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israel Update 15.7.21



Israel on Thursday reported more than 700 new daily coronavirus cases for the third day in a row. 765 people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, of whom 71 were confirmed as carriers during mandatory testing at Ben Gurion Airport. 54 patients are in serious condition, a rise of nine from two days ago. At least 16 patients are connected to ventilators. Read more here


Prof. Salman Zarka was appointed as Israel’s next coronavirus commissioner.  Director-general of Ziv Medical Centre in Safed, he is an epidemiologist. A member of the Druze community, Zarka served in the IDF for 25 years, reaching the rank of colonel. He established and commanded the field hospital that the IDF set up in the Golan to treat Syrians wounded in the civil war.Read more here


Israel’s government has reportedly shifted to a new strategy on combating coronavirus, based on the assumption that the pandemic is here to stay but can be managed with minimal damage to the economy. The “soft suppression” strategy seeks to keep the number of COVID-19 cases down by vaccinating the elderly and immune-compromised populations with a third dose, while also bringing back a modified Green Pass policy for indoor events and maintaining indoor mask requirements. Read more here


The isolation period in Israel was shortened to seven days. Read more here


New travel rules come into force on 16 July. Read more here




Older individuals with a high rate of underlying medical conditions and immunosuppression are more likely to contract coronavirus and develop a severe case of COVID-19 even after being fully vaccinated, according to a first-in-the-world study conducted in Israel.  Read more here



Reportedly, there is a growing correlation between vaccinated Israelis who have been infected with the Delta variant of the coronavirus and those who were among the first to get the vaccine, possibly indicating that the vaccine’s protection fades over time. However, some experts working with the Health Ministry cautioned that it was too early to draw conclusions, since the sample size was too small and those who were vaccinated first were the oldest and most at risk, with already weakened immune systems. Read more here


A new study conducted in Israel has found that COVID-19 antibody levels change according to age and biological sex, with men and women developing different levels of the virus-busting proteins at different stages of their lives. Another key finding of the study was that the immune response of those who were vaccinated was much stronger than those who have recovered from COVID-19.Read more here




As the Delta variant spreads, Israel has become the first country in the world to begin distributing third dose booster shots to adults with impaired immune systems, based on “accumulating evidence” indicating they aren’t well enough protected after their initial doses.Sheba Medical Centre, immediately invited dozens of its heart transplant patients for boosters. Read more here


An additional supply of Pfizer vaccines is scheduled to arrive on 1stAugust enabling vaccination of the 12-15 age group to continue.Read more here




Israel is partnering with U.S.-based NRx Pharmaceuticals to complete trials and commercialize the Israeli-developed COVID-19 vaccine BriLife.NRx has arranged for rapid Phase 2b/3 testing in Israel, Georgia and Ukraine. Read more here




On July 6, the PA announced a new system for disbursing payments to terrorists and their families involving ATMs at PA post offices, bypassing the previous system involving banks, after Israel defined the recipients’ bank accounts as “terrorist property” subject to expropriation.Read more here



Israel’s security cabinet on Sunday authorized the deduction of the amount the PA pays terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA. The National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing reported that the PA paid $180 million in 2020 to support terrorism.Every month, the PA pays convicted terrorists and the families of those killed while committing acts of terrorism. Terrorists receive more, depending on their prison sentence. That means the greater the severity of the crime, i.e., the more Israelis killed and wounded, the more they receive.   Read more here


A visiting US congressional delegation expressed their disapproval over payments to terrorists and their families during a meeting in Ramallah with PA President Abbas last week. Read more here





The UAE on Wednesday formally inaugurated its embassy in Israel. Read more here



Israel on Tuesday signed its first cooperation agreements with the UAE in the field of agriculture. The two countries will co-operate on research and innovation, including the development of strains of produce suitable for growing in desert conditions, as well as other advances in the fields of water management and irrigation. Read more here






PM Bennett secretly met  Jordan’s King Abdullah recently in Amman, where the two leaders agreed to refresh Israeli-Jordanian relations. Read more here





The Director-General of Political Affairs at the Moroccan Foreign Ministry, held talks last week with his Israeli counterpart who was on a working visit to Morocco at the head of an Israeli delegation. The two officials reviewed ways to foster cooperation in political, economic, and cultural fields. Read more here





Foreign Minister Lapid met NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg in Brussels on Monday and  expressed his desire to deepen ties with NATO declaring Israel’s readiness to support the alliance on matters of intelligence, cybersecurity, counter-terrorism, climate change, maritime security, missile defence, and civilian emergency management.  Lapid was also scheduled to meet his counterparts from Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic  before addressing the EU Foreign Affairs Council. Read more here



Europe must remember that Israel is under constant threat from Iran, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told EU foreign ministers. He said that  Israel would like “to broaden the circle of peace” to include the Palestinians, but “Unfortunately, there is no possibility at the moment….If there will be a Palestinian state, it needs to be a peace-seeking democracy….You cannot ask us to build with our own hands another threat to our lives.” Read more here





The IDF on Wednesday revealed the location of an alleged Hezbollah arms cache in central Lebanon, saying that explosives with roughly half the destructive power of the massive blast that levelled huge swathes of Beirut last year were being kept in a building, across the street from a school,  in the village of Ebba. Read more here



Israeli security forces foiled an attempt to smuggle dozens of weapons from Lebanon into northern Israel. 43 weapons and ammunition were seized, the largest stash of weapons intercepted in recent years. Read more here







Four Gazans, some armed with knives, were detained by IDF soldiers after infiltrating into southern Israel on Saturday. Read more here



Israel wants foreign aid to Gaza disbursed through a voucher system, (for example food or humanitarian aid vouchers) as a safeguard against donations being diverted to bolster Hamas and its arsenal.Read more here





A special flight of Nepal Airlines last Thursday brought medical equipment and supplies including ventilators, oxygen concentrators, masks, PPEs and coveralls provided by Israel. Read more here






Israel’s Watergen has installed a GEN-M water generator that creates high-quality drinking water from the air in the Hard Rock community of the Navajo Nation in Arizona. Nearly 10,000 families across Navajo Nation lack access to running water. The GEN-M produces up to 211 gallons of purified drinking water per day.Read more here






Robots are to start whirring around Israel’s largest hospital, racing drugs from the pharmacy to wards in the oncology department of Shaba Hospital,  helping to save patients hours of waiting time.  Read more here



Researchers at Tel Aviv University announced they have successfully developed a first-of-its-kind sensor that can help restore sensation for those with nerve damage. The triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) sensor can be placed inside the body to bring back tactile sensation to an area where a person has lost feeling. Read more here



Israel’s UltraSight makes video game-like software that can guide any doctor to take images of a patient’s heart using ultrasound.Read more here




During the period of Israel’s full control of the West Bank (1967-1992), the Arab population expanded by 79%, from 586,000 to 1,050,000, due to the unprecedented Israeli development of health, medical, transportation, education and employment infrastructure, following stagnation during the Jordanian occupation of the area (1948-1967). Arab infant mortality was drastically reduced, while life expectancy surged. The Arab population in the West Bank has also undergone massive urbanization (from 75% rural in 1967 to 77% urban in 2021).
Meanwhile, Israel, with a birth rate of 3.09 per woman (compared with 3.02 among West Bank Arab women), leads the 34 OECD countries in fertility. Read more here






Simone Rodan-Benzaquen: The situation in Gaza has only deteriorated since Hamas violently overthrew the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in Gaza in 2007 and installed an Islamist regime that not only terrorizes Israeli civilians but also oppresses the Palestinians it governs. As for President Abbas, he has not turned out to be the champion of freedom and democracy some had hoped for.
In recent weeks, thousands have protested across the West Bank as Palestinian civil society activists and journalists have been intimidated and arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces. Yet the traditional champions of the Palestinian cause in the West, who vehemently protested Israel’s actions in Gaza during the most recent conflict with Hamas, have remained silent.
Why do individuals who identify themselves as supporters of the Palestinian people have this incredible blind spot? How can we explain the lack of interest in human rights when Israel is not involved? What is at play has less to do with the world of politics than with the world of psychology, and less to do with Israel than with those obsessed with Israel. Read more here


JPost Editorial: This week marks the 15th anniversary of the 2ndLebanon War.  If we didn’t need any more evidence that there’s still a belligerent force facing Israel from north of the Lebanese border, Hezbollah released a reminder on Tuesday. The terrorist organization, which has held Lebanon hostage for decades and holds much of the blame for the country’s current economic and social crises, released a video of the 2006 attack and abduction of  two IDF soldiers – the event that sparked the war.  The revulsion of seeing the national tragedy replayed and the timing of its release are a sobering reminder of the peril that still confronts Israel from the North, 15 years after the harrowing conflict that still divides Israelis as to what was achieved and at what cost. Read more here