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Israel Update 12.11.20

CORONAVIRUS IN ISRAEL

 

(Last Thursday’s figures in brackets for comparison)

 

There were 734 (754) new virus cases diagnosed on Wednesday with 1.9% of people screened testing positive. 321 (353) patients are in serious condition, with 127 (154) on ventilators. The death toll is 2,700. (2,597) Read more here

 

Israel has opened a testing centre for arriving & departing passengers at Ben-Gurion airport. Read more here

 

Amid concerns of a potential rise in new cases, PM Netanyahu warned on Monday that the government would not ease additional lockdown measures until coronavirus infection rates further decline. Read more here

 

POOLED VIRUS TESTING

 

A lab at Soroka Medical Centre (Beersheba) is using maths to roll out a speedy one stage pooled virus test, eliminating the second stage of the search for positive samples and quadrupling the speed without the need for new equipment.Read more here

 

DISTANCING

 

A personal device, Myzone, that helps maintain a social distance of 2 metres has been developed and patented. A laser beam marks the personal space of each person wearing it. Read more here

 

TOURISM

 

Hotels in Eilat and the Dead Sea are set to reopen next week for the first time in two months after the Knesset (Parliament) voted to allow the tourism sector in the resort areas to partially reopen. Read more here

 

THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY

 

Veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat died on Tuesday aged 65 after developing complications from coronavirus. He was being treated in an Israeli hospital which had stated that his treatment was a “huge challenge” due to his lung transplant in 2017, and his “weakened immune system and bacterial infection”. Read more here

 

To circumvent Israeli sanctions on the Palestinian banking system, (designed to stop payments to terrorists) the P.A. decided last week to cease paying monthly stipends to 7,000 former prisoners and instead pay them salaries as government employees.
Read more here

 

The P.A. halted civilian and security coordination with Israel and refused to accept $733 million in the form of tax revenues that Israel collected for them. Their attitude has prompted Palestinians to work directly with the Israeli Civil Administration. About half a million West Bank Palestinians downloaded an app to their mobile phones, by which they contact Israeli officials directly to obtain authorizations and fill out forms.  Read more here

 

COUNTER TERRORISM

 

The Shin Bet security service on Monday accused the Hamas terror group of recruiting minors to carry out attacks on Israeli targets, saying it had recently arrested two such suspects, one aged 16. Read more here

 

A Palestinian assailant, with knife drawn attempting to stab soldiers on Sunday was shot.  Read more here

 

IRAN, THE US & ISRAEL

 

An Israeli Minister said on Sunday that a “dialogue with the new (US) administration” was needed to ensure Biden does not re-enter the 2015 Iran nuclear pact under its previous terms. He said Israel’s goal should be to see Iran’s nuclear programme “dismantled” and not “frozen” in place. Read more here

 

David Makovsky…a former State Department official under President Obama, said, “The president-elect has said that he would like to renew the JCPOA, but only once Iran comes into compliance, and they have not been in compliance because they’ve been enriching at a much higher level. So that’s going to take time.” Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL AID

 

Israeli humanitarian aid agency IsraAID has launched an emergency response in Guatemala following Tropical Storm Eta, which has killed more than 150 people and affected the lives of some 200,000 people. Read more here

 

During the past few months Ethiopia has faced an overwhelming invasion of desert locust swarms damaging crops and pasture. After a request from Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Israel sent a task force of locust fighters and experts to join forces with their Ethiopian counterparts to help control the spread of the swarms. Read more here

 

Innovation Africa is just one Israeli NGO helping African nations receive access to clean water and electricity. Since 2008 this NGO has positively impacted the lives of more than 2.2 million people across ten African countries. Read more here

 

Israeli start-up Cybint equips African refugees with cybersecurity skills. A boot camp set up with Southern New Hampshire University aims to find jobs for refugees and to help fill the shortage of cyber professionals in Africa. Read more here

 

DEFENCE

 

A retired US Lt-Gen writes: The U.S. Army’s recent acquisition of two Iron Dome short-range air defence batteries from Israel provides a much-needed solution to one of America’s critical security needs…Iron Dome is the most proven and affordable option against very short-range fire that existing U.S. systems were not designed to cover. Read more here

 

CO-OPERATION

 

Saudi air traffic control guided an Israeli plane flying from Tel Aviv to India across its skies after it was forced to reroute due to bad weather on Tuesday night. Saudi Arabia is not among the countries to have normalized ties with Israel, but it did decide to open its airspace to all Israeli flights travelling east from Israel. Read more here

 

After agreeing recently to normalise relations, Israel and Sudan will begin to cooperate on ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in the spheres of water and agriculture.Read more here

 

ROBOTICS

 

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University studied the movements of cockroaches and lizards to create a new palm-sized high-speed amphibious robot that is able to swim, run on water, and crawl on challenging terrain. The robot is intended to be used for agricultural, search and rescue, and excavation purposes. Read more here

 

TECHNOLOGY

 

A drone developed by Israel’s Percepto helped telecom conglomerate Verizon inspect critical communications infrastructure that could have been destroyed by fire, in th US state of Washington, ensuring the potentially life-saving communications capability of rescue workers who could not access the area in person. The Big Hollow Fire in Washington state burned more than 24,000 acres and resulted in mandatory evacuation orders in September. Read more here

 

DONATION

 

The UK’s Prince Charles has made a private donation to Israel’s Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation. Read more here

ISRAELI HI-TECH ON TV

 

TrueFuture TV’s new season features  Israeli innovative technologies that save and change lives.  Link below to the on-going Season 4 (episodes 1 & 2 so far). Episodes only last 11 minutes. Recommended by Michael O. Read more here

 COMMENT & OPINION

 

Batya Jerenberg: The BBC cancelled an interview with Israeli MK Sharren Haskel on the death of Saeb Erekat after she said he supported terrorism against Israel. The MK said  “In a briefing call with me, I explained that although in English Erekat was portrayed as a peacemaker, in Arabic he promoted, funded, and pushed for an armed struggle against the State of Israel…In his last days, too, he fought the historic peace signed between Israel and the Arab states…..When I went on to remind them of his statement that Israel’s position has always been ‘retreat’ and therefore the Palestinians can stick to their refusal, the researcher politely ended the conversation. After a few minutes they got back to me and informed me that the interview was cancelled,”

In perhaps Erekat’s most infamous charge, when Israel initiated Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 in response to a massive Palestinian terrorist wave, he falsely accused the IDF of perpetrating a “massacre” and “war crime” in Jenin, saying that the refugee camp “is no longer in existence.” The Palestinian death toll was between 53 and 56 people, most of whom were combatants. (23 IDF soldiers were also killed) Read more here

 

Isabel Kershner: More than two dozen Israeli high-tech executives turned up in Dubai recently, six weeks after the Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements to normalize relations with Israel and open up embassies…   Emirati investor Mohamed Mandeel, CEO of Abu Dhabi’s Royal Strategic Partners group, said he felt a sense of kinship with the Israelis. He recounted how he had taken a DNA test and found a match for his rare Babylonian gene in Tel Aviv. “If we set aside the religious ideologies and 70 years fueled by conflict, wars and the media, we end up with human beings,” he said. “We share the same food, the same DNA, the same look,” and he described the Israelis as “cousins.” Read more here

 

Alex Fishman: The American team to be tasked with restarting talks with Iran estimate that until the presidential elections in Iran in June 2021, no substantial agreement can be achieved. The main objective during this initial phase is to reach an understanding with Tehran to freeze its ballistic missile development, end interventionist actions in the Middle East and halt its nuclear military activity. Read more here