Sunday, March 29, 2020

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

We are back to the Dark Ages.

They used to accuse Jews of spreading the plague by poisoning the wells. Now they are saying that Jews are spreading the plague more directly.

From YNet:

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Sunday accused IDF soldiers of deliberately spreading the novel coronavirus among the West Bank's Palestinian population.

In the latest iteration of an ongoing and long-standing blood libel, Shtayyeh claimed, "We were exposed to testimonies that some of the (Israeli) soldiers are trying to spread the virus on car handles."

The firebrand politician cited racism as the main motive behind the soldiers' actions.

"This is racism and hatred of people who long for the death of the other. We will record this in the list of crimes [against Israel], " Shtayyeh said.
This is a despicable antisemitic statement. Which means that the usual people on the Left who hate Israel but pretend to be against antisemitism will remain silent - or will say that he is telling the truth.

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
I've been making posters to counter the lies from the hate-Israel crowd, but they would be far more effective if they are used as replies to the hashtags and libels that claim that Israel limits medicine and humanitarian aid to gaza.

So, use these liberally.

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
A tweet from Sari Bashi  of Gisha, formerly of Human Rights Watch, retweeted by Ken Roth, shows yet again the anti-Israel bias of the organization.

What needs to be compared isn't the total population of Israelis and Palestinians, but the number of people stricken with coronavirus. After all, healthy people clearly don't need ventilators.

So let's look at the numbers again, assuming her ventilator numbers are correct:

Number of Israelis diagnosed with Covid-19 (not yet recovered)  as of this writing: 4115
Number of Palestinians diagnosed with Covid-19 (not yet recovered) as of now: 91

Number of ventilators per patient in Israel: 0.53
Number of ventilators per patient in the Palestinian territories: 3.24

Which means that Palestinians have over six times the number of respirators per patient that Israel has.

If you look at the numbers of those in serious condition, things are even more skewed towards the Palestinians. There are 74 Israeli patients in serious condition - and zero Palestinians. I don't know how many, if any, people in non-serious condition need a respirator.

This doesn't mean that more respirators won't be needed for both. They are needed for the future, not the present. The numbers are increasing at a dizzying rate.  But the implication that Israel is withholding ventilators that are desperately needed is completely false. 

The anti-Israel rhetoric from so-called human rights groups is truly sick. 

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From Ian:

Third Israeli dies Sunday - 15 coronavirus victims
Three Israelis died of cornoavirus on Sunday, bringing the total number of victims to 15.

The most recent victim is an 84-year-old woman who was being treated at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The two previous victims were in their 90s.

The 14th victim is a 90-year-old woman who had been hospitalized at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak. The 13th is a 92-year-old man who was admitted last week in serious condition to Shaare Zedek. Both had pre-existing conditions.

As of Sunday morning, 3,865 Israelis have coronavirus, coronavirus, according to the Health Ministry - 66 people are in serious condition, among them a young man in his 20s who is hospitalized at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital.

The numbers represent an increase of 246 more people since press time on Saturday night.
Coronavirus explained: 22 questions with epidemiologist guiding Israeli response
Professor Yehuda Carmeli is head of the Department of Epidemiology at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and a professor at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. He is one of the medical professionals leading the Israeli Health Ministry’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Times of Israel spoke to him at 7:30 Thursday morning, the only slot available in his busy day. We asked him a host of key questions to try to understand more about the coronavirus. Among them: How is it transmitted, is it or is not airborne, and why it is so contagious? How many people worldwide will ultimately be infected, with what consequent rate of fatalities? Why are the elderly at greater risk, and why are other age groups so much less so? Why are Israel and other countries responding in the ways that they are, and whose approaches are more and less effective? And what should the public expect in terms of the virus’ impact — not only on our health, but the disruption to our lives — and for how long?

1. Why were there “only” 3,000 coronavirus deaths in China, while in Italy, a much smaller country, we are seeing hundreds of people dying a day?
Actually not all of China was affected. In most of China there was a relatively small number of cases. There is a specific county, Hubei, that was affected and within it, the city of Wuhan. Wuhan has a population of 11 million. Also, in Italy, it was mostly the region of Lombardy, which has a population of [10 million]. So approximately the same size of population has been affected in both cases.

2. How many people will become infected worldwide if this pandemic is not checked?
There are various mathematical models that try to estimate the number of cases expected in different places. There is a saying about mathematical models that all of them are wrong but some are useful. We truly don’t know which of them is correct.

All models I have seen predict that by the end of this outbreak, which could be in several months or could be in a year or two, about 60-70 percent of the population will be infected at some point. Not all people who are infected become sick. Some don’t even notice that they have it, or have very minor symptoms.

But in the end you can take the world’s population and calculate 60 or 70 percent, and those are the numbers that will be affected by this pandemic.
Stephen L. Miller:Why was early coronavirus coverage so lazy? The media’s insatiable thirst for political correctness
The night that President Trump issued his order, Vox tweeted, ‘Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No.’ That tweet was then deleted with a correction earlier this week. Lenny Bernstein at the Washington Post wrote on January 31, ‘Get a grippe [sic], America. The flu is a much bigger threat than Coronavirus, for now.’ The next day, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled, ‘Past epidemics prove fighting coronavirus with travel bans is a mistake.’ In what appeared to be a full court press against the president’s order, the paper published another piece on January 31, ‘How our brains make coronavirus seem scarier than it is.’ On February 3, they hit us with another op-ed headlined, ‘Why we should be wary of an aggressive government response to coronavirus’, arguing it would lead to more stigmatization of marginalized populations.

On January 29, in concert with the Washington Post, BuzzFeed News tweeted, ‘Don’t worry about the coronavirus. Worry about the flu.’ Just a few days before President Trump’s Oval Office address to the nation, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said on air that ‘if you’re freaked out about the Coronavirus you should be more concerned about the flu.’ And then shortly after Trump’s address, CNN’s Brian Stelter commented that ‘Sean Hannity and Fox were going to celebrate the travel ban while evading the scourge of community spread within the US.’ CNN then published online in late February that racist attacks against Asians (only of which a handful in the United States have been authenticated and documented) spread faster than the coronavirus.

This was all, of course, reflexive coverage to a president they see as an emotional and oppressive opponent. Trump has made a hobby of hitting the media over the head with whatever bat they hand to him, and it’s one of the reasons it’s hard to listen to any of their sky-is-falling coverage now. Donald Trump is going to spin his way through this crisis, just like any communications-minded president would do, and the media’s attempts to play catch-up will leave them with a public that no longer trusts them.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
In both Jordan and Syria, the government decided it was somehow better to create its own distribution channel for bread rather than let bakeries remain open.

The result? Long lines and crowds of people jostling to get limited supplies - increasing the chances for more infection.

In Jordan:
Days after a total curfew went into effect, people clamored to receive bread distributions from government trucks, the emergency hotline went offline after it apparently became overloaded with phone calls, and some reported they had nothing at home to eat.

In Syria,

The bread crisis has appeared more recently in Aleppo. Once the night curfew ends at six in the morning every day, residents in Aleppo begins to gather in hundreds in front of private and public ovens, distribution centers in the neighborhoods, and in the parking spaces for trucks transporting bread.
Gathering in the queues early seems necessary to get one bundle of bread, which is what is allowed for each person, and [soon enough] the limited quantity will be already exhausted, and the people will be forced to buy bread from the black market and special "tourist" ovens in Aleppo, and at a huge markup.

Socialist methods do not seem to be working that well.

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Daily Mail has a textbook case of media bias. In an article this morning by Ian Gallagher, chief reporter of the newspaper, it says:

Prince Harry faces a backlash over controversial plans to invite injured Israeli soldiers to compete at his Invictus Games.

Israel is under investigation for alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories and has never previously been involved in the tournament, but The Mail on Sunday understands that its inclusion in the 2022 Games was agreed in principle earlier this month. Last night, an Arab commentator said the move would be seen as ‘provocative’.

Launched in 2014, the Invictus Games for wounded or sick military personnel and veterans, are close to the Duke’s heart. This year’s competition was postponed earlier this month due to the coronavirus outbreak. It will now be held in 2022 in Germany.

Abdel Bari Atwan, a prominent Arab journalist in the UK, said: ‘It will be seen as a way of provoking Arabs by a British Royal.’ Two Arab countries, Jordan and Iraq, took part in the 2018 Games in Sydney. Both are due to compete in the next tournament.
This supposed "backlash" is from a single terror-supporting journalist.

Abdel Bari Atwan found a silver lining in the 9/11 attacks five years after , saying "The events of 11 September will be remembered as the end of the US empire. This is because all empires collapse when they pursue the arrogance of power."

He enthusiastically supported the murder of Jewish religious students in the Mercaz Harav massacre, saying it was "justified" and that celebrations in Gaza following the attack symbolized "the courage of the Palestinian nation." That is pure antisemitism.

He said  "Jihad must be directed, first and foremost, against the Israeli enemy...All our guns must be turned toward that enemy, regardless of our differences, because this is the only thing that unites us". Atwan also declared that "Arabs who do not think that Israel is an enemy are neither Arabs nor Muslims."

So much for the value of Abdel Bari Atwan's opinion about Israel. The only question is why the Daily Mail is promoting him as a sober representative of British Islam instead of the rabid, hateful antisemitic Israel hater he is.

But this is only the beginning of the Daily Mail's and Gallagher's bias. To buttress the non-existent point of an "Arab backlash," the subhead of the article headline and subhead says "Israel is under investigation for alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories."

Atwan did not say a word about this. This is wholly the Daily Mail's addition to the story.

But if being under investigation is a reason for disqualification, then the US and Afghanistan - who are also participants in the games - should be disqualified as well, as they are also under investigation by the same ICC for war crimes.

Why is the Daily Mail so concerned over Israel's alleged war crimes and not those of the other participants - including the UK itself, which has also been accused of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan? Other participants do not exactly have a stellar human rights record.

But only Israel's is considered disqualifying to the Daily Mail.

Beyond this, the Daily Mail tried a third avenue to smear Israel to justify a story that isn't a story. In paragraphs 2 and 3:

Financial backing for an Israeli team has already been sought from global charity Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), which was co-founded by London-based Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman.

Mr Fridman was named in former MI6 officer Christopher Steele’s dossier alleging Kremlin links to US President Donald Trump and the billionaire last year appeared in a Spanish court accused of corruption and helping to orchestrate the bankruptcy of a technology firm. He denied the charges.
GPG is a charity that strengthens Judaism among Russian Jews, supports UK Jewish institutions and fosters ties between Israeli and diaspora Jews. I can find no meaningful criticism of the organization anywhere, it appears to do stellar work. To try to smear Israel the Daily Mail is drawing a very tenuous link between unfounded allegations against one of GPG's founders and the Israeli team which probably seeks sponsors from a wide variety of Jewish and Zionist organizations. There is nothing the east bit immoral about looking for sponsors from GPG, and insinuating that it is wrong is simply a slander.

In short, there is no controversy whatsoever about Israel participating in the Invictus Games, but for some reason the Daily Mail has decided to manufacture one. In doing so, it has only proven that it is willing to create an anti-Israel smear based on literally nothing.

This is not journalism.

(h/t Mark Humphrys)

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Boro Park. Flatbush. Crown Heights. Forest Hills. Fresh Meadows.

Every single New York neighborhood with a large religious Jewish population has the highest percentage of patients testing positive for the coronavirus, according to this map published by the NYC Department of Health.

Looking at New York State as a whole, the heavily Jewish Rockland County has a higher percentage of COVID-19 cases per capita than New York City (as far as I can tell, second only to Westchester County.)

And in New Jersey, the two towns with the highest number of COVID-19 cases are not the major cities of Newark (155) or Jersey City (130) or Camden (2) or Trenton (7).

They are the much smaller towns with large Jewish populations: Teaneck (population 37,000, Jews 15,000, 213 cases) and Lakewood (population 102,000, Jews 60,000, 198 cases.)

Even though Orthodox rabbis across the board closed down all schools and synagogues before the government authorities said to, the sheer amount of interaction that religious Jews have with their communities - often going to prayer services 2 or 3 times a day, and this year especially celebrating Purim (March 10) together with friends and family, made Orthodox Jewish communities Ground Zero for the coronavirus. This was not helped by the refusal of a small minority to shut down their synagogues and cancel wedding parties - stupid, selfish decisions that are ensuring that the numbers continue to grow as we approach the two week mark since rabbis first called for the shutdowns. There were reports that some Jews still insisted on praying with others as recently as Friday.

Only this week will we begin  find out the effectiveness of the shutdowns that started on March 12 in Teaneck/Bergen County and then spread across the region in the following week.

Every day we learn about more and more people we know, or in our circles, who have gotten ill or passed away. Often they are community leaders - rabbis and others - whose jobs involve close interaction with their followers.

It is a very scary time, and the worst is still to come.

We are facing a Passover without extended family. But it is necessary to keep all of our extended families as safe as possible.

And those who continue to pretend to be "frummer" by still praying with a minyan/quorum are playing Russian roulette with their families, and everyone else's lives.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

From Ian:

Coronavirus cases in Israel rise to 3,619 with 54 people in serious condition
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel rose to 3,619 people, the Health Ministry announced Saturday evening.

The tally included 54 patients in serious condition, of whom 43 are attached to ventilators.

Another 81 are in moderate condition and the rest have mild symptoms.

The ministry said a majority of patients, 1,828, were isolating in their homes under monitoring and 484 were currently hospitalized. The remainder were in various care facilities, including the specially converted hotels.

Twelve people have died in Israel from the virus, and on Saturday the Foreign Ministry announced an 82-year-old Israeli tourist died in an Italian hospital after he contracted the virus.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Friday that the country could enter into a complete shutdown if there isn’t an improvement in the number of confirmed virus cases in the next two days.

Netanyahu held a series of discussions with top ministers regarding additional steps the country can take to manage the ongoing crisis, “including preparations for a closure,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

He said that authorities would bring the additional movement restrictions before the cabinet in 48 hours.
Trump Says He May Quarantine New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
President Donald Trump said Saturday he was considering imposing a quarantine on New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Trump said he was mulling the quarantine, while at the same walking back urging to quickly reopen the economy. Trump said he was unsure about whether the United States will reopen for business by April 12th following shutdowns in major cities across the country. Asked whether he thought the United States would open by Easter Sunday, Trump said at the White House on Saturday, “We’ll see what happens.”
NY rabbi who survived COVID-19 donates blood plasma to treatment research
A New York rabbi who recovered from a mild case of COVID-19 donated blood plasma to researchers on Friday in the hope that his antibodies could be used to treat patients with more severe coronavirus symptoms.

Rabbi Daniel Nevins, dean of the rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, was laid up for a few days earlier this month with a fever and some aches, and then recovered.

Nevins was tested for the coronavirus on March 12 and a week later got back a positive result. A week after that, he was tested again. Friday morning, he got the result: All clear.

Within hours, Nevins was hooked up to a machine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York to donate blood plasma. In the race to develop effective treatments for the disease, researchers are investigating whether antibodies from the blood of people who have successfully fought off the disease may provide treatment for people who with more serious symptoms.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration allowed doctors to treat critically ill coronavirus patients with plasma on an experimental basis. Plasma has been shown effective in treating other infectious diseases, like polio, measles and influenza.

“I felt fortunate that my mild case of this illness might turn into a blessing for people who are seriously ill,” Nevins told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The Torah teaches us not to stand idly by the blood of our neighbor. My Midrash [interpretation] is that no, instead lie down in a donor bed and give plasma.”

Douglas Murray: In this strange new world, where do we find purpose?
During recent years, much of our society found a purpose, and a kind of meaning, in politics. Even at the time that period seemed curious. It was a period in which people who had no connection to the media felt that they needed to absorb minute-by-minute updates on everything. It was an age in which watches would beep, phones would buzz and tablets would ping with updates on things that few of us could affect and mostly wouldn’t affect us. But it gave a purpose of a kind. Worlds away though they seem now, the Stop Brexit and Stop Trump crowds (and their opposites) had a distractingly busy few years. And if they didn’t find meaning in the deepest sense (as in ‘what I would look at with pride on my deathbed’) they certainly found some of the best simulacrums around.

There is a risk that this virus also becomes ‘something to do’. A thing which — how-ever well or badly we ride it out — absorbs almost all of our time, thoughts and energies. The temptation is there in the regular news conferences and announcements. Each day brings new figures to absorb, new comparisons to make between countries. Hell, we’ve even had that hangover discussion about what to call the virus and whether referring to its origins is racist or not. Absorption in some or all of these things has already come to constitute a full-time job for many people. And I will say nothing about the number of undercover virologists who turn out to have been living among us all these years.

Still the question lingers: ‘What ought we to be doing?’ Both during and after this crisis, I would expect the political left to once again prove their ability to provide narratives and explanations. Doubtless at some point they will declare a great mission. And perhaps it will have its attractions: a call to have more doctors or care workers, for instance. Or an insistence that since we were all equal in the eyes of the virus, so we should be made more equal in other ways too. Parts of the political right will bang their own ideological drums. They will talk about the markets and much more, as if everything did not just change radically. In the era to come, who knows which of these people we will want to listen to? If any.

As a writer, I might claim to have been in training for this moment all my life. Solitude and silence have been agreeable, indeed vital, companions to me. And to that extent recent days have not been that different from any others. Apart from performing the new chores we all must carry out, I spend my days as I always do at home. Inside, I migrate between my writing desk and piano. I enjoy the garden more. And yet in the gaps that have opened up the bigger question hovers. I suppose my own answer is a doctrine of a kind. Which is that we are most likely to find meaning in the places where meaning has been found before. That what has seen our forebears through, and nourished them, will see us through and nourish us in turn. I don’t listen to the news much. If the church is open I will sit in it. I remake my acquaintance with great music. In the evenings I read Anna Karenina.

Friday, March 27, 2020

From Ian:

Gerald Steinberg: Hope Is Nice, but After Coronavirus, Demonization of Israel Is Unlikely to Change
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin recently tried to provide some optimism amid the gloom and doom of the corona epidemic. Noting the cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), he tweeted: “I just spoke to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas. Our ability to work together in times of crisis is also a testament to our ability to work together in the future for the good of us all.”

This peaceful scenario is worthy of the Jewish prophets, particularly Isaiah and Micah.

Unfortunately, the reality now, as it was then, is quite different. In contrast to Rivlin’s optimism, the Palestinians and their allies are currently moving at full speed to continue their campaign of demonization against Israel.

Most notably, Palestinians, in coordination with an army of NGOs, are pressing the effort in the International Criminal Court(ICC) to take the false “war crime” accusations to the next stage — a pseudo-investigation of Israel.

Over the past week, a number of these groups have submitted briefs (many of which go beyond the absurd in stretching historical truth) to prop up ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s weak attempt to justify this travesty. The NGO list includes Al Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which work very closely with the PA in this campaign and are funded by European governments.

Among their Israeli allies, the Israeli left-wing group B’Tselem wrote a report accompanied by a media campaign (also enabled by European funders). As usual, B’Tselem blamed Israel exclusively for the conflict, erasing the long history of Palestinian rejectionism and terror, and even accused Israel of exploiting the Holocaust in rejecting the ICC prosecutor’s arguments.

Breaking the Silence, Gisha, and other NGOs continued to blame Israel for not doing enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus among Palestinians, repeating their one-line agenda — “occupation, occupation, occupation” — even in Gaza, where the “occupation” ended almost 15 years ago.
Melanie Phillips: How the virus exposes magical thinking and short-term greed
This culture of denial is the product of a century of demoralization in which the west lost belief in itself and decided that it stood for nothing worth fighting for. Instead, the world had to be changed.

Unable to accept the impossibility of their utopian ideals, progressives are particularly prone to magical thinking. They believe they can banish prejudice and bigotry from the human heart, end war and usher in the brotherhood of man.

They pretend the world is not how it actually is but how they want it to be. They pretend to themselves that, because they are idealists, they are immune from bad thoughts or deeds; and they pretend that anyone who contradicts them is not just wrong but evil.

Often, though, there aren’t clear choices between unalloyed good and bad. The available options may present a choice between terrible and worse.

Israel, caught between assorted rocks and hard places, has to make these tough choices between evils all the time. And yet even super-realist Israel got sucked into the China illusion.

Last month, Israel’s cyber directorate issued a directive requiring Israeli companies to bar all Chinese-made systems and components in communications and security systems used in sensitive infrastructure.

An earlier directive, issued after the Trump administration blew a collective fuse over Israel’s acceptance of Chinese technology, was voluntary.

Israel’s reluctance to comply with the United States over this isn’t surprising. Chinese investment in Israel has reached an estimated $11.7 billion over the years. But now, like other countries, Israel is in lockdown and its economy hugely damaged as a result of Chinese negligence and malevolence.

The virus crisis is a wake-up call to all who chose to substitute short-term self-interest for realism about the Chinese Communist party, and now find themselves reaping the whirlwind.
Col Kemp: We should establish a Coronavirus citizens’ volunteer force
An accelerating sense of crisis now engulfs our society. As the impact of Coronavirus deepens and the death toll mounts, the scale of the emergency is unprecedented in peacetime. Yet there is a silver lining to this black cloud. It can be found in the growing ethos of selfless compassion across the country, with millions of citizens feeling a new concern for their neighbours and the vulnerable.

During the Second World War, our nation became renowned for its unity and self-sacrifice, an outlook known as the ‘Blitz spirit’. Today we can see a reawakening of that same community spirit, reflected particularly in local neighbourhood schemes, where people volunteer to check on the elderly, organise essential home deliveries and support imperilled businesses.

That mood of compassion should now be harnessed more systematically for the good of the nation. Yesterday Lord Stevens, the former head of the Metropolitan Police, called for the urgent mobilisation of retired coppers in order to relieve the huge current burdens on the police, the NHS and other emergency services. Pointing out that there are at least 100,000 former officers, Lord Stevens rightly said that their experience and enthusiasm is a ‘golden resource’ that ‘we cannot afford to waste’.

While I welcome his admirable suggestion, I would go even further. I believe that, in response to the crisis, we now need a national citizens volunteer force to help maintain the civic infrastructure which is under unique strain. This new organisation would capitalise on the yearning of so-many people to do their bit, as well as giving the public a defiant sense of purpose in these dark times. There is a vast range of tasks that could be carried out by these volunteers, like performing basic duties in the NHS, cleaning and sanitising public buildings, transporting goods, and providing cooked meals and groceries to the housebound. Former teachers could organise childcare for key public workers.

Another of my series of re-purposing single-panel cartoons for more immediate topics:

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:

Four more Israelis die of virus, bringing COVID-19 death toll to 12
Four more Israelis have died of the coronavirus, bringing the country’s death toll to 12, as the number of infections nationwide climbed to 3,035.

The Soroka Medical Center on Friday morning said 93-year-old Avraham Aroshas was brought to the hospital from the nursing home where he lived. He had a fever and shortness of breath and had “complicated and difficult underlying illnesses,” the Beersheba-based hospital said. He tested positive for the virus and hours later succumbed to the illness, according to the statement.

A 76-year-old woman with preexisting health conditions also died of the virus, the Sharon Hospital in Petah Tikva announced Friday morning.

Hours later, a 73-year-old man was pronounced dead as a result of the virus at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. He was identified as Shaul Farhi. He reportedly caught the virus on a trip to Tenerife in Spain.

On Friday afternoon, the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon said that an 80-year-old man had died. He had been in a serious condition for several days.

The number of Israelis diagnosed with the coronavirus has risen to 3,035, the Health Ministry said Friday morning. Of them, 49 are in serious condition and 60 are in moderate condition.

Some 45 Israel Defense Forces soldiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, while 4,156 are in quarantine, the IDF said on Thursday.

Of the 12 fatalities in the country, three died on Thursday.

One of the three was an 89-year-old woman being treated at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem.

“This is a patient with preexisting conditions who a week ago already was categorized as being in critical condition and was treated with devotion during her entire hospitalization by the department staff, who did everything possible to ease her suffering,” the hospital said in a statement.

Another was an 83-year-old man from Bnei Brak who had preexisting conditions. Wolfson Medical Center in Holon said earlier that the third victim was a 91-year-old woman.
IDF Prepares for World War C
It’s come to this: The whole country on lockdown, the civilian population locked away in their homes, hiding from a deadly and invisible enemy. The only people on the street are police officers and IDF troops. It’s World War C.

The coronavirus crisis, a global pandemic on a level not seen since the Spanish flu in 1918, reminds many of the 2013 zombie movie World War Z. For Israelis, the “Jerusalem scene,” in which healthy Jews and Arabs are quarantined in the Old City singing songs of peace until zombies breach the walls, is extremely poignant.

It is as though the movie has come to life, but instead of the enemy being zombies, Israel is afraid that the invisible enemy - Coronavirus - could breach its walls and infect the population, as it did in Asia.

Israel had quickly closed its borders and quarantined all travellers returning to the country for two weeks. But the virus seeped in, and slowly the numbers of those infected with coronavirus started to rise. At the time of this article’s writing, 2,000 are reported sick and five are dead.

On Wednesday, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett warned that Israel is facing “severe morbidity levels” in the coming days.
“We are in accelerated growth in patients in serious condition; the number of positive tests is increasing. Severe morbidity levels are approaching,” he said. “Within 10 days there will be a significant rate of serious patients, but this is not a matter of fate. We can work to change the situation."
Mossad Brings another 400,000 Coronavirus Test Kits to Israel
The Mossad intelligence service on Thursday helped bring another 400,000 coronavirus test kits to Israel from an undisclosed foreign location, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

That was in addition to the roughly 100,000 test kits the spy agency brought to Israel last week.

The Prime Minister’s Office, which is responsible for the Mossad, said the intelligence service had imported the chemical reagents needed to perform approximately 400,000 tests. The swabs needed to carry out the task are being sourced both internally and from a number of foreign countries.

The PMO refused to comment further on the matter, specifically on the country or countries that sold it the testing components, leading many to assume that it was a country that does not have strong or formal ties with Israel.

The Mossad’s first operation to bring the chemical reagents needed for 100,000 coronavirus tests sparked a minor controversy last week, after Health Ministry officials lamented that what they’d actually needed were more swabs. After a small flurry of accusations and reversals, the ministry released a statement affirming that the test kits were “important” and “necessary” in the fight against the disease.

Israel has significantly stepped up its testing over the past week, performing several thousand each day, with the goal of increasing that level further.

The other arms of Israel’s defense establishment have also enlisted in recent days to tackle the virus threat.

  • Friday, March 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

B'Tselem published yesterday:
During the Coronavirus crisis, Israel confiscates tents designated for clinic in the Northern West Bank

This morning, Thursday, 26 March 2020, at around 7:30 am, officials from Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank arrived with a military jeep escort, a bulldozer and two flatbed trucks with cranes at the Palestinian community of Khirbet Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley. They confiscated poles and sheeting that were meant to form eight tents, two for a field clinic, and four for emergency housing for residents evacuated from their homes, and two as makeshift mosques. The force also confiscated a tin shack in place for more than two years, as well as a power generator and sacks of sand and cement. Four pallets of cinder blocks intended for the tent floors were taken away and four others demolished.

As the whole world battles an unprecedented and paralyzing healthcare crisis, Israel’s military is devoting time and resources to harassing the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank, that Israel has attempted to drive out of the area for decades. Shutting down a first-aid community initiative during a health crisis is an especially cruel example of the regular abuse inflicted on these communities, and it goes against basic human and humanitarian principles during an emergency. Unlike Israel’s policies, this pandemic does not discriminate based on nationality, ethnicity or religion. It is high time the government and military acknowledged that now, of all times, Israel is responsible for the health and wellbeing of the five million Palestinians who live under its control in the Occupied Territories.
What really happened?

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) slammed the Human Rights NGO B'Tselem for alleging that the IDF demolished a coronavirus treatment center built by Palestinians in the Jordan Valley.

“We are sorry to see a Human Rights NGO choosing to exploit a global crisis to spread fake news,” the COGAT press statement said.

COGAT claims that the demolished structure was a guarding post built illegally and without permits by a resident of Bardala, which is northeast of Nablus.

Neither the Palestinian Authority (PA) nor International Health groups requested to build a treatment center for COVID-19 patients, according to COGAT's claims. 

COGAT is coordinating the delivery of thousands of masks and COVID-19 test kits donated by the World Health Organization to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, despite the blockade still enforced there. The aid is also provided to the West Bank, which is under the control of the PA.  
Khirbet Ibziq is in Area C where Israeli permits are required to build - under international law. (If Israel is considered the belligerent occupier, then Israel is required to administer building permits. If Israel claims the territory then it still is required to administer building permits.) Residents in the area of Khirbet Ibziq have a history of illegal building, which B'Tselem documents. This time they pretended that a couple of the tents were for a coronavirus clinic, even though no one even told the Palestinian Authority about this, let alone Israel.

It was a basic land grab - one made even more immoral because it was specifically done during this crisis. It was a lie from the start to make Israel look like monsters for confiscating the materials - way before they were even erected.

B'Tselem knows this and they play along with the fiction, because to them the moral imperative of demonizing Israel is far higher than little things like telling the truth.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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