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Israel Update 8.10.20

Chag Sameach to all my readers.

AVIATION

 

An agreement signed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel and its Jordanian counterpart today, Thursday, will open more flight paths across both countries. Several Arab countries including Iraq, Qatar & Saudi Arabia will be able to use Israeli airspace en route to and from Europe and the USA and the agreement is expected to cut fuel costs and polluting emissions. Read more here

 

CORONAVIRUS IN ISRAEL

 

The Israel Health Ministry said Thursday morning that on Wednesday 4,117 people tested positive for Covid-19 in 48,000 tests, bringing the contagion rate to 8.5% – the lowest in three weeks. 1,576 patients are being treated in hospitals (compared with 1,668 on Sunday). 847 patients are in serious condition (compared with 890 on Sunday), and 236 are ventilated (compared with 215 on Sunday). The death toll is 1,824. The number of active patients is 61,049 (compared with 68,811 a week ago). Read more here

 

On Monday Israeli health officials had expressed “cautious optimism” that the curve of infection had begun to flatten. Read more here

 

The government late Tuesday approved the extension of the emergency measures imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, until October 13. The measures include restricting demonstrations to no further than one kilometre from home and in groups of no more than 20 people in any one location. They also include the closure of houses of worship with prayers permitted only outdoors.Read more here

 

The Director of Bnei Brak’s only hospital resigned from his post on Thursday, only a few hours after making remarks highly critical of the ultra-orthodox sector. Read more here

 

THE MAGICAL MATHS OF POOL TESTING

 

The BBC’s Tim Harford (host of the statistics show “More or Less”) speaks to Israeli researcher, Tomer Hertz, about how the mathematical magic of pool testing could help countries to ramp up their Covid-19 testing capacity.

The relevant part starts at 3 mins 6 seconds into this BBC clip: Listen here

 

TREATMENT

 

The Haifa-based company Pluristem announced Wednesday that it has received approval from the Health Ministry to expand an existing Phase II clinical trial of its treatment for COVID-19 to Israel. Read more here

 

VACCINE UPDATE

 

A COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Israel’s national research laboratory is reportedly set to begin human trials next week. Read more here

 

STUDY

 

The authors of new research from Tel Aviv University claim that the most important factor for decreasing mortality (number of deaths) –as opposed to morbidity, (the number of infections) — is how quickly social-distancing measures are implemented. They found no statistical correlation between the severity of a lockdown and the number of Covid-19 fatalities in the country.

Read more here

Read more here

 

FILTRATION

 

Technology developed by researchers in Israel and the US to filter particles from the air is being commercialized for filtration systems that filter out airborne Covid-19 particles. The technology is being developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Rice University in Houston, Texas. Read more here

 

GAZA

 

The Israeli Air Force struck a Hamas target in the Gaza Strip on Monday, in response to a rocket fired into southern Israel earlier in the day. Read more here

 

ATTACK THWARTED

 

A Palestinian assailant was prevented from stabbing an Israeli police officer at a junction near Hebron.A knife was recovered at the scene. Read more here

SUDAN

 

Three Sudanese political groups voiced their support for normalization with Israel. Read more here

 

Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dogolo, deputy chairman of the Sovereign Council of Sudan said: “Israel is a developed country. The whole world is working with Israel…for development, for agriculture – we need Israel.” He said his country would likely establish ties with Jerusalem in the near future, “but it will be relations, not normalization.” Read more here

 

BEIRUT

 

The IDF has countered a Hizbullah claim that a Beirut factory identified by Israel as a missile production site was a civilian workshop, by showing that the machinery in the facility (shown in a Hizbullah video tour) is required for the production of precision-guided munitions. Read more here

 

MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY

 

IceCure Medical Ltd., an Israel-based maker of a tumour freezing  technology has expanded a strategic partnership with Terumo Corp. giving the Japanese medical devices firm exclusive rights to IceCure’s product in Thailand for six years for a total of $7.2 million. Read more here

 

Israeli company Diagnostic Robotics announced the launch of a collaboration to bring its AI-powered patient triage and prediction platform to the Brown University-Lifespan Centre for Digital Health in Providence, Rhode Island, for assessment and validation. Read more here

 

DEFENCE

 

The US subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems has won a contract worth up to $50 million to produce spare parts for the aviators’ night vision imaging head-up display system of the US Army. Read more here

 

Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems has developed a new type of Typhoon cannon which uses state-of-the-art optical technology and is aimed by radar, giving it pinpoint accuracy, even in complete darkness. The IDF fears that Hamas is turning to sea infiltrations because its tunnel system has been blocked by Israeli defensive measures. Read more here

 

ISRAEL & THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

 

The foreign ministers of the UAE and Israel met in Berlin on Tuesday for talks to strengthen the nascent official ties between the two nations and bolster broader Middle East peace efforts. Read more here

 

The Israel Export Institute and the Dubai World Trade Centre have signed an agreement to facilitate the participation of Israeli exhibitors in large-scale exhibitions by the end of the year. The accord is a first step toward a “comprehensive” trade agreement that will be signed in the coming weeks between Israel and the UAE. Read more here

 

A public sukkah was built outside the UAE’s first kosher restaurant at the base of the iconic Burj  Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Read more here

 

BAHRAIN

 

Yossi Cohen, head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, visited the kingdom of Bahrain last week to meet Bahraini security chiefs. Read more here

 

TECHNOLOGY

 

US gaming and computer graphics giant Nvidia Corp. has a new and “very powerful” processor that enables the transfer of all data centre infrastructure services onto one chip. The technology was initially created by Mellanox Technologies Ltd., the Israeli chip maker that Nvidia acquired in 2019 for $7 billion. Read more here

 

Israeli company ElectReon announced Tuesday that it has entered into a strategic MOU with a large European infrastructure company, Eurovia, to promote and build wireless electric road systems in Germany, France and Belgium. The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality recently contracted with ElectReon to pilot a smart road that can recharge an electric bus. Read more here

 

OPERA

 

The Israeli Opera recently upgraded its website, offering video on demand, opera games and puzzles, and clips of performance favourites for fans and new listeners. In addition to operas, their singers were recorded singing Hebrew classics in operatic form. Read more here

Read more here

And, 6 months late, I discovered this Israeli Opera “Traviata-Corona” video: Listen & watch here