator. The national death toll reached 1,054. There are currently 31,769 active cases. Read more here


Ministers on Sunday evening approved nightly curfews in some 40 cities with high infection numbers, instead of the previously planned full lockdown on a smaller number of towns — a plan that had sparked a threat of rebellion from some ultra-Orthodox mayors and a major political crisis with the ultra-Orthodox parties. The curfews will be in effect every day between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. Non-essential businesses will be closed during the curfew. Schools will be closed at all times.Read more here


Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Hezi Levy on Thursday called for Israel to take “more drastic” measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, after almost 4,000 new cases were reported for Wednesday. Read more here


At the time of writing (Thursday afternoon) it is not known what restrictions the government is considering. Reportedly ministers are voting on on a four-week closure or severe restrictions on movement over the forthcoming period of Jewish religious festivals. Read more here


Due to the urgent need for research on Covid-19, the Israeli government has decided to set up a new national laboratory for the study of viruses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Read more here




Israeli biopharmaceutical firm RedHill Biopharma Ltd. said Tuesday that a drug it is developing, Opaganib, has shown to be a “potent” inhibitor of the virus that causes COVID-19 in an in-vitro model of human lung bronchial tissue.      Read more here





The president of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, announced Saturday that his country would open an embassy in Jerusalem as part of a larger expansion of the country’s diplomatic representation abroad. Malawi currently does not have a diplomatic mission in Israel. Read more here




Serbia announced Friday that it would move its embassy to Jerusalem, while Muslim majority Kosovo is to recognize Israel. Read more here




Gazans needing to travel to Israel or the West Bank for medical treatment used to obtain permits through the PA’s Health Liaison Office in Gaza. But in May, the PA ceased coordinating with Israel to issue permits to Gazans. On Sunday, the UN’s World Health Organization initiated a temporary coordination mechanism to support Palestinian patients and companions required by Israel to apply for permits to access essential health services outside the Gaza Strip. Read more here




Leket Israel, the National Food Bank, rescues surplus food that would otherwise be discarded from venues such as hotels and restaurants, and provides it to those in need including the more than 1 million Israelis unemployed for the first time. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, Leket has delivered 1.8 m hot meals and 14,000 tons of fresh produce. Read more here




Nine Israeli organizations working on solutions or technology to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic won grants worth approximately 18 million ($5.3 million) from the EU’s innovation programme Horizon 2020, the Israeli Innovation Authority announced this week. Read more here





The U.S. Department of DefenCe in cooperation with the Israel DefenCe Ministry and Israeli company Xtend have recently launched a new pilot program to test the potential employment of  the company’s Skylord drones by the U.S. military. Intended to be used by soldiers operating in hostile environments, the system uses augmented reality. Read more here


Walmart is launching a drone delivery pilot programme in partnership with Israeli drone startup Flytrex. Walmart branches in North Carolina will trial deliveries to customers’ yards. Read more here




Israel’s company EchoCare has begun production of its ECHO radar-based, non-invasive emergency monitor for elderly people. Following trials in Japan and Australia, demand has been high due to Covid-19. ECHO detects and alerts users on a variety of emergency or abnormal behaviour patterns. Read more here




America’s Raytheon and Israel’s Rafael recently announced a joint venture to produce Iron Dome air-defense systems on American soil, the first Iron Dome all-up-round facility outside of Israel. Iron Dome is the world’s most widely used air-defence system, with more than 2,500 operational intercepts over Israeli cities since 2011 and a success rate exceeding 90%. Read more here




Israel on Friday experienced its hottest recorded day ever with temperatures in Eilat 48.9°C (120°F) and Jerusalem 42.8°C (109°F). Read more here




Israeli Eurovision winner Netta sings “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” View here:


Tehila, the Kosher Diva (Israeli actress/singer Yael Yekel) takes the Yiddish standard “Bei Mir Bistu Shein” and gives it a “Mizrahi” or Middle Eastern twist. View here:




Israel’s national soccer team completed its first game in the UEFA Nations League Friday in Glasgow, tying with Scotland 1-1. Read more here




Loay Alshareef, a social media activist from Bahrain,told i24News on Sunday: “The awareness is becoming more clear to many people that the Jewish people are not foreign colonialists in the Land of Israel, they are part of this land, and they are part of our region. The Jewish people belong here, they have nowhere else to go…so it’s really becoming very obvious that the existence of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel is not only historical, but it’s a fact, and we can do many things together for prosperity, security and peace for the region.” Read more here


Hani Al-Dahiri: Palestinian politicians have sabotaged negotiations and rejected all peace initiatives for decades. Keeping the issue alive and not reaching any settlement was the only guarantee for their survival, with donations pouring in and aid funds boosting their accounts. Today, things have changed, and those who used to sympathize with the Palestinian cause are fully aware of this game by people with vested interests, after six decades of lying, trickery, and collection of money in the name of a crisis whose owners do not want it to be resolved. The situation now requires the intervention of rational Arabs to negotiate with the Israeli side and work to establish comprehensive peace in the region away from gangs who eye only political gain. (Saudi GazetteRead more here!


Amjad Taha, a regional director at the British Middle East Centre for Studies and Research (BMCSR), said in an August 27, 2020, interview on Russia Today TV that Iran, not Israel, is responsible for creating militias that are responsible for the death of 4 million Arabs. Read more here


Avi Issacharoff: The historic agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is a direct continuation of the profound changes in the Middle East that have been quietly taking place in recent years. The Israeli-Arab conflict is starting to come apart before our very eyes, and Israel finds itself in a place of honour in the moderate Sunni camp against the extremist Shiites. Read more here


Alan Baker sets out “How to Dismantle the Distorted Western Discourse on Israel” Read more here