Israel Daily News Wrap
January 6, 2021
Sudan moves ahead in normalization with Israel, The Holy Land enters lockdown 3.5 & a demolition of the homes of Ester Horgen’s alleged murderer is on the way.
- The coronavirus vaccination campaign winding down, as Israeli health funds have stopped vaccinating and making new appointments. Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem says it will close its vaccination clinic without inoculating 40% of its own staff which is about 6,000 people. While officials, such as Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, have promised that there is enough for everyone who has been vaccinated to get a second dose, they don’t want to take a chance on giving out more first doses right now. Health funds were also very relaxed about vaccinating under-60 spouses who came along with their over-60 partners, but health funds like Maccabi are now putting an end to that policy. The Rabin Square vaccination center, which was receiving its vaccine supply from Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center, had given leftover vaccines to teachers, which Edelstein did not like very much. On Monday, he ordered the center to stop receiving any vaccines, viewing the hospital’s decision to give vaccines to an unapproved groups as a serious breach of the ministry’s guidelines. The Health Ministry says the vaccines are a national resource and should be treated as such. The Medical Center director-general says the hospital acted according to the Health Ministry’s guidelines, which called for teachers and police officers to get priority after the 60 plus population. The Tel Aviv Municipality considers vaccinating teaching staff to be a top priority for a return to normal and the mayor says the vaccination of teachers was a “judgment call” that “prevented thousands of vaccines from being thrown into the garbage.”
- Amnesty International is calling on Israel to provide coronavirus vaccine doses to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, saying the Jewish state is obligated to do so under international law. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is responsible for providing health services to the Palestinians under the Oslo Accords and has not publicly asked for Israeli assistance in getting vaccines. And Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is highly unlikely to publicly coordinate with Israel in any vaccination effort at all. But the UK-based human rights group continues to urge Israel to work with the territories and quote “stop ignoring its international obligation.” The Palestinian Authority says they will be vaccinated through the United Nations-backed COVAX program, and are expecting to receive the first doses next month. Officials in Ramallah intend to purchase millions of doses of the controversial Russian-produced Sputnik V vaccine, which is believed not to have undergone thorough safety tests. The Palestinian Authority says it is looking into getting the Pfizer vaccine but will have trouble storing the shots in the required sub-zero conditions.
- Thousands of Jewish Israelis are flocking to Arab towns, looking to get vaccinated fast. Clinics in these towns have been almost empty, as the Arab community has been skeptical of the vaccination efforts and far more cautious than Jewish Israelis about participating in the immunization drive. This has created a surplus of doses and appointment slots in Arab areas. Locals have not only welcomed the visitors, but they say the influx of outsiders looking to secure spare shots is helping to increase a positive response to the vaccination drive among the Arab community.
- A news update in the case of Ester Horgen, the 52-year-old mother of 6 who was found dead in a foresty area near her home after going out for a jog. Reports are out that the IDF is planning to demolish two homes that belong to the terror suspect who allegedly murdered her. He’s been identified as 40-year-old Muhammad Mruh Kabha, from a village near Jenin, which is a city in the west bank not to far from where Horgen lived in Tal Menashe. Authorities believe he murdered Horgen as revenge for a Palestinian prisoner friend who died of cancer in an Israeli jail. Kabha was allegedly hidden by his wives after the murder.
- Sudan has moved forward in their pledge to become a friend of Israel by signing onto a memorandum of the Abraham Accords. It’s not the official document, which is being prepared and supposed to be signed soon, but it paves the way for normalization between the two countries and helps Sudan get off the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, which has been keeping them from cashing in on funds from international agencies. Sudan’s Prime Minister’s office released a statement saying the document has been signed by the country’s justice minister Wednesday, with the US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Podcast song: “En tu Alma La Paz” by Yehuda Glantz. It means “the peace is in your soul”. Glantz is the ambassador of Hebrew Latino music in Israel. Have a great and a productive day.