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Israel Update 16.6.21



Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) on Sunday approved a new government formed by Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid in a 60-59 vote, with one abstention. Read more here


Address by Prime Minister designate Naftali Bennett at the swearing in of the government on Sunday. Read it here


Text of Yair Lapid’s speech: Read it here


Who’s Who list of Ministers & their parties in the new coalition government. Read it here


Shirley Pinto, the first deaf member of Knesset and a long-time activist for disability-related issues, was sworn into office using sign language.    Read more here




Israelis living in communities bordering the Gaza Strip continue to live with constant tensions and fear  due to the return of incendiary balloon attacks by Gazan terrorists. 26 fires broke out in the western Negev on Tuesday as a result of these attacks, burning acres of lemon and tangerine orchards and wheat fields. In addition, an explosive device attached to a balloon exploded in  mid-air above a kindergarten. Read more here


In response, Israeli aircraft struck Hamas sites in Gaza on Wednesday. Read more here


Last Thursday, the IDF caught a man who crossed the border from the Gaza Strip while armed with an improvised bomb, a grenade, and two knives. Read more here



Photos of a tunnel shaft dug by Hamas underneath a UN-run Gaza school were published by an Israeli TV channel. These showed a tunnel shaft roughly seven metres below the surface. UNRWA schools in Gaza have been used in the past to store and launch rockets at Israel. Read more here




Israel on Tuesday lifted its requirement for masks to be worn indoors, marking the end of one of the only major coronavirus restrictions remaining in Israel.The Health Ministry said masks would still be required for unvaccinated patients and staff in medical facilities, for people en route to COVID quarantine and passengers on commercial flights.Read more here


Mass COVID-19 testing for students and staff  was carried out at a school in  Modi’in on Tuesday, after 11 pupils tested positive for coronavirus. Some 90 six-graders at Asif Elementary School were placed in mandatory quarantine on Monday. Read more here





Israeli doctors have identified and solved a post-vaccine problem for transplanted corneas using steroids. Read more here


A team at Israel’s Technion has identified the T-cell mechanism which launches “cytokine storms”, deadly immune overreactions which have caused many coronavirus deaths.  Read more here




Animal rights group PETA on Wednesday hailed Israel as “the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur” stating that “This historic victory will protect countless foxes, minks, rabbits and other animals from being violently killed for their skin,” However import of fur for religious reasons remains permitted. Read more here




Israel’s Elbit Systems UK has won an £11.5 million contract from the UK Ministry of Defence to provide the UK Armed Forces with XACT Night Vision Goggles (NVG). Elbit’s XACT systems are used in several NATO countries, including Germany and the Netherlands. (TY Michael O)
Read more here





Two Israelis and a Palestinian-American have teamed up to make the use of disposable gloves at hospitals more efficient by reducing waste and providing an alert when they are about to run out. The trio’s product, iNitrile, is a disposable glove dispenser machine that scans users’ ID cards before a compartment opens up and allows them to insert their hand into an inflated glove. Read more here



Israeli survivability products company Polaris Solutions has developed a camouflage technology that renders soldiers on the battlefield virtually undetectable.  Its Kit 300 is an innovative camouflage sheet made out of a material that provides multispectral concealment.Read more here



Five Israeli companies have been selected for inclusion in this year’s World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers. They are:

CropX producing do-it-yourself farm management technology based on real-time soil data. Cheq, a cybersecurity company protecting large organizations from customer acquisition fraud; MDClone a  digital health company which developed data analytics software to help physicians and researchers quickly make sense of huge amounts of data while preserving patients’ privacy. MyndYou a healthcare startup founded in 2016 that developed an AI -based virtual care assistant and  Phinergy a clean-energy startup  that developed metal-air technology that creates clean energy by extracting power contained in metals such as aluminum and zinc.Read more here



Nimble is a nail polish robot for home use which paints and dries nails in 10 minutes per hand.  Read more here





Israel could ease entry procedures for foreign visitors who have been vaccinated against coronavirus from the beginning of July, allowing regular tourists travelling outside organized groups to enter the country for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Individual tourists cannot currently travel to the country unless visiting a first-degree relative, and then under restrictive conditions.Read more here






McDonald’s announced that for the first time in Israel — or anywhere else in the world — its local branches will sell a selection of fast food dishes in pita bread. The McKebab and McFalafel will become regulars on the new menu from next month. Read more here





A Jordanian national table-tennis player recently withdrew from the World Para Table Tennis Championships in Slovenia to avoid playing against an Israeli athlete, the Jordanian Paralympic Committee confirmed. Jordan and Israel signed a peace deal in 1994.Read more here






J.Post Editorial:Netanyahu is a human being with faults and failings, but he …has achieved an impressive list of accomplishments…(the) last few years in particular have been very divisive, with unbridled attacks on the justice system, the media, the police, and anybody he considered a political rival…(however) we must look back at his term in office and say thank you for his achievements. Read more here



Mohammad A Salhut: As the son of immigrants from Jerusalem to the US, whose family remains almost entirely in the Holy City, I have had the opportunity to witness the incremental changes effected by governments led by Netanyahu during each successive visit to Israel over the last decade. While the deeds and perhaps faults of Netanyahu have been, are, and will continue to be litigated in the public sphere and beyond, his commitment to the Arab sector during his time at the state’s helm is to be celebrated. Read more here



Khaled Abu Toameh: The feud over the (Gaza) reconstruction funds further demonstrates Palestinian leaders’ utter indifference to the well-being of their people. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders care about one thing: filling their own coffers with funds earmarked for suffering Palestinians…The message the Arabs and Muslims are sending to the Biden administration and other Western donors: Stop showering money on corrupt and failed Palestinian leaders whose stock-in-trade is purloining international funds. The Palestinians do not need money as much as they need new leaders whose commitment to the welfare of their people outweighs their interest in their own pockets.Read more here


Ray Hanania: The (Palestinian) moderates are the majority, but they don’t yell or scream the way the extremists do. This means there appears to be fewer of them. The moderates must speak out more loudly. If they fail, the minority of extremists will destroy everything. The extremists cannot be allowed to represent the Palestinian cause. As long as extremists exist as a viable force, there will never be a Palestinian state, Palestinian safety, or peace. Read more here


Jonah Cohen:In 1967, the year Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza, the average Palestinian could expect to live only 49 years, according to the UN. Today it is 75 years, higher than the global average and higher than in Iran, Pakistan, and many Arab countries including Egypt…When Jordan occupied the West Bank, just four out of 708 Palestinian towns and villages had modern water supply systems and running water. By 2004, 96% of the West Bank population enjoyed running water…Given the extensive media coverage, one might assume that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is among the bloodiest disputes on earth. Yet of the 5 million lives lost in the last 70 years of wars in the Middle East and North Africa, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict encompasses less than 1% of the total. The death toll in Syria’s civil war over the last 10 years has been ten times worse than the entire history of Israeli-Palestinian fighting.Read more here