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Israel Update 21.1.21




At his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, was asked “Do you agree that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and do you commit that the United States will keep our embassy in Jerusalem?” “Yes and yes,” Blinken responded. Read more here


New Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan has spoken to U.S. President Joe Biden, during a coincidental meeting on the train to Washington. “I think we can expect years of expanding cooperation to even more areas beyond the existing ones,” Erdan said. Read more here




 (Last week’s figures in brackets for comparison)

There were 8,174 (9,388) new coronavirus cases in Israel on Wednesday, The Health Ministry added that the coefficient of infection has fallen below 1 for the first time since October. 1,132 (1,063) patients are in serious condition, with 317 (273)  intubated. The death toll is 4,179 (3,826) including 800 patients so far this month.  There are 82,401 active patients, 16,262 of them in Jerusalem. 2,364,828 (26.6%) people have received the first vaccination shot and 691,876 (7.8%) have received both doses.Read more here


Israel’s Channel 12 revealed last Friday that the percentage of seriously ill over 60s out of the total confirmed cases had dropped drastically in recent days from 2.5% to 1.5%. Read more here





Two of Israel’s four health maintenance organizations said Wednesday they will begin vaccinating anyone over the age of 35. Israel’s mass vaccination programme started by giving the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech shots to medical workers, those over age 60 and up, and at-risk groups. As the drive has raced ahead the age limit has steadily dropped, going down to 40 on Tuesday. Vaccination has also already been opened to teachers of all ages and pregnant women. Read more here


The Israel Prison Service said Sunday it began vaccinating all prisoners against Covid-19, including Palestinians. Read more here


People who receive the second and final coronavirus vaccine dose will be exempt from any need for quarantine, starting a week after getting the shot, government coronavirus czar Nachman Ash said Sunday.  He said that restrictions will be eased for those who have been fully vaccinated as part of the so-called “green passport” programme, details of which will be given in the coming days.  Read more here


A new serological study conducted at an Israeli hospital found that 98% of hospital workers who received the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine have developed a high level of antibodies.  A week after receiving the final dose, antibodies jumped to a level six to 20 times higher than after the first shot.Read more here


Israel’s coronavirus czar Nachman Ash has reportedly said the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine provides less protection against COVID-19 than initially indicated saying that many people were infected between the first and second shots. Health officials estimate the British coronavirus variant is behind 30%-40% of current infections and will become the dominant strain in Israel within weeks,Read more here




Israeli startup Scentech Medical says its instant coronavirus breath test attains an accuracy level of 98%, based on initial findings in recent trials which is similar to that of the standard PCR swab test. Read more here




Gazan terrorists fired two rockets towards Ashdod before dawn on Monday, which landed in the sea. In response to the rocket fire, Israeli jets bombed sites where the Hamas terror group is digging underground tunnels in southern Gaza.Read more here


Gazan terrorists fired a rocket at Israel on Tuesday night, causing sirens to sound in the south of the country. Israeli tanks attacked military outposts belonging to the Hamas terror group in response to the rocket, which was the third to target southern Israel within 2 days.Read more here


Every year the Israeli organisation Save a Child’s Heart gives free heart surgeries at Israel’s Wolfson Medical Centre to children from Gaza and worldwide, changing their lives. (TY Michael O)  Video (8 mins) at this link: View here




A 17-year-old Palestinian was arrested last Thursday after pulling a knife on a female Israel Police officer. At the end of her shift, the officer was walking to her car when the man approached and pulled out a knife. She then knocked him to the ground, kicked the knife out of his hands, and called for backup.  Read more here




Chevron Corp. and other companies helping to develop Israel’s natural gas fields will invest $235 million to lay a new subsea pipeline from Israel’s Mediterranean gas fields to Egypt. Read more here




Following the examples set by the Czech Republic and Hungary, Slovakia is purchasing 17 MMR Radar systems manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary ELTA in a deal valued at $182 million. The radar detects airborne threats, calculates their threat level, and provides essential data that enables systems to neutralize multiple threats simultaneously. Read more here




The off-grid device, SOS WiFi beams a signal that allows cellphones to freely connect to the internet even in some of the most remote parts of the country, potentially allowing hikers to be warned of danger or giving them a lifeline to the outside world if they need rescue or help.The idea for the remote connection was triggered by the 2018 Tzafit stream disaster.Read more here




IDF Home Front Command has successfully tested the ability of a larger window to protect against rockets, which would help disabled people in health clinics and hospitals.Until now, shielded windows in secure spaces and protected rooms usually have been small and located higher up on a wall. This new type of window is meant to start near the floor and provide the patient with an option to be exposed to the sun and the outside.Read more here




Israeli company StoreDot announced Tuesday that in a landmark achievement in the electric vehicle industry, it had managed to develop the world’s first car battery that can be fully charged in just five minutes.Read more here




The IDF Bedouin Reconnaissance Battalion protects the Israel-Gaza border and is a way for Israeli Arabs to enter Israeli society. 40% of the battalion are non-Bedouin Muslim Arabs, Christians and Circassians. While these soldiers can serve in other units, many Israeli Arabs do not speak Hebrew well enough to do so.

Read more here




Yoseph Haddad: How dare B’Tselem say that I, an Arab Israeli who served along with Jewish soldiers in the Israel Defence Forces and managed hundreds of Jewish employees, live under an apartheid regime? How can anyone say this when among us you will find doctors, judges, and even lawmakers? Samer Haj-Yehia is the head of the biggest bank in Israel (Bank Leumi).
I am not here to claim that everything in Israel is perfect. But show me a country where everything is perfect. I look around at our neighbours in the region and thank God I was born in Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. While minorities across the Middle East – Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Yazidi, Kurds, and Christians – are persecuted, Israel is the only country that grants minorities equal rights and the ability to influence their future.Read more here


Most Arab Israelis would like to see their representatives in the Knesset focus less on the Palestinian issue and more on problems facing the Arab sector, Mohammad Darawshe, chairman of the newly formed Arab party Ma’an (together) said Sunday. Read more here