3,000 COVID-19 cases in one day; Saudi Arabia allows flights: Israel Update


September 4, 2020


Israel recorded over 3,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday—the most confirmed during a single day since the start of the pandemic. In response, the coronavirus cabinet voted in measures designed to halt the spread of infection. These included severe restrictions on the 30 most virus-prone cities and neighborhoods in the country. In these designated "red zones," education systems will be closed, except for special education; movement from homes will be restricted to 500 meters; and entering and exiting (the zones) will be forbidden to all but essential workers. The latest spike in cases came just two days after 2.4 million Israeli children went back to school, and two weeks ahead of the Jewish High Holidays. An additional 2,766 new cases were announced on Friday, taking Israel's total active number to 25,277. As of Friday morning, roughly 991 Israelis have succumbed to the virus.


Saudi Arabia announced that Israeli flights going to and from the United Arab Emirates would be permitted to fly over its territory. The decision gives Israel access to portions of the kingdom’s airspace for the first time. The announcement—made at the request of the UAE—came days after the first direct flight from Israel to the emirates. Taking off from Tel Aviv on Monday, the flight carried US and Israeli delegates to final talks on the Israel-UAE normalization deal, brokered by Washington. Prior to the meeting, Israeli officials shared their optimism that the peace deal would be formally signed by both sides before the Jewish New Year (September 18). However, Washington has yet to make an official announcement. 


The kashrut licensing market in Israel has been “de facto opened” this week, after the Chief Rabbinate published a document stipulating how restaurants and other food businesses can publicly declare the kashrut standards they follow. After decades in which the Chief Rabbinate has wielded a heavy monopoly over the kashrut industry afforded to it by law, food businesses can now legally state they use independent kashrut authorities. This is a measure which may entice many to abandon the rabbinate’s kashrut licensing, which received frequent allegations of bad practices and corruption made against it. 


The Israeli military launched missiles at targets near the central Syrian city of Homs, late Wednesday night. According to the Syrian news outlet, jets from the Israel Defense Forces fired “a burst of missiles” at the T-4 Syrian military airbase, the largest in the country. Israel's military has long maintained that the T-4 base is used by Iran to move weapons throughout the region—most notably to the Hezbollah terror group. In February 2018, the IDF said Iranian forces piloted an armed drone into Israeli airspace—before being shot down by an Israeli helicopter. The reported strikes came two days after Israel was said to have launched missiles at targets in Syria’s south, killing at least two Syrian soldiers. A Syrian civilian woman was also reportedly killed when a Syrian military anti-aircraft missile struck her home. In accordance with its policy, the IDF had no comment.


The safety, health, and well-being of all community members is a priority for the Jewish Federation. Like many of you, we are closely monitoring the evolution of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This page has been developed to help our community stay informed and provide the resources needed to maintain a sense of connection. As more resources are curated, this page will be continually updated. 


Shabbat Shalom,


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC


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