Naftali Bennett became the first Israeli prime minister to visit Bahrain on Monday. He said: “Israel and Bahrain are dealing with major security challenges that stem from the same source, which is the Islamic Republic of Iran….We are fighting Iran and its henchmen in the region day and night and we will help our friends in promoting peace, security and stability, whenever we are asked.” Read more here
The (Israeli & Bahraini) leaders welcomed the building of a bilateral 10-year plan called “The Joint Warm Peace Strategy” that will serve as a roadmap for the development of relations and will be jointly led and reviewed by both Ministries of Foreign Affairs. The Joint Warm Peace Strategy will prioritise areas of mutual interest, including innovation ecosystems, food and water security, sustainable energy, healthcare, education, and trade and investment. Read more here
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a Congressional delegation that met with top Israeli officials in Jerusalem on Wednesday. “In our meetings, we conveyed America’s ironclad commitment to the State of Israel and our partnership in advancing our mutual security, economic prosperity and democratic values.” Read more here
Following her first visit to Israel as International Trade Secretary Rt. Hon. Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP said “A deal with Israel is expected to open new opportunities across the services sector from digital, financial and professional services, to life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and high-tech innovation”, adding “Israel will be at the front of innovation with us, working together to use digital thinking to strip away layers of bureaucracy and bring down costs for families in every region and nation”. More details of the visit here
Figures from last week where available in brackets for comparison.
On Wednesday 21,152 (36,835) people tested positive for coronavirus, with 886 (1,123) patients in serious condition of whom 263 (274) are ventilated. The virus’ reproduction number, R, has dropped to 0.68, indicating a decline in the spread of the pathogen. The peak in single-day cases was reported on January 23, when over 85,000 people tested positive. Since the start of the pandemic, 9,710 patients have succumbed to the disease. Since the beginning of February, 744 patients have died in Israel, while the number of deaths since the beginning of the year stands at 1,453 – an average of 31 deaths per day. Read more here
Israel’s Health Ministry on Wednesday recommended easing COVID-19 restrictions including ending the quarantine requirement for Israeli travellers returning from abroad and the Green Pass vaccine proof required at events. Other recommendations include cancelling the requirement for returning travellers to present a negative COVID test at the airport before boarding a flight to Israel, although the test at Ben Gurion airport after landing will remain. Read more here
An Israeli hospital Sheba Medical Centre is set to hold trials for an Omicron-specific version of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, becoming the first medical centre outside the US to test the shots.Omicron is able to infect vaccinated people in many cases, but the infections are less severe than for the unvaccinated. Read more here
AdOM Advanced Optical Technologies and Israel’s Sheba Medical Centre have launched the world’s largest study for the detection of Covid-19 on the surface of the eye. The study will compare AdOM’s Tear Film Imager, a quick (40 second) , noninvasive and inexpensive examination, to the PCR diagnostic test, the current standard. Read more here
In a sign of warming relations between his country and Israel, a smiling Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi left multiple delegates waiting as he walked the length of a conference hall in Cairo on Monday to personally greet Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, who uses a wheelchair. Read more here
Israel will boost natural gas exports to Egypt by as much as 50% by the end of the month, Israel’s Energy Minister said in Cairo on Monday. The new quantities will be transferred through a pipeline traversing Jordan. Most of Israel’s present capacity is committed to Egypt, Jordan and its own domestic market. Read more here
Israel Aerospace Industries will provide the Moroccan army with the Barak MX air and missile defence system in a $500 million deal.
Morocco has already purchased Heron UAVs from IAI, as well as robot patrol vehicles from Elbit Systems and drone interceptors from Skylock. Read more here
Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council, told state-run TV on Saturday that an exchange of intelligence with Israel has enabled Sudan to dismantle militant groups that “could have undermined the security of Sudan and the region.” Read more here
Israel is set to open its first shelter designated for LGBT Israeli Arab youth. The Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry, which recently announced the decision, also said that it would open two additional housing centres for LGBT Arab adults in t Haifa. Arab youth in need of emergency housing have until now turned toward LGBT shelters run by Jewish Israelis; however, many do not have Arabic-speaking social workers or staff on hand. Read more here
Israel has donated 16,000 antigen test kits to the Philippine Department of National Defence (DND) to help its fight against Covid-19. In 2021, Israel donated personal protective equipment to DND and the Philippine National Police. Two Israeli delegations of medical experts have assisted the country’s national vaccination campaign and shared infection control protocols. Read more here
Israel’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 8.1% in 2021, after shrinking by 2.2% in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.
GDP grew 16.6% in the fourth quarter of 2021, after growing at only 2.4% in the third quarter. Read more here
In two labs in Israel, scientists and entrepreneurs are using their expertise to innovate solutions to reduce sugar content in fruit juice. Blue Tree’s innovative technology selectively removes sugars from sucrose without touching the other sugars or introducing additives. The process maintains the drink’s original composition, except for the sugar. Better Juice’s solution uses natural enzymes to convert sugars in juice to non-digestible compounds. The product removes sugar from all types of fruit juice. Read more here
Israeli cleantech developer UBQ Materials announced a new partnership with Resirene, the largest polystyrene resin producer in Mexico. The collaboration is set to produce the first worldwide, sustainable circular grade high-impact polystyrene compound using UBQ . Read more here
A new camera developed in Israel can see through walls from a distance of 300 feet. In case of a terrorist attack or kidnapping, it can see inside a room if there are people inside, how many, and if they are on the move. “It’s a tactical tool that gives an exceptional operational advantage to military forces, police, and rescuers,” said Amir Beeri, managing director and founder of Camero. Read more here
The secure, 13-foot-high tanks for storing and transporting hazardous liquids currently produced by CGK Group, based in Bruges, Belgium, are all hand-made – an expensive and labour-intensive process. Now, using the world’s largest robotic 3D printing platform created by Largix, an Israeli startup, CGK expects to slash the cost of producing the tanks.Read more here
The Dead Sea is number 1 on the top ten list of the prestigious tourist “Travel and Leisure” magazine as the most recommended “healing” destination. “Besides its breathtaking views, the Dead Sea is known to have healing powers. From the black mud that can be lathered on the skin for peeling or easing of skin conditions such as psoriasis, and the natural power to cure asthma, joint inflammation, osteoporosis, and other health complications.” Read more here
A giant strawberry grown in Kadima-Zoran, Israel and weighing 289 grams (10.19 ounces) has been confirmed as setting a new Guinness World Record as the heaviest ever. Read more here
Herb Keinon: “But when (UK Defence Secretary) Wallace invoked Munich on Sunday, the reactions were more muted. The world, it seems, has more tolerance for painting Putin as Hitler than it does likening Khamenei to him. To draw analogies between the soft Western response to Iran’s steady nuclear march is (regarded as) fear-mongering and sabre-rattling. But to use those same analogies now with regard to Putin and Ukraine goes without the same degree of opposition.
What this shows is the degree to which Iran – despite its rhetoric and its long track record of malevolent actions in the region and beyond – does not frighten the world to the same degree that Putin and Russia do. Putin’s massing of troops on the Ukrainian border is taken seriously, whereas Khamanei’s massing of a stockpile of enriched uranium is seen more forgivingly. Read more here
Saleem Quna: Today, the 22 Arab states in the Arab League have adopted different approaches to their relationships versus Iran and Israel. Israel managed to reach separate peace accords first with Egypt, the PLO and Jordan during the third quarter of the last century. More recently, Israel succeeded in making significant breakthroughs in some Arab countries intimidated by Iran’s regional schemes. After the signing of the Abraham Accords…Israel gradually managed to move its status from being a main adversary or intruder to that of a neutral entity, then to a friend who could end up as an ally and defender of the Gulf States, who feel the heat of the Iranian overall menacing strategy! Read more here
Ben Lynfield: Normalization has created a new world of opportunities for Israel to finally taste being part of the region in people-to-people terms. A Holocaust memorial exhibition has opened in Dubai, academic exchanges are underway with Morocco, and Israel’s Sheba Medical Centre is providing health care in Bahrain. Read more here