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Israel Update 17.12.20





Last Thursday, Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the (US) President said:”Morocco will establish full diplomatic relations and resume official contacts with Israel. They will grant overflights and direct flights to and from Israel for all Israelis. They’ll reopen the liaison offices in Rabat and Tel Aviv immediately, with the intention to open the embassies in the near future. They’ll be promoting economic cooperation between Israeli and Moroccan companies.” Read more here


In a first for the Arab world, Moroccan schools are to teach Jewish history and culture. Read more here


Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE welcomed the announcement predicting that  the development will contribute to regional stability. Read more here


A joint US-Israeli delegation is set to visit Morocco next week on the first-ever nonstop flight from Tel Aviv to Rabat. Read more here




Israel established full diplomatic relations with Bhutan on Saturday night. A Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas with 800,000 residents, Bhutan has formal diplomatic relations with only 53 other countries – a list that does not include the U.S., UK, France or Russia. Bhutan’s government reportedly  “thinks of Israel as a leading country in technology and innovation that can help them progress and use more advanced technology and train their youth.” Read more here




(Last Thursday’s figures in brackets for comparison)

There were 2802  (1,828) new cases confirmed in Israel on Wednesday. 400 (318) patients are in serious condition with 150 (100) on ventilators. Since the start of the pandemic, 3033 (2934) people have died from the disease. Read more here


Following the persistent rise in the number of new infections, the Ministry of Health is pressing the coronavirus cabinet to tighten restrictions including the closure of malls and street stores and all offices and businesses that receive the public. Read more here


Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is to start next week, with medical personnel starting to receive vaccinations on Sunday followed by certain members of the general public later in the week. Read more here


People who have been exposed to a person with coronavirus will now be eligible to shorten their isolation period from 12 to 10 days, subject to receiving two negative test results taken on the 1st & 9thdays. Read more here


Vaccinated Israelis will receive a document enabling them to avoid quarantine, and allowing access to cultural events, restaurants etc. Read more here




Israel’s Institute for Biological Research successfully completed the first stage of testing its coronavirus vaccine on Monday and plans to expand its trials to some 1,000 volunteers for phase 2. Some 15 million doses, are being produced. The vaccine is given in a single dose.Read more here




The Israel Defence Forces’ National Rescue Unit sent an aid delegation to Honduras in the wake of two Category 4 hurricanes that struck the country in November.They helped rebuild the severely damaged village of Cruz de Valencia, refurbishing houses, installing solar lighting, and repairing the water system, enabling hundreds of residents to return to their homes. Read more here




Israel successfully completed a major, unprecedented air defence exercise this month, which tested the abilities of the country’s three tiers of missile defence systems against a variety of aerial threats. Notably, Iron Dome was able to shoot down cruise missiles.Read more here


Haifa-based defence firm Elbit Systemshas won a $338 million contract to supply advanced communications solutions to the Swiss Armed Forces.Read more here




A delegation from both the UAE and Bahrain took part Monday evening in the central menorah lighting at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, in a ceremony described by the site’s chief rabbi as a “Hanukkah miracle.” (30 second embedded video in this article) View here (scroll down)


An innovative Israeli nose spray, Taffix, helped protect Andrea Bocelli and his team of dancers, musicians, and wider staff during the annual “Believe in Christmas” concert on Dec 12. The Taffix formula is reportedly proven to kill 97% of the coronavirus. Read more here




An Israeli company, Artza Box is helping Bethlehem shopkeepers who are suffering from the lack of tourism caused by the pandemic.Read more here




Norway’s legislature has backed cuts of $3.4 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority in response to the PA’s failure to reduce incitement to violence against Jewish Israelis in its school curriculum. Read more here





Researchers at Tel Aviv University have found a way to significantly cut the cost of COVID-19-killing ultraviolet lights. They are working on LED-embedded surfaces that clean themselves, for example  a laptop keyboard that is cleaned with ultraviolet light when the computer lid is closed. Read more here


During the recent GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, crowds gathered around Israel’s IGIN exhibit, the world’s first and only automatic glove clothing system, which helps in putting on the kind of disposable gloves worn in hospitals. Read more here


Israel’s OrCam Technologies, a developer of artificial intelligence-based devices to assist the blind and visually impaired, has won the CES 2021 Innovation Awards Best of Innovation in the “accessibility” category for its OrCam Read digital reader. Read more here


Israeli startup ReSymmetry and Taiwanese manufacturing firm Karma Medical Devices are partnering in a joint venture to develop and manufacture a smart seating system for motorized wheelchairs and rehabilitative chairs. Read more here





The UAE Football Association signed a memorandum of understanding with the Israel Football Association in the presence of FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Read more here


Israeli MediWound, a maker of a pineapple-based gel to treat burn victims, said has signed an exclusive marketing and distribution agreement with UAE conglomerate Ghassan Aboud Group (GAG), for the commercialization of its NexoBrid drug for the treatment of severe burns. Read more here


Israel’s Idan Raichel joined Andrea Boccelli for a Celebration of Peace performance at Dubai’s Opera House.                Read more here




Moovit and Pango have joined forces to enable Israelis and tourists to pay for public transportation with an all-in-one app, starting Tuesday on buses and Feb 1 for trains. Read more here




Israel’s Bendit Technologies has developed microcatheters capable of navigating to the brain more quickly and precisely than most currently available.Read more here




The Rami Levy supermarket chain is to install vertical farms next to each of its branches, providing fresh produce for its customers. Read more here




An interview by Douglas Davis with the late John Le Carre published in 1998 in which (inter alia) his impressions of Israel are mentioned:

…what he found was “the most extraordinary carnival of human variety that I have ever set eyes on, a nation in the process of re-assembling itself from the shards of its past, now Oriental, now Western, now secular, now religious, but always anxiously moralizing about itself, criticizing itself with Maoist ferocity, a nation crackling with debate, rediscovering its past while it fought for its future.” “No nation on earth,” he says passionately, ” was more deserving of peace — or more condemned to fight for it.”Read more here


Seth J Frantzman: today I’d feel safer in the UAE with a kippah than in most countries in Europe. That says a lot about the disastrous failure of wealthy Western countries to create a society of tolerance towards an ancient minority.Read more here