‘HISTORIC’ ISRAEL-LEBANON AGREEMENT TO SEEK MEDIATION: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised the agreement by Israel and Lebanon to seek American mediation in their maritime border dispute.
“The United States welcomes the decision by the Governments of Israel and Lebanon to begin discussions on the maritime boundary. This historic agreement between the two parties is the result of nearly three years of intense diplomatic engagement by Ambassador David Satterfield and Assistant Secretary David Schenker,” Pompeo said. “Recognizing the positive experience of the Tripartite mechanism, the United States also looks forward to separate expert-level talks to define unresolved issues related to the Blue Line, which offer the promise of another positive step for regional stability,” the Secretary of State concluded. (INN / JPost)
FIRST ISRAELI-LEBANESE TALKS IN 30 YEARS TO BE HELD: For the first time in 30 years, Israel and Lebanon will hold direct negotiations to try to resolve their maritime border dispute, officials for both sides and the United States said Thursday.
The talks between the two neighboring states, which are at war and have no diplomatic ties, will be mediated by the US and hosted by the United Nations. Those negotiations, over an 860-square-kilometer area in the Eastern Mediterranean near Israel’s natural-gas fields, are scheduled to begin the week of October 12 at the UN base in Naqoura, near the country’s border with Israel at Rosh Hanikra. “The United States looks forward to commencement of the maritime boundary discussions soon, to be held in Naqoura, Lebanon, under the UN flag and hosted by the staff from the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL),” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL DELIVERS FIRST IRON DOME BATTERY FOR US ARMY: A year after the Defense Ministry and the US Army signed a deal for two Iron Dome missile defense batteries, the first battery has been delivered.
A symbolic event was held with the Iron Dome production line of defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, in the presence of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Economy Minister Amir Peretz, head of the directorate of defense research and development Dr. Dani Gold, head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization Moshe Patel, Rafael chairman Uzi Landau, and Rafael CEO Yoav Har-Even. In August 2019, the US Army purchased two batteries off the shelf from Rafael, which included 12 launchers, two sensors, two battlement management centers, and 240 interceptors. The ministry said that the second battery is expected to be delivered in the “near future” within the framework of the agreement. The purchase was made to fill the army’s short-term needs for an indirect fire protection capability until a permanent solution to the problem is put in place to best protect ground maneuvering troops against an increasingly wide range of aerial threats, including short-range projectiles. (JPost / VFI News)
HAREDIS REPRESENT 40% OF CORONAVIRUS CASES IN ISRAEL: Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) make up around 40% of people diagnosed with coronavirus each day in Israel, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, the coronavirus commissioner, said on Thursday.
Gamzu shared this statistic while speaking at a press briefing the same day that Israel hit 1,600 fatalities from the virus, and senior officials said that the population is not abiding by directives. Among the sick are more than 5,000 yeshiva students aged between 17 and 24, according to Roni Numa, the coronavirus coordinator for the ultra-Orthodox community. He added that 95% of them were isolated either at their yeshivas or in coronavirus hotels. However, he noted that the infection rate among those aged over 65, a high-risk group for COVID-19 complications, has doubled in the ultra-Orthodox sector and this could lead to a spike in the mortality rate among the community. (JPost / VFI News)
5 PATIENTS IN HADASSAH CORONAVIRUS-FREE IN CLINICAL TRIAL: Five patients recently discharged from Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem were healthy and coronavirus-free after taking part in the first clinical trial of an innovative treatment developed by the hospital.
Allocetra, the drug used in the clinical trial, was developed with the Enlivex Company based on research conducted by Prof. Dror Mevorach, director of Hadassah’s Internal Medicine and Coronavirus departments. It had already been successfully tested on 10 sepsis patients. All five patients had been hospitalized in serious or critical condition. The clinical test was carried out with the permission of the Health Ministry’s Helsinki Committee by a team led by Prof. Vernon Van Heerden, director of Hadassah’s General Intensive Care Unit. “We are happy that the patients in severe and critical condition recovered after the Allocetra treatment,” Enlivex said in the press release. (JPost / VFI News)
SUKKAH BUILT IN DUBAI: A sukkah was built in front of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai on Thursday, ahead of the Sukkot holiday which began at sundown on Friday.
The Jewish community in the UAE has re-established its religious lifestyle following the country’s normalization agreement with Israel. Last week, the slaughter of about 2,500 poultry was carried out for the country’s Jews as well as hotels in Dubai seeking strictly kosher food for the large number of Jewish businessmen visiting the country. Israeli citizens expected to arrive in the Gulf kingdom in the near future are also expected to benefit from the operation. Several weeks ago, Armani/Kaf, the first kosher certified dining destination in the United Arab Emirates, located within Burj Khalifa and Armani Hotel Dubai, officially opened its doors. When the UAE hosted 50-plus Jewish delegates as part of a US-Israeli delegation, they were served kosher food as they stayed at the St Regis Hotel. (JPost / VFI News)
MONACO HAS HIGHEST RATIO OF JEWS IN THE WORLD OUTSIDE ISRAEL: Outside of Israel, Monaco also has the highest ratio of Jewish inhabitants of any country in the world, at over 5%, according to statistics provided by its two rabbis.
To be fair, the city-state’s total population is only about 38,600, making it one of the world’s smallest nations. But its some 2,000 Jews are cultivating a growing community thanks in part to a luxurious synagogue opened in 2017. Synagogue Edmond Safra, which was buoyed by a donation of more than $10 million by the Safra banking family, is housed inside a building that is shaped like a Torah scroll, its cylinder featuring Jerusalem stone tiling. The structure is oriented to see the Mediterranean and the famed Monaco marina — but has no windows to view them. The Safra congregation isn’t new, but Daniel Torgmant, its rabbi since 2010, says the new building “has quite simply been an engine for communal growth.” Because of its attractiveness and prime location, “it allows us to attract a lot of people passing through Monaco, or Jewish people whose connection to Judaism is still in its infancy.” (JPost / VFI News)
TEL AVIV IN TOP-5 MOST ARTISTIC GLOBAL CITIES TO VISIT: Tel Aviv has been named the fifth-most creative city in the world, only behind Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, and London, according to research conducted by Inkifi, a print-photography company that specializes in turning personal photos into wall art.
“In a planet filled with so much beauty and diversity, it’s not hard to find creativity and inspiration in some of the world’s most notable cities,” Inkifi wrote in a report. “In fact, some cities have made a name for themselves in the world of art, music, architecture, and other creative ventures… So if you’re looking for a touch of creative inspiration, which cities should you add to your travel wish list?” Through the data, Inkifi put together its list of cities that art lovers need to add to their “bucket list” accounts for a number of different art scenes, including galleries, music and comedy clubs, theaters, street art, Instagrams, building architecture and statues. (JPost / 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