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Israel Update 1.7.21



A team of Israeli search-and-rescue specialists joined American workers on Sunday at the site of a Florida apartment building that partially collapsed last Thursday. The delegation is headed by Col. (res.) Golan Vach, and consists of 10 reserve officers from the IDF’s Home Front Command, all top experts in engineering. Read more here


The added value that Israel’s rescue team can bring to the Miami Surfside site is experience using visual technology and population intelligence information.  Read more here



Israel was already on Friday providing food, clothes, medication and other aid as rescue teams to dozens of local families according to Israel’s Consul General in Miami.     Read more here




Israel last Friday re-imposed an indoor mask requirement as over 200 new COVID-19 cases were recorded the day before, the highest daily caseload in two and a half months. The health ministry called on Israelis to wear face coverings when taking place in mass gatherings outdoors, also urging those in at-risk groups or who are not vaccinated to avoid gatherings. Read more here


P.M. Bennett said Sunday that he hoped not to impose new restrictions despite a rise in the number of new virus cases, citing the lack of increase in the number of patients hospitalized. He said:  “Masks instead of restrictions, vaccines instead of lockdowns.” Read more here


Coronavirus infections have been rising again over the past two weeks, but serious illness and death remain on a downward trend, indicating that Israel’s vaccination campaign is helping to prevent a major resurgence in morbidity. On June 14, there were 206 active cases in Israel, a figure that had risen to 1,254 as of Monday following a series of local outbreaks. Since then, only a single COVID-19 fatality has been recorded in the country and serious cases have declined from 30 to 22. According to the latest Health Ministry figures, 5 % of active infections are among Israelis who are 19 or younger and 77.3% of those hospitalized in serious condition are unvaccinated. Read more here




Israel is reportedly holding negotiations with the UK to broker a COVID-19 vaccine swap deal. Under the exchange, Israel, which currently has an excess of doses, would ship around 1 million of its Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines that are due to expire on July 30 to the UK, and in exchange would receive an equivalent number of vaccines that the UK is slated to receive from Pfizer in September.   Read more here


The number of adolescents getting vaccinated against coronavirus has risen sharply in recent days, raising hopes that a large portion of the country’s minors eligible for shots will be protected against COVID-19 in coming weeks. Read more here




ZzappMalaria, a Jerusalem-based startup whose mobile app aims to help identify potential sources of malaria, has won a first prize of $3 million in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition. The firm was also selected as the “Most Inspiring Team” in the People’s Choice Award. Read more here


Israeli “GPS-guided” nanoparticle drugs can tackle inflammation without touching healthy immune cells. The development has implications for all inflammatory diseases, various viral diseases such as the coronavirus, and, when the method is further developed, blood cancers. Read more here


Israeli startup Nonagon has developed the N9 portable home device which  includes a stethoscope to listen to lung, heart and bowel sounds; an otoscope to look into the ears; an oximeter that checks pulse rate and oxygen (critical for monitoring Covid-19); and a thermometer to record body temperature. For throat and skin tests, the device uses the camera on the patient’s smartphone. Read more here


CyberMDX protects millions of medical devices, including heart pacemakers, around the world, providing a centralized system that tracks each of the thousands of different devices used in hospitals and clinics, identifying security gaps and helping personnel quickly locate and fix them before cyber attacks occur. Read more here


Researchers at Israel’s Technion have developed a revolutionary method of diagnosing tuberculosis without blood samples, X-rays or other invasive procedures. The new method, A-Patch uses a sticker that absorbs compounds released by the skin upon contact.  Read more here




The government’s taskforce probing the April 30 disaster at Mount Meron, which left 45 people dead and over 150 wounded, will be led by former chief justice Miriam Naor. Read more here




Last week, in the presence of P.M. Bennett, President Rivlin and the IAF commander, four officers at the  182nd graduating IAF pilot training course were women. In addition to combat (including F35) and transportation pilots, the IAF has female navigators, combat helicopter pilots and Saar helicopter pilots.Read more here


The IAF was joined by the U.S. Marine Corps and the British Royal Air  on Tuesday for a one-day exercise in the Negev Desert. Read more here




A company of all-women tank operators will be stationed along the Egyptian border next month for the first time in the military’s history as part of an ongoing pilot programme to assess the feasibility of female armoured crews. Read more here




Rafael Advanced Defence Systems has unveiled a new precision missile, “Seabreaker” that can be launched from ships at sea or ground-based launchers and hit targets at a distance of up to 300 kilometres. Read more here





Foreign Minister Lapid officially inaugurated Israel’s embassy in the UAE Tuesday afternoon, hailing the “historic moment.” and going out of his way to thank former prime minister and political rival Netanyahu, whom he called “the architect of the Abraham Accords and who worked tirelessly to bring them about.” Read more here


Bahraini monarch Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa on Tuesday officially appointed the Gulf kingdom’s first ambassador to Israel, following last year’s agreement between the countries to normalize diplomatic ties.  Read more here




Fossils found in an Israeli quarry are the “last survivors” of a “missing” type of extinct humans. and are 120,000 to 140,000 years old, Israeli scientists reported Thursday. Researchers say that “Nesher Ramla Homo” may have lived alongside Homo Sapiens for over 100,000 years. Read more here




Researchers at Tel Aviv University on Wednesday unveiled “the world’s tiniest technology,” aimed at storing information on the thinnest unit known to science. The film is composed of a one atom thick layer of boron and a one atom thick layer of nitrogen sliding one over the other. Read more here



Israel’s Trigo is now providing software as a service to retail giants in Europe aiming to give their customers a better buying experience and at the same time help them fight off increasing competition from Amazon, which has launched its Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores in the US and London. The UK’s Tesco is set to launch its first checkout-free supermarket using the technology.  Read more here



Tel Aviv based company Nexar collaborated on an initiative expected to improve road safety in California, Utah and New Mexico by using dash cam footage and machine learning.Read more here





Israelis in and around the city of Hadera will be able to start ordering in hamburgers and pizza, cosmetics and medicine to their doorsteps, part of the nation’s drone pilot programme started earlier this year. Read more here




The Israeli team won gold at the World Acrobatics Championships currently taking place in Geneva. Besides participating in international competitions, they also represent their local acrobatics club Hapoel Begin Holon.  Read more here



Retired soccer superstars who played for Spanish soccer league rivals Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will play in Israel on July 20 in an exhibition match. The teams’ final lineups have not been finalized, but among the former stars set to play in the match are Brazilians Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and  Roberto Carlos together with  Italian Luis Figo.Read more here




Khaled Abu Toameh: (EXTRACTS)  Nizar Banat, the political activist and outspoken critic of the Palestinian leadership who was allegedly beaten to death  on June 24 by Palestinian security officers, was not the only Palestinian victim of Abbas’s unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression

These [Palestinian] leaders have turned the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of the West Bank into a police state where political opponents are beaten to death, arrested, tortured and intimidated. The silence of the international community and media towards the human rights violations by the Palestinian Authority has prompted Palestinian journalists to make a direct appeal to the European Union to provide them with protection. The protests… are mainly directed at the Biden administration, whose representatives have recently been courting and searching for ways to cosy up to Abbas and his Fatah cohorts. The message Palestinians are sending to the Biden administration: Stop empowering our brutal, corrupt leaders.  Read more here