Corona death toll hits 172 amid drop in number of severe cases
The Health Ministry reported on Sunday morning that the death toll from the coronavirus was now 172 people, with 13,362 confirmed cases in the country.
As of 9 a.m. Sunday, the number of patients in mild condition was 9,378, and the number of patients in moderate condition was 140. The Health Ministry also noted that 156 people were in critical condition, a 6.6% drop compared to 24 hours ago. Additionally, 109 patients were on ventilators, a 7.6% decline from the previous day's figures.
The Ministry also presented its figures on the morbidity rates per town in Israel. Bnei Brak, with 2,307 confirmed cases, tops the list, followed by the Arab village of Deir el-Asad with 89 confirmed cases out of just 12,435 residents and then Kohav Ya'akov in Judea and Samaria, with 59 confirmed cases out of just 8,602 residents.
Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem said in a statement on Sunday that two female corona patients died overnight Saturday, including the youngest patient to date to succumb to the coronavirus in Israel, a 29-year-old woman who was already suffering from terminal cancer.
The medical staff was in continuous contact with her relatives, who were prohibited from visiting the hospital to bid her farewell. After her passing, her family members said the Kadish prayer – traditionally recited in memory of the dead – via a video call facilitated by the medical staff.
Israeli scientist: Two-thirds of the way toward COVID-19 vaccine
Prof. Jonathan Gershoni from Tel Aviv University's (TAU) School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday afternoon that the work his laboratory is doing on the corona family of viruses is "two-thirds of the way" through the process of developing a vaccine for COVID-19.New method of testing for coronavirus in under a minute, by Israeli tech
Gershoni, who was recently granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for his vaccine design for the coronavirus – after studying the family of viruses for 15 years – explained that the vaccine intends to target the virus's Receptor Binding Motif (RBM), a critical weak point which allows the virus to attach itself and infect a target cell.
The RBM is a small feature of the virus's "spike" protein, meaning that the virus uses many different proteins to replicate and invade cells, but the "spike" protein is the "major surface protein that it uses to bind to a receptor – another protein that acts like a doorway into a human cell," according to TAU.
Once this protein binds to the cell receptor of a human cell, the viral membrane fuses with that of the human cell, which allows the genome, or genetic blueprint of the virus to enter human cells and begin infection.
"The idea is to recreate, to reconstitute, to construct an RBM of COVID-19 virus and use it as the vaccine," he told the Post. "That is to say, you would inject a small 50 amino-acid sequence and it would allow our immune system to focus on it and create antibodies that would directly target the virus at its weak spot."
Experimentation of a new method using a breathing device that could potentially diagnose the coronavirus in under a minute has been approved by Institutional Review Board, otherwise known as the Helsinki committee.
The new method is based off a breathing machine developed by Israeli companies Next-Gen and Scentech Medical, and is similar to the breathalyzer machine that police use to find ethanol contained in the blood. Using a similar method to that of the breathalyzer, patients breath into the device, which should be able to distinguish between thousands of gas compounds in the breath, isolating that associated with the virus, allowing for a quick and simple diagnosis.
"A quick and simple diagnostic test can be done anywhere, from airports, hotels, tourist sites, and soccer stadiums," said Shulam Lapidot, chairman of Next-Gen. "Our success will help the community and the economy get back to full activity and to their normal routines as quickly as possible."
Next-Gen using the technology of Scentech Medical, which deals with the identification of volatile compounds, teamed up with Meir Medical Center in order to conduct the experiment, testing the new coronavirus-detecting breathing device. The trial will be conducted on coronavirus patients who have varying severity levels of the disease.
The companies explain that this type of examination has several benefits, including facing several difficulties that current medical teams face in diagnosing the virus. One of such examples being the possibility to quickly identify and diagnose asymptomatic patients, along with patients in the early stages disease, so as to enable more efficient quarantine methods.
Furthermore, the new breathing device can significantly reduce the amount of time to achieve results, being able to give a diagnosis in minutes in comparison to the current method which takes up to two days, allowing for an increase in the reliability of results.
Amb. Alan Baker: ICRC Displays Bias on the Covid-19 Crisis in the Middle East
In an April 16, 2020, news release entitled “COVID-19: Middle East faces health crisis, socio-economic earthquake,” the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Near and Middle East Director Fabrizio Carboni expressed concern at the fact that:Behind PM-cited study showing Israel is safest place, a rabbit hole of weirdness
The Middle East is today facing the twin threats of potential mass virus outbreaks in conflict zones and looming socio-economic upheaval. Both crises could have severe humanitarian consequences.
This report, which purports to refer to the general regional situation in the Middle East, is surprisingly, and perhaps even shockingly, inaccurate, slanted, misleading, and lacking in its coverage of the situation in the area. It totally ignores Israel as one of the central and most medically and technologically advanced states in the region.
Carboni’s report deliberately fails to accurately represent the ongoing contribution of Israel in combatting the Covid-19 virus both in the Middle East area and internationally.
In light of its central and vital global humanitarian role, one might expect that the International Red Cross movement, and the ICRC in particular, in pursuit of their constitutional principles of “impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality,” would have made reference, in any official statement devoted to the situation in the Middle East, to the vast and vital contribution made by Israel in combating the Covid-19 virus and in assisting its neighbors, especially the Palestinians.
Since the end of March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trumpeting a study by the little-known “Deep Knowledge Group” that claims Israel is the safest country in the world in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Amid repeated efforts by journalists, scientists, politicians and concerned social media users to question and even debunk the study, Netanyahu has continued to cite it on prime-time television as well as on his official website and social media feed.
Not only does the study fail to reveal the data or methodology it used, but the people behind it also have strikingly unusual career histories. The Times of Israel has dug further into the founders of the “Deep Knowledge Group” and discovered a San Francisco-based medical expert with an extraordinary resumé who reportedly has run a firm offering private intelligence services to foreign governments; a failed Russian banker who advises the Moldovan president on the economy; and a bizarre Russian movement to prolong the human lifespan.
On March 31, Netanyahu posted a self-congratulatory statistic on his Facebook page, Twitter account and the official website of the Prime Minister’s Office. It featured a bar chart entitled “Coronavirus Health Safety Countries Ranking,” and showed Israel leading the world in countries where an individual could feel most safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Critics quickly panned [Hebrew link] the study, correctly pointing out that while Israel is by no means the worst affected country in the world, there are many countries with a lower death rate per capita, a higher testing rate and better preparedness than Israel.
The study itself did not explain its methodology or what data it relied on. It had come from the website of a firm called “Deep Knowledge Group that few people had ever heard of.
Netanyahu then cited the “safest” country ranking during at least two of his frequent appearances on national television when discussing the fight against COVID-19.
Health Ministry: No competitive, contact sports for six months
There will likely be no competitive sports in Israel for at least the next six months, according to Health Ministry deputy director-general Itamar Grotto, who spoke Sunday at a Knesset Coronavirus Committee meeting.Tel Aviv hospital spares rare protective gear to allow visits to dying relatives
“For at least the next six months, it will not be possible to do competitive sports, especially contact sports,” Grotto said.
The committee is working on developing a strategic plan to restore personal and competitive sports in the State of Israel.
"In every other country, citizens can already go out into the open air, and in our country we feel like criminals. The government makes a whole community feel that it is committing an offense,” said Bracha “Beatie” Deutsch, the ultra-Orthodox marathoner and mother of five who was set to represent Israel in the next Olympics. She spoke as a representative of the country’s competitive athletes.
"No help or financial support is given to professional athletes,” Deutsch stressed. “Top-tier athletes, small gyms – dozens of private gyms – have applied for state guarantees. I don't know anyone who got one.”
Health centers are losing 10% to 15% of their members, according to Yaron Sela, who represented small workout centers at the meeting. He said there is a real concern that these gyms might not be able to recoup the loss.
At the same time, Gili Lustig, secretary general of the Olympic Committee of Israel, said that the postponement of the Olympics and other international competitions, combined with coronavirus restrictions, has “resulted in complete paralysis of Israeli sports. We are in complete uncertainty as to what can be done later.”
Deutsch explained that running “is a basic and essential need for everyone” and that limiting the sport to 500 meters was “very challenging.”
Elisheva Stern wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her ailing father, who was succumbing to the coronavirus in an Israeli hospital.Life returns cautiously to Israel's streets; self-employed protest
But knowing countless others around the world are not given the chance to say their last farewells to sick relatives, she decided to enter the virus ward and be by her father’s bedside, even if only for a brief moment, before he died.
Stern’s father, Simha Benshai, 75, died at Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center, which offers the next of kin of dying coronavirus patients the rare opportunity to say goodbye in person.
“None of us want to say bye to the people who we love. But I’m actually happy that they gave me the opportunity to say bye to my father,” said Stern. “I was able to see him and to tell him I’m sorry and I love him.”
The practice is in contrast to many hospitals around the world that don’t allow final family visits as a precaution against spreading the highly contagious virus. That leaves patients to die alone and forces families to grieve from afar.
Recognizing this peculiar tragedy wrought by the virus, Sourasky Medical Center officials opted to spare much-needed protective gear, take careful measures to ward off infection and offer grieving families a chance to say goodbye.
“The stories of patients dying alone are horrifying,” said Ronni Gamzu, the hospital’s chief executive. “This is our moral duty as medical staff and as human beings. No one shall be allowed to die alone.”
Some semblance of normalcy returned to Israel's high streets on Sunday, hours after reduced coronavirus restrictions approved by the government gave some air to the nation's choking retail sector.Scale of New York's coronavirus devastation 'difficult' for outsiders to understand
Opticians, electrical supply stores, laundries and shoe repair specialists were among the first permitted to open their doors after weeks of gathering dust. Footfall is likely to remain light for some time, and malls remain shuttered for the time being.
For Moti Vertenshtein, the owner of family-run home decor store Shidot v'Od in Kfar Saba, immediately opening the doors to customers was not a straightforward decision.
"There were some doubts about opening today, there aren't people in the streets," he said, adding that many potential consumers are reluctant to spend money at this time.
"We haven't been working for more than a month-and-a-half, we have loads of stock and the banks are putting pressure on us. We are lifting our heads up and we hope that it will be okay."
Echoing the complaints of many self-employed workers and small business owners, Vertenshtein said he hasn't received any government assistance. Employee-owned businesses, such as his, have struggled to receive aid.
Data presented to the Knesset showed that only 3,000 of 41,000 requests for loans made by small and medium-sized businesses have been considered to date. About 1,900 requests have been approved in total.
Hundreds of self-employed workers took to the streets again on Sunday, including angry protests outside the Knesset and President's Residence in Jerusalem, in Haifa and in Tel Aviv against insufficient financial aid offered by the government. Earlier this month, the government said self-employed workers would now be eligible for a grant up to an increased maximum of NIS 10,500.
The scale of the COVID-19 pandemic is "very difficult for people to understand if they’ve not seen it,” especially in densely populated places like New York, according to physician Dr Qanta Ahmed.
The deathtoll from the novel coronavirus has risen above 13,000 in New York, even though the fatality rates have begun to plateau according to the state's governor Andrew Cuomo.
Ms Ahmed told Sky News host Rowan Dean “we are seeing that this disease ravages people who are normally of very good constitutional health” and did not have pre-existing heart conditions or diabetes which makes people more vulnerable to the virus.
The former sleep disorder specialist said her hospital on Long Island was four times its normal capacity with infected patients and there are “more critically ill people on respirators than the entire state of Israel, so the scale is incomprehensible even to those of us who are normally there”.
Obesity and the population density have also been proven as major contributors in the spread of the virus.
With 42 per cent of the population classified as obese, “I am very fearful for the progress of the coronavirus pandemic here in the US,” she said.
Israeli officials fear virus spread in E. Jerusalem areas past security barrier
Israeli officials are concerned at the prospect of COVID-19 spreading in the handful of Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that are formally considered part of municipal Jerusalem but are located on the far side of the West Bank security barrier.Amb. Alan Baker: In the Covid-19 Pandemic, What Are the Reciprocal Israeli and Palestinian Obligations?
Areas such as Kafr Aqab, home to some 60-70,000, and Shuafat Refugee Camp, home to some 80,000, constitute a serious challenge, officials said, acknowledging that because of their complex location, they have not been receiving sufficient services in the battle against the pandemic.
Kafr Aqab is Jerusalem’s most northern neighborhood, located some 10 kilometers from the city center, and long has suffered from poor planning, inadequate public infrastructure and rampant lawlessness. The Shuafat camp is the only refugee camp inside Jerusalem, and the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) is formally responsible for health care there. Adjacent neighborhoods such as Ras Khamis, also on the far side of the barrier, are formally under the municipality’s auspices.
The officials said they were particularly concerned that the month-long Ramadan, with its day-long fasts and evening meals, could exacerbate the spread of the virus in such neighborhoods.
The concern over a spread of infection during Ramadan applies to all of East Jerusalem, and the entire Arab Israeli populace, the officials said, but the Jerusalem neighborhoods in the twilight zone beyond the barrier are most at risk.
Whatever the perception may be as to the legal or political status of the territories, of Israel, and of the two Palestinian administrations, it is clear that Covid-19 does not acknowledge such perceptions and has the potential to harm all people in the area. Israel and the Palestinians are thus obligated to act together to deal with epidemics and contagious diseases such as Covid-19 in order to protect their own populations and to protect the area as a whole.IDF, Arab Israelis join forces against COVID-19 ahead of Ramadan
This obligation is not just reciprocal between them but applies internationally vis-a-vis the whole area of the Middle East and further afield.
Despite this, hostile statements and false accusations against Israel, voiced repeatedly by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, as well as the daily social media and international political incitement and misrepresentation by Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, continue despite the need for cooperation and coordination.
In light of the seriousness of the Covid-19 crisis and the absolute need for a bilateral ambiance of mutual trust, this hostility and incitement are misplaced and ill-advised and serve to undermine regional efforts to combat the crisis.
For almost a week, the prime minister’s office has been planning for a return to normalcy in Israel, and the plan is expected to be formalized at a cabinet meeting on April 18. At that time, the government is expected to make an official decision to reactivate the Israeli economy gradually, in stages. However, the plans could change as two upcoming events play out. This first is Israeli Independence Day on April 28. Traditionally, Israelis celebrate the date with gala events in the cities and picnics in the countryside. This year, the same closure and curfew policies in place over Passover will be enforced.Palestinians and Israelis show peace is attainable with coordinated COVID-19 response
The second major event is the Muslim month of Ramadan, which begins April 23. The holiest month in the Islamic calendar is celebrated with special prayers in mosques and the evening iftar meal to break each day of fasting. Unlike the Jewish holiday, which lasts just one day, Ramadan is a month-long event, and therefore poses more complicated challenges.
Over the last few days, there has been a worrying rise in the number of cases among the Arab sector, particularly in two hotspots: the towns of Deir al-Asad in the Galilee and Umm al-Fahm in the Triangle region. An investigation by the Ministry of Health had found that the outbreak in Deir al-Asad seems to be related to a kosher food supervisor who visited a large poultry processing plant in the town. One solution now under investigation is imposing a curfew on the village and isolating any infected cases in a hotel up north. In Umm al-Fahm, the municipality stated that it did everything it could to prevent the spread of the virus, but “the results aren’t encouraging.” As of April 16, the number of confirmed cases in the village is 55.
Knesset member Yousef Jabareen, who lives in Umm al-Fahm, has long been warning about a dearth of testing among the Arab population. In a conversation with Al-Monitor, he noted that while testing facilities serving the Jewish population have already received 210,000 tests, those serving the Arab sector, which makes up 21% of the population, received about 20,000. He worries that this discrepancy will have serious consequences. As a result, he contends that great care should be taken in preparing for Ramadan by civilians and the authorities alike.
The Ministry of Health and the Homefront Command describe Ramadan internally as “Passover x30” and have given it the codename “Nights of Ramadan.” Their exotically named operation will involve more than just strict enforcement measures, with tight cooperation between the IDF, the Arab local authorities and Knesset members from the Joint List.
A possible complete military and police closure on Arab towns and villages along with several other strict measures make this operation quite different from what took place among the Jewish population during the week-long festival of Passover. If necessary, it will be much more difficult to enforce for as long as 30 days. (h/t Zvi)
Palestinian and Israeli authorities are being praised by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), for maintaining “a close, unprecedented cooperation on efforts aimed at containing” the novel coronavirus. The collaboration has included regular meetings, Israeli training of Palestinian medical teams, and donation of testing kits and Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) to the West Bank and Gaza.Germany’s largest paper to China's president: You're endangering the world
Like all other world governments facing the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel must have realized this threat cannot be held back by walls or checkpoints, but by making sure that Palestinians stay virus-free.
The Palestinians, for their part, seem to have understood that their health depends on cooperating with the Israeli government. But old habits die hard.
Perhaps Palestinian militant group Hamas felt ashamed of coordinating with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and of accepting Israeli testing kits and other aid. To save face, Hamas arrested Palestinian peace activists in Gaza for organizing an online conference call with Israeli proponents of peace. Hamas accused the Gazan activists of “normalization with Israel” and “treason.”
Not to be outdone by Hamas, PA media started airing reports that 73 percent of infected cases in the West Bank had come either from Israeli troops in the Palestinian Territories or from Palestinians working in Israel. One in five West Bankers work in Israel or Israeli settlements.
Israeli authorities reportedly “fumed” over the Palestinian media reports and sent the PA a stern message to cut out “the incitement.”
Politicking aside, with Israel’s support, the Palestinian response to the global coronavirus pandemic seems to be ahead of the curve, especially when compared to other Levantine countries. (h/t Zvi)
The editor-in-chief of Germany’s largest paper Bild on Thursday launched a full frontal attack on China’s communist president Xi Jinping for his regime’s failure to come clean about the coronavirus outbreak and the massive human rights violations carried out by the Communist Party.The EU continues to support organizations with strong ties to terror
Julian Reichelt, the prominent editor-in-chief of the Bild, wrote to Jinping that “Your embassy in Berlin has addressed me in an open letter because we asked in our newspaper Bild whether China should pay for the massive economic damage the coronavirus is inflicting worldwide.”
He wrote that, "You [Jinping], your government and your scientists had to know long ago that coronavirus is highly infectious, but you left the world in the dark about it. Your top experts didn't respond when Western researchers asked to know what was going on in Wuhan. You were too proud and too nationalistic to tell the truth, which you felt was a national disgrace.”
Reichelt said that, “You rule by surveillance. You wouldn't be president without surveillance. You monitor everything, every citizen, but you refuse to monitor the diseased wet markets in your country. You shut down every newspaper and website that is critical of your rule, but not the stalls where bat soup is sold. You are not only monitoring your people, you are endangering them – and with them, the rest of the world.”
He continued with his bill of particulars, noting that “surveillance is a denial of freedom. And a nation that is not free, is not creative. A nation that is not innovative, does not invent anything. This is why you have made your country the world champion in intellectual property theft.
Although the corona pandemic has led to a rethinking of some of its basic policies, such as open borders, the European Union has admirable goals and values and has tried to promote peace and stability in both Europe and the world since its founding.European Union said to warn Gantz not to agree to West Bank annexation
However, many are starting to question whether the EU is fully aware of the strong terrorist ties maintained by some of the organizations which they fund (clearly a rhetorical question), and if so, why they are knowingly providing support to these dangerous entities.
One of the organizations supported by the European Union is War on Want. This entity, which describes itself as an anti-poverty charity based in London, is in fact part of a web of organizations that maintain steep anti-
NGO Monitor, a research institute that conducts independent analysis on NGOs, described War on Want as the “leader and mobilizer of anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions,) movement.”
BDS has long been known for its radical anti-Israel views. A report aptly names “Terrorists in Suits” found over 100 links between Hamas and BDS. The leading BDS committee includes a coalition of 28 Palestinian entities such as Hamas, The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Islamic Jihad.
BDS is not the only dangerous organization connected to War on Want. They are also tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization labeled as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
In addition, one of War on Want’s main funders is Interpal, a group that is not only designated a terrorist organisation by countries such as the United states, Canada and Australia , but was described by the US Department of the Treasury as “a principal charity utilized to hide the flow of money to HAMAS.”
So close is War on Want to these leading anti-Israel terrorist groups that, in October 2018, PayPal stopped providing services to War on Want in an effort to halt their cash-flow to these dangerous groups.
The European Union has been warning Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz not to agree to annexation of parts of the West Bank in coalition negotiations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, a report said Saturday night.Israeli indicted for spying for Iran named as Ayman Haj Yahya
Annexation of the Jordan Valley and of Jewish settlements in the West Bank was a core election promise by Netanyahu, and Gantz has given mixed messages on such a move, which is generally opposed internationally but could be approved by Washington as part of US President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
Gantz expressed support for annexing the Jordan Valley, but conditioned the measure on it being coordinated with the international community — a prospect that appears far-fetched as the US is the only country that has not rejected annexation out of hand.
Gantz is believed to have withdrawn his previous demand for a right of veto on annexing West Bank settlements under the US peace plan, essentially clearing the way for it to take place if it is approved by Washington.
EU officials spoke over the past few weeks with Gantz’s foreign affairs adviser, Melody Sucharewicz, and told her that the union strongly opposes any unilateral move to extend Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, Channel 13 reported Saturday, citing unnamed European diplomats.
The officials were said to caution that any such move by a potential unity government would damage Israel’s relations with the EU and elicit a strong response.
The diplomats were cited as saying Sucharewicz had responded that Gantz had been forced to compromise on his views on annexation, since he had chosen to insist on other things in the coalition negotiations.
Ayman Haj Yahya was named on Sunday as the Israeli citizen indicted for spying for Iran earlier in April.Coronavirus: Hamas chastised after Palestinians flock to new shopping mall
The Lod District Court removed the gag order on Yahya's name, while maintaining the order on others aspects of evidence related to the case.
On April 7, the Shin Bet announced it had arrested an unnamed citizen - now known to be Yahya - on suspicion of having links with Iranian intelligence agencies and providing intelligence on strategic sites in Israel.
The man was arrested on March 16 in a joint Shin Bet and Israel Police operation. At the time of his arrest, authorities seized encryption devices, as well as a disk drive that he tried to destroy during his arrest.
He had been in contact with Iranian intelligence officials, according to the investigation, as well as an operative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Lebanon, Khaled Yamani.
Hamas is facing widespread criticism after hundreds of Palestinians converged on a new shopping mall that opened in the Gaza Strip last week, defying a ban on gatherings to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new Hype Mall in the Nuseirat refugee camp, owned by al-Danaf Group, is one of the biggest projects in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
The mall management announced on April 15 that it would not hold an inauguration ceremony due to the coronavirus crisis and out of respect for the families of the 25 Palestinians who were killed in a gas explosion at the Nuseirat camp last month.
As soon as the mall was opened, however, hundreds of Palestinians thronged its new stores, ignoring safety instructions regarding the coronavirus.
Seth Frantzman: Iran shows off drones that can reach Israel, threat increases
Iran’s Defense Ministry unveiled a mass of new drones over the weekend for the Islamic Republic’s army and air force. According to Tehran the drones have new capabilities, and can fly more than 1,000 km., which means they could reach Israel from Iran.PreOccupiedTerritory: Iran Says US Ships Harassed By Its Vessels Dressed Provocatively (satire)
Iran has been producing drones since the 1980s and is an innovator in drone warfare. It used 25 drones and cruise missiles to attack Saudi Arabia last September, and has flown drones into Israeli airspace.
Iran’s Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Amir Hatami showed off the drones on Saturday. He said that one jet-powered UAV could fly at speeds of 900 km. per hour at an altitude of 12,000 meters. This would rival the best drones that the US and other countries are now using. These drones have a range of up to 1,500 km., he said, and can fly for several hours. It is a message to Israel, the US and their allies: We can reach you.
Iran says it has provided a “mass delivery” of the Ababil-3 and Karar drones to the air force. The country has a new drone unit that it established in recent years and its IRGC has been using drones to target various enemies, including ISIS. The Ababil-3, Hatami says, can fly 150 km., and the Karar is armed with various weapons that now give the drones “pinpoint” attack abilities. The implication is that these drones have guided bombs and can operate like cruise missiles.
The Ababil-3 is a redesign of earlier Iranian drones, with twin tails. It is likely based on a South African design which itself may have been borrowed from old Israeli designs, such as the Israeli Hunter or Mastiff. The Ababil-3 is supposed to be a medium-range reconnaissance drone, but Iran says it has “combat” potential and can carry other payloads as well. It has an electro-optical add-on that enables it to collect footage. Iran used this capability in September 2018 to target Kurdish dissidents in Iraq, filming its missile attacks with a drone.
Meanwhile, the Karar is designed to be a “strategic” drone that Iran says can be used as a kamikaze drone – basically like a cruise missile. Iran has successfully deployed these kinds of technologies to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have used them against Saudi Arabia in dozens of attacks.
Officials of the Islamic Republic today dismissed allegations that its small craft had come dangerously close Wednesday to American warships patrolling the Straits of Hormuz, with the assertion that those US vessels were basically asking for it by the way they dressed.Newly Elected VP of Rutgers-Newark Student Government Foments Antisemitism Online
Deputy Minister of Defense Wazasqin Foriht told the few foreign media personalities still allowed in Iran that the American ships were moving in broad daylight with only a small garment that revealed everything above the waterline and left nothing to the imagination, a clear indication that they welcomed the treatment.
“When a vessel travels around attired like that she should expect staring, comments, gestures, and other behaviors that proceed logically from that manner of attire,” he asserted. “No self-respecting ship with any sense of modesty, dignity, or healthy mores, and with even a modicum of intelligence guiding her, will fail to appreciate that sashaying into the Persian Gulf in that fashion will inevitably result in those behaviors from other vessels.”
The incident in question involved small Iranian naval craft that made multiple approaches to US vessels on escort and patrol duty in the Persian Gulf – also known as the Arabian Gulf – to protect crude oil shipping and other American interests in the region, where tensions with Iran have remained high for decades. The craft came as close as ten meters to the American ships, increasing the risk of collision and casualties.
A Palestinian student who was elected this month as vice president of the student government at the Newark campus of Rutgers University has a history of posting anti-Israel and antisemitic content on social media.New York Times Seder-Shames Ivanka Trump
Carolyn Assaf, a pre-med student, once posted a since-deleted 15-second cartoon video on Instagram of what appears to be an Israeli soldier with a long nose, exemplifying a Jewish stereotype, preventing what appears to be a Palestinian Muslim woman from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City. In the full video, the woman curses the soldier as “son of a Jewess.”
Carolyn Assaf (@Drcarolynassaf) is running for VP of SGA at Rutgers University-Newark. She posted an antisemitic video of a Jewish man with an extra large nose. This is an age old antisemitic stereotype. @RUNSGA @RUN_SGA @RutgersSA @RUDeanlyMoment @RutgersConduct @Rutgers_Newark pic.twitter.com/PJPLN5BtMs— BDS Report (@BDSreport) April 6, 2020
Assaf retweeted a March 2015 post that read, “I stand for Gaza, I stand for Palestine. I stand against oppression. End the media blackout.”
Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a US-designated terrorist group, and has had ongoing issues with the Palestinian Authority, which runs Palestinian areas in the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem.
The following May, she tweeted, “Our stones and rocks are more powerful and stronger than their weapons!”
The New York Times wants everyone to know that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner had a Passover seder in New Jersey, not Washington, DC — and that the Times disapproves of the decision.As coronavirus antisemitism spikes, Israel launches counter-campaign
A Times news article published online and later in print plays gotcha with the presidential daughter’s Passover plan. Online, the article is headlined, “Ivanka Trump, Disregarding Federal Guidelines, Travels to N.J. for Passover.” The subheadline is, “Ms. Trump herself has not followed the federal guidelines advising against discretionary travel, leaving Washington for another one of her family’s homes.”
The Times even uses anonymous sources to prop up its seder scoop, reporting in a kind of breathless, Bob Woodward style: “Ms. Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a senior White House adviser, traveled with their three children to the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey to celebrate the first night of Passover this month, according to two people with knowledge of their travel plans, even as seders across the country were canceled and families gathered remotely over apps like Zoom.”
Well, in our experience, at least, not many seders were “canceled.” On a net basis, there were probably more seders, if smaller ones, than there ever have been, as people who usually are guests at large seders wound up leading their own. The Times doesn’t say whether the Trump family seder involved Zoom, or what relatives, if any, were in attendance beyond the five-person Kushner-Trump family. The federal guidelines about the novel coronavirus are just that — guidelines. There’s no statutory definition of what travel is “discretionary” and what is not. If the Times thinks that Trump’s action poses any Covid-19-related public health risk, it doesn’t explain how it does. If anything, it’s the Times creating the public health risk by publicizing the travel, turning a private move by two White House aides into an international news story.
The Strategic Affairs Ministry has in recent days been pushing an initiative to draft youth in Israel and around the world into a campaign against the surge in antisemitism witnessed online due to the coronavirus pandemic.In Ohio, signs showing blue demonic Jews as guilty of coronavirus appear
The ministry, as well as other organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Community Security Trust in the UK, and CRIF in France, have all issued reports in recent weeks highlighting claims from far-left and far-right extremists that Jews or Israel are somehow responsible for or benefiting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Antisemitic content has been spread on numerous social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as platforms used by extremists such as 4chan and Gab.
The ministry’s campaign involves highlighting antisemitic content on its own Facebook and Instagram accounts and urging its followers and views to report such abuse.
The campaign also spotlights positive news about contributions made by Israeli organizations, researchers, and individuals towards combating the coronavirus, as well as incidents of coexistence in Israel regarding the disease.
According to Ido Daniel, director of digital strategy at the ministry, some 750,000 people have seen the campaign posts on various social media platforms which have received 85,000 interactions such as shares, comments, and similar.
The campaign has highlighted a Jordanian imam who said Jews were “more dangerous than coronavirus,” and a false claim posted by a pro-Palestinian Spanish Facebook group that Israeli doctors were infecting Palestinian prisoners.
On a more positive angle, the ministry has brought attention to aid efforts by Israeli organizations to help African nations prepare for the pandemic, as well as a decision by the Israeli division of the Medtronic medical device company to freely publish the blueprints for its ventilators, much needed around the world to assist those with serious breathing difficulties caused by the coronavirus.
A sign depicting Jews as demonic blue beings with a caption blaming them for the coronavirus pandemic was documented and shared on social media by Ohio-based reporter Laura Hancock on Saturday.
In her tweet, it appears that the state police ignored the sign.
Protesters in Columbus Ohio marched outside the statehouse to voice their objection to the decision of state governor Mike DeWine to close schools on Saturday and enforce non-essential services to close down in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The state reported 9,000 coronavirus patients according to NPR and DeWine expressed hope the state could begin lifting these restrictions in early May.
Seen the viral photo that purportedly shows a Trump supporter displaying a swastika at the Lansing, Mich. protest against Gov. Whitmer's stay-at-home orders?— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) April 19, 2020
It's a hoax. https://t.co/FsYqELMCCL pic.twitter.com/HEjvWSEXEr
Online Database With 26 Million Documents on Nazi Victims, Survivors Now Online
The world’s most comprehensive archive on the victims and survivors of Nazi persecution reached a “milestone” on Tuesday by publishing 26 million documents to its online database, including new information on forced laborers and deported Jews.Germany Commemorates Liberation of Bergen-Belsen With a Minute of Silence
The Arolsen Archives–International Centre on Nazi Persecution, formerly known as the International Tracing Service, has a collection of information on about 17.5 million people and belongs to UNESCO’s Memory of the World initiative. It was established by the Western Allies in 1944 and changed its names to Arolsen Archives in 2019.
All 26 million of the Arolsen Archives’ documents, are now available online, a collection that includes information on 21 million people who were displaced, persecuted and murdered by the Nazis.
The new uploads included data on the deportations of Jews, Roma and Sinti from the former German Empire, Austria, Bohemia and Moravia, reported The Jewish Chronicle.
The Arolsen Archives, based in the German town of Bad Arolsen, said the recent addition to its online database was completed with its partner, Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem.
Germany held a minute of silence on Wednesday to mark 75 years since the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp on April 15, 1945.Amid pandemic, Holocaust survivors to tell their story via Zoom
Events commemorating the liberation that were originally planned for Sunday are being postponed to April 2021. The memorial site to the camp is closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. Some of the originally planned speeches will instead be delivered online.
More than 50,000 people died at the Bergen-Belsen camp, including the well-known teenager diarist Anne Frank. The camp is located in what is today known as Lower Saxony in northern Germany.
Lower Saxony state premier Stephan Weil called on Germans to observe the silence and urged them to put aside “all of our current worries.” He said, “For us in Lower Saxony, Bergen-Belsen is the place that shows us the cruelty and mercilessness of the darkest part of our history.”
Jens-Christian Wagner, head of Lower Saxony’s memorial foundation, said the cancellation of the commemoration events is a “very, very big disappointment” for survivors of the camp, who planned to travel to Germany from around the world for the ceremony, The Times of Israel reported.
The Buchenwald former concentration camp, also in Germany in the state of Thuringia, marked the 75th anniversary of its liberation on Saturday by having employees of the camp’s museum lay wreaths at the memorial.
As Israel prepares to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day this week, the popular initiative called "Memory in the Living Room" – in which Holocaust survivors share their story with young Israelis in a casual meetup in someone's home – will have to adjust because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers of the project have already set up a special site aimed at offering a variety of ways to "host" Holocaust survivors through the online app Zoom.
Rivka Kahane was six-weeks-old when her parents gave her away to a Christian woman to avoid death. Israel later recognized the Dutch woman with the honor "Righteous Among the Nations" for her heroic act of compassion, in which she protected Kahane for two years and hid her real identity despite starvation and horrific conditions for both.
Kahane will be one of the survivors taking part in the "Memory in the Living Room" project this year. She told Israel Hayom that "this [online format] may be a bit challenging, but my testimony is stronger than anything else. Saving one's soul is akin to saving the entire human race."
Kahane coauthored a graphic novel on her experience as part of an effort to relay her testimony in simpler terms to schools. She recently met with several students who have been reading her book as part of their curriculum, giving them a more comprehensive insight into what it was like during the Holocaust.