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Israel Update 23.2.23

A reminder that Israeli domestic politics is outside the scope of these Updates. HRG




Heavy gun battles broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen Wednesday in Nablus during an attempt to arrest terror suspects. The Palestinian Authority said 11 people were killed in the clashes. A military source said that soldiers surrounded a home where three members of the Lions’ Den terror group were holed up, demanding they surrender. Israeli forces then fired missiles at the building to flush the men out. The IDF said troops came under “massive gunfire,” and responded with live fire at gunmen. No Israeli troops were hurt.
The IDF named the Lion’s Den members killed as Hussam Bassam Isleem, 24, who was a member of a cell that killed IDF Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch in October; Mohammad Abdul Fattah, 23, who was also affiliated with Islamic Jihad; and Walid Riyad Dkhail, 23. All three had participated in shooting attacks against Israeli forces. Lions’ Den and Islamic Jihad later claimed six of the fatalities as members.

According to IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, during the raid in Nablus, the Israeli force came under fire from rooftops, motorbikes and vehicles, as well as from the hideout itself. Read more here Read more here



After Gazans fired six rockets into southern Israel on Wednesday, Israeli planes struck targets in Gaza early Thursday, hitting a Hamas weapons workshop and another a “military site,” “The complex is located near a mosque, a medical clinic, a school, a hotel, and a police station. This is further proof that the Hamas terror organization places its military assets in the heart of a civilian population” said the IDF. Five of the rockets were downed by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Video posted on social media shows interceptions over Israeli cities, including Ashkelon. Read more here






Israeli airlines will be allowed to fly over Omani airspace, shortening flight times to Asia. Last summer, Saudi Arabia officially allowed Israeli airlines to fly through its airspace, but the lack of approval by Oman had forced Israeli flights to continue to bypass the Arabian Peninsula. Read more here (paywall)







Representatives of 14 African and Arab countries will convene in Jerusalem next month for the first-ever Arab-Africa-Israel conference on Middle East security. The three-day conference, entitled “Trusted Regional Partnerships at a Time of Shifting Alliances,” organized by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, will include participants from countries without diplomatic relations with Israel.
The conference will focus on security, stability and cooperation, with discussions on the Abraham Accords, anti-radicalism and counterinsurgency, as well as food and water security. The participants are from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Somaliland, South Sudan and South Africa.Read more here




In a serious breach of protocol this week, the Israeli delegation to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa was expelled from the session hall despite Israel having observer status at the African Union and having proper credentials. An Israeli spokesman said that the action was instigated by South Africa and Algeria. Read more here







Israel’s Defence Ministry on Monday inaugurated its first national pavilion in Abu Dhabi at the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX).
Over 30 leading Israeli defence industries presented their technologies, which included air defence systems, rocket and missile systems, unmanned aerial systems, artificial intelligence, electro-optical systems, and cyber solutions.Read more here






A minor earthquake registering a 3.3 magnitude was experienced in parts of Israel on Saturday. On Monday, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey near the Syrian border with tremors being felt across the region, including northern Israel.  Tremors from another earthquake magnitude 4.2, centred in the Mediterranean sea off the Lebanese coast, were felt in Israel on Wednesday. Read more hereRead more here



A team of researchers led by Yuval Reuveni from the department of physics at Ariel University has published a paper about a promising new way to predict earthquakes, 48 hours beforehand. Their revolutionary approach utilizes a form of machine learning called support vector machine (SVM) with GPS ionospheric total electron content (TEC) estimations. Read more here







A private civilian rescue expedition sent by Israel’s Stolero Group in cooperation with the Azerbaijani AKTA group, deployed state-of-the-art technologies from Magal, XTEND and Polaris. One instance was when Spanish and German teams asked the Israeli volunteers from XTEND (drone experts) to help use a thermal camera on a drone resulting in the rescue of a 70-year-old woman.Read more here






After Barcelona mayor Ada Colau recently announced suspension of the twinning arrangement with Tel Aviv, Madrid’s mayor tweeted that he had written to Tel Aviv’s mayor to share “Madrid’s commitment to democracy and freedom.”  Then the president of the Community of Madrid visited Israel stating that “The city of Barcelona did something that is a big mistake and that doesn’t represent the whole of Spain and it does not represent Madrid”. The Spanish government also criticized Colau’s decision.

Last week, Joan Laporta the president of FC Barcelona invited representatives from Israel’s embassy to Spain to a football match against Manchester United, in a show of support. During a ceremony before the game he stressed that his team has long been committed to having good ties with Israel.

On Wednesday, Barcelona’s city council symbolically rejected left-wing mayor Colau’s decision with only her party supporting her. However, the councillors are powerless to overturn the mayor’s move, as it was approved by decree.Read more hereRead more here  Read more here







The 201 room five-star Grand Hotel in Brighton is being acquired by Fattal Group, the Israeli owner of Leonardo Hotels UK and Ireland. Fattal. In October it bought the former Le Méridien hotel on Piccadilly. Read more here(paywall) Read more here


AI technology from Israel’s Buildots is constructing the new maternity, pediatrics, emergency, and critical care centre at Royal Bournemouth Hospital. It is the first UK healthcare facility to be built using Artificial Intelligent tech to increase efficiency and reduce costs.(TY Michael) Read more here



Israeli security officials reportedly provided intelligence to the UK that Iran intended to harm journalists at a London-based opposition news station, Iran International, leading them to shift their broadcasts to Washington. The Metropolitan Police had warned “about the existence of serious and immediate threats to the safety of the Iranian journalists. Read more here







A team led by Prof Varda Shoshan-Barmatz has developed a groundbreaking approach for treating Alzheimer’s disease  by targeting the mitochondrial gatekeeper which controls deterioration of cells.Read more here




Engineer Dr. David Zarrouk and his student Omer Guetta have developed AmphiSAW, one of the fastest and most efficient amphibious robots. The robot’s movement in water is inspired by the movement of flippers and its land movements are inspired by centipedes. Read more here






The IMTM was held this month at Tel Aviv Expo and this year a record number of over 750 exhibitors, 158 ​​booths, over 40 countries and dozens of senior officials and ambassadors from around the world came to the exhibition. Among the delegations taking part in the exhibition were Morocco, Philippines, Azerbaijan, Japan, Georgia, Spain, Turkey, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Italy, Iceland, Dubai, Montenegro and Kyrgyzstan.Read more here







Israel’s largest supermarket chain Shufersal will be using at least 2,000 of Tel Aviv startup Shopic’s clip-on devices for “smart carts” (trolleys) by the end of March. The artificial intelligence-powered device identifies products being put in and taken out of the smart cart without requiring the scanning of barcodes and claims 99.4% accuracy. Read more here


Triplan, a recently-launched Israeli travel planning platform uses AI to help travellers maximise their time.Read more here






Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, is expanding its international consulting and planning activities to the South American water sector. Recently, the company’s senior officials signed a series of agreements in Argentina. In 2022 engagements were signed in India, Azerbaijan and Morocco. Mekorot is already active in Bahrain and Jordan. Read more here





The Mediterranean resort city of Netanya, will host the World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships from 4-9 September 2023. Over 600 promising young swimmers from more than 100 National Federations are expected to compete. Read more here


Israeli midfielder Manor Solomon recently scored his debut goal in England  in a 2-0 Fulham victory over Nottingham Forest. Last weekend he scored a late game-winner for Fulham against Brighton & Hove Albion. Read more here


Judoka Raz Hershko on claimed Israel’s second gold medal at the international judo championships in Tel Aviv, a day after fellow olympian Sagi Muki won Israel’s first gold medal of the Grand Slam. Read more here


Shaked Nisimian, 19, became the first Israeli to win a gold medal at a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) World Championships, beating the reigning champion to claim the under-21 title in Serbia. Read more here





A new study has identified seven spider species previously unknown to science in the depths of Israeli caves, with the surprise finding that they are evolutionarily closer to arachnids found in southern Europe than to their neighbours at cave entrances in Israel. Read more here




The Backstreet Boys will perform in Israel for the third time at Live Park in Rishon Lezion in May. Read more here