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Israel Update 28.1.21



Israel on Monday night closed Ben Gurion Airport to nearly all flights initially until the end of January. Read more here

Israel has also closed its land crossings with Egypt & Jordan . Read more here

 (Last week’s figures in brackets for comparison)

There were 7,668 (8,174) new coronavirus cases in Israel on Wednesday. 1,132  (1,132) are in serious condition, with 306 (317) on ventilators. Over 1,200 people have died from the virus in January. A report by Hebrew University researchers on Wednesday indicated a decline in the rate of new cases, but noted the uncertainties caused by highly infectious new coronavirus mutations.At the same time, 200,000 people are vaccinated every day. 1.5 million people have received both doses. Read more here


KSM, the Research and Innovation Centre for Israel’s Maccabi HMO, last Friday said new coronavirus infections and hospitalisations had plunged 60% among people aged over 60 who had been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, based on data from over 50,000 patients.
Read more here


It is estimated that 40-50% of new cases are caused by the British variant which is causing concerning levels of infection in children and young people, as well as serious illness in a number of pregnant women. An official said that “40% of illness is in children, a higher percentage than their share of the population… We see a rise in infections in ages 6-9.”  Read more here


Hadassah Hospital has opened the country’s first paediatric intensive care unit specifically designed for coronavirus patients after thousands of children were diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past few weeks.  Read more here


Some three weeks into Israel’s tightened nationwide lockdown, with more-infectious mutated coronavirus strains running rampant, the outbreak is continuing at full force. Read more here




From Thursday, the minimum age required to be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine has been lowered to 35.  Read more here


Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is showing 92% effectiveness in Israel, according to the world’s first big controlled investigation on how it works outside of clinical tests. Only 31 out of 163,000 Israelis vaccinated by Maccabi Healthcare Services caught coronavirus in their first 10 days of full-strength protection. Read more here


Last week the Health Ministry announced it was allowing the inoculation of high school students aged 16-18, subject to parental approval, to enable them to return to schools and take their winter “bagrut” matriculation exams on schedule. Read more here




Israel’s Ambassador to the UN told the Security Council on Tuesday: “I would like to shatter the latest blood libel being spread by the Palestinians – false and grotesque accusations about Israel’s campaign to vaccinate its people…According to international agreements, the PA is responsible for the healthcare of its own population, just as it is responsible for their education system.” The PA “informed Israel they intend to purchase vaccines from the Russian government and Israel has announced it will facilitate their transfer. These are the facts.” In addition, since the outset of the pandemic, Israel has worked closely with UN bodies to assist the Palestinians, training medical staff and supplying them with essential equipment. Read more here




Clashes broke out between police and charedi rioters opposed to coronavirus lockdown restrictions in several ultra-orthodox cities & neighbourhoods on several occasions this week. Several police officers were injured.  In the most serious incident on Monday a mob attacked two buses, setting one on fire and completely destroying it. The bus driver was dragged from his bus and beaten.Read more here Read more here Read more here


CityPass, which operates the Jerusalem light rail, said Tuesday that cement poured on the rails during an ultra-Orthodox protest earlier in the week could have caused a train to overturn with people inside it.  Read more here




A female (lone) soldier from London helped thwart a stabbing attack against soldiers guarding a junction on Tuesday. The Palestinian terrorist was killed.   Read more here




Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen on Monday became the first Israeli minister to visit Sudan following the recent normalization deal.  Read more here


The Israeli Liaison Office in Morocco reopened on Tuesday, having been closed for 20 years. Read more here




In mid-January, a food truck selling 3D-printed vegan meat in Kidron, Israel, sold 1,000 servings in five hours.Hosted by Israeli vegan company Redefine Meat, the food truck served traditional meat-centric Mediterranean dishes without initially informing customers that the meat component was vegan. Read more here




New research accepted for publication by JHEP Report, a leading hepatology journal, shows the effectiveness of Aramchol a drug developed by an Israeli company in combating severe fatty liver disease. Read more here




Israeli innovators are launching tech. which could stop big classroom viral infection outbreaks. They have been testing special data-gathering thermometers in kindergartens that crunch anonymized data and flag small-but-significant peaks in body temperature. The invention, which is now being launched for worldwide marketing, gave early warning of outbreaks six days before they happened. Read more here




WHO’s Executive Board on Monday approved for the first time an Israeli-sponsored resolution when its 34 members supported a text to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Read more here




McDonald’s restaurants in Brazil are using serving trays across the country made with UBQ Materials’s waste conversion technology to replace their plastic trays with a more sustainable version.UBQ, the Israeli developer of a patented process to convert unsorted household waste into a fully recyclable thermoplastic substitute, said it would supply some 18,000 sustainable trays in the coming weeks.Read more here




At least 15 people were wounded Saturday in an explosion in a house in Beit Hanoun, Gaza.IDF spokesman in Arabic Maj. Avichay Adraee wrote on Twitter that “this house, like many others in Gaza, was turned into a storehouse for weapons, ammunition, rockets and military equipment for terror organizations, with innocent residents being the ones who eventually pay the price.” Read more here



Israeli company DSIT Solutions, which specializes in underwater security solutions based on advanced sonar and acoustics technologies, has announced that it will supply an unidentified NATO country with its fully automatic PointShield Portable Diver Detection Sonar (PDDS) system.The system secures nuclear power facilities, underwater pipelines and cables, naval bases, ports, offshore platforms, and oil and gas terminals, as well as ships of all sizes. Read more here




Researchers studying the effect of eucalyptus trees on ecosystems in Israel have found and identified a new species of bee, Lasioglossum dorchini, at the Alexander Stream National Park, Bet Yannai Beach, north of Netanya. Read more here




Vertical Field, an Israeli startup that has developed a vertical farming system, has signed an accord with an Emirati company to deploy its products to the United Arab Emirates.  Read more here




Israel’s entry to the 2021 Eurovision song contest is “Set me free,” performed by Eden Alene,the first singer of Ethiopian descent to represent Israel at the event. Read more here




In 1996, the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies located on Kibbutz Ketura along the Israeli-Jordanian border was established, bringing together Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian, Moroccan and other international college-age students to study and live together, while training as future environmental leaders. The Institute’s motto is “Nature Knows No Borders.” Read more here




JPost Editorial (EXTRACTS) : What is happening in Israel right now with the Haredi sector is nothing short of a disaster. While making up about 12% of Israel’s population, haredim currently constitute almost 40% of the infections in the country…haredim open schools when the government orders them shut; they don’t wear masks; they continue to congregate and hold mass gatherings in synagogues and at weddings; and they violently clash with police whenever forces come to try to close their institutions.

In the face of this mass insurrection, the state is paralyzed and incapable of enforcing the rule of law. This is intolerable.

The first step is to deploy police to haredi neighbourhoods and forcefully shut down any institution – school, synagogue or mikva – that is operating against regulations. People who resist should be arrested. After that, every person involved should be fined, and those fines will need to be enforced.

The second step would be to deny state funding to those institutions..

Finally, politicians need to begin to take a stand. ..

Beyond simply upholding the rule of law, these steps are important in order to show the haredim that violating the law will not go unanswered, and that different sectors of society cannot make rules for themselves. Everyone needs to be treated equally in Israel – equal in privileges and rights, and equal when it comes to obligations.

Read more here