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Israel Update 17.9.20





Israel on Tuesday signed landmark normalisation deals (dubbed the Abraham Accords) with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at a White House ceremony, with leaders hailing a “new dawn” for peace in the Middle East. Read more here


A Sudanese diplomatic delegation attended the signing ceremony. Oman’s ambassador to the US was also present. Read more here


An Emirati channel, Dubai TV, an Israeli channel, Channel 12, and a Bahraini channel, Bahrain TV, shared a live broadcast of the signing ceremony. Read more here




Thirteen people were injured, one, a man in his 60s, seriously, after two rockets were fired from Gazatowards Ashkelon and Ashdod on Tuesday as the normalisation agreements with the UAE and Bahrain were signed. Later on Tuesday evening, two Gazans were arrested after they infiltrated into Israel. Read more here


Asher Biton, 62 who was seriously wounded in the rocket attack on Ashdod, had been delivering food to the needy. Read more here


13 more rocket launches from Gaza into Israeli territory were identified early Wednesday morning, eight of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.  Read more here




EGYPT, OMAN and the EU welcomed the Israel-Bahrain normalisation agreement which was announced last Friday.Read more here Read more here Read more here




Israeli carrier Israir has announced that it will begin offering direct flights from Ben Gurion Airport to Abu Dhabi. Flight duration is three and a half hours, using Saudi Arabian and Bahrainian airspace. Read more here


Israel’s largest bank, Hapoalim, announced that it had signed an agreement with  the National Bank of Dubai ahead of the official establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and the UAE.Read more here


Israel’s biggest hospital, Sheba Medical Centre, expects to see an influx of medical tourists from the UAE, following a deal with a large Emirati investment fund. A Sheba spokesman said “lots of complicated cases are sent outside the UAE, so now they will have a new solution that is closer than Europe, and cheaper than the United States… (Sheba) is welcoming, as so many medical staff speak Arabic.” Read more here


The UAE’s flagship airline’s catering service is to start producing and serving kosher in-flight meals. Read more here



Israel’s Dovertower has a signed a series of agreements with the UAE’s DP World to cooperate in shipping and port activities.        Read more here


Lingerie brand Fix recently shot an ad campaign in Dubai, making it the first Israeli brand to do so since Israel and the UAE agreed to establish full diplomatic relations.  Read more here




The Israeli government today approved the final version of restrictions that will be implemented when a national lockdown begins on Friday at 2 p.m. and which are valid for the next three weeks. The restrictions are mainly listed in this article: Read more here


The “Special Outline for High Holy Day Prayers” can be found in this article: Read more here


Israel’s new national closure will not constitute a “full lockdown,” and will be very different from the restrictions of March and April, a top aide to the coronavirus czar said on Monday. Read more here


In order to ensure that all people can pray and hear the shofar blown on Rosh Hashanah, the Religious Affairs and Health ministries have arranged for special travel permits for cantors and shofar blowers.  Read more here


The Israel Health Ministry reported Thursday  that 4,537 people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the number of active patients in the country to 44,984. 1,163 coronavirus patients are being treated in hospitals. 549 are in a serious condition, of whom 140 are ventilated. The death toll has reached 1,165 .Read more here


With an increasing number of  coronavirus patients, Haifa’s Rambam Hospital  is activating its  underground emergency hospital.  Read more here




Lt. Col. Ayoub Kyuff, a Druze officer, has been appointed the new head of the Israeli Air Force’s elite Shaldag Unit that specializes in reconnaissance and commando operations. Read more here




Israeli researchers may have taken a stride forward in efforts to “understand the enemy” in the hope of subduing it, after identifying four previously unknown proteins that people produce as a result of coronavirus infection. They have also identified 19 peptides, short chains of amino acids, that had not previously been identified in the bodies of infected people. Read more here




Israeli start-up Binah’s AI-powered technology scans a person’s skin to read vital signs identified by epidemiologists as being associated with a higher likelihood of Covid-19 infection. The company hopes that the scan, done online at home, can be used as a prerequisite to making a reservation to eat, fly or attend a large event. Read more here


Tactile Mobility, a Haifa-based startup that provides smart cars with the ability to “feel the road,” said Tuesday it has signed a deal to provide BMW Group’s next generation of cars globally with its software starting from 2021. Read more here




Qatar operated a funding network for arms shipments from Europe to Hizbullah using gold shipments traded through Africa, an Austrian think tank has reported.  In addition, “the Qatari charities Sheikh Eid and the Education Foundation passed on $500 million to Hizbullah in 2020 alone.” Read more here




The first military cargo plane from Chad was due  set to land in Israel late Wednesday night to pick up humanitarian aid from the NGO Israeli Flying Aid (IFA) which is  donating tents to help 12,000 people made homeless by floods and .also donating protective gear against COVID-19 to help medical personnel and equipment to assist in spraying pesticides that kills malaria carrying mosquitoes.    Read more here




Israeli businessman Michael Granoff describes a trip to Dubai: Never have I returned from two days abroad with a greater sense of optimism or potential. The purpose of the trip was to establish relationships as a basis for future business, and on that count, mission accomplished. But that was the least of it. What I found was not just a hunger for commerce, but a genuine yearning for friendship between peoples.  Read more here


Herb Keinon: The ceremony at the White House is significant for the message it sends the Palestinians, the region, and the world. It tells the Palestinians that their strategy of trying to pressure Israel by isolating it, by casting it as an international leper, has failed. The event sends a message to the Iranians and the Turks that their designs for regional hegemony will be met by a firm wall of pragmatic Mideast states. It also tells other Arab and Muslim states that ties with Israel are acceptable. Read more here


David M. Halbfinger:… with agreements to normalize ties with the UAE and Bahrain, could Israel at last be gaining acceptance in the region as a legitimate member of the neighbourhood? Former Israeli lawmaker Einat Wilf says, “They’re retelling the entire story of the Jews in the region and they’re changing the whole narrative: They’re not saying, ‘We still hate Israel, Jews are bad, we wish they’re gone but we need them against Iran.’ They’re saying the Jews belong here, that we’re not foreigners, and that the Palestinians need to accept us.”  Read more here


Shakib Ali: Thanks to their language, education and religion, Israeli Arabs stand to be the main beneficiaries of the agreements. They can not only do business in the Gulf, but also travel and study there. Read more here