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Israel Update 8.7.21



Former Labour party leader Isaac Herzog took office on Wednesday as Israel’s 11th president, pledging to serve as a “president for all”. Read more here





Incendiary balloons launched from Gaza last Thursday caused 4 fires in southern Israel. In response, IDF planes bombed a Hamas weapons factory in the Gaza Strip early Friday. Further incendiary devices sparked fires in Israel on Friday and Saturday and the IDF again struck Hamas targets on Saturday night. Read more here

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During the recent Gaza conflict, the IDF’s new S&D unit became the first military unit to operate drone swarms in combat, seeking and destroying dozens of hidden enemy targets in over 30 missions. Read more here


“Rebuilding the Gaza Strip is conditioned on the release of four Israelis lost or detained in Gaza,” Haim Regev, from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the UN Ad Hoc Liaison Committee Read more here






Deaths from Covid-19 complications were reported in Israel for the first time in over 2 weeks. One was a fully vaccinated 86 year old man, the second an unvaccinated 48 year old man with no significant pre-existing conditions apart from high blood pressure. Read more here


Israel on Thursday reported over 500 new daily coronavirus cases for the third day in a row with 518 people testing positive on Wednesday.  46 patients are in serious condition, of whom 16 are ventilated.  Israel’s coronavirus cabinet convened on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the recent surge of coronavirus caused by the more contagious Delta strain. There were no recommendations on imposing any new restrictions on the public at this stage. However, health officials recommended that all arrivals from abroad must get tested upon landing in Israel and self-isolate until a negative result is received. Read more here






On Monday, Israel’s Health Ministry released datashowing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine appears to largely prevent hospitalization and serious cases, but is significantly less effective against preventing the spread of the Delta variant. According to the ministry, the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing symptomatic COVID dropped by some 30 percentage points to 64%, as shown by the spread of the Delta variant. During May, when the strain was less prevalent, the vaccine was 94.3% effective. However,  data also showed that the vaccine is still highly effective against preventing serious symptoms and hospitalization. During May, that figure stood at 98.2%, and during June, it was 93%. Read more here



Reportedly, Israeli health workers vaccinated with the Pfizer shot were still showing very high levels of antibodies six months after their shots. Most had antibody levels above 700. The report said a level of 150 was needed to be considered protected. A second serological study in care homes, found that even elderly, immunocompromised patients on ventilators who were vaccinated were showing high antibody levels. A third study from Sheba Medical Centre homer found that vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are less contagious than their unvaccinated counterparts. While the number of deaths and hospitalizations has remained relatively low, the figure has begun to climb.    Read more here



Israel is to conduct research to understand more about the vaccine’s efficacy as a high number of virus carriers identified since the beginning of the current outbreak were fully vaccinated. Some 90% of current cases in the country are of the Delta variant. Among those infected, almost half are schoolchildren. Read more here






Israel has sent South Korea 700,000 doses of the Pfizer Corona vaccine that are due to expire shortly in a deal signed between the two nations on Tuesday. The deal comes after the Palestinian Authority backed out of a similar agreement, saying the vaccine doses were too close to their expiration date, despite Israel using the same batches to vaccinate its own citizens. The agreement was made with the co-operation of Pfizer. Read more here





Israel has formally offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon  which is currently suffering from a major financial meltdown. The countries do not have diplomatic relations.  Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah, which holds sway over state decision-making in Lebanon and denies Israel’s right to exist, fought a devastating war in 2006.Last year, Israel offered humanitarian assistance after a massive blast at Beirut’s port killed over 200 people, but was rebuffed. https://www.timesofisrael.com/gantz-offers-lebanon-humanitarian-aid-amid-financial-meltdown/







UK Royal Navy Frigate HMS Richmond has docked at Israel’s Haifa port. The brand-new ship is part of the fleet that the Royal Navy considers central to frontline operations, including disrupting the work of criminals, such as smugglers, pirates and traffickers.(TY Michael) Read more here


Israeli defence technology company Rafael announced that its Trophy protection system for armoured vehicles against rockets will be incorporated by the UK Defence Ministry for the Army’s Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank, currently in development. Trophy has been installed on the IDF’s Merkava tanks since 2010 and also on its Namer APCs. Four U.S. Army Abrams tank brigades are equipped with Trophy and the technology will soon be supplied to Germany for its Leopard tanks. Read more here





An Israeli Ministry of Health medical team went to the Philippines for five days to support the country’s Anti-Covid Response and Vaccination Programme.Read more here






A Royal Moroccan Air Force C-130 landed at an Israeli Air Force base on Sunday ahead of an international drill this week with the U.S. Read more here






Israel has approved the immediate sale of 50 million cubic metres of water to Jordan, to be followed by another 50 million next year.Israel supplies Jordan with 55 million cubic meters of water annually, according to the 1994 peace agreement. However, Jordan’s water needs increased significantly after the influx of three million refugees from Iraq and Syria. Read more here






Twenty vulnerable households in Gisagara district have received a cow each from the Embassy of Israel in Rwanda as part  the government’s Girinka programme to provide a cow to every poor family.This is the second donation of cows by Israel to support the programme. Read more here






Israel on Sunday dispatched two firefighting planes and flame retardant material to Cyprus to help fight devastating wildfires. Read more here





Breakthrough Israeli technology for treating acute migraine headaches has been found to be more effective than standard-care medications for adolescents, according to a new study.Nerivio, a remote electrical neuromodulation (REN) device developed by Netanya-based Theranica, activates the body’s native conditioned pain modulation mechanism to treat headache and other symptoms associated with migraine by stimulating the free nerve endings in the upper arm.Read more here



A new tuberculosis-detecting skin patch will reduce the huge number of people who die from the disease due to a lack of diagnosis.. A research team from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has  produced and tested a patch that gives a diagnosis an hour after it is attached to the skin. Read more here



The European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund is investing 5 million euro ($5.9 million) in the Israeli medical startup NanoVation, to speed up the development of a respiratory monitor and to start marketing it in the EU. Read more here






Social media influencer  Bahraini Yousif Mohamed, 20, is one of 25 social media influencers from the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco who came to Israel for a week-long tour. He said:  “…It’s completely different from what you see in mainstream media. They aren’t people who want death to Arabs…In fact, they live with Arabs like their brothers.”  Saoud Saqer, 30, from Abu Dhabi said : “Within (Israel) there are Muslims, Jews, Christians, and all of them share their love for the land and for the state of Israel. There are even Israeli [Jews] who have an Arab background. I want the world to know…there are Arabs and Muslims who are working in Israel’s health department, the police, in the army.”  Read more here




Bar Ilan University researchers have found that covering buildings with greenery can help reduce summer heat. Read more here





An Israeli start-up, Ride Vision has developed new motorcycle safety technology now available in Israel and Italy, with strategic partnerships underway to bring the system to more countries. The system, which can be fitted in less than an hour,has the ability to prevent the majority of accidents. Read more here



Porsche Ventures, the car manufacturer’s venture capital division, announced a new investment in Israeli motorsport technology startup Griiip which has developed a cloud-based data platform called RAMP (Racing Media Platform) that enables the transmission of motorsport data directly from the racing car. Read more here






Alan Baker: The initial few days of international sympathy and understanding for Israel’s right to defend its population (during the recent Gaza conflict) rapidly metamorphosed into a wave of condemnation. The change came with the deliberate propagation of a false and distorted equivalence between a terror organization blatantly violating humanitarian norms and a democratic state legitimately defending itself against terror.
In so doing, the media chooses to ignore the Palestinian use of its civilian population as human shields and the blatant abuse of hospitals, schools, mosques, private homes, public buildings as rocket emplacements and weapons storage facilities, and the hundreds of kilometres of offensive, strategic tunnels under Gaza that endanger civilian life above.
Public diplomacy should bring to the attention of the international community the extensive and illegal use and abuse of children by Hamas for military and propaganda purposes, as well as the illegal use of incendiary balloons and other anti-environment and anti-ecology weapons to destroy Israel’s agriculture and to pollute its environment.Read more here



Leah Goldin: The U.S. must demand that Gaza’s rehabilitation be contingent upon the return of my son and of Oron Shaul, another Israeli soldier whose body is held captive by the terrorist organization. Not another dime should be given to any Palestinian organization until Hadar is brought back for burial in Israel. This is a human rights issue, the humans in question being my son and our family, which deserves the same basic dignity we wish for people everywhere. Read more here



Bassem Eid:  I’m a Palestinian who grew up in a UNRWA refugee camp outside of Jerusalem and have been a human rights activist all my life.
U.S. politicians like the members of “the Squad” spend a considerable amount of time attacking Israel for the supposed harm it inflicts on Palestinians. If they truly care about the well-being of Palestinians, they ought to focus their attention elsewhere.These days, the vast majority of suffering Palestinians experience is the direct result of the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the influence of the terrorist group Hamas. Read more here



Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin: Almost immediately after the horrific building collapse in Surfside, Florida, members of the Home Front Command of the Israel Defence Forces were on their way to help with search and rescue efforts. Israeli rescue teams went to Mexico City after earthquakes in 1985, Buenos Aires after a terror attack on the headquarters of the Jewish community in 1994, Nairobi after a terror attack in 1998, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Nairobi after a building collapse in 2006, Haiti after an earthquake in 2010, Ghana after a department store collapse in 2012, and Mexico City after an earthquakein 2017. Read more here