News Digest — 5/28/20

Israel Launching $200 Million Package To Help Small Businesses Rebuild

The Israeli government is launching a $200 million economic aid program for industry and small and medium-sized businesses as part of the reconstruction of the economy under the coronavirus crisis, Israel Hayom reported Thursday (28th).

Almost half of the funds are slated to go to help businesses deal with the new reality of operating while the coronavirus pandemic continues, including money to implement new Health Ministry requirements, transition to sales online and the implementation of new manufacturing methods to reduce health risks.

The new package is in addition to the previously announced aid program that included a grant of $1.5 billion in fixed expenses. 

“It is our duty to look after the small businesses that need assistance,” said Finance Minister Yisrael Katz.  “I see this as a top value for the growth of the economy.”

“The plan for the march of Israeli industry and business out of this crisis is the start of the assistance, which is expected to continue in the coming months,” said Minister of Economy and Industry Amit Peretz.

In addition, grants will be offered to small and medium-sized businesses for new electronic payment clearing technologies to promote contract-less payment methods on supported credit and debit cards, and payment through advanced payment apps and smartphones. 

There are also grants for businesses to connect to high-speed fiber optic internet infrastructure.

The new manufacturing methods will put an emphasis on investments in computing, sensors and robotics, to enable manufacturers to work safely while the corona virus is still a threat.



Under The Radar: Arab States Agree To Israeli Sovereignty – Daniel Siryoti

Alongside their public rejection of the Israeli plan to extend sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, senior officials in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States say their leaders have met in recent months with US officials, Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz and, in effect, gave them a green light to continue the work of the US-Israel mapping committee to advance the sovereignty plan.

A senior Saudi diplomat close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Israel Hayom that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE have an unofficial coordinated position in favor of the sovereignty plan.  “With all due respect to the few Palestinians who live in the Jordan Valley, Arab states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Jordan will not endanger their relations with the Trump administration for them,” he said.

“The Palestinians weren’t smart enough to take advantage of the supportive Obama government and continued their rejectionism.  It is time for Abbas and his veteran leadership to wake up and understand that the interests of the region and the world have changed.  If they miss yet another opportunity to establish an independent state alongside Israel because of Israel’s sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the settlements, in another 20 years they will be left with nothing.”

A senior Egyptian security official added that moderate Arab leaders headed by Egyptian President Sisi “see the struggles to block Shiite Iran’s drive for hegemony over Sunni nations in the Middle East as a more important issue than that of the Palestinians.”

( – Hebrew)


Soldier Injured In Ramming Attack Awarded At Hospital For Distinguished Service

IDF Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, and the commander of the “Iron Footprints Formation,” Maj. Gen. David Sungo on Wednesday (27th) presented an award for distinguished service to First Sergeant Shadi Ibrahim at Soroka Hospital.

Ibrahim, 20, from the village of Sajur, was seriously injured in a ramming attack in the Mount Hevron area two weeks ago and taken to Soroka Hospital where he was treated and underwent surgery.

Prior to the attack, Shadi was informed that he had been chosen as a distinguished soldier of his army division for 2020, for his commendable work.

Due to his injury and surgery, he was unable to attend the ceremony last week.

A few days ago, the fighter left the intensive care unit, following several surgeries and the amputation of his leg.

In a video from his hospital bed, Ibrahim said: “I have left intensive care, now everything is fine with me – just fine.  I love you – even those who sent me messages, even if I couldn’t answer them, I send you greetings from here.”

When he awoke, days after being unconscious, he told his family, “I know I lost a leg – but, I want to go back to the army.”  



UAE Coronavirus Aid Rejected By Palestinians Still At Israel’s Airport – UN Rethinking

14 tons of medical supplies earmarked for the Palestinians to help cope with the coronavirus pandemic were still sitting at Ben Gurion Airport Wednesday (27th) a week after they arrived from the UAE, as UN officials worked to find a way to distribute the aid after the Palestinian Authority announced it would not accept it.

However, the PA has insisted the UAE did not coordinate the matter with them and therefore they could not accept the aid, which was seen as a step toward normalizing ties between Israel and the Gulf States.

The supplies include ten ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), batteries for charging relevant hospital equipment and cleaning materials.  Tentatively, the shipment of supplies will be taken to a holding facility in Ashdod, a UN official told The Times of Israel on Tuesday evening (26th).

“Once it gets to Ashdod, hopefully in a day or two, we’ll start having conversations about how to dispatch the aid,” the UN official said.

Despite the public refusals from the PA, including from Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Health Minister Mai al-Kaila, the official hinted that he would still try to transfer some of the aid to the West Bank.  However, he made clear that there was a far greater need in the Gaza Strip.

A second UN official said Middle East Envoy Nikolay Mladenov had said that the “most vulnerable” should receive the aid shipment.  He said “most vulnerable” was a hint that given the PA’s rejection, Mladenov’s office would work to transfer the aid to Gaza instead.



The Times Of London Presents Palestinian Propaganda As History – Adam Levick

→ An article in The Times on May 26 criticized comments by Richard Lyle, a member of the Scottish Parliament, who called the Palestinian “Nakba” a “self-inflicted tragedy, which must, after all these years, be finally resolved by peaceful means and discussions between the parties involved.”

→ After quoting pro-Palestinian activists who labeled Lyle’s comments as “racist,” The Times political editor Kieran Andrews claims: “Historians argue that [the 1948 war] was largely driven by Israeli aggression, including torture, and to a much lesser degree by local Palestinian authorities urging people to flee.”  However, The Times editor doesn’t provide the names of historians who made such a claim.

→ Let’s remember that the 1948 war was fought by Israel to fend off Arab campaigns to annihilate the Jewish state immediately after its birth – a mere three years after one out of every three Jews on the planet were murdered in the Holocaust.  Their objective wasn’t to adjust the borders, but another genocide.

→ The Arab League’s secretary-general warned the war against the Jews would be “a war of extermination and momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacre and the Crusades.”  To refer to Jews’ efforts to defend themselves from annihilation as Jewish aggression represents a moral and historical inversion of the highest order.

→ Historian Benny Morris has demonstrated that there was no Israeli plan to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Arabs, and that most Palestinians who fled did so to escape the fighting or because Arab leaders ordered them to do so.  “Had the Israelis committed systematic ethnic cleansing,” he argued, “there would not be 1.4 million Arabs in Israel today.”

→ The ugly caricature of Israeli Jews and egregious distortion of the Arab-Israeli War presented to The Times’ readers, represents another example of crude Palestinian propaganda being disguised as serious journalism.



Oklahoma Becomes 30th State To Enact Anti-BDS Law

Oklahoma has become the 30th state to enact a measure to combat the anti-Israel BDS movement.

The Oklahoma House passed the bill, 75-20, back in March, and Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, signed it into law Friday, May 22nd.

It declares that Israel is one of Oklahoma’s largest trading partners and is a staunch US ally which prohibits the state government from entering into contracts with entities that boycott the Jewish state, exempting contracts under $100,000.  The new law requires a contractor to submit written verification that it is not participating in the boycott.

Companies that refuse to deal with United States trade partners such as Israel make discriminatory decisions on the basis of national origin that impair those companies “commercial soundness,” states the measure.

Jewish and pro-Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Committee and StandWithUs, applauded the new law.

“Thank you @GovStitt and the entire Oklahoma legislature for…taking action against the discriminatory BDS movement. [Oklahoma state Rep. Mark McBride] led the effort which prevents the state from contracting with companies that boycott goods from Israel. #BDSFail,” tweeted the Jewish Federations of North America.

“We welcome Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s signing of legislation that prohibits Oklahoma from contracting with companies that boycott Israel,” said the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in a statement.  “We look forward to the remaining states rejecting the pernicious BDS campaign in the days ahead.