Israel Daily News Podcast
Mon. January 18, 2021
#125 Will Israel’s main airport close? Who can get a green passport and jump back into real life? And have you ever gotten a nasty rotten package in the mail?
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Music from today’s podcast— Canto De Ossanha, Sarava — (Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes cover) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b3YJaS7ajE
- Israel’s military struck back today, Monday January 18, 2021 after two rockets were fired toward the southern city of Ashdod in the early morning. The rockets fell into the sea. The IDF retaliated by attacking tunnel-making facilities in Gaza. That’s all according to IDF reports.
- Ministers are considering putting a ban on all non-urgent travel out of Israel. There is also talk of shutting Ben Gurion Airport down completely, as health officials believe flying is a major contributor to rising Covid rates in the country, but there could be legal obstacles to that plan. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein says ministers will meet tomorrow to decide whether to advance the proposal, with the exception of diplomats or air travel for humanitarian reasons. In addition to the travel ban idea, there may be a requirement for returning travelers to stay in a state-run hotel. There will be increased enforcement of those allowed to isolate at home and entry into Israel would be conditional on providing a negative coronavirus test. Tomorrow, or Tuesday, Ministers will also be discussing extending the national lockdown, which is currently underway. It was supposed to end Thursday. Health officials say there needs to be at least a week more of lockdown to bring infection rates under control. Meanwhile, a trial is going to take place this week for a “green passport” phone app that would exempt those who are fully vaccinated from going into quarantine, even after returning from abroad. It’s unclear when this exemption will be officially rolled out.
- Haaretz has an article today highlighting that 400-thousand people in Israel have apparently been mistakenly quarantined after receiving notice from the Shin Bet. That’s Israel’s security service. The group is tracking cell phone data to try and get people into quarantine when they believe someone has been in contact with someone who had Covid. Another stat: 600,000 who were ordered to a 2 week quarantine appealed the order saying it couldn’t be that they were exposed. 60% of those who appealed did it successfully.
- Dozens of Sudanese protesters burned the Israeli flag Sunday during a rally against the recent signing of a deal that would advance normalizing relations with Israel. Demonstrators gathered outside the cabinet offices in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, chanting anti-Israel slogans and carrying banners reading, “Normalization is betrayal” and “Normalization is a crime.” On January 6th, Sudan became the third Arab country to sign the “Abraham Accords”, arranged by the US, for normalizing ties with Israel. The accords have broken a longstanding Arab consensus that recognition of Israel should only be given in return for concessions in the peace process. The protesters, who said they belonged to an anti-normalization group, also carried banners reading “Down with Abraham accords” and “Abraham Accords are American blackmail in exchange for submission.” It is known that Sudan was removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism after they declared peace with Israel. Sudan housed a number of terrorists who carried out attacks on Americans at the turn of the century.
- Today, the United Arab Emirates informed the Foreign Ministry that it is pushing off the implementation of a visa waiver agreement with Israel until the first of July, due to the pandemic. Under the terms of the visa agreement, each side can suspend the arrangement for reasons of public health. The UAE ratified the agreement last week and it was set to go into effect in mid-February. The UAE launched tourist visas for Israeli citizens last month until it ratified the exemption agreement. Israeli travelers will continue to use the tourist visas in the meantime. Health officials have been complaining that the lax treatment of UAE arrivals was contributing to new infections, but politicians are afraid of angering Emirati officials by applying new restrictions so soon after the two countries normalized their ties. On Sunday, Israel’s cabinet decided that all arrivals from the UAE will be required to quarantine in government-run hotels. Tens of thousands of Israelis have visited the UAE since the historic normalization agreement that was signed in September. The UAE was then considered a “green zone,” allowing for quarantine-free travel between the countries, but that loophole was closed last month, with infection rates climbing in both countries.
- And finally for a little exclusive story. I have covered stories before that highlight the utter inefficiencies of the Israel post service before… and I’ll do it again. A young woman named Tamar Anya posted on a Women’s facebook group called Belle Aviv, which I am an active member in, about a package she received from her mother in Germany. Well the package was shipped on December 2nd of 2020 and just arrived to her yesterday, Sunday January 17th. Completely mangled. From the outside, the package looked dented and busted up, but when she opened it, it was even worse. Insects crawled out, everything was eroded and she says she had to dump every single item into the garbage. She threw out two pairs of shoes, a book, pastels. Anya used a service called DHL, which is a shipping company from Germany. Once it entered Israel, it was passed over to the Doe-ar — or the postal service and Anya suspects it was rotting away somewhere. She reached out to the postal service, but got an automated reply. No apology and the service told her she had 48 hours to file a claim with all the receipts involved. Anya got better responses from the facebook group, which erupted with messages from other women who have also had difficult times with the postal service, which isn’t cheap. One woman suggested bringing a class action law suit. Another woman created a new facebook group just for complaints about the post office and I… well I did what I know how to do best — decided to report this story, distribute it — and hope it gets the attention it deserves. One woman commented on the post that Israel is supposed to be the Start up Nation — but that this story doesn’t match that idea.