We are Modern Orthodox and are a constituent member of the United Synagogue

Israel Update 4.3.21



An Israeli-owned cargo ship, the MV Helios Ray, was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman overnight last Thursday.A U.S. defence official said the blast left holes in both sides of the vessel’s hull above the water line. The ship stopped at Dubai for repairs. Israeli officials suspect that Iran was responsible for the attack. Read more here




Israeli authorities have reportedly identified the ship responsible for a massive oil spill that polluted the bulk of the country’s Mediterranean coastline. Read more here


After over a week of clean-up efforts, tar is still everywhere on Israel’s beaches, from large patches to tiny droplets in the sand, defying painstaking efforts to decontaminate the coastline. Read more here




(Last week’s figures in brackets for comparison)


4,143(4,298)new cases of the coronavirus were registered in Israel on Wednesday. The number of patients in serious condition dropped to 699 (770) of whom 224 (249) were intubated. The death toll is 5,815 (5,673). Read more here


48% of coronavirus infections in the country had originated in the education system, according to a government report submitted on Thursday. Read more here


Violations of Health Ministry guidelines were seen en masse over the Purim holiday last weekend, causing concern among health officials that there will be an increase in infection in the coming weeks that could place Israelis under Passover restrictions.Read more here


The electronic bracelet offered to people returning from abroad wishing to isolate at home instead of in coronavirushotels will not monitor anything except whether the person is complying with the quarantine.Read more here


Tel Aviv’s first live cultural event, a concert, took place last week after an 11-month hiatus. The event was only open to so-called Green Pass holders, who have either been vaccinated against, or recovered from, COVID-19.   Read more here




A team of scientists from Israel and Iceland have published research, conducted in a MIGAL laboratory in Israel, showing that an extract of spirulina algae has the potential to reduce the chances of COVID-19 patients developing a serious case of the disease.    Read more here


A new study shows that Israel’s vaccination programme saved many lives by reaching the elderly just in time, stopping the British coronavirus variant in its tracks as it started to spread among the over-60 population. The extra-infectious variant has proven 45% more transmissible than the regular coronavirus in Israel, and now accounts for 95% of coronavirus cases. Read more here




Austria and Denmark have announced plans to team up with Israel to produce second-generation vaccines against coronavirus variants. Chancellor Kurz  plans to visit Israel with Danish Prime Minister Frederiksen later this week. Read more here




Health Ministry data on Wednesday showed that some 88% of Israelis aged 50 and up have either been vaccinated or recovered from the disease, as serious illnesses have dropped, but the downward trend in infections has halted.Read more here


The Health Ministry on Monday authorised vaccination for Israelis (aged over 16) who have recovered from COVID-19 with a single dose three months after recovery.  Read more here


Israel has approved a request by the P.A. to vaccinate Palestinian workers holding permits to work in Israel and in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. In the first stage, 50,000 Palestinian workers will each receive two vaccine doses. Israeli medical staff will administer the Moderna Covid vaccine at vaccination centre set up at checkpoints where the workers enter Israel. Read more here


Israel is to provide 2,400 vaccines to the 14-nation Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping force in the Sinai. Read more here




P.M. Netanyahu froze his plan to send doses of vaccine to countries friendly to Israel last Thursday, following questions of its legality. Read more here




Stagecoach, Britain’s largest bus, coach and tram operator, will be using Israeli developed artificial intelligence-based software to help plan bus scheduling and better handle changes in how people travel coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The planned “technological transformation” will see the rollout of the software platform of Tel Aviv-based firm Optibus, a maker of a schedule-optimizing software for bus fleets and public transportation operators. Read more here


Six activists from Palestine Action were charged with criminal damage after their attack on the Shenstone offices of the Israeli company Elbit . Read more here




Royal Caribbean will offer cruises from Israel from May, where both crew and guests above the age of 16 will be fully vaccinated.Three- to seven-day cruises would depart out of Haifa and take passengers to Cyprus and Greece, Read more here




An Israeli NGO, Volcani International Partnerships, is working to share Israel’s agricultural  know-how and innovation with people in the Caribbean in a free webinar series featuring leading Israeli experts presenting various applications of smart farming to government officials, farmers and entrepreneurs in the Bahamas, Anguilla, Aruba and Barbados. Read more here




President Rivlin on Monday formally received the first-ever ambassador to Israel from the UAE., saying that the ceremony was personally emotional for him in light of his late father’s love of Arabic and translation of the Quran into Hebrew.Read more here





Palestinian civil society organizations on Monday called for the formation of a commission of inquiry into the PA’s handling of the distribution of vaccines. Read more here


The PA acknowledged Tuesday that some of the few vaccines in its possession did not go to healthcare workers, but rather to government officials, the Jordanian royal court and the Palestinian national soccer team. Read more here


Israeli officials reportedly sent a request last week to the PA (and the Jerusalem Muslim Waqf) to open a coronavirus vaccination station in the Temple Mount area, but the request was rejected. The station was to vaccinate mainly Palestinian worshippers visiting the area, following the repeated publication of photos in which over 10,000 people can be seen praying in the mosque area each Friday, in disregard of COVID-19 protocols. After Israel’s initial proposal was refused, a second was reportedly made: that the vaccines be administered by Arab Israeli paramedics and not by Jewish ones, and that they be dressed in clothes that bear no markings of Israeli medical establishments. That offer was also turned down. Read more here




Intel Corp’s Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based maker of self-driving technologies, has set up a strategic collaboration with two French-based firms to jointly develop and deploy commercial autonomous shuttles for public transportation services in Europe in 2023 and then globally. Read more here




Memic Innovative Surgery, a medical device company, has received marketing authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for a robotic surgical device, the Hominis Surgical System, whichit has developed to perform minimally invasive transvaginal hysterectomies.Read more here




The ICC announced on Wednesday that it was opening an investigation into allegations of war crimes by Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the West Bank and Gaza. Read more here


Secretary of State Antony Blinken:”The United States firmly opposes and is deeply disappointed by” the decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the Palestinian situation. “The ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel. The Palestinians do not qualify as a sovereign state and, therefore, are not qualified to obtain membership as a state in, participate as a state in, or delegate jurisdiction to the ICC.”   Read more here




Dr Mohammed Al-Nabari: How to Vaccinate a Bedouin Village in Israel: A Case Study in Overcoming.

Extracts: We learned that many women were uncomfortable attending vaccination clinics with men present. The women-only clinic we opened with Magen David Adom proved to be a game changer, with over 400 women showing up on its first day of operation.
In my hometown of Hura, we received unprecedented support from the Israeli Home Front Command. Read more here