Israel's COVID setback; Lapid slams Poland's Holocaust bill: Israel Update

June 25, 2021

Israel reimposed an indoor mask requirement on Friday as over 200 new COVID-19 cases were recorded the day before, the highest daily caseload in two and a half months, with a top health official warning that the spread of the coronavirus was accelerating. The mandate, which had been lifted last week, went into effect at noon on Friday. According to health officials, most of the cases have been linked to the delta variant from abroad. Amid fears of a resurgence of the disease, the northern Israeli town of Binyamina—which registered the highest rate of cases in the country—was designated a "red zone" on Wednesday, making it the first municipality to be listed as such for months. Israel has further postponed the reopening of the country to vaccinated tourists by one month.


Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid blasted new Polish legislation that would bar Holocaust restitution claims in the country, calling the new law “immoral” and warning that it could tarnish Polish-Israeli ties. “No law will change history,” said Lapid on Thursday, adding that the bill was “a disgrace that will not erase the horrors or the memory of the Holocaust.” Earlier this week, the World Jewish Restitution Organization called for the legislation to be withdrawn. The legislation, which passed late Thursday evening, sets a 30-year deadline for Jews to recover property seized by Nazi German forces, essentially halting any World War II-era compensation claims or appeals of past decisions. The legislation must now be approved by the Polish Senate after being passed in the Sejm, the lower house of Poland’s parliament.


Israel said on Thursday it would ease restrictions on trade and fisheries in the Gaza Strip that had been tightened during last month’s 11-day war between Israel and Hamas. Israel—with support from neighboring Egypt—closely monitors Gaza's borders for threats from Hamas. The restrictions halted Gazan exports, restricted imports of raw materials, and limited the area in which Palestinians are permitted to fish. On Monday, with an Egyptian-mediated truce largely holding, Israel permitted a limited resumption of commercial exports from Gaza. But Hamas-led Palestinian factions have demanded a wider easing of curbs, and held out the possibility of resuming hostilities.


A couple 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.


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."

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Join us for our virtual 2021 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, June 29 at 7:00 PM to celebrate our 2020 accomplishments, welcome new leadership and introduce our inaugural Leaders in Light cohort. Our keynote speakers will be Integrity First For America's Executive Director Amy Spitalnick and Lead Counsel Robbie Kaplan, who are taking on extremists responsible for the violent attacks in Charlottesville. RSVP here.  


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 so 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.


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