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Israel Update 19.11.20



In response to two rockets launched toward central Israel, the IDF targeted underground infrastructure and military posts of Hamas in Gaza on Monday morning. The rockets were fired at 2 a.m., sending thousands of Israelis into shelters. Residents in central Israel reported hearing large explosions and videos circulating on social media from residents of Holon, Bat Yam and a Tel Aviv neighbourhood showed the rocket fire.Read more here




IDF Engineering Corp soldiers dismantled several anti-personnel mines hidden on the Israel-Syria border. Syrian residents aided by an Iranian force had been observed placing the explosives. Each detonation would have killed anyone within a 15 metre radius and wounded people up to 50 metres away; each contained 2,000 iron ball-bearings & 2.5 kg of explosives. Read more here


The IDF has revealed that the terror cell behind the operation is the Iranian Quds’ Unit 840, a relatively secretive operational unit, which is responsible, among other things, for planning and establishing terror infrastructure outside Iran against Western targets and opposition groups. Read more here


Israel launched air raids against a wide range of Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria on Wednesday, in retaliation for the Iranian-sponsored operation. Read more here




At the time of writing (Thursday afternoon), the US Secretary of State while visiting Israel, has announced that the US will allow goods produced in Israeli settlements to be labelled products of Israel as opposed to the West Bank. He also announced that the State Department considers the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to be illegal. Pompeo made a private visit to Psagot Winery which has been at the forefront of the battle to legitimize West Bank settlements. He then continued to Qasr el-Yahud in the Jordan Valley, the site of Jesus’ baptism and plans to visit the Golan Heights. Read more here




(Last Thursday’s figures in brackets for comparison)


There were 780 (734) new virus cases diagnosed in Israel on Wednesday. 304 (321) patients are in serious condition, with 138 (127) on ventilators. The death toll is 2739 (2,700). Read more here


Israel last Thursday began a month-long ban on its citizens entering Area B of the West Bank in an attempt to slow a rise in Covid-19 cases among Israeli Arabs. Last week, 38% of current coronavirus patients in Israel were in Israeli Arab communities. Read more here


19% of Israel’s workforce, some 750,000 people, remain either unemployed or on unpaid leave because of the pandemic. Before Israel recorded its first coronavirus case in February, the unemployment rate was 3%. After losing jobs in restaurant, tourism and industry, some Israelis are finding a new path working in nature, while others have turned to hi-tech.  Read more here




A special Knesset committee on Wednesday voted to reopen restaurants, trade industry and tourist attractions in what the government calls “tourism hubs” (the resort area of the Dead Sea and the city of Eilat,) as well as zoos and safari parks throughout the country. Read more here


The coronavirus cabinet voted on Wednesday evening to allow a maximum of 10 customers inside one store in an effort to combat overcrowding witnessed earlier this week in newly reopened open-air malls. Read more here


The Interior Ministry agreed Wednesday to ease coronavirus restrictions and allow entry into the country for first-degree relatives of new immigrants who have come to Israel within the last four years.  Read more here




A 30-second coronavirus detection test being developed by India and Israel is being calibrated by the Israeli team, after testing was completed in India. After calibration the tests will be mass produced. Read more here




Israel has pre-ordered doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently in clinical trials in the US, pending their approval by both countries’ health regulators.

Moderna’s chief medical officer, Israeli-born Dr. Tal Zaks had approached Israel with an opportunity to become one of the first countries to receive the vaccine, if approved, and the Israeli government agreed in June to purchase at least 1-2 million doses. Zaks said “The advance that Israel paid helped to build the company’s production lines.” Meanwhile in Israel, 6 Covid-19 vaccines are in development. One of them, Brilife is undergoing clinical trials at two hospitals. Read more here




An Israeli resolution titled “Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development” supporting the UN’s Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and focusing on what should be done to recover from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, was passed by United Nations Second Committee on Wednesday by an overwhelming majority of 144 member states. Some 26 opposed it, among them Iran and Syria. Read more here




The PA resumed security and civil coordination with Israel on Tuesday, six months after the cessation of ties. Read more here



On a first official visit by Bahraini officials to Israel, the Gulf kingdom’s foreign minister said his Israeli counterpart would visit Manama in December. Israel and Bahrain will open embassies soon.    Read more here




Israeli startup Olive diagnostics is creating a passive IoT device mounted in the toilet. Using advanced optics, the device picks up biomarkers from urine. Results are forwarded to an app on your phone Read more here




New futuristic audio technology developed in Israel allows music to be played in a person’s head without any headphones or wires.Noveto Systems’ SoundBeamer 1.0 uses “sound beaming” that locates and tracks the position of the listener’s ears and sends ultrasonic waves to sound pockets around their ears. Read more here


Nine Israeli companies were listed among 100 tech challengers that have grown into powerful forces in technology and other industries” in 2020. These companies are driving the next generation of innovation and growth in emerging markets, according to a new report by US management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group . Read more here




A US-Israeli fund that promotes joint agricultural research by scientists in both countries has invested $1.06 billion in 1,330 projects, leading to the adoption of numerous new agricultural practices over its 40 years of operation. Since 1979, the US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund, (BARD), has expanded academic knowledge in the field with more than 5,600 published pieces. Read more here




Tel Aviv has been ranked as one of the most wheelchair-friendly cities in the world by London-based Truly Belong magazine which reported that:”The eclectic city has made great strides in recent years to become fully accessible to people with disabilities…” Read more here




Israeli movie “Asia,” starring Emmy Award-nominated actress Shira Haas, won Best Picture at Israel’s Ophir Awards and the film will be Israel’s entry in the international film category at the 93rd Academy Awards in April 2021. Read more here




On Wednesday President Rivlin welcomed to his residence some of the heads of Christian churches for the traditional pre-Christmas reception for spiritual and lay leaders of the various Christian denominations that minister to congregations in Israel and the P.A.Read more here


Santa Claus came to the Dead Sea on Sunday, part of a campaign by Israel’s Tourism Ministry to bring some Christmas cheer during the global pandemic. Read more here




Editorial New York Daily News: The UN’s World Health Organization wasted four hours last week in Geneva debating how bad Israel is – and then voted to adopt a resolution to do it again next year. As usual, Israel was the only country in the dock. As usual, the sponsors of this tripe were Cuba, Iraq, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and the PLO, all world leaders in excellent medical research and care…
Israel actually does have one of the world’s best tech and science sectors and a long tradition of providing superb health care to all, regardless of politics or religion or nationality. Israel has coordinated with the Palestinians to monitor, prevent and treat Covid-19, and admitted fleeing refugees from the Syrian civil war needing urgent medical treatment.  Read more here