Regional News • Middle East
Israel: Protests demanding resignation of the PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Protests against Netanyahu, July 2020
Protests against Netanyahu, July 2020 Credit: Nir Hirshman (ניר הירשמן) / Nir Hirshman Communication / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in central Jerusalem to demand his resignation. Protests have been happening throughout the summer. Netanyahu is currently on trial for corruption charges.

People were protesting even though Israel has been under a strict nationwide lockdown since Friday.

Regional News • Americas • United States
DOJ orders an Al Jazeera platform to register in the US as foreign agent
AJ+ Logo
AJ+ Logo Credit: AJ+

The Justice Department ordered AJ+, an Al Jazeera online news platform based in the US, to register as a foreign agent Monday. The DOJ declared the outlet is "an agent of the Government of Qatar" and "engages in “political activities.”

Al Jazeera suggested the move was related to the agreement signed by the United Arab Emirates with Israel, a deal brokered by the Trump administration. The Emirates ambassador to the United States said that was not true.

Regional News • Middle East
Israel three-week lockdown to start on September 18
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu Credit: Hudson Institute (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Israeli government agreed to impose a three-week nationwide lockdown that would go into effect on Friday at 11:00 UTC, on the eve of Rosh Hashana holiday. The country will be the first to reimpose restrictions on a national scale.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in a press briefing that warnings by health officials led to the government's decision, which would restrict Israelis to a 500-meter radius of their residence.

With the country already hit by a deep, pandemic-induced recession, the decision to reinstate lockdown has divided the government and the nation.

Regional News • Middle East
Israel goes back into complete lockdown
Israel goes back into complete lockdown
Credit: / Daniel Lerman

With 4.038 newly reported Covid-19 cases on Thursday, Israel has reached the highest one-day value of new cases in the country since the beginning of the pandemic for the fourth consecutive day.

The Covid-19 cabinet has now decided in favor of a new two-week lockdown, pending the approval of the government. Israelis would then be only allowed to move up to 500 meters away from their home. Schools, restaurants and shops would be closed.

Regional News • Middle East
Israel: 12 arrests as thousands protest against Netanyahu

In Israel, thousands of demonstrators again demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening. According to the police, twelve demonstrators were arrested in Jerusalem. Some demonstrators had blocked an intersection and refused to clear it. This was the 11th week in a row that people took part in rallies against the head of government.

Report: Masks recommended for students in schools by Swedish researchers
Report: Masks recommended for students in schools by Swedish researchers
Credit: / Rusty Watson

Based on data from South Korea, the United States and Israel analyzing the infections and spread of the coronavirus through children, researchers now believe that children can contract Covid-19 and easily spread it.

A group of 26 researchers from Sweden wrote that "Because children are contagious, can become seriously ill, and it is unclear today how a mild infection affects their future health, we should already at the start of school take measures to keep the infection down".

They recommend sport only outdoors, eating meals seperated in classes, avoiding group tasks and that masks should be worn at all times.

Regional News • Middle East
Police and protesters clash during demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
Police and protesters clash during demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
Credit: גרשון דינרGershon Diner / CC0

On Saturday night and Sunday morning, thousands of protestors have demonstrated and called for the resignation of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister. He is facing allegations of corruption and criticism for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Demonstrators have protested outside of his residence and all of Israel for the eighth consecutive week.

According to the newspaper Haaretz, an estimated number of 50,000 people across all of Israel have demonstrated against Netanyahu on Saturday. There have been no reports of detained protestors.

Regional News • Middle East
Historic deal to normalize relations between Israel and United Arab Emirates
U.S. President Donald J. Trump announcing the deal
U.S. President Donald J. Trump announcing the deal Credit: Joyce N. Boghosian (White House) (Public Domain)

In a surprise announcement, Israel has agreed to suspend its plans to annex parts of the West Bank and has reached a deal with the United Arab Emirates.

Both countries have agreed to take up normalized diplomatic relations and to cooperate in topics of energy, water, environmental protection, water, the development of a Covid-19 and other topics. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has reportedly helped to broker the deal and announced it.

Regional News • Middle East
Israel's ban of gay conversion therapy passes first stage in parliament
Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz Credit: ראובן קפוצ'ינסקי (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

In a vote where the opposition parties were joined by two parties from the governing coalition, the members of the Israeli parliament has passed a bill in the first of three readings that bans the practice of conversion therapy for homosexual people.

The alternate prime minister of Israel Benny Gantz has stated that "Conversion therapy was born in sin and its place is outside of the law and the public norm".

Regional News • Middle East
Israel: Health Minister considers nationwide lockdown if daily coronavirus cases suprass 2000
Portrait of Yuli Edelstein
Portrait of Yuli Edelstein Credit: ראובן קופיצ'ינסקי / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said he's considering a nationwide lockdown in case the country surpasses 2000 daily Coronavirus cases. Israel reported 1600 cases between Wednesday and Thursday evening.

Edelstein reportedly told associates: "If we reach 2,000 patients a day, this will be a flashing red light. We’re trying not to get there, but this will likely lead us to a general lockdown."

Regional News • Middle East
Israel: Parts of 5 cities go into lockdown
Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel
Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel Credit: Crombach

Parts of five Israeli cities that are particularly affected by coronavirus outbreak went into lockdown on 1pm Friday. Among them are neighbourhoods that became "restricted zones" in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Lod, Ramle and Kiryat Malachi. Lockdown will be lifted on Jul 17th, 8am.

Regional News • Middle East
Israeli police shot an autistic Palestinian man

Eyad Hallaq was 32 years old and was autistic. As he and his caregiver ran in a police patrol, he did not undertand the policeman orders and started to panic. His caregiver insisted to the police officers that he was disabled, but they shot him anyway.

Regional News • Middle East
Protests erupt in Jerusalem after killing of unarmed, autistic Palestinian by police

Palestinians have started protesting against police violence in Israel following the death of an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man. The man was shot by the police inside the Est Jerusalem's Old City on his way to special needs school. The police stated that they stopped Eyad al-Halaq, 32, for a search and found a "suspicious object that looked like a pistol". The man was, according to statements made by his family, rushing away as he was "spooked by the police" and has "the mental age of a six-year-old child". The police chased the man and started shooting several rounds, killing him in the process. The police than released a statement that they "suspect" got "neutralized" by them and found no weapons in his posession.

Regional News • Middle East
Corruption trial against Israeli prime minister Netanyahu to begin

Three years after the police have searched Netanyahu's residence for the first time, his trial is scheduled to begin on Sunday. The prime minister of Israel who's been sworn in for his fifth time in the last week is accused on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery. The trial had been postponed from March because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and marks the first time that a sitting prime minister will be tried in court. Netanyahu has repeatedly denied all allegations against him.

Regional News • Middle East
Netanyahu, Gantz to end a 500-days political crisis with a unity government

In Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, today Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz were sworn in as prime minister and alternate prime minister respectively.

The three-year coalition government was formally approved by a 73 to 46 vote and puts to end more than 500 days of a political crisis in the country.

Benjamin Netanyahu belongs to the right-wing Likud party, while Benny Gantz leads the centrist Blue and White alliance.

Regional News • Middle East
Israeli Supreme Court rules Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may form government

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may form a new government while under indictment for corruption charges.

The unanimous decision, clears the way for Netanyahu and his rival, Benny Gantz, to proceed with the formation of their emergency government.

Regional News • Middle East
Israel extends cell phone surveillance by three weeks

In order to keep tracking carriers of the coronavirus, the subcommittee for the intelligence service of the Knesset has approved an extension of the smartphone surveillance program for another three weeks. The government originally advocated for an extension until June 16, but the committee only permitted one until May 26. The chair of the subcommittee, Gabi Ashkenazi, said that he sees it "as the right balance between not using this tool for the entire period and ensuring there is a legislative process".

Technology • Internet & Web
Intel to buy transit startup Moovit for $1B
Moovit application screenshot
Moovit application screenshot Credit: Moovit Media Assets

Techcrunch sources claim Intel is close to acquiring transit app developer Moovit in a deal estimated at around $1 billion.

Moovit — which had previously been backed by Intel Capital in a strategic investment — will become part of Intel’s Israeli automotive hub and help with Intel's overall self-driving strategy.