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Israel Update 2.6.22



After lifting a ban on Israelis in its territory, dozens of businesspeople with Israeli passports have landed in Saudi Arabia, taking advantage of warming relations between the countries to advance bilateral economic agreements. These visits have resulted in two multimillion-dollar desert agriculture deals, in addition to a medical equipment contract…Officially, Saudi Arabia is wary of public ties with Israel and Saudis make clear at every opportunity that progress with Israel will come only after progress with the Palestinians. Unofficially, however, pictures on social media of rocks, firebombs and other improvised weapons brought by young Palestinians into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem sparked massive outrage in Saudi Arabia. Read more here



A senior Israeli official reportedly visited Saudi Arabia recently and was warmly hosted at a Riyadh palace for talks on security and other issues. Read more here



Israel is coordinating with the U.S. and Gulf nations to normalize its ties with Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Lapid said Monday but he warned that the process of normalization with Saudi Arabia would be a lengthy one. Read more here






Israel signed a free trade agreement with the UAE on Tuesday in Dubai, its first big trade accord with an Arab state. The UAE-Israel Business Council predicts there will be almost 1,000 Israeli companies working in or through the UAE by the end of the year doing business with South Asia, the Far East and Middle East. Read more here







Some 70 British military veterans with disabilities were competing this week against their Israeli counterparts in the fourth annual Veteran Games. Among the British delegation are former commandos, paratroopers, police officers and sailors, all wounded during tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq or Kosovo, or in terrorist attacks and other military operations. Read more here







Israel and Greece are revamping their R&D relationship and announced the revitalisation of their collaboration in key fields including climate change and water technologies. Read more here




Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, during a five day trade mission, advanced a major desalination project for his state in meetings with top Israeli officials on Tuesday, which he believes will secure water for Arizona for the next 100 years. Read more here







Israel’s Jerusalem Day celebrations, including the Flag Parade through the Old City, took place mostly without incident on Sunday…Tens of thousands of Jews paraded through Damascus Gate and Jaffa Gate to the Western Wall plaza without serious incident, where they celebrated with music and dancing. The national holiday marks the reunification of Israel’s capital following the Six-Day War in 1967. Read more here



Israeli officials rejected a request by the U.S. Ambassador to amend the route of Sunday’s Jerusalem Day parade celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem. Israel’s Public Security Minister said “We are doing all we can to prevent friction and provocations. This parade is a 30-year-long tradition. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.” Officials in Jerusalem rejected claims by Palestinians that the parade will pass though Muslim holy sites and the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, saying that those claims were meant to incite violence.
Israel’s security agencies and the IDF recommended the route remain unchanged from past years in order not to cause the appearance of weakness after Hamas threatened violence in response to it. Read more here





Israeli company Virusight Diagnostic has developed a device that detects Covid-19 with 96.3% accuracy. The Virusight solution, tested on 550 saliva samples, detected Covid-19 within 20 seconds. The device has been approved for the European market and will be available there. Read more here







Nazareth-born Israeli Arab journalist Nazir Majali has written a new book, The Responsibility of the Minority, that calls for Jews and Arabs to live together in peace..He said, “Just by looking at how many Israeli Arabs work in Israel’s hospitals and study in Israeli universities, we can see that it’s possible to live and work alongside each other with mutual respect. I’m striving to create a master plan for Jews and Arabs to work side by side, and so I’m beginning with my side – the Arab side.”
Majali writes: “Why aren’t Israel’s Arabs interested in being part of a Palestinian state? The truth is, living as citizens of the State of Israel, we are much safer and have better lives than we would in other Arab countries.”
“I don’t want to be the victim who just cries and talks about the Nakba. It’s time we took responsibility for our own lives. It’s in our best interest for Israel to be strong…The Arab minority must take up the mantle and promote change that will show the world that Jews and Arabs can live together in peace.” Read more here





Finnish delivery giant Wolt officially opened its first dedicated grocery store in Israel called Wolt Market in Tel Aviv on Tuesday from which customers can order their groceries and have them delivered.  Wolt Market will operate for deliveries only, meaning individual customers cannot physically shop there, and will cover central Tel Aviv. Read more here






Israeli researchers have used advanced technology to grow an enhanced strain of cannabis that contains higher levels of THC and CBG, the main active components in cannabis, opening up new possibilities for the popular medicinal plant and recreational drug. Read more here






An Israeli study suggests that women who give birth with the assistance of an epidural, subsequently bond better with their babies. Researchers from Soroka Medical Centre tracked over 230 mothers and found that those who did not use the pain-relieving procedure were more likely to have postpartum concerns and/or depression.Read more here



On Tuesday, a delegation of UN ambassadors concluded a five-day visit to Israel, during which it reviewed Israeli technology focusing on climate and sustainability solutions.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, said:  “After spending a week in Israel, the ambassadors were able to see the innovative spirit that is infused throughout the people…I am confident that they will be strong advocates of partnering with Israeli companies in the future, both at the UN and in their home countries.”Read more here





(Jerusalem Day was last Sunday 29 May)


Mark Regev: It was the national unity government of Labour Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in May 1968 that first proclaimed the celebration of Jerusalem Day as an Israeli national holiday to mark the anniversary of Jerusalem’s unification. Israel’s War of Independence had ended with Jordan’s Arab Legion occupying the Old City and eastern Jerusalem, leaving the city divided down the middle by barbed wire and concrete barriers. In violation of the signed armistice agreement, Jordan did not allow Jews to visit the Western Wall and the other Jewish holy sites in the areas it controlled, some of which were also desecrated. Read more here



Dore Gold: During Israel’s War of Independence, Jerusalem was surrounded by a coalition of Arab armies and bombarded by their artillery. The Jewish Quarter of the Old City was ethnically cleansed. Its great synagogues, some dating back to the 13th century, were levelled. What the war had proven was that if Jerusalem would not be under Israel’s sovereignty and protection, the consequences would be catastrophic.

In the last decade, religious sites have been under assault across the Middle East. Only a free and democratic Israel will protect Jerusalem for all the great faiths.

From 1948 to 1967, the Jewish people were denied access to their historical capital city. Jerusalem Day is a day in which that wrong was corrected and Jerusalem was made whole once more. Read more here



Ben-Dror Yemini: The claim that the Jerusalem Day flag parade serves as the catalyst for violence by Palestinians is simply outrageous. In stark contrast to years prior, the Muslim world remained mostly indifferent to the parade this year – apart from Jordan’s condemnation and Al-Jazeera’s usual attempt to incite the region.
Under Muslim rule, Jerusalem was one of the most neglected cities in the region. Though it is said to be the third most holy city in Islam, for centuries they thought nothing of it and paid it very little attention until the Jews sought a national home to call their own. Read more here



Yifa Segal: The greater problem is those in the West who accept without question the claim that the mere presence of a Jew on the Temple Mount is a defilement….

I am free to visit churches, pagodas, ancient temples, and even the Vatican in my global travels. However, my presence in Jerusalem, the capital of my country, is considered a problem that justifies violence. If human beings are allowed to access a certain site, it should be totally unacceptable to restrict access to some based on their religion. Read more here