Please note that the Israel Update is taking a break so there will be no mailing next week 4 November. Hopefully to be resumed the following week. HRG
(Figures from last week’s Update in brackets for comparison)
Israel’s government voted Wednesday evening to cancel restrictions on outdoor gatherings, which had been capped at 5,000 people. Green Passes are required.
All indicators point to the ending of Israel’s fourth COVID wave, which began in July and at its height saw more than 10,000 new cases reported each day. Just 642 (1,021) people tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday. As of Thursday, there were 10,031 active COVID cases in the country, with 332 hospitalized, 238 (330) of those in serious condition and 139 of them on ventilators. Read more here
Israel last Friday outlawed six prominent Palestinian NGOs by declaring them terrorist organizations. The Israeli Defence Ministry said the organizations are “controlled by senior leaders” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, designated by Israel and Western countries as a terrorist organization. The organizations employ PFLP members, including some who have “participated in terror activity.” The ministry said the groups had received “large sums of money from European countries and international organizations,” and serve as a “central source” of financing for the PFLP.
Israeli media reported that Defence Minister Gantz took action following investigations by the Israel Security Agency and the Ministry of Defence’s task force on terrorism. The ministry said the groups typically presented themselves as social advocacy organizations while serving as an arm of a faction “set on the destruction of Israel through terrorist means.” Read more here Read more here
Blood Money: European-Funded Palestinian NGOs and their Terror operatives – A Case Study- Addameer
A Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell recently arrested in Jericho for planning a terrorist attack reportedly included senior Palestinian Authority security officials. Read more here
Israel and the EU have finalized their agreement for Israel to join the EU’s largest research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe.
A recent 4-way Zoom call between the US, the UAE, Israel & India underlines the potential for a regional economic network to counter China’s designs.
With the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020, India was presented with a new opportunity to challenge Chinese designs on regional and global trade. Rail networks being drawn up between Israel and the UAE would allow India to ship goods to the UAE, which would then be transported by train across Saudi Arabia and Jordan, before crossing into Israel at Beit She’an and then from Haifa to Greece from where India would be able to access all of Europe. Read more here
Israel on Tuesday unveiled its first ever city with a Druze majority when Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked declared the community of Maghar as an official city, upgraded from a local council, during a meeting with the heads of the Druze and Circassian authorities. Maghar is a mixed community, of Druze, Muslims and Christians. Read more here
Israel has been opening its border to agricultural workers from neighbouring Lebanon, with which it is technically at war, to pick olives.
“In light of the economic situation in Lebanon, and as a gesture of goodwill to the Lebanese people” an IDF statement read. “The IDF allowed the workers to cross the Blue Line allowing them to harvest olive trees in Israeli territory” Read more here
An Israeli private jet landed in Riyadh on Tuesday morning, the first time a public flight from Israel has ever landed in Saudi Arabia, just a day after the first flight from Saudi Arabia landed in Israel on Monday evening. While there remain no commercial flights between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the flights are a considerable advancement in Saudi-Israeli relations, as both nations finally opened their airspaces to each other only last year.Read more here
A senior Sudanese diplomat said the military’s takeover of the country is not expected to affect normalization with Israel because military leaders who support normalization have strengthened their position. Read more here
The Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, while visiting Israel, said that he wanted to build closer ties in the fields of security, agriculture, infrastructure, and digital technology. Read more here
Israel exhibits global dominance in specific climate tech areas and has been shown to hold absolute global leadership in the areas of cultivated meat, irrigation systems, and water desalination. Two of the leading startups associated with clean meat are Israeli – MeaTech and Aleph Farms. Read more here
Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and the Palestinian organization Damour for Community Development have announced the establishment of a new Centre for Applied Environmental Diplomacy.in partnership with the Oxford University Martin School Programme on Transnational Management of Natural Resources.
The school has been working for the past three years with scientists from Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza on the first project of its kind to model and forecast what will happen to regional natural resources as climate change takes hold, with an emphasis on energy and water. Clive Lipchin of the Arava Institutefor example, has developed a solar-operated sewage treatment unit that has been piloted in a Bedouin village and is being scaled up in a community in the northern West Bank. The recycled water is being used to irrigate olive trees. In the Jordan Valley, Lipchin has been working on desalination to help Palestinian farmers develop high-value, fast-growing cash crops. Read more here
Mileutis, an Israeli bio-pharmaceutical startup, is developing a solution to the worldwide problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Reportedly none of the 43 antibiotics currently in clinical development properly address the problem of drug resistance to some of the world’s most dangerous bacteria. Read more here
Researchers at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology’s chemical engineering department have halved the growth of cancer tumours in mice by using “GPS particles” to inject a well-known local anaesthetic drug. Read more here
The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization Corporation announced that it has welcomed Israel’s prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science into its international consortium of distinguished universities and research institutions building the giant telescope. Read more here
A range of entertainment figures, including Helen Mirren and Mila Kunis, signed a letter this week rejecting efforts to boycott the upcoming Tel Aviv International LGBTQ Film Festival and condemning cultural boycotts against Israel. Read more here
Emily Schrader: The recent designation of six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organisations has sparked intense controversy… But Israel is not suppressing Palestinian civil society…and here is why: the organizations now listed as terrorist groups are not targeted because of their anti-Israel stances, but rather because of a legitimate and well-documented track record of collusion and cooperation with the PFLP, the internationally recognized terrorist organization… Dozens of Palestinian NGOs work against the state of Israel in a variety of ways without funding internationally recognized terrorist organizations. There is a reason these six were designated and others were not – and that alone speaks to the fact that this is not an attack on Palestinian civil society meant to “suppress voices against the occupation” but rather to halt funding to violent terrorist groups actively plotting attacks against Israelis…No organization, of any nationality, should get a free pass to assist violent terrorist organizations. To pretend there is not a track record of these organizations’ affiliations and assistance to the PFLP in the past few years is to ignore evidence that has already been released. Israel is entitled to designate these organizations as PFLP fronts, and the international community should respect that and stop funding them. Read more here
Jonathan S. Tobin: The purpose of these NGOs is not to make the lives of Palestinians better. If it were, they would be advocating for peace, not the destruction of the Jewish state, as all do. They would be building the infrastructure of Palestinian society and trying to make their own government more accountable and less corrupt. Palestinians who actually care about creating a civil society would be seeking to promote normalization and cooperation with Israel, not opposing it and treating those who seek peace as traitors.
Well-meaning Americans hear the words “civil society” and “human rights,” and make unfounded assumptions. But the tunnel vision of the human-rights community in attacking Israel, the one pluralistic democracy in the region, while ignoring real human-rights catastrophes elsewhere, is telling. It’s long past time for those who care about human rights to reject the scam being perpetrated by those who parade under that banner. Read more here
Fiamma Nirenstein: It is worth reminding those defending the NGOs that their mother organization, the PFLP, is responsible for a torrent of terrorist activity, including the 2001 murder of then-Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi; six suicide attacks during the Second Intifada that took the lives of 13 victims; the attempted killing of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef; and the 2014 axe, knife and gun attack on the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue resulting in the murder of five worshippers.
In addition, there was the August 2019 murder of 17-year-old Rina Shnerb—and wounding of her father and brother. The murderers are part of the EU-funded Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)—one of the six NGOs targeted by Gantz…
It is even more tragic that the term “human rights” has become a trap, creating an absurd inversion of the very real distinction between perpetrators and victims. Read more here