Coronavirus 'round table' forms; Israel stops Hezbollah raid: Israel Update

July 31, 2020

Coronavirus restrictions in Israel will soon be decided by a new cabinet 'round table,' which will meet three times a week to discuss methods for effectively making decisions about restrictions. Israel is currently under a partial lockdown due to the high number of cases, and many businesses have been forced to close. Israel's coronavirus cabinet is planning to gather on Monday to discuss the prospect of dropping the weekend restrictions on business operations. While the restrictions will likely remain in place this weekend, several retail shop owners reportedly plan to defy the government orders. As of Friday morning, Israel has seen over 70,000 coronavirus cases and more than 500 deaths since the start of the pandemic. During the outbreak, Israel has worked to develop technology that can help slow the spread of the virus. The latest example of this is a face mask with a filter that can last for 60 hours. This allows healthcare professionals to work continuously, without having to stop to replace mask filters.


On Monday, the Israeli military said that it had thwarted a raid by a Hezbollah “terrorist squad” along its northern border with Lebanon. The encounter led to an exchange of fire that capped days of mounting tension. An Israeli military spokesman said that a small squad armed with assault rifles had crossed into Israel through an unfenced part of the boundary. An IDF spokesman said Israeli forces responded by firing small arms, tank guns, and artillery, which pushed the squad back into Lebanon, where they proceeded to fire on Israel. Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant organization, denied that there had been an exchange of fire, saying it had only come from the Israeli side. The Israeli military had been bracing for retaliation from the group since a Hezbollah's operative was killed by a strike in Syria, last week. That action was widely thought to be the work of Israel.


Over a thousand people gathered outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem on Thursday night—the latest in a series of protests against the prime minister and his government. For weeks, protesters have been holding regular rallies outside Netanyahu's residence on Balfour Street—calling on the premier to resign due to his indictment on corruption charges. These protesters have since been joined by people angered by the government’s economic approach to the coronavirus pandemic. Protesters have also gathered near the Tel Aviv home of Public Security Minister Amir Ohanaan action inspired by the emergence of a recording of the minister trying to coerce police to block demonstrations. Another source of outrage was the violence allegedly perpetrated by the police, along with violence delivered by right-wing counter-protesters that sent several demonstrators to a hospital in Tel Aviv. There have also been instances of alleged violence by protesters against the police.


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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