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Israel Update 26.11.20



Terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket at Ashkelon on Saturday night, striking and damaging an empty warehouse.  The attack came at around 9:30 p.m., setting off sirens in Ashkelon and its industrial zone, including areas where tens of thousands of people live. Read more here




Israeli P.M. Netanyahu made a “secret” trip to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, accompanied by Mossad head Yossi Cohen. Reportedly, Netanyahu spent four hours in the Saudi coastal city of Neom, where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Read more here


US tech giant Google is reportedly planning to deploy a fibre-optic network that will run through Saudi Arabia and Israel to open a new global internet traffic corridor connecting India to Europe. The network will, for the first time, link two nations that have no official diplomatic connection but are showing signs of warming relations. Read more here




(Last Thursday’s figures in brackets for comparison)

There were 1,069 (780) new virus cases diagnosed in Israel on Wednesday.282 (304)patients are in serious condition, with 122 (138) on ventilators. The death toll is 2,826 (2739). Read more here


Nazareth, Israel’s largest Arab city, was on lockdown as the number of Covid-19 cases there continued to climb. Official Israeli data suggests that 46.7% of patients in recent weeks had come from Arab communities, which comprise 21% of Israel’s population. Israel’s coronavirus chief said that “weddings and returning from abroad” were the two main factors contributing to the spread of the virus. Read more here


Some experts say that Israel is not on the cusp of a 3rdCOVID wave. The transmission rate has been rising but the full picture is less alarming than widely suggested with outbreaks highly localised. On Monday, it was decided  to expedite the reopening of the entire education system.  Read more here


Government ministers on Wednesday approved a pilot plan to open 15 shopping malls around the country from Friday until 6 December with special Health Ministry regulations in force. Outdoor market areas and some museums will also be allowed to reopen as part of the pilot plan, which aims to test the efficacy of virus safety guidelines.Read more here




The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office no longer advises against non-essential travel to Israel or requires arrivals from Israel to quarantine for two weeks. Read more here




A senior Palestinian Authority official claimed on Sunday that Israel has agreed to transfer millions of doses of COVID-19 treatment to Ramallah in the coming monthsSome three to four million coronavirus vaccines are expected to reach Palestinian medical workers as part of a deal Israel has reached with pharmaceutical companies.   Read more here


Magen David Adom will be introducing three special vehicles to its fleet that can travel around Israel to effectively administer the coronavirus vaccine. The custom vehicles run on solar energy and can hold thousands of vaccine doses at the correct temperatures.  Read more here




Border guards shot dead an East Jerusalem man who rammed his car into one officer, injuring him, after being caught presenting false identification papers at a checkpoint outside  Jerusalem on Wednesday.Read more here


Terrorists, who planted explosives by the Qalandiya Crossing and by Rachel’s Tomb on Friday night, were arrested. Read more here


The IDF on Sunday thwarted an attempt to attack troops with bombs  near Ramallah. The explosives were covered with dirt and rigged to blow up if a soldier stepped on them. Read more here




This month Israel Shipyards delivered the last of four patrol ships for the Senegalese Navy, fulfilling an agreement signed in November 2019. Read more here




The world’s first lab-grown meat restaurant has opened in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ness Ziona.  The menu features two burgers made of “crispy cultured chicken fillet” grown from cells in its mother company SuperMeat’s adjacent factory. Read more here



TIME magazine has listed six Israeli-made innovations among its annual list of 100 Best Inventions of 2020 that are “changing how we live.”Among these is Beehome, the first automated beehive created by Israeli startup Beewise, listed in the artificial intelligence category. Read more here




Mike Pompeo was not the first US Secretary of State to visit the Golan last week. Warren Christopher, who served as secretary of state during the first term of the Clinton administration, visited the Golan Heights in 1993. In 1991 the then-Secretary of State James Baker toured the Golan by air.  Read more here




Israeli startup Zebra Medical Vision and Scottish digital transformation consultancy Storm ID have won a UK-Israel research and development competition with a proposal for a revolutionary, machine learning-driven model for early detection and prevention of osteoporosis to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs.Read more here


A green Mediterranean diet, containing even more plant matter and very little red meat or poultry, may be even better for cardiovascular and metabolic health than the traditional version—at least in men—suggests research published online in the journal Heart. The lead researcher is Dr Gal Tsaban, with Professor Iris Shai, of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Read more here


Researchers at Tel Aviv University are using a technology similar to that which Pfizer and Moderna have used in their anti-coronavirus vaccines (mRNA technology ) to target cancer cells and genetically neutralize them, increasing overall survival rates. Read more here


An Israeli company, Oramed Pharmaceuticals, has started final-stage tests of its oral insulin, hoping that type 2 diabetics can start taking its pills in just over three years, followed by type 1 diabetics after further testing.  The product transports insulin directly to the liver.  Read more here




In the 2020 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) Israel rose to first place from fourth in 2019. Read more here




Israeli judoka Peter Paltchik on Saturday won the gold medal at the 2020 European Judo Championships, defeating Russia’s Arman Adamian in the under-100 kilogram weight class final. Read more here




Anna Ahronheim: Hamas is under growing pressure again in the (Gaza) Strip. The rockets fired in the past two weeks are meant to pass that message to Israel. Read more here


The Economist: Both Israel and the Saudis seem happy enough that the news (of the Netanyahu/Saudi Crown Prince/Pompeo meeting) has leaked out because of two key messages it sends. The first is as a warning to Iran as it steps up its nuclear activities. The second is to the incoming American administration…Israel and the Saudis seem to have put the president-elect on notice that they intend to pool their considerable diplomatic and political capital in Washington to oppose major changes in America’s Middle East policy. That is something of an achievement for a meeting that, officially at least, never took place. Read more here