Israel rebuilds relations; Filmmakers arrested in Nigeria: Israel Update

July 16, 2021

During Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s meeting with his European Union counterparts on Monday, Israel and the EU moved closer to restoring a key, annual, bilateral forum that last took place in 2012. At Lapid’s meeting with the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, most countries supported the idea of scheduling an Association Council meeting and strengthening the bilateral relationship in general. In his address to his EU counterparts, Lapid backed a two-state solution with the Palestinians, and noted Europe’s and Israel’s shared democratic values. The foreign minister is seeking to open a new chapter with the bloc after more than ten years of strained ties. 


Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday that Israel could deal with the resurgence of the coronavirus Delta variant without resorting to more lockdowns, but only if citizens heed the health rules. Bennett announced three new measures aimed at countering the recent surge, from just over 200 cases nationwide last month, to more than 5,000 at present. The Delta variant resurgence has become a major issue for Bennett’s new government, and comes less than two months after mass vaccinations helped cases dwindle dramatically. This allowed Israel to lift most restrictions and reopen public venues. On Thursday, Israel recorded a four-month high in daily coronavirus infections, with 855 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. However, Health Ministry data shows that most of the serious cases have begun to stabilize in recent days. Israel is the first country in the world to approve a third dose of the vaccine as a booster shot.


Israelis shooting a documentary in a separatist region of southeast Nigeria were arrested last week, allegedly because they contacted anti-government rebels taking part in an ongoing civil war in Nigeria. The Foreign Ministry later confirmed that three Israelis had been arrested, and further noted that each possessed dual citizenships with foreign countries. However, the ministry could not determine the reason the men were arrested, nor what charges, if any, had been filed. A joint statement released by the families later confirmed the arrests. The Israelis were in Nigeria to film “We Were Never Lost,” a documentary exploring Jewish communities in African countries, such as Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, and Nigeria. 


Israel and Turkey have agreed to work on improving their strained relations following a phone call between the presidents of the two countries. A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s AK Party said that the call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog created a framework for improving relations between Ankara and Jerusalem. In their call, the presidents emphasized that "the ties between Israel and Turkey are of great importance to the security and the stability of the Middle East, and there is great potential for cooperation between the countries in many fields.” The call readout also showed that Herzog and Erdogan stressed “the significance of maintaining contact and ongoing dialogue despite the differences of opinion, with the goal of making positive steps toward a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This comes after years of Turkish criticism of Israel's actions towards the Palestinians. 

A couple of dozen college students from Cincinnati are spending their summer interning in Tel Aviv and traveling around the country as part of Onward Israel. Follow their experiences in this week-by-week blog.


For the remainder of the summer, we will be sending the Israel Update every two weeks. We look forward to connecting with you again on July 30. 


Shabbat Shalom, 


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC


P.S. If you or a friend would like to get our own, up-to-the-minute Israel Update, you can sign up here; when asked for "interests" click "weekly Israel Update."

Antisemitism Online: Interparliamentary Task Force Releases Report


PM Bennett speaks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in 


IDF appoints its second-ever female major general


3,000-Year-Old Inscription Bearing Name of Biblical Judge Found in Israel


In First for Gulf, UAE Opens Embassy in Israel, Hails Trade Ties


IDF Exposes Hezbollah Weapons Stash Close to Lebanon School

Join the Jewish Federation on an Israel adventure from the comfort of your home with Hidden Treasures: A Virtual Journey Along the Israel TrailThere are multiple tour dates and experiences to see, the next one on Sunday, August 22, and you can learn more and RSVP for the ones that interest you. 


Together, we can do virtually anything. If you or a loved one needs help during this crisis, please reach out to our COVID-19 Hotline.


 Follow the Jewish

Community Relations

Council on Facebook



• Follow director Jackie

Congedo and the JCRC

on Twitter



• Visit our website for

more information and


About Us

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is the non-partisan, public affairs arm of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.

Contact Us

Jackie Congedo, Director 

Jewish Community Relations Council 

513-985-1501 |

© Copyright 2018. All Rights Reserved.