COVID-19 second wave in Israel, Palestine


This 24 March 2020 video is called Israel’s COVID-19 patient #65 speaks to i2NEWS from hospital: “It is not a joke“.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Israel recorded the highest number of new infections yesterday since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. 1107 new cases were added, the Ministry of Health in Jerusalem reports. The day before, there were 967. The previous record was April 3, when 819 new cases were counted.

This is why stricter rules have been in force since 08:00 this morning. Eg, up to fifty people may gather at event locations, in restaurants and in places of worship. For other indoor occasions, including at home, a maximum number of twenty people applies. …

In the West Bank, a five-day lockdown begins today. The Palestinian Authority announced this on Wednesday, also in view of the increasing number of infections. All shops are closed for the time being, except supermarkets and pharmacies.

Coronavirus second wave in Israel


This 14 June 2020 South Korean TV video says about itself:

In the Middle East, neighbors Egypt and Israel are both seeing a spike in coronavirus cases.

In Egypt, the number of new cases reported Saturday rose to 1-thousand-6-hundred-77, its highest daily total so far.

That puts the total number of cases there at just under 43-thousand… with almost 15-hundred deaths.

In Israel, there were 177 new cases.

One of them is an employee at the residence of President Reuven Rivlin.

For now, officials say, President Rivlin won’t be required to enter quarantine, but they are tracing people who were in contact with the employee.

Meanwhile, the country with the second-highest number of infections is Brazil.

It’s overtaken the U.K., with more than 850-thousand cases.

On Saturday, it reported almost 22-thousand new cases… and almost 900 more deaths, putting the death toll at 42-thousand-720.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Israel reopens coronavirus wards

Due to the significant increase in the number of coronavirus patients, the Israeli Ministry of Health has called on hospitals in the country to reopen coronavirus wards. In the past 24 hours, 53 infections were added.

A report by the Israeli intelligence agency that came out yesterday warned of a second wave of infections. Without prompt action, the country would be affected by 1,000 infections a day within a month.

Israel reacted quickly with rigorous measures at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. As a result, the pandemic initially went relatively smoothly. Measures were gradually relaxed in May.

In Israel, 20,686 people have been infected with the virus so far, 205 people have died.

Netanyahu reopening, COVID-19 danger for Israeli schools


This video says about itself:

Emotions high as schools reopen, 2 teachers positive for virus

It’s back to school this week for most Israeli children after two months of homeschooling in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Then, it was only two infected sick teachers. But now …

Translated from Dutch NOS radio, 5 June 2020:

Israel closes 90 schools again for fear of new corona outbreak

The Israeli government has closed over 90 schools this week following an increase in coronavirus infections. The primary and secondary schools were open again last month, after about two months of closure.

According to the Ministry of Health, the reopening of schools is the main cause of the number of new infections increasing again. Yesterday, Israel had 118 new confirmed infections. That is the highest number in more than a month and much more than a few weeks ago.

Children can spread it”

This is largely due to contact at schools, says department head Asher Salmon at the ministry: “Without a doubt. Children may be less susceptible to the virus, but they can actually spread it. And as long as there are infections, contact leads to new infections. That’s how it works in an epidemic. ”

The option to close all schools is still on the table, Salmon says, “The next few days will be crucial.” For the time being, only schools will be closed where a student or staff member has tested positive for coronavirus. Until now, this has happened at 92 educational institutions.

A gymnasium in Jerusalem was the hardest hit. There, more than 150 students and teachers became infected with the virus.

Teacher: I can understand them

Marion Golany works as an English teacher at a primary school a little further in the city. No infections have yet been detected at her school, so classes will continue for the time being. “Yet many parents keep their children at home,” says Golany. “The day before yesterday there were only three children in class, in a class of seventeen. And I can understand them.”

In March, Israel decided to largely shut down public life to stem the spread of the virus. The schools also closed. When the number of new cases fell, the government decided to open schools step by step last month. Not all volumes at the same time, and a maximum of fifteen students per class. In mid-May, those restrictions were released and all students were allowed back to school.

Maximum half classes

But that decision was premature, says epidemiology professor and former senior official Gabi Barbash: “We should have held on to half classes of up to 15 students. Children not only infect each other, but also their relatives at home. As a result, we see the number of active infections grow again now.”

The full classes make a big difference, says teacher Golany: “Everything seems normal again, and it is difficult to keep a distance. You can no longer prevent them from hugging and jumping on each other. After all, they are children in a primary school.” …

Since the outbreak began, Israel has a total of more than 17,000 confirmed covid-19 infections. At least 290 patients were killed by the virus.

Israeli, Dutch reopened schools, COVID-19 epicentres


This 31 May 2020 video from Israel says about itself:

COVID-19 Outbreak in Jerusalem-based High School

i24NEWS DESK | The trend of coronavirus contamination in Israeli schools continued as three schools in Holon, Kiryat Ye’arim and Jerusalem reported overnight Saturday new cases of COVID-19.

After a major drop in the number of infections, prompting the Jewish state to gradually reopen its economy and restart the education system, a surge of new cases was recorded over the past weekend.

More than 100 pupils and staff members of Gymnasia Rehavia School in Jerusalem were tested positive for COVID-19. …

On Saturday, a seventh-grade pupil from Katzir School in Holon was found carrying the disease after he was feeling ill in the last few days. Four pupils and six teachers were sent into quarantine for 14 days following the incident, Hebrew-language outlet N12 reported.

In Kiryat Ye’arim, eight students were identified with coronavirus as more infections in the high school yeshiva in the ultra-Orthodox town are suspected.

Despite the spike in Jerusalem cases, the municipality had decided not to shutter schools in the capital — except for the Gymnasia school, having recorded 121 COVID-19 cases, which will not open this week.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

There is an outbreak of the coronavirus in schools in Israel. A total of 42 primary and secondary schools have been closed in several cities. At least 244 teachers and students are infected and almost 7000 teachers and students are in quarantine.

According to the Ministry of Health, schools are now the main source of covid infections …

Yesterday Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that he would keep most schools open for the time being, but that may change later this week.

Yesterday, Israel had 116 new infections, the highest number in a month.

Also translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

A primary school in The Hague is closing because of two teachers who are infected with the coronavirus, a spokesperson for the umbrella organization The Hague Schools confirms after a report by Omroep West broadcasting organisation. It concerns primary school De Springbok, with two locations in the city.

The teachers were tested yesterday, today they received the results. The teachers have not taught since they felt complaints last weekend, says the school.

There are about 500 children at the school, seven of whom have symptoms of the coronavirus. …

The pupils are now getting online home education again.

Israeli peace movement reacts to election results


This 16 September 2019 video says about itself:

‘What we need is unity’: Israeli Arab coalition appeals to Jewish vote

Scattered and divided only six months ago, Israeli Arab parties are standing united in Tuesday’s election re-run, hoping to energise their support base and woo Jewish voters too. FRANCE 24’s reporters followed them on the campaign trail.

From the Gush Shalom peace movement in Israel today:

Together Saving the Future Of Us All

Half of Israel’s citizens

Have today decided

That a nationalist and racist demagogue

Facing three serious criminal charges

Is the right person

To lead this country.

But – the other half

Do not want Netanyahu

This half should be

Organized and mobilized

For struggle

Struggle in the street

Struggle in the Knesset

Struggle in the courts.

Struggle everywhere, Jewish and Arab citizens

United in the struggle

To save the future

Opinion The Morning After Israel’s Election, the Country Is Still Stuck on a Traffic Island: here.

Israeli demonstration against Trump’s ‘peace’ plan


This 30 January 2020 video from the USA is called Trump’s Middle East “peace plan” is a plan for apartheid.

From the Gush Shalom peace movement in Israel today:

This is the time for action, the time to stand up and be counted. Tomorrow night, February 1, we will meet at 19:00 at the Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv. From there we will embark on an emergency march through the streets of Tel Aviv, to demand the one thing that will ensure a life of security for us, our families, our children: negotiations to end the occupation and a peace between two free and sovereign states, Israel and Palestine.

The Trump-Netanyahu Plan is dangerous for all of us, Israelis and Palestinians – to the future of both peoples. A peace agreement is something which both sides share and agree on, which will bring justice and resolution to the conflict.

The Trump-Netanyahu Plan is nothing of the kind. It is a one-sided annexation deal that is forced upon us from afar. It gives the Government of Israel licence to acts of infamy – annexations on the West Bank, fulfilling the dictates of the most extreme settlers, and depriving Israeli citizenship from hundreds of thousands of Arab citizens who live in the Wadi Ara and Triangle regions.

This is a moment of trial, a red alert. Trump and Netanyahu have placed all of us on the path to a future of endless violence, bloodshed and grief. In the future that they are trying to force upon us, Palestinians and Israelis will continue to suffer and no one will live in security. They called it “a peace plan” but it is a scam – it is the same harsh occupation we have known for decades, reinforced by annexation. Our actions over the next few days will determine whether they will succeed in their scheme. We will not sit aside – and we need each and every one of you with us!

See you tomorrow night on the Dizengoff Square – this is the time to stand up and be counted!

See also here.

Trump bans Congresswomen from Palestine


This 15 August 2019 Bloomberg news agency video from the USA says about itself:

Israel Bans Entry to Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar After Trump’s Tweet …

Shortly before the decision [by the Israeli government] was announced, Trump had tweeted that “it would show great weakness” if Israel allowed them to visit.

Last month, however, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer had said Israel would not deny entry to any member of Congress. …

Tlaib and Omar have also been the target of repeated attacks by President Donald Trump in recent months, including a series of racist tweets on July 14 in which he said they should “go back” to the “broken” countries they came from. Both are U.S. citizens and Tlaib was born in the United States. The two are members of the so-called “Squad” of newly-elected left-wing Democrats, along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. …

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro wrote on Twitter that the decision to bar their entry “harms Israel’s standing in the U.S., boosts BDS.”

Israeli lawmaker Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List of Arab parties, criticized the move, writing that “Israel has always banned Palestinians from their land and separated us from other Palestinians, but this time the Palestinian is a U.S. Congresswoman.”

Arthur Lenk, formerly Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, said barring Omar and Tlaib “would be sinking us deeper into U.S. domestic political quagmire.”

It is the job of members of the United States Congress to monitor the foreign policy of the president.

Two congresswomen, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib of the left wing of the Democratic party, wanted to do just that by going to Israel and the Palestine territories.

The right-wing Israeli government of Netanyahu gave them permission for that.

However, then President Donald Trump of the USA pressured them to annul that permission. And Netanyahu’s government showed that they are slavish puppets …, sorry, I forgot that I have to use euphemisms … reliable allies of Donald Trump.

Jewish daily The Forward in the USA writes about it today:

Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were supposed to travel to the West Bank this weekend. Now Israel won’t let them in. Why?

After all, even American Jewish groups and politicians like AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – none of them fans of Omar and Tlaib – said Thursday that Israel had made the wrong decision. Forward Opinion writer Emma Goldberg said it doesn’t bode well for Israeli democracy.

Some background: Omar and Tlaib are the only two representatives to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
Israel has a law on the books that it uses to turn away BDS supporters, even Jewish ones. Yet last month, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said the Jewish state would allow the duo in.

Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, has been trying for months to organize a congressional delegation to the area. Only Omar signed up. More than 40 other Democrats went on AIPAC’s annual Israel trip, where they met with Israeli and Palestinian government officials.

Omar and Tlaib were planning to meet with activists, and with American diplomats. They were planning on staying in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, which Israel controls and Palestinians claim as their state. They called the trip a visit to “Palestine”; neither Israel nor the U.S. recognizes such a place.

Still, the trip was moving forward until Thursday. That was when President [no; Prime Minister] Netanyahu stopped the trip, because “the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.” What changed?

Well, President Trump tweeted that letting Omar and Tlaib into Israel would “show great weakness”.

Netanyahu is a few weeks away from elections, and he’s staked his reputation on two things: toughness, and close ties with the White House.

Omar responded saying:

“The irony of the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East making such a decision is that it is both an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation.”

The Forward will continue to monitor the situation.

Thank you for reading

Aiden Pink
Deputy news editor

The Israeli government’s decision Thursday to bar a visit to Israel and the West Bank by US congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar is an authoritarian attack on democratic rights, carried out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the direction of US President Donald Trump against two critics in the legislative branch, in violation of US constitutional norms. … The Israeli media has already noted the brazen hypocrisy of Netanyahu denying entry to Omar and Tlaib when he has effusively welcomed right-wing anti-Semites like Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban and Italian Deputy Prime Minister—and would-be Mussolini—Matteo Salvini. The chain of events has ominous implications. The president of the United States has no authority over members of Congress, which under the Constitution is a co-equal branch of government. No US president has ever before sought to bar travel by senators or representatives.: here.

UPDATE: after this letter, Ms Tlaib admitted after all.

FLORIDA GOP CANDIDATE CALLS FOR OMAR AND OTHERS TO BE HANGED A Republican congressional candidate in Florida sent a fundraising letter last week that called for the hanging of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and other Democrats, reported The Tampa Bay Times. [HuffPost]

Israelis against governmental xenophobic deportation


This 30 July 2019 video says about itself:

Filipino mothers and children fight Israel deportation

Tel Aviv, July 30 (EFE).- The will to protect their children overcame the fear felt by Ivy and Romela, two Filipino women who have lived in Israel for almost 15 years and who told EFE that they are living through a new round of deportations.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 9 August 2019:

Israeli rally to oppose deportation of Israeli-born children of foreign workers

Around 2,000 Israeli protesters rallied outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on Tuesday. They were protesting the Interior Ministry’s plans to deport around 50 children born to foreign workers while they were in the country.

Currently, around 60,000 mainly female foreign workers are employed as caregivers. Around half of them are from the Philippines. Under Israeli regulations, foreign mothers must send their newborn babies home, or their visas will not be renewed.

Israeli minister supports gay conversion quackery


This 14 July 2019 video says about itself:

Israelis call to sack education minister over gay therapy comments | AFP

Israelis hold protest against Israeli Education Minister Rafi Peretz who has spoken of his belief in therapy to convert gays to heterosexuality and claimed he has engaged in the practice, leading to calls for him to be sacked.

From Associated Press, 15 July 2019:

Israel’s Education Minister Defends Gay‘ Conversion’ Therapy

Hundreds called for Rafi Peretz’s resignation after he made the controversial remarks in a weekend interview

By Shahar Golan

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s new education minister’s remarks in favor of “conversion therapy”, a controversial technique that seeks to turn gays into heterosexuals, came under widespread criticism and led hundreds to protest Sunday.

Rafi Peretz, who leads a small religious nationalist party, said in a televised interview over the weekend that he supports
conversion therapy and has performed it. …

It was Peretz’s second major controversy in just a month on the job. Last week, he elicited uproar, particularly from overseas Jews, when he compared intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews to a second “Holocaust”. …

Health officials have said that conversion therapy is scientifically dubious and possibly even dangerous.

Etai Pinkas-Arad, a Tel Aviv city councilman in charge of LGBT affairs, said that conversation therapy can “in some cases cause death by suicidal attempts” and called on Peretz to be fired.

Cynically, one might say that Mr Peretz is not even the worst homophobe in Israel. While this government minister advocates subjecting LGBTQ people to quackery which may kill them (but which they also may survive), Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar advocates killing them.

Peretz, a former chief rabbi in the Israeli military, “shouldn’t be holding this position any longer, or relevant position in the future,” he said.

Hundreds protested in Tel-Aviv on Sunday, calling on Peretz to resign. …

While [Prime Minister] Netanyahu likes to boast about Israel’s broad acceptance of gays, he has been attacked by LGBT activists for homophobic comments by members of his coalition, which is dominated by religious and conservative politicians. Last year he was also criticized for voting against surrogacy for gay fathers, presumably under pressure from his Ultra-orthodox coalition partners.

Ethiopian-Israeli rap music against police brutality


Associated Press news agency, 12 July 2019, writes about this video about music:

Ethiopian rappers challenging Israel police through song

In his song “Handcuffed”, rapper Teddy Neguse addresses police brutality against young Israeli men of Ethiopian descent.

Although the song came out in 2017, it has recently reached new heights in the wake of street protests across the country following the killing of an Ethiopian Israeli teen by an off-duty police officer last month.

This week the 23-year-old artist was invited to perform his song live on the popular news website Ynet.

Neguse’s appearance on Ynet illustrates the growing Ethiopian Israeli presence in the local music scene.

But it also reflects the ongoing struggles against alleged racism and discrimination, some three decades after Ethiopian Jews began arriving in Israel.

Large numbers of Ethiopian Jews began arriving in Israel via secret airlifts in the 1980s.

The new arrivals from a rural, developing African country struggled to find their footing in an increasingly high-tech Israel.

Throughout the decades, Ethiopians have suffered discrimination.

In the late 1990s, it was discovered that Israel’s health services were throwing out Ethiopian blood donations over fears of diseases contracted in Africa.

Accusations have also been raised that Israel has deliberately tried to curb birth rates in its Ethiopian communities.

Today there’s around 150,000 people in the Israel Ethiopian community, some 2% of the country’s 9 million citizens.

While some Israelis of Ethiopian descent have made gains in areas like the military, the police force and politics, the community continues to struggle with a lack of opportunity and high poverty rate.

Against this backdrop, Israeli artists of Ethiopian heritage are breaking out in the entertainment world, especially in the growing hip hop and dancehall scenes.

In his music video for “Handcuffed”, Neguse is dressed up as a soldier, riding a bicycle, when he encounters two policemen.

The officers then, seemingly unprovoked, beat him up.

The music video depicts a 2015 incident in which two policemen were filmed beating a uniformed Ethiopian Israeli soldier, sparking mass protests.

The most recent demonstrations erupted after the unarmed Solomon Teka, 18, was fatally shot by a police officer in a Haifa suburb on June 30.

Police say … at least 150 protesters were arrested.

The officer in question, who has claimed the youth was accidentally hit by a warning shot he had fired at the ground, is being investigated by internal affairs and remains under protective custody.

Another up-and-coming Ethiopian Israeli musician, Yael Mentesnot, says that in the past, the community has been “restrained” and “we end up coming off a bit naive.”

But this time she says the community is beginning to truly feel the despair.

“All the protests, they are not orchestrated, nothing there was organised,” she said.

“Everyone went to the streets frustrated and released their anger.”

While most of Mentesnot’s young solo career has been filled with upbeat party songs, she said the recent events have inspired her to address the Ethiopian Israelis’ struggle.

“Our whole life is a struggle, we face challenges, and we overcome them,” she said. “I want the public to see it. To understand what we feel.”

Neguse said he is pleased that Ethiopian musicians are on the rise, but said the recent protests should be seen as “a call for help, a cry of an entire community.”