News Digest — 3/10/20

Defense Minister Approves ‘Sovereignty Road’ Paving Way For Construction In Sensitive Area

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday (10th) approved a “sovereignty road” that will enable Israelis and Palestinians to drive on separate highways.

It will also clear the way for Israel to build in area E-1.  The development project, which has been on the table for about a decade, will begin with the construction of 3,500 homes.

The construction will create a territorial continuum between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, a city with a population of 40,000 located south of the capital.

Bennett said, “The project will improve the quality of life of the residents of the area, prevent unnecessary friction with the Palestinian population, and most importantly – enable the continuation of building in the settlements – imposing sovereignty in deeds, not in words.  We will continue in that way.”

Israel maintains that the area of E-1 is critical to its security and essential to defending Jerusalem.

Critics of Israeli construction in E-1 say that the plans aim to prevent the expansion of Arab construction in eastern Jerusalem by linking the capital with Ma’ale Adumim.

The Palestinian Authority leadership has described the E-1 plan as an effort to “Judaize Jerusalem.”

Israel also announced in February construction in the Giv’at Hamatos and Har Homa neighborhoods south of Jerusalem.



Whoever Arrives In Israel From Abroad Will Enter Quarantine For 14 Days, Netanyahu Says

“After a day of complex discussions, we have made a decision: Whoever arrives in Israel from abroad will enter quarantine for 14 days,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday evening (9th) after chairing a series of discussions on the coronavirus at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

Among the topics discussed, with the participation of experts, were the policies regarding people entering Israel from overseas, economic preparations and scientific-technological issues.

“This is a difficult decision but it is essential to maintaining public health, which takes precedence over everything,” the prime minister stated.

“This decision will be in effect for two weeks.  At the same time, we will make decisions to safeguard the Israeli economy.”

All non-Israelis will have to prove they have a place to stay while quarantined; otherwise they will be denied entry.

Participating in the discussions were Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Agriculture Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Ofir Akunis, the director generals of the relevant government ministries, Defense Ministry officials, the Director of the Biological Institute, the Science and Technology Ministry Chief Scientist, the Director of the Economy and Industry Ministry Innovation Authority, and other officials.

Prior to the meeting, the Health Ministry confirmed that three more Israelis were diagnosed with COV-19, bringing the number to 42.



Late To Tackle Coronavirus Spread, Iran Pushes Anti-Zionist Conspiracies 

In an apparent effort to distract its citizens from its failure to confront the virus last month, the Iranian regime is pointing the finger at foreign enemies.

“Zionist elements developed a deadlier strain of coronavirus against Iran,” read a headline on Iran’s state-funded Press TV, March 5.

Another headline the same day on the site said, “Coronavirus is U.S psychological warfare operation.”

Also on March 5, Hossein Salami, Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, addressed a crowd in Kerman, saying, “We will prevail in the fight against this virus which might be the product of an American biological attack that first spread in China and then to the rest of the world.” 

On March 6, a headline blared “Coronavirus was produced in a laboratory according to a former CIA intel officer.”

On March 7, an article was written by Holocaust denier Kevin Barrett, entitled ”U.S. and Israel Waging Biological Warfare on Massive Scale.” 

Barrett wrote, “And now they’re trying to amplify the plague of coronavirus in Iran, which one suspects that they themselves may have actually engineered, because otherwise how could an Israeli company claim that they’ll have a vaccine against coronavirus in less than two weeks when all scientists say that if there’s a novel breakout like this, it would take at least a year to have a vaccine”

He was referring to Israel’s MIGAL Galilee Research Institute which is working to develop a coronavirus vaccine adapted from a vaccine they developed for a similar virus affecting poultry.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had downplayed the virus when it first appeared. However, the coronavirus outbreak in Iran has grown into one of the worst outside of China. The virus has infected dozens of government officials and killed an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader.

There have been 6,500 confirmed cases of the virus in Iran with 200 deaths and 2,134 people who have recovered from it.

Iran is responding to the virus with emergency measures such as mobilizing soldiers, canceling events, and blaming Israel and the U.S.



Israeli Device May Help Coronavirus Victims

A device that prevents respiratory complications and was invented, developed, and manufactured in Israel, is currently being used to treat coronavirus patients hospitalized in intensive care units in Wuhan, China – the city where the now-global outbreak began.

The device invented by the Kfar Saba-based Hospitech Respiration, is designed to prevent serious infections that develop in many patients on ventilators, thereby increasing their chances of recovering from the illness.

Trials at three Israeli hospitals, including the Rambam Healthcare Campus, as well as European medical centers, have shown that the device significantly reduces the instances of pneumonia in patients attached to ventilators or other respiratory equipment.  The intensive care units at Rambam and the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer are currently using the Hospitech invention.

The device is also in use at the Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville, Florida campus, a major international center for liver and lung transplants, where it has been used on over 50 patients.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 5% of coronavirus patients require ventilators, and some 15% need assistance with breathing.

The Hospitech devices were delivered to Wuhan two weeks ago by special medical teams who arrived in the city to bolster existing medical services.  They have been used on about 10 corona patients, most of whom are physicians who had contracted the virus during the course of treating patients.



Leading Jewish Organization Demands Action After 3 Anti-Semitic Incidents

Three anti-Semitic incidents in Europe and North America prompted outrage among Jewish groups, which once again urged for a comprehensive response to combat anti-Semitism.

In Ukraine, a Holocaust memorial was vandalized in the old cemetery of Rivne; in the Canadian city of Winnipeg, which is the capital of Manitoba, swastikas were spray-painted near the entrance to a synagogue; and in Cincinnati, Ohio, graffiti was scrawled on a bridge with the writing: “The Jews killed Christ, they are the enemies of the whole human race.”

Vice Chairman of the World Zionist Organization Yaakov Hagoel responded to the incidents by calling for more action.

“We have witnessed three anti-Semitic incidents this past Saturday (7th), each shocking in its own right,” he said.  “Unfortunately, we are witnessing repeated incitement against Jews in Europe, North America and worldwide.”

Hagoel called for governments around the world to “Step up their fight against anti-Semitism,” and added that Jewish citizens should never live in fear.

“The World Zionist Organization is on hand to assist the heads of Jewish communities around the world to combat these phenomena so that Jews in any country can express pride in their Jewish identity,” he said.