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Israel Update 5.10.23

Chag Sameach to those of my readers celebrating Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah



Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, who was in Saudi Arabia for  the  2023 congress of the Universal Postal Union. conference participated in a morning prayer service in Riyadh on Tuesday morning during Succot. The minister, who was accompanied by Knesset Economy Committee chairman David Bitan, made the trip less than a week after his colleague Tourism Minister Haim Katz became the first Israeli minister to visit the kingdom. Karhi and Bitan’s delegation comprised a total of 14 members, including representatives of the Communications Ministry, the postal service and the Foreign Ministry.  Read more here



Following requests for assistance from the Armenian Health Ministry in Yerevan and the World Health Organization,  an Israeli medical delegation has flown to Nagorno-Karabakh  to help victims of an explosion last week at a fuel depot that has killed at least 20 people and injured hundreds more. The delegation led by Prof. Ofer Merin, director-general of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Centre and a leading cardiothoracic surgeon, was sent to provide medical treatment to the hundreds of injured citizens, including many burn victims. Read more here




In the past year, 24 buses operated by the Tnufa public transit company, which serves Jerusalem and the Samaria region, have come under attack. Some sustained such severe damage that they had to be taken off the road. As of early September, four drivers injured in these attacks had been granted medical leave.
The mayor of Kedumim, said, “There is hardly a day that goes by without a car or a bus being targeted.” He stressed that major intersections on Route 55 have become security hazards because they force vehicles to slow down, making them easy targets. Read more here


Today, Thursday:

Five Israeli Border Police were injured by shrapnel from a hand grenade in the Tulkarem Palestinian refugee camp on Thursday morning, three of them seriously. Soldiers exchanged fire with armed Palestinians while carrying out an arrest raid.Read more here

An Israeli civilian on a scooter was ambushed by terrorists at the West Bank’s Shufa junction,but managed to escape and notify security forces who shot the two attackers.Read more here

An Israeli family was driving in the Binyamin region shortly after midnight  when they encountered a large stone barricade in the road, forcing the vehicle to stop. The car was then pelted with rocks by a number of Palestinian assailants. An Israeli man fired at the rock throwers to protect his wife and four children who were under serious threat of injury, wounding a Palestinian.Read more here

Wednesday: An Israeli three-year-old girl was wounded on Wednesday by Palestinians throwing rocks, while travellng in a car near the West Bank city of Huwara.Read more here

Tuesday: A Palestinian gunman opened fire at Israeli vehicles driving near the community of Avnei Hefetz, injuring an Israeli man. Two vehicles were damaged in the attack. Read more here


The IDF carried out airstrikes near Damascus on Saturday night, targeting an Iranian weapons shipment en route to Lebanon. Read more here

Fierce shootouts, car-rammings and grenade attacks. Here are the stories of four IDF soldiers who, in recent months, acted under fire, saving lives with their precision, vigilance and rapid response. Read more here


Hundreds of fighters marched under Palestinian Islamic Jihad banners in Gaza on Wednesday to mark the 36th anniversary of the establishment of the movement. New long-range missiles, such as the Jaafar, were on display, as well as the Badr 3, with an explosive warhead weighing 400 kg. Three types of drones manufactured in Gaza were also presented. Read more here


Gazans engaged in recent rioting with the approval of the Hamas leadership near the Gaza border with Israel announced last Thursday that they were freezing the violent demonstrations, following intervention by mediators. Read more here (paywall)


Biotech company MediWound has created a non-surgical treatment that is applied to the dead tissue of patients with second- and third-degree burns, and removes it within four hours. This Israeli technology that uses pineapple proteins to treat severe burns will be used to treat wounded US soldiers in the field. Read more here


Natural light significantly affects our physiological and psychological health, wellbeing, and performance. Now, Rinat Hadashi Gannon, a master’s student in the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s  Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, has developed new methods to evaluate daylight in hospital inpatient rooms and new design guidelines for improved inpatient health. Read more here



Israeli company Neomare has developed a potentially lifesaving wristband which inflates in seconds into a foil balloon filled with eight litres of hydrogen foam, enough to keep an average adult afloat in an emergency until help arrives. The device, branded as LifeSaver, weighs only 20 grams, less than an ounce. Read more here

An AI-powered lifeguard  developed in Israel is being used for the first time to save lives off beaches in the United Arab Emirates. SightBit analyses a live video feed from existing waterfront cameras and raises the alarm if it detects patterns of behaviour associated with drowning. The technology has already been deployed at Tel Aviv and Ashdod in Israel, and at beaches in Brazil, Canada and the United States. Read more here


Bruno Mars, accompanied by his band The Hooligans, in his first appearance ever in Israel, performed for over 60,000 fans in Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, the first of two sold-out shows. Mars infused the show with shoutouts to the local crowd and his keyboardist played an instrumental version of the very seasonal classic Israeli children’s song, “Shlomit Bona Sukkah”. Read more hereand here

The series, Bros, an eight-episode Hebrew-language dramedy available exclusively on Netflix starting November 9. It will be shown in 190 countries.  Bros tells the story of  inseparable childhood friends, co-owners of a local Jerusalem bar, and die-hard  Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans. Read more here


A new, 90-square-kilometre (35-square-mile) nature reserve is to be created at Ramat Mazar in the Negev Desert in southern Israel. The area is home to several species that are unique to Israel, such as the Nubian ibex, Dorcas gazelle, the desert tawny owl and Blanford’s fox. Read more here


Archaeological excavations in Jerusalem’s new Givat Hamatos neighbourhood have uncovered a 300-metre section of an ancient aqueduct that was built by King Herod some 2,000 years ago.Read more here


Mark Regev (former Israeli Ambassador to the UK): For over a half-century, Israeli diplomats working in London complained about the legendary antipathy of the Foreign Office’s Arabists. But…today the UK is more positive about its relations with Israel than ever before.

London’s most important Arab partners, especially those in the Gulf, no longer perceive Israel as an enemy; instead, the pragmatic Arab states increasingly view Israel as a partner and an ally. Even the most diehard British Arabist has trouble remaining more negative about Israel than the Arabs themselves.

A senior British diplomat told me, if in the past the composition of a UK ambassador in Israel’s job was 80% Arab-Israel conflict-related and 20% bilateral ties, these proportions have now flipped. Today the focus is predominantly on building stronger, mutually beneficial Israel-UK cooperation – which, according to London’s most recent figures, has seen trade reach £7.3 billion, up 29.9% from 12 months ago. Read full article here



 Ariel Kahana:There is growing frustration among Israeli and Saudi officials over what is perceived as an over-emphasis by Washington on having Israel make concessions to the Palestinians as a means of moving forward in the normalization process.
Sources familiar with the ongoing talks have claimed that the Biden administration’s focus on this matter is hampering momentum and has impeded breakthroughs.
…The officials stress that Riyadh is not part of the pressure on Israel to make major diplomatic concessions to the Palestinians.   Read more here


Stephen Flatow: The PA recently submitted a request to UNESCO to recognize the city of Jericho as a “Palestinian heritage site.” In its description of the history of the region, the PA’s request refers to “the time of Israeli Occupation (1967-1994).” Thus, the PA has acknowledged, in writing, that Israel’s occupation there ended in 1994.

The same phrase appears in another PA-UN document.  A 2008 report includes a section: “Taxes in the occupied Palestinian territory – Israeli Occupation (1967-1994).” Read more here