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Israel Update 4.2.21



Israel and Kosovo formally established diplomatic ties on Monday, with the Muslim-majority territory also recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.              Read more here




(Last week’s figures in brackets for comparison)


7,385 (7668) new cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed on Wednesday. 1,103 (1,132) are in serious condition, 315  (306) of whom are intubated. The death toll has reached 4,947. Read more here


The Israel Health Ministry said Monday that 1,433 people passed away in January alone, comprising 30% of the total pandemic death toll. Read more here


As at 28/1, since the beginning of the pandemic, Israel has been in lockdown for a total of 139 days, longer than any other country.   Read more here


After a heated debate late into Sunday night, the cabinet voted to extend the nationwide lockdown until Friday morning at 7 a.m. and keep the airport closed until Sunday.   Read more here


There has been an alarming rise in coronavirus cases among children, including babies. In November 2020, some 400 under 2 year olds had been diagnosed with the virus and by February 2021, that number had jumped to 5,800.     Read more here


A strategy to gradually lift the lockdown in Israel in three phases was introduced by the Health Ministry on Thursday as the government convened to discuss the country’s next steps in the battle against coronavirus. Read more here




Israeli immunotherapy company Enlivex Therapeutics said Wednesday that 16 severe and critical Covid-19 patients who received its experimental treatment had survived a 28-day Phase II clinical trial. 14 patients recovered and were discharged from the hospital an average of 5.3 days after receiving Allocetra which treats the over-response of the immune system called a cytokine storm which attacks the body’s own organs. Read more here




The Health Ministry on Wednesday ordered health providers to prepare to offer vaccines to the entire public over the age of 16 starting Thursday, as infection levels remained high and the cabinet was set to decide whether to extend the nationwide tightened lockdown from Friday to Sunday…An IDF Military Intelligence Directorate task force reported that high infection rates have failed to drop at all throughout the almost month-long lockdown. Read more here


Israel’s Health Ministry reported Sunday that 59% of Arab-Israelis above the age of 60 have been vaccinated. The Health Ministry has established 80 vaccination stations and 28 mobile stations to facilitate vaccinations in the Arab community. Read more here




Israel’s Breath of Health  (B.O.H) has developed a breath test system that identifies Covid-19 at a success rate of over 95%. Preliminary results from clinical trials conducted with two Israeli hospitals have shown a success rate of 98% compared to the standard PCR test authorized by global medical organizations. BOH has signed an agreement with India’s Reliance Group to distribute the system throughout India. (TY Michael O) Read more here




In an announcement on Monday, Israel said that it had transferred 2,000 coronavirus vaccines for Palestinian health care workers with another 3,000 doses to be transferred “in the future.” The Palestinian Health Ministry later acknowledged receiving 2,000 Moderna vaccines — without mentioning that Israel transferred them. Read more here


This is the second time that Israel has sent coronavirus vaccines to the Palestinians. Read more here


The Palestinians received 10,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine on Wednesday with further vaccine shipments expected. Read more here




The mortality rate for cancer patients has significantly dropped in Israel in the past two decades, according to data published by the Health Ministry and the Israel Cancer Association (ICA) ahead of World Cancer Day, which is marked on February 4. Read more here




Canada will investigate its contributions to UNRWA following a report that the refugee agency for Palestinians uses textbooks that incite hatred and violence…The Australian government also announced an investigation into UNRWA. Read more here




A Palestinian man who attempted to stab an IDF soldier at a West Bank junction on Sunday was shot. Read more here




Thousands of people on Sunday, flouting lockdown rules, attended two funerals of prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbis Soloveitchik and Scheiner who had both died of COVID-19.  Scheiner had discouraged large gatherings and urged adherence to government-ordered measures aimed at curbing the coronavirus outbreak, including a recent edict.A senior Jerusalem police officer, defended the force’s decision to not enforce the lockdown saying “There would certainly have been bloodshed” had police tried to disperse the crowds there. Read more here


Last week, several large-scale violations  of the lockdown took place in the ultra-Orthodox community over the holiday of Tu Bishvat, as infection rates in the sector remain double that of the general population.Read more here




Defence Minister Gantz spoke last week with newly appointed US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, discussing the Iranian threat to regional stability and the defence cooperation between the two allies. Austin emphasized the strength of the defence alliance between the US and Israel and expressed Washington’s commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.Read more here


The head of the United States military’s Central Command landed in Tel Aviv last week for a two-day visit. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie was scheduled to meet with the IDF top brass on Friday to discuss the threats in the region that they will now work together to confront, specifically those posed by Iran.Read more here


U.S. European Command and the IDF have begun Exercise Juniper Falcon 2021 at various locations in Israel and Germany.
Read more here


Security forces at Travis Air Force Base in California received their first drone in December made by Israel’s Easy Aerial to conduct perimeter security for the 6,000-acre facility. Read more here




A letter found close to the scene of a blast outside the Israeli embassy in New Delhi last week was a death threat to the ambassador.It claimed to be from the “India Hizbollah,” a previously unknown group. Lebanese Hezbollah is an Iran-backed terror organization that is sworn to Israel’s destruction. Read more here




Israel’s embassy in Guatemala on Sunday finished its Guatelinda housing project in the town of Escuintla for 39 families that lost homes in the 2018 Fuego volcano eruption. Read more here





A smart nursing-home technology from Israel’s Pangea IT integrates thermal imaging, video analytics, machine learning and biometric access control to protect the health, security and safety of residents and staff.   Read more here



Mifold, made by Israeli company Carfoldio, is a small, compact child’s booster seat about 10 times smaller than a regular car booster, and fits comfortably in school bags, luggage and glove compartments. Read more here



Dr. Ephraim Sneh: Israel’s acceptance of a renegotiated Iran deal should be conditioned on the Biden administration legitimizing Israelis’ fears, rather than ignoring them. Our concerns are based on our distant and recent history; in living memory, our grandparents and parents experienced unimaginable calamity. More than half a century later, in 2006, thousands of rockets were launched from Lebanon at Israel’s towns and villages, and dozens of Israelis were killed. This was done at Iran’s behest. And the thousands of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza since the Islamist takeover in 2007 were also supplied by Iran, directly or indirectly.
In his book Palestine, Ali Khamenei, the Iranian spiritual leader, explains how Israel will be wiped out. It will be encircled by territories that will serve as mega-launching pads of rockets aimed at civilian population centres. In Lebanon, Hizbullah has 150,000 rockets ready to fire. From Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have more than 10,000. Many can reach Tel Aviv. And Iran is now seriously at work cultivating its third launching platform in Syria. To understand our fears, Americans should imagine that four million rockets are aimed at New York and Los Angeles from bases in Canada and Mexico. Read more here


Rami Ayyubb, Matt Spetalnick: President Biden’s plan to reopen the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington could be held up over a law that exposes Palestinian officials to U.S. anti-terror lawsuits. Under an anti-terror amendment passed by Congress and signed into law in 2019, the Palestinians would become liable for $655.5 million in financial penalties against them in U.S. courts if they open an office in the U.S. Moreover, the Taylor Force Act, passed by Congress in 2018, restricts some aid until the Palestinians end payments to people jailed by Israel over violent crimes.While Biden can reverse some measures through executive orders, others involve laws passed by Congress and are not as easily changed.  Read more here