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Israel Update 31.12.20

Greetings for a Happy & Healthy 2021 to all my readers.




Israel’s Health Ministry reported Thursday that it has inoculated almost 800,000 people – 7.7% of its population – with the first of two vaccinations against Covid-19, including 33% of those aged 60 and over. 150,000 people were inoculated on Wednesday. Read more here


According to this source, Israel continues to lead the world in Covid-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people in the total population.  Read more here


Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine needs to be kept in ultra-cold storage and comes packaged in batches of 975 units.  In Israel, workers repackage the units, operating inside refrigerators at temperatures of two degrees to allow maximum public accessibility to the vaccine, even in small and remote locations.Read more here


Israel is expected to receive a shipment of a million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine next week, in advance of the planned rollout scheduled for March. Read more here


Celebrity mystic Uri Geller joined Israel’s vaccination drive, performing his trademark spoon-bending trick for medical staff.     Read more here



 (Last week’s figures in brackets for comparison)

There were 5253 (3805) new cases confirmed in Israel on Wednesday. . 639 (497) patients are in serious condition with 165 (117) on ventilators. Since the start of the pandemic, 3314 (3150) people have died from the disease.   Read more here


Researchers in Israel have located dozens of suspected cases of a new coronavirus variant that was first identified in the UK. In one hospital, testers found 49 suspected cases while 19 suspected cases were found in another lab. Some of the patients had not left the country recently.   Read more here


Israelis returning from abroad will no longer have to quarantine in specially designated hotels. All travellers must immediately take a virus test upon their arrival in Israel and quarantine at home for 14 days, which could be reduced to 10 days if they undergo a second test after nine days. A ban on all foreign nationals from entering the country remains in place.  Read more here




The first day of Israel’s third national lockdown (Monday) saw traffic on the country’s roads reduced by barely half the amount seen during the previous two closures, while public buses were just as packed as usual, apparently due to reduced service. There also appeared to be patchy compliance with the lockdown among businesses.Read more here




Researchers from Tel Aviv University have proved that the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, can be killed efficiently, quickly and cheaply using ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs) at specific frequencies. Read more here




Last Friday night, rockets were fired by Gazan terrorists towards Ashkelon, and were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.In response, Israeli aircraft struck several sites in Gaza early Saturday including, reportedly, a secret rocket manufacturing facility and training and military posts belonging to Hamas.                Read more here


Hamas on Saturday claimed the IDF damaged a children’s hospital in an airstrike, but Israel said secondary explosions from a strike on a Hamas rocket manufacturing site caused the damage.Hamas “deliberately places military targets at the heart of densely populated areas,” while the Israeli army “takes all possible precautions to avoid harming civilians and civilian buildings,” the IDF said. Read more here


Rocket sirens blared in southern Israel early Tuesday morning, shortly after midnight, for the second time in under a week as a projectile fired at Israel from Gaza failed to cross the border. Read more here


Hamas and other Gaza terror groups held a joint military drill on Tuesday morning during which several rockets were fired toward the sea, in an effort to send a “clear message to the Zionist enemy.” Read more here




A team of Moroccan diplomats arrived in Israel Sunday night to begin laying the groundwork for the reopening of a liaison office in Tel Aviv next month. Read more here




Israel is reportedly aiming to allow tourists to visit from April. An initial Health Ministry plan would require tourist groups to obtain special health insurance, register a detailed schedule for the visit and be monitored by authorities. Read more here




Ice hockey teams, the Bat Yam Chiefs and the Dubai Mighty Camels took part in the first sports match between teams from Israel and the UAE. Read more here




Israeli startup Arbe Robbotics says that its ultra-high-resolution radar system, now being installed in vehicles worldwide, is 50 times better than standard radar. The system recognizes objects, including people, up to 300 metres away, giving a driver – or an automatic braking system – ample time to stop. The technology also works in low-visibility conditions caused by bad weather or glaring sun. Read more here




At the traditional Christmas-New Year reception hosted by President  Rivlin for the spiritual heads and lay leaders of Christian denominations,the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem praised the Israeli President for his steadfast support of the multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious character of Jerusalem and the Holy Land.This year’s reception, in compliance with Health Ministry regulations, was held online.Read more here




Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works stores are set to open in Israel in the second half of 2021. Read more here



British television personality and veteran music producer Simon Cowell will be a judge on the upcoming fourth season of Israel’s “The X Factor”. Read more here




Israeli model Yael Shelbia was awarded the number one spot on the TC Candler’s 31st annual Independent Critics List of 2020’s most beautiful faces.  Read more here




Einat Wilf, Ibrahim Al Rashidi and Maryam AlZaabi:It is time to dispense with the idea that to be a proud Arab and Muslim one must be an anti-Zionist…Zionism is the political movement for the liberation and self-determination of the Jewish people in their ancient homeland. It asks that the Jews, as a people, should be able to govern themselves as an equal nation in the only land which ever formed the consistent and core part of their identity as a people and a nation.There is nothing in Arab history and in Islam that necessitates fierce opposition to this idea. Arab identity can and should stand on its own merits and has no real need to resort to the negation of Jews and their history. Zionism was never about replacing Arabs but about living with them and next to them as an equal nation and people.  Read more here