IRAN’S ROUHANI: OUR CENTRIFUGES ARE SPINNING FASTER: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted on Wednesday that Iran’s “economy and centrifuges are spinning faster.”
The statement comes amid growing tensions between the US and Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that Iran may have undisclosed nuclear material, and there are increasing demands for inspections and warnings about advanced centrifuges at Natanz and Fordow. Europe is pushing for an IAEA resolution on Iran, despite Russia and Iranian warnings. Iran won’t meet with the US or Europeans unless sanctions are lifted by Washington. France and US allies are ready to get tough on Iran. Iran has sent its militias in Iraq to attack the US in recent weeks and likely targeted an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman. (JPost / VFI News)
COVID-19: FLIGHTS FROM US ALREADY FULL AFTER PARTIAL REOPENING OF SKIES: With Israel getting ready to partially reopen the skies on Sunday, flights to the United States are quite full for the next two weeks, said Ziontours Jerusalem CEO Mark Feldman.
“What is happening now is something I have never seen before. Israelis are booking flights to leave next week, and they don’t care about coming back for Israel’s March 23 elections at all,” Feldman said. “All other years, Israelis have felt that they had a patriotic duty to wait until after the elections before leaving for the Passover holiday, but this year, I am hearing clients from both sides of the political spectrum say ‘Enough! I don’t care anymore.’” Israel will be going back to the ballots for the fourth time in two years in what seems to many to be an endless cycle of political deadlock. Many are also eager to finally travel after more than a year of limited opportunities to fly, capped by the country’s recent airport closure, which has left countless individuals stranded and unable to see loved ones. (JPost / VFI News)
COURT RULES TO RECOGNIZE REFORM, CONSERVATIVE CONVERSIONS DONE IN ISRAEL FOR CITIZENSHIP: An expanded nine-justice panel of the High Court of Justice ruled on Monday to recognize conversions by the Reform and Masorti (Conservative) movements in Israel for the purposes of citizenship, ending a 15-year legal saga.
Eight of the nine justices agreed with all aspects of the landmark ruling, while Justice Noam Sohlberg preferred to delay applying it for 12 months from the swearing-in of a new government. The decision set off a firestorm of criticism from Orthodox political parties who vowed to pass legislation to overturn the ruling and threatened not to enter any coalition without promises to do so, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party also denounced the ruling. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL IN TALKS WITH SAUDI, UAE, BAHRAIN FOR DEFENSE ALLIANCE AGAINST IRAN: Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have discussed expanding cooperation in facing common enemies, an Israeli official familiar with the matter said Monday.
The matter is being “informally discussed,” the source said, adding that the countries are US allies. All four believe a nuclear Iran would be a major threat and have been eyeing the Biden administration’s plan to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with concern. “There is much to be gained by expanding cooperation,” the source said. The remarks came following an article by World Jewish Congress president RON LAUDER IN ARAB NEWS CALLING FOR A “NATO OF THE MIDDLE EAST.” (JPOST / VFI NEWS)
92.6% OF ISRAELI KINDERGARTEN TEACHERS VACCINATED, RECOVERED FROM COVID: Some 92.6% of Israeli kindergarten teachers have received a coronavirus vaccine or have recovered from the virus, according to data released by the country’s Kindergarten Teachers Union.
The data, published Wednesday, was released in order to stop the public incitement that has recently been directed toward education personnel and kindergarten teachers in particular, in light of the gradual return of Israel’s education system and growing fears among parents, according to Dorit Hazan, chairwoman of the Kindergarten Teachers Union. “We must stop the incitement against Israel’s kindergarten teachers, it’s a social crime,” a statement issued by the union read. “Claims of teachers not getting vaccinated are completely unfounded.” (JPost / VFI News)
MINISTERS VOTE TO REOPEN GRADES 7-10 AND EASE OTHER RESTRICTIONS FROM SUNDAY: Despite a slight rise in coronavirus infections, ministers on Monday backed sticking to the plan to gradually reopen Israel’s economy, which will see restaurants and hotels open their doors to the vaccinated next week, and reportedly moved to reopen Ben Gurion Airport to Israeli travelers.
The next stage of the government’s reopening plan, scheduled for around March 7, includes allowing students in grades 7-10 to return to school in low-infection areas, reopening restaurants and cafes, permitting hotels and event venues to open in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines, and easing limitations on gatherings. The Prime Minister’s Office said following a Monday night cabinet meeting that ministers had voted in favor of implementing the plan. (TOI / VFI News)
ISRAEL THROWS OUT 1.5 MILLION FLU VACCINES DUE TO LACK OF DEMAND: The 2020-2021 winter has seen zero cases of flu after Israel ordered four million doses of flu vaccine.
According to Israel Hayom, the health funds are now tossing 1.5 million doses of flu vaccine, after no one requested them. The interest in flu vaccines dropped when the coronavirus vaccines arrived in Israel, and due to the lack of cases. However, a relatively high percentage – 25.6% – of Israelis received this year’s flu vaccine. Last year, 24.6% of Israelis received the flu vaccine, compared to 18% and 19% during the previous two years. Israel’s Health Ministry prepared for the winter, during which there were expected to be simultaneous outbreaks of both flu and coronavirus. However, data from the Israel Center for Disease Control showed that not a single lab test was positive for flu this year. (INN / VFI News)
SHEBA HOSPITAL STILL ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP 10: For the 3rd consecutive year, Newsweek magazine has ranked Sheba Medical Center amongst the “Top 10 Best Hospitals in the World”, placing it at #10 in 2021. The magazine’s annual “World’s Best Hospitals” survey, which debuted on the Newsweek.com site on Wednesday, once again cited Sheba’s superior healthcare, as well as its medical innovation and cutting-edge research.
It should be noted that Sheba faced stiffer global competition, as the annual Newsweek/Statista ranking featured more countries and expanded from 1,000 hospitals in 2019 to 2,000 in 2021. Despite doubling the number of participating hospitals, Sheba was still placed amongst the Top 10 in 2021. Sheba is located on a 200-acre campus and is home to 11 of Israel’s national health centers, 4 hospitals, 2 institutes (Heart & Cancer), expansive research laboratories 159 medical departments and clinics, as well as diverse educational facilities. (INN / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff