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Israel Update 24.12.20



Only three days after launching its nationwide coronavirus vaccination campaign, Israel now ranks first in the world inthe number of COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people, according to official data collected by Our World in Data and published on Wednesday.Read more here


The “Give a Shoulder” vaccination campaign got underway on Sunday for medical personnel and was expanded to anyone over 60 starting on Monday.  Read more here


Reportedly Israel is likely to be one of the first countries in the world to complete the vaccination of its at-risk populations. This is due to Israel’s relatively small population, compared to the high ratio of vaccines per-capita it is receiving.Read more here




Esther Horgan, 52, a mother of six, was murdered on Sunday while jogging near her home in Tal Menashe, Samaria. A Palestinian suspect has been arrested. Read more here




Israel’s Knesset failed to pass a budget for 2020 before a Tuesday deadline, automatically triggering new elections to be held on March 23, 2021.  Read more here




Morocco, the U.S., and Israel on Tuesday signed a joint declaration to officially record Rabat’s decision to re-establish diplomatic relations, marking the opening of a new era of relations. Direct flights between Morocco and Israel are authorized, and the countries are to promote bilateral economic cooperation. Read more here


Israel’s Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat stunned Moroccans when he spoke in fluent Darija, the Moroccan Arabic dialect, as a sign of coexistence. He is from a family of immigrants to Israel of Moroccan origin. Read more here


The Moroccan Foreign Minister announced that diplomatic missions would open in Tel Aviv and Rabat within two weeks.Read more here




Third lockdown: The Israeli government voted late Wednesday night to roll out a countrywide closure to be imposed on Sunday, December 27 at 5 p.m. for two weeks, with the option to extend if the number of new daily cases is still over 1,000. Read more here


(Last week’s figures in brackets for comparison)

There were 3805 (2802) new cases confirmed in Israel on Tuesday. 497 (400) patients are in serious condition with 117 (150) on ventilators. Since the start of the pandemic, 3150 (3033) people have died from the disease.  Read more here


From 23 December, foreigners, including those with existing travel permits, will not be able to enter Israel and December 23, and any Israeli returning to the country from abroad  will be required to be isolated in a coronavirus hotel.  Read more here


The new “British” strain of the coronavirus, which is believed to be far more contagious, has been found in four cases in Israel. Three of the cases were people who had recently returned from the UK and were staying in coronavirus hotels. However, the fourth person had not been abroad and had been infected by an unidentified individual inside Israel. Read more here




Jerusalem researchers have shown that an existing drug, Fenofibrate, used to lower lipid levels, significantly downgrades the intensity of COVID-19, after conducting a comparative study of 1,500 medical records from hospitalized patients. Read more here




A surgical face mask, developed by the Israeli Institute for Biological Research, Hadassah and the start-up Tera Novel, with active antiviral and antibacterial protection has been shown to be 99.999% effective against coronavirus. Read more here




The Palestinians have not approached Israel for help in obtaining Covid-19 vaccines and are planning to purchase them on their own with the help of the international community, Palestinian and Israeli officials said on Sunday. A senior PA health official said the Palestinians will soon receive nearly four million doses of Russian-made vaccine. Read more here


Israel’s Deputy Health Minister said that because Israel plans to obtain more than enough coronavirus vaccines for its citizens, it may offer any excess to the PA. The Oslo accords require the PA to maintain international vaccination standards for their own population.Read more here




Israelis continue to make history in Dubai. Among recent “firsts” are participation in the largest rough diamond tender by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) and in the Organic and Natural Products Expo. reportedly the Middle East’s sole business event focussing on organic and natural products.Read more here


The upcoming issue of L’Official Arabia, a prominent fashion and culture magazine based in Dubai, is dedicated entirely to Israeli fashion and features Israeli model Yael Shelbia on the cover. Read more here




Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum has made a groundbreaking visit by an Israeli official, to discuss

tourism and business opportunities. Read more here




The Embassy of Israel in Yangon donated 320 50-kg. bags of rice to support for a month over 1,000 people in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the Paletwa district of Chin State, who fled their villages earlier this year amid fighting between government forces and the Arakan Army of the ethnic Rahine minority. Read more here




The UN General Assembly on Monday adopted two more resolutions criticizing Israel, bringing 2020’s total to 17.  Only 6 resolutions singled out any other country.Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said, “The UN’s assault on Israel with a torrent of one-sided resolutions is surreal. It’s absurd that in the year 2020…more than 70% were focused on one single country: Israel.”  “We note that the UK and EU states like France, Germany and Spain voted Yes to more than 2/3 of the UNGA resolutions singling out Israel in 2020.” Read more here




Pakistani political and religious leader Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani  reportedly announced that he supports recognition of Israel.  “Educated Muslims need to understand that the Quran and history prove to us that the Land of Israel belongs only to the Jews. King David built the house of God in Jerusalem for the Israelis and not for the Palestinians,” he said. Read more here




Israeli researchers have discovered new peptides that could help in defeating cancer. Immunotherapy needs peptides to be effective  but if a patient has insufficient, anti-cancer drugs won’t work. Read more here




Apple iPhone users will now be able to view hyperlocal air quality data from Israeli company BreezoMeter on the Weather app as part of a new iOS 14.3 update. Founded in 2014, BreezoMeter provides street-level and real-time air quality information including air pollution, pollen, and active fire intelligence. Read more here


Tel Aviv-based startup Aura Air has signed a $30 million deal with Japanese distributor J-TEC to supply the Japanese market with its advanced technology, which is specially designed to purify air in closed spaces. The company’s system has proven to be 99.99% effective at eliminating COVID-19 particles, among other pathogens. Read more here





Israeli IPOs (initial public offerings)and acquisition deals of technology firms soared to  $15.4 billion in 2020, according to a report by PwC Israel, 55% higher than the previous record set in 2019. Read more here




Seth J Frantzman: The whole nature of the conversation about Israel over the last decades has been tainted by accepting as normal a situation that was inherently abnormal. It became normal in Western universities to debate the very existence of Israel, and to advocate for a ” one-state” solution without even consulting the eight million people in Israel and millions of Palestinians. In no other instance in the world do American college students blithely decide that they will erase countries and shoehorn them into new “one-state” solutions, like recreating Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia without first asking people in Slovakia and Kosovo. Only when it comes to Israel was it taken for granted that people will debate its very existence itself…Now, long years of this abuse are being corrected with the new era of relations between Israel, Morocco, the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.  Read more here

(Thanks to QFI for this article)