Israel and Morocco normalize ties; Pfizer vaccine on deck: Israel Update
December 11, 2020
Israel and Morocco have agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations, US President Donald Trump announced Thursday—marking the fourth Arab-Israel agreement in four months. As part of the negotiated deal, Trump said he also signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara, a disputed territory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel and Morocco plan to reopen their economic liaison offices—closed in 2002—and work quickly to exchange ambassadors and begin direct commercial flights between the countries, building on historic connections between the two countries and their people. The White House plans to hold a ceremony to make the agreement official before Trump leaves office on January 20. Netanyahu is expected to speak with the Moroccan King on Friday to further discuss the normalization agreement. Numerous Jewish organizations welcomed the announcement, including our own here.
The Israeli government will not impose additional pandemic restrictions over the Chanukah holiday, according to reports on Thursday, but may tighten health rules if the number of daily cases reaches 2,500. The decision came after ministers in the coronavirus cabinet protested the plan to ban Israelis from visiting the homes of others during the evening hours of the holiday, which began Thursday night. It was unclear how police would have enforced such an order, as they cannot legally enter homes without a warrant. Reports said the senior ministers had agreed that if or when the daily caseload hits 2,500 or the coefficient of infection reaches 1.32, the following would result: all businesses that accept walk-in customers would be closed; schools in high infection areas would be shuttered; and public transportation would be reduced to 50 percent capacity.
Two opposing protests were held at Beitar Jerusalem’s training compound, Friday, in the wake of an Emirati sheikh’s purchase of half of the soccer club. Several dozen members of the hardcore fan club "La Familia" demonstrated against the sale. Meanwhile, more than 100 fans rallied in support of the deal between the owner Moshe Hogeg and Emirati businessman Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan—a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family. On Monday, Beitar Jerusalem announced Sheikh Hamad had bought a 50% stake in the club, and had pledged to infuse $90 million into Beitar over the next 10 years. On Tuesday, co-owners Hogeg and Al Nahyan said they were determined to show that Jews and Muslims can cooperate and do great things together, and that sports is an excellent place to demonstrate that mission.
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