We are Modern Orthodox and are a constituent member of the United Synagogue

Israel Update 20.1.22

Dedicated to the memory of my dear Mum, Esther bat Henoch whose 20th Yahrzeit is this evening/tomorrow 19 Shevat. HRG




Last week’s figures where available in brackets for comparison.


Israel reported Thursday that about 72,000 (48,095) new coronavirus cases had been diagnosed the previous day.  Among the hospitalised patients, 541 (283) are in serious condition while the number on ventilators stands at 105 (65).

(translated) Read more here (Hebrew)



The quarantine for individuals infected with the coronavirus has been shortened from seven to five days. A negative at-home antigen test will be sufficient to leave isolation instead of a doctor’s note. Read more here



Tens of thousands of Israelis who had previously recovered from COVID-19 have been re-infected, according to the Health Ministry. Over 70,000 recovering Israelis who had not received the coronavirus vaccines, have contracted the disease again since the beginning of the year, 7,459 on Tuesday alone out of the 72,120 confirmed cases that day. Most of those repeat infections were among unvaccinated Israelis, most of them in the 20 to 29 age group, followed by people in their 30s. Read more here



Almost one in ten staff members at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital are sick with coronavirus, as hospitals teams across Israel experience strain due to the infection of medical professionals. Read more here






Nearly a month after Sheba Medical Centre launched a landmark study to test the efficacy of a fourth COVID shot, the hospital said Monday that this second booster was only partially effective in protecting against the Omicron strain. Read more here




Immunologist Prof. Cyrille Cohen, who wasn’t involved in the Sheba study said “The (results) reflect the fact that the Omicron spike protein is extremely different from the spike protein included in the vaccine.” adding that  the truly important question was not addressed in the study, “What we should be measuring is how many end up in severe condition and not how many are vulnerable to infection and just testing positive.” Read more here






More than 90% of coronavirus patients treated with Pfizer’s antiviral drug Paxlovid significantly improved within three days, according to data released by Maccabi Healthcare Services. Read more here







A group of Afghan refugees, rescued by Israel-based humanitarian group IsraAID in October, finally got the chance to meet their rescuers on Monday as they prepared to begin the process of resettlement in Canada. Read more here



Israel has donated $500,000 to the United Nations for food, medical aid and other assistance for Afghan refugees in Tajikistan. Read more here







The Israeli STEM programme empowers girls in Ghana. World ORT Kadima Mada (loose translation “Science Journey”) trains female university students in Ghana to teach coding, animation and technology skills to young girls. Read more here







As normalization talks between Jerusalem and Jakarta continue, a delegation from Indonesia visited Israel recently to learn about its COVID-19 response. Last year, two Indonesian hospitals were in talks with Israel’s Sheba Medical Centre to work in several areas, including cardiology, pediatrics and infectious diseases. Indonesia, which contains the largest Muslim population of all countries in the world, and Israel do not have diplomatic relations. Read more here







A private jet belonging to Libyan warlord and presidential candidate Khalifa Haftar reportedly landed in Israel last Thursday. The plane took off from Libya, landing briefly in Cyprus before heading to Israel, where it remained for two hours before returning to Cyprus. Read more here







Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg met  Jordan’s ambassador to Israel recently at her office in Jerusalem to discuss “cooperation between the countries in the fields of environment and climate.” Read more here







A Palestinian assailant was shot dead as he attempted to stab soldiers at a bus stop on Monday. Read more here







Israel conducted a successful test of its Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system on Tuesday morning outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Read more here



IAF pilots flew alongside their counterparts from US Air Force Central Command in a joint training exercise mostly over the Negev desert last week. Read more here



Israeli defence electronics company Elbit Systems has announced that it will provide the Swedish navy with combat management systems for its mine countermeasures (MSM) vessels, intended to detect and hunt naval mines. Read more here






Israeli computer vision startup Trigo Vision is taking its frictionless shopping technology to the USA, starting with a pilot scheme with Wakefern Food Corp, the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States. In 2021 Trigo cemented partnerships with some of Europe’s largest grocery retail chains and had already been working with the UK’s Tesco which opened its first fully autonomous checkout-free grocery store in London. Read more here







Israeli startup Restore Medical   has developed a new approach to treating congestive heart failure using an implantable device. Read more here






A new Israeli startup Plantish has produced a plant-based whole-cut salmon fillet that is the first to mimic the appearance, taste, and texture of the actual fish. The company is developing a patent-pending additive manufacturing technology, the industrial name for 3D printing, to make plant-based fish alternatives at a low cost and at scale. Read more here



A high-fat, low-carb nutrition regime known as the ketogenic diet significantly reduces the cognitive effects of brain injury in mice, and may do the same for humans, according to researchers at Tel Viv University. The ketogenic diet is already used to help some epileptic children. Read more here






European diplomats have a “Pavlovian instinct to attack Israel without knowing the facts,” a senior Israel Foreign Ministry official said, following criticism of Israel’s move to demolish an Arab-owned business illegally constructed on public property in Jerusalem. “The ambassadors that attacked Israel today were confused – instead of protecting the residents, they’re protecting criminals.”
The evacuation was authorized by the Jerusalem District Court. The Jerusalem Municipality plans to build an educational complex on the property for Arab residents of the capital which would include a school for special-needs children. The Salhia family built a plant nursery, two storage units, and two temporary homes on the site. The Israeli official lamented that Europe calls on Israel to help Arabs in eastern Jerusalem – like build schools – and then attacks Israel when it does so.
The Jerusalem Municipality noted: “Contrary to the family’s claims, the buildings have not been on this territory for decades. Rather, they were built illegally in recent years. The family’s illegal takeover of public property prevents hundreds of children with special needs in the area to get basic educational services. Read more here






From Honest Reporting: According to the Jerusalem municipality, which has provided public services to residents in the eastern part of Israel’s capital since the reunification of the holy city in 1967, the local authority has long wanted to build an educational complex on the above-mentioned land in Sheikh Jarrah, which is officially designated a “statutory area for public needs.” the Jerusalem municipality made clear that the plan to build the special needs school was approved and budgeted “years ago.” As part of the project, 18 classrooms will be built in addition to six kindergartens, sports fields and other facilities. The school would serve hundreds of Arab children with special needs from all over the city, with Sheikh Jarrah having been chosen due to its central location.

Yet illegal squatting on the plot has kept the municipality from realizing Mayor Moshe Lion’s stated goal of improving the quality of life in Arab-majority eastern Jerusalem, specifically by investing in the educational system. Despite not owning the property they claim, which led the Jerusalem District Court in 2017 to issue an evacuation order, members of the Salhiya family have refused to vacate illegal structures to allow the school to be constructed. Read more here