News Digest — 9/29/20

Temple Coins Introduces Limited Edition Abraham Accord Medallion

Temple Coins has just minted a commemorative medallion in honor of the signing of the Abraham Accord between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the coin maker announced in a statement.

The coin designed by numismatic artist Aharon Shavo, shows the Israeli flag and UAE flags prominently displayed on the front, flying over the silhouette of Jerusalem’s Old City conjoined with the Abu Dhabi skylines.  Engraved below the skyline are the words “Abraham Accord,” written in Arabic, Hebrew and English.

The biblical founder of Judaism is referred to as Abraham in the Christian faith, as Avraham in Hebrew and as Ibrahim in Arabic.

The minter believes no better person “symbolizes the potential for unity among all three faiths.”

The medal’s front design also features an eagle holding an olive branch and arrows accompanied by the Seal of the President of the United States to mark the American representation in solidifying the accord.

For the back of the medal, the minter decided to feature a sword that wrings into “symbols of peace, prosperity, agricultural and technological advancement,” alluding to the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares.”

The minter also incorporated a quote from the Qur’an on the medallion, “And if one inclines towards peace, it inclines towards you,” accompanied by a quote from the Prophet Jeremiah: “For I will give you lasting peace in this place.”

US President Donald Trump’s signature finishes off the design on the back, to honor his commitment to the signed accord.

The limited-edition Abraham Accord medal can be seen and is available at



Prepare For 1,500 Gravely Ill COVID-19 Patients This Week Says Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israeli hospitals should be prepared to treat some 1,500 coronavirus patients in very serious condition by the end of the week as Israel’s infection rates continued to climb.

According to Channel 12 news, Netanyahu believes that national lockdown could be extended to last for around a month in an attempt to contain the surging outbreak.

He held a series of discussions ahead of the start of Yom Kippur on Sunday evening (27th) and asked the relevant government ministries and authorities to urgently prepare plans to be presented this week when the so-called coronavirus cabinet convenes.

In a statement released by his office on Monday evening (28th), Netanyahu prepared a numbered list of items to be discussed, with the health system preparing to treat 1,500 “gravely ill” patients by Thursday, October 1 at the top of the list.

The number of “seriously ill” COVID-19 patients currently stands at 763, as of Monday evening (28th), according to the Health Ministry.

The coronavirus cabinet will also discuss setting goals for a gradual emergence from Israel’s second national lockdown, (with tightened restrictions in effect as of Friday, 25th) progress in vaccines, the purchase and use of rapid COVID-19 tests, and the status of the country’s enforcement of regulations.

Also in the works are talks about the educational system and plans to return to school, as well as assistance programs for the elderly.



‘Lies And Incitement:’  Israeli Ambassador Slams Abbas’ Anti-Peace Speech At UN

Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas on Friday (25th) called for an international conference early next year to launch a “genuine peace process” while criticizing the recent decision of two Arab countries making peace with Israel.

Abbas acknowledged the growing international weariness with the Palestinians’ position as he delivered the latest in a long series of addresses to the UN General Assembly.

“I wondered while preparing this statement what more could I tell you, after all that I have said in previous statements,” he said in the video address from his headquarters in Ramallah.

The Palestinians have rejected President Donald Trump’s proposal to end the conflict, despite massive economic incentives to make peace, and have officially cut off contacts with both the US and Israel.  Instead, the Palestinians demanded a multilateral peace process based on UN resolutions and past agreements.

They have also rejected the decision of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel, viewing it as a betrayal of the longstanding Arab consensus that recognition of Israel should only come in exchange for territorial concessions, which would be disastrous for Israel’s security.

Israel’s UN Ambassador, Gilad Erdan, responded with a video statement calling Abbas’ speech a collection of “lies and incitement against Israel” and arguing that the Palestinian leader was “desparate” because of the agreements Israel reached with Bahrain and the UAE.

“All Abbas showed was continued Palestinian rejectionism,” Erdan said.

In his speech, Abbas said the agreements, signed at the White House earlier this month, are a “violation” of the principles of a just and lasting solution under international law.”

For more than three decades, the Palestinians have sought an Independent state in Samaria, Gaza and eastern portions of Jerusalem.

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has focused on building ties with Arab, African and Asian countries that have long supported the Palestinian cause.  In Israel, the agreement with the United Arab Emirates, an oil-rich country with considerable regional influence, represents a historic breakthrough that could transform the Middle East.



Czech Republic To Get Four Batteries Of The SPYDER System Made By Rafael, Producer Of Iron Dome

The Czech Ministry of Defense has decided to buy an Israeli-made anti-aircraft missile system in a deal worth an estimated $450 million, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday (27th).

The purchase includes four batteries of the SPYDER anti-aircraft system that incorporates the PYTHON-5 missile and the I-DERBY active radar.  The missile system is designed to knock out aircraft, including helicopters and UAVs (drones).  Each battery has its own 3D radar, fire command and control system, and four launchers.

“One of the key modernization projects of our army is the anti-aircraft missile system,” Czech Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar tweeted.  “It is high time to replace our more than 40-year-old Soviet 2K12 KUB system” he wrote, adding that he wanted the “modern and proven SPYDER system.”

The Czech government approved procurement negotiations on Friday (25th) in the framework of a government-to-government (GTG) agreement between the two countries with Israel as the sole supplier for the project.

Rafael says SPYDER “provides effective protection of valuable assets, as well as first-class defense for maneuvering forces located in combat areas.”

“We are very proud to have been selected to provide SPYDER systems to the Czech republic,” said Rafael’s VP of marketing and business development, Ariel Karo.  “The decision… is a significant vote of confidence in our proven air defense capabilities demonstrated over the years through a variety of solutions that span from Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the SPYDER air defense system – all in service and combat-proven in different countries around the world.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz thanked the Czech Republic government for the decision to equip their military with Israeli air defense systems.

“This is another significant step in strengthening security relations between our two countries,” Gantz said.  “It is also great news for Israeli defense industries during such a complex period.”



Wearable Device From BGU Startup Could Be Game-Changer For Epileptics

A breakthrough for epilepsy patients?  Researchers at Ben Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev have developed a device to detect and predict epileptic seizures.

The wearable Epiness device, whose technology is based on machine-learning algorithms and EEG-based monitoring of brain activity, can generate an advanced warning about an up-coming seizure that will be sent to a user’s smartphone up to an hour prior to its onset.

The algorithms are designed to filter noise that is not related to brain activity, extract informative measures of the underlying brain dynamics, and distinguish between brain activity before an expected epileptic seizure and brain activity when a seizure is not expected to occur.

Up to 30% of epileptic patients do not adequately respond to anti-epileptic drugs.  For such patients, a viable seizure prediction device could offer a substantial improvement in quality of life, enabling them to avoid seizure-related injuries.  Current seizure alarm devices can detect a seizure in real time but are unable to provide advanced warnings of an impending one.

The system has out-licensed for further development and commercialization to HeuroHelp, a startup company recently founded by BGU Technologies.

“Epileptic seizures expose epilepsy patients to various preventable hazards, including falls, burns and other injuries,” said Oren Shriki of BGU’s Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, who is also NeuroHelp’s  scientific founder.

“Unfortunately, at present, there are no seizure-predicting devices that can alert patients and allow them to prepare for upcoming seizures.  We are therefore very excited that the machine-learning algorithms that we developed, enable accurate prediction of impending seizures up to one hour prior to their occurrence.  Since we have also shown that our algorithms enable a significant reduction in the number of necessary EEG electrodes, the device we are developing is both accurate and user friendly.  We are currently developing a prototype that will be assessed in clinical trials later this year,” Shriki added.