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Israel Update 25.2.21





After a major oil spill affected Israel’s entire Mediterranean coast, thousands of IDF soldiers assisted workers and volunteers for the Nature and Parks Authority in cleaning tar off beaches. A marine scientist called the spill the worst disaster of its kind in over 40 years.  Read more here


All of Israel’s beaches have been closed until further notice Some volunteers who answered the clean up call on Saturday, were taken ill after inhaling toxic fumes and hospitalised. Read more here


Veterinary professionals and volunteers rushed to rescue injured sea turtles, birds, lizards, snails and other wildlife. Read more here


On Wednesday, Israel began the disposal of some 1200 tons of tar collected so far from the ongoing beach clean-up. Read more here


The Health Ministry on Wednesday barred the sale of all fish & other seafood from the Mediterranean Sea. Read more here




(Last week’s figures in brackets for comparison)


4,298 (4,076) new cases of the coronavirus were registered in Israel on Wednesday. The number of patients in serious condition dropped to 770 (928) of whom 249 (296) were intubated. The death toll is  5,673. Read more here


Large numbers of Israelis packed shopping malls, gyms and swimming pools on Sunday after the easing of some restrictions.Though shoppers largely adhered to health guidelines, in some cases people were seen to crowd and fail to maintain social distancing. Read more here


The government voted to approve a night curfew on Purim (The Feast of Lots) which will run for three nights – Thursday, Friday and Saturday – from 8:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. Read more here



An Israeli-made nasal spray, Taffix, appears to have contributed to a reduced COVID-19 infection rate among ultra-Orthodox members of a synagogue in Bnei Brak amid Rosh Hashanah festivities last year, a new trial has shown.Read more here


Israel’s Health Ministry data released on Saturday shows that Pfizer’s vaccine prevents 98.9% of COVID deaths; the vaccine is also 99.2 protective against serious illness and reduces the chance of hospitalisation by 98.9%. Read more here


Pfizer’s vaccine is 75% effective two to four weeks after a single shot, according to a ground breaking new Israeli study which has been peer-reviewed and published in The Lancet.     Read more here




The US  government’s top infectious disease expect Dr Anthony Fauci has characterised Israel’s vaccine distribution effort, aided by the country’s socialised health system, as a “model for the rest of the world. Read more here


Israel on Tuesday began vaccinating Palestinians in East Jerusalem who have Israeli residency cards but live beyond the security barrier. The vaccinations were carried out by MDA paramedics at the Qalandiya crossing. Israel has also begun vaccinating 122,000 West Bank Palestinians who work in Israel.Read more here


Israel’s Health Ministry has recommended that people who have recovered from COVID-19 receive a single vaccine dose, instead of the two shots administered to those not previously infected. Read more here


A mobile vaccination station was set up at a pub in central Tel Aviv offering a free drink to anyone who showed up to get their first injection. Vaccinations have  also been offered at commercial centres, malls etc around the country. IKEA set up vaccination stations in its stores.Read more hereRead more here



Israel is set to give nearly 100,000 doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine it had purchased to 19 countries, including Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Spain, Hungary, Chad, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mauritania, the Maldives, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Guinea, it was reported Tuesday. In addition, Israel would provide thousands of doses for medical staff in the Palestinian Authority. Read more here




The P.A. paid at least 512 million shekels ($156 million) to terrorist prisoners and released terrorists in 2020, while trying to hide its expenditures by changing its accounting methods.Read more here





A shipment of 20,000 Russian coronavirus vaccine doses donated by the United Arab Emirates arrived in the Gaza Strip via Egypt on Sunday. Read more here




Equatorial Guinea plans to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Read more here



Signatories to a letter sent to the ICC calling on the new ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan to abandon the investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes included former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, former Australian prime minister John Howard, former president of Uruguay Luis Alberto Lacalle and former British Army commander Col. Richard Kemp. Read more here




Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei, who refused to return home after being ordered to withdraw from the 2019 World Judo Championships to avoid facing an Israeli opponent, says he will never forget the kindness he’s been shown by the Israeli judo team as he prepared to compete in a major tournament in Tel Aviv last week. He won a silver medal. Read more here




Last week Israel and Syria participated in a Russian-mediated prisoner swap. An Israeli woman held by Syria was exchanged for two Syrian shepherds captured by Israel. Read more here


Israel is said to have agreed to purchase an unknown number of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine doses for use in Syria as part of the deal.  Read more here




Senior ultra-Orthodox rabbis have urged their followers not to get drunk during the Purim festival.  Read more here




Facebook’s Israeli developed Symptoms Survey tool is used by academics to produce data on symptoms prevalence, mask wearing, vaccination acceptance and more. Read more here


Israeli start-up ByondXR helps Coca-Cola, Lancome & other big brands to recreate shops  using online simulation and has boosted sales. Read more here