As there won’t be an Israel Update for the next 2 weeks, I wish Pesach Sameach to all my readers. HRG
Business and Trade Secretary Rt. Hon. Kemi Badenoch MP said she is “really proud …to be working to build stronger relationships between the UK and Israel” in a speech at CFI’s Annual Parliamentary Reception on Tuesday. She discussed her ongoing work towards an enhanced UK-Israel Free Trade Agreement underlining that the deal will be focused on “innovation, digital, tech… the economy of the future”. Read more here
Humza Yousaf, 37, was elected this week as Scotland’s first minister.
His in-laws live in Gaza and he has a history of meeting with Hamas. He has also called for an arms embargo against Israel.Read more here
Representatives of think tanks, applied-diplomacy institutes, and journalists from countries in the Gulf and Africa arrived in Israel this week for a conference in Jerusalem tackling the war on terror and radicalization, water, and food security, initiated by the JCPA.
Among the guests were representatives of Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Djibouti, Tunisia, and Mauritania – that do not have diplomatic ties with Israel. Others came from the UAE, Bahrain, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, and Uganda. Read more here
Two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a drive-by shooting attack in the West Bank town of Huwara on Saturday, the third shooting attack in Huwara in recent weeks. Read more here
The military branch of the PFLP claimed on Wednesday that it was responsible for the last two shooting attacks in Huwara, warning it intends to carry out more. Three Israelis were injured in those attacks.Read more here
Greek police said on Tuesday they had arrested two Pakistani nationals, suspected members of a group that was planning an attack against an Israeli restaurant in Athens, a case which Israel said was orchestrated from Iran. Israel’s intelligence service Mossad said in a rare statement that it had assisted in the investigation. Read more hereRead more here
Israel and Jordan recently offered the P.A. a pilot programme that would see Palestinian security forces given sole responsibility for conducting arrests of terror operatives and maintaining law and order in either Tulkarem or Qalqilya, avoiding the need for the IDF to enter to conduct arrests. If the pilot was successful, it could then be expanded to other cities. However, the PA was uninterested in the offer. Read more here
The teachers in the PA. are striking because the PA is not paying their full wages. Instead the PA prioritizes paying hundreds of millions of shekels to terrorists.
While the PA is peddling its “financial crisis” narrative, an examination of the financial reports published by the PA Ministry of Finance demonstrates that in 2018-2022, the overall income of the PA grew by 3.5 billion shekels.
The vast majority of that growth – 2.5 billion shekels – actually came from taxes Israel collected and transferred to the PA.
In 2022 the PA spent 865 million shekels rewarding terrorists and their families.Read more here
Senior PA official and terrorist Fuad Al-Shubaki has confirmed that Palestinian terrorists are seen by the PA and by themselves as soldiers carrying out “orders” of the PA. Read more here
Ashraf Al-‘Ajrami, a member of Fatah and former PA Minister, wrote, “It is embarrassing indeed, 17 years after the last general election in Palestine, that our leaders cannot manage to hold democratic elections – considering that they [elections] are still the most appropriate way to achieve national unity, to revive our institutions, and to revive our democracy…(We) have no legislature and no judiciary.” Read more here
Azerbaijan, which has borders with both Russia & Iran, became the first Shia Muslim country to open an embassy in Israel this week. 114 Israeli companies operate in Azerbaijan, which provides Israel with 30% of its oil. Read more here
UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja hosted Iftar (the fast-breaking evening meal during Ramadan) for the first time in Israel and shared photos of the night on Twitter.
He said, “Thank you to the many leading members of Israeli society from the Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Druze sectors for joining me this evening.” Read more here
“An Israeli company recently launched an aquaculture water project in the Moroccan Sahara,” the Israeli Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology announced during the 2023 UN Water Conference. Although the details have not yet been disclosed, the project is the latest in a series of co-operation initiatives between the two countries since they re-established ties. Read more here
On the occasion of World Water Day (22nd March), the Israeli Ambassador to India donated and inaugurated a drip irrigation system at Children’s Park at India Gate in Delhi.Read more here
Israel is the only Western democracy with a relatively high fertility rate. Israel’s Jewish fertility rate is higher than those of all Muslim countries other than Iraq and the sub-Saharan Muslim countries. The Jewish fertility rate of 3.13 births per woman is higher than the 2.85 Arab rate (since 2016) and the 3.01 Arab-Muslim fertility rate (since 2020)…
The official Palestinian figures include a 100% artificial inflation of population numbers, due to the inclusion of overseas residents, double-counting Jerusalem Arabs and Israeli Arabs married to Judea and Samaria Arabs, an inflated birth rate and deflated death rate.
The number of Israeli Jewish births in 2022 (137,566) was 71% higher than in 1995 (80,400), while the number of Israeli Arab births in 2022 (43,417) was 19% higher than in 1995 (36,500). In 2022, Jewish births were 76% of total births, compared to 69% in 1995. The unique growth in Israel’s Jewish fertility rate is attributed to optimism, patriotism, attachment to Jewish roots, communal solidarity, and a frontier mentality.
In 2021, Israeli males’ life expectancy was 80.5 years and Israeli females’ was 84.6. Israel’s Arab life expectancy (78 for men and 82 for women) is higher than the U.S. life expectancy. In 2023, there is a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria (7.5 million Jews, 2 million Israeli Arabs and 1.4 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria) More interesting statistics here
A disposable non-invasive chest monitor developed in Israel by Biobeat will monitor patients’ vital signs and wirelessly send updates to the cloud every five minutes, providing doctors with advance warnings of a patient’s deterioration.Read more here
Israeli company GrayMatters Health, developer of digital self-neuromodulation therapies for mental disorders, has received clearance from the US FDA to market its flagship product, Prism, for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is thought to be the first non-invasive technology to allow patients to self-regulate their brain activity. Read more here
On March 22, the peer-reviewed journal Nature published a new study led by Israeli researchers at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem which concluded that the spread of pancreatic cancer throughout the body is due to changes to the composition of the initial tumours’ RNA molecules. The good news is that at least one drug already exists (azathioprine) that could potentially address the problems with the RNA and eventually help pancreatic cancer patients.Read more here
Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Centre has begun a first-of-its-kind pilot in the world of giving an injection to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Eventually, the treatment could provide an alternative to the prophylactic mastectomy procedure that women carrying the BRCA1 gene mutation are recommended to undergo. Read more here
Professor Haitham Amal of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has received a prestigious research grant from the Philadelphia Eagles Autism Foundation to develop new drugs for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). He is the first researcher outside the United States to be awarded the grant and is one of only nine recipients. Read more here
Israeli company GM Afcon’s electronic sensor system is appearing around sensitive borders, airports, ports, database servers, industrial sites, power plants and strategic military bases in Israel and internationally. The V-Alert sensor provides a pinpoint alarm when moved by an intruder, giving human operators intrusion warnings that are extremely precise and timely, while false alarms are reduced to a minimum.Read more here
Israeli startup Sufresca has developed a natural alternative to preserving wax coating or plastic wrap for fruit and vegetables that allows the produce to breathe and can add weeks to its life. Their edible spray coating reduces both disposable packaging and also food waste, as it prolongs shelf life. Read more here
Only 2 weeks ago the Jakarta Post was applauding the “determination of the chairman of Indonesia’s Soccer Association who asserted the country’s readiness to host the Under-20 World Cup in May and provide security to all participants, Israel included.” But yesterday FIFA banned Indonesia from hosting the tournament amid political turmoil (specifically in Bali) regarding Israel’s participation.Read more here
This week, the winning team in the ninth annual Champions of the Flyway contest, organized by the (Israeli) Society for the Protection of Nature and the international organization BirdLife, spotted 181 species of birds. More than 150 bird enthusiasts, from Israel and overseas, competed to spot and photograph as many bird species as possible within 24 hours, in southern Israel. The competitors came from as far afield as Colombia, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Finland and the UK. Funds were raised to protect migratory birds from illegal hunting. Read more here
Jake Wallis Simons: You may have read that the situation in Israel is dire. People are talking of the end of democracy. Take a step back, however. These political convulsions are not the end of the world.
The two groups of protesters – Netanyahu supporters have also taken to the streets – both fly seas of Israeli flags. They both sing the national anthem. Both are demanding more democracy, not less. And the demonstrations have been non-violent. It could be argued that protests in France have been less peaceful.
Yes, there is reason to be concerned about the polarization these events are fostering. But what people are arguing about is the arcane matter of balancing the relationship between the executive, legislature and judiciary.
The Israeli government has placed its reforms on hold. So much for dictatorship. And it is entering a period of negotiation. So much for the end of democracy.
The most striking thing about all of this is the passion with which Israelis are concerned about their democracy and their country. Read more here (paywall)
An optimistic article by Daniel Gordis:
What matters is that what you have seen play out in recent weeks has been an extraordinary exhibition of love of country, of devotion to Zionism, of almost completely violence-free protests by hundreds of thousands of people for three months……….. Read more here