ISRAEL OKAYS FLIGHTS FROM ALL DESTINATIONS, CORONAVIRUS PASSENGER CAP STAYS: Starting Tuesday, flights to Israel will be allowed from all destinations. The government made the decision during a late-night meeting on Sunday.
Despite effectively opening Israel to the world, the limit of 3,000 passengers entering the country per day will remain. Under the current airport regulations, valid until March 20, flights could be authorized only from a limited set of cities, including New York, Paris, and Frankfurt. The change is expected to facilitate the return of Israelis abroad who wish to vote in the upcoming March 23 election. The ministers also considered increasing the cap on daily returnees but decided against it due to the opposition of healthcare officials. (JPost / VFI News)
RESTAURANTS FULLY BOOKED AS ISRAELIS FLOCK BACK AFTER YEAR OF RESTRICTIONS: Israelis have flocked back to restaurants, bars, and cafes in the days since they were allowed to reopen, with many booked up and credit card companies noting a spike in spending on Friday.
Since reopening Sunday, restaurants and cafes have seen a torrent of customers, with many would-be diners unable to make reservations as tables at many eateries are all booked days in advance, according to the Kan public broadcaster. Some restaurants had a 10-day waiting list, the report said. “It’s crazy,” said Haggai, a co-owner of Tel Aviv’s Goocha restaurant. “From the start of the week, every day has been packed to weekend levels.” (TOI / VFI News)
SHIN BET COVID TRACING PROGRAM COMES TO AN END: As of last night at midnight, a Supreme Court ruling brought to an end the GSS initiative to track those defying public health guidelines by cellular activity.
About two weeks ago, the Supreme Court judges ruled that the General Security Service must stop such espionage on patients themselves. The ruling allowed a limited exception in the case of individuals who do not cooperate with Health Ministry epidemiological investigations. Among other things, the state comptroller found the cellular tracking to be less effective than the investigations it was supposed to assist, and that the resolution allowing such an invasion of the privacy of patients or those who may have come into contact with them was never brought to a vote for governmental approval. (INN / VFI News)
UK SANCTIONS ALLIES OF SYRIAN PRESIDENT ASSAD: Britain on Monday announced sanctions on six allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including his foreign minister and close advisers.
“The Assad regime has subjected the Syrian people to a decade of brutality for the temerity of demanding peaceful reform,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said. Those sanctioned include Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad, Assad adviser Luna al-Shibl, financier Yassar Ibrahim, businessman Muhammad Bara’ Al-Qatirji, Republican Guard commander Malik Aliaa and Army Major Zaid Salah. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL’S THREE DEFENSE GIANTS LEAD WORLD IN ARMS INDUSTRY: International arms transfers are going strong in the Middle East, even if they are leveling off in other regions, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a group that monitors arms transfers.
SIPRI says its Arms Transfer Database is the only public resource that provides consistent information and estimates on all international transfers of major arms. “International transfers of major arms stayed at the same level between 2011-15 and 2016-20,” it said in a report on Monday. “Substantial increases in transfers by three of the top five arms exporters – the USA, France, and Germany – were largely offset by declining Russian and Chinese arms exports.” Middle Eastern arms imports increased 25%. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt were leaders in the last four years, with Doha increasing its purchases by a whopping 361%, the report said. (JPost / VFI News)
IRON DOME SHOOTS DOWN DRONES, ROCKET BARRAGE SIMULTANEOUSLY IN HI-TECH LEAP: After significant upgrades, Israel’s famed Iron Dome missile defense system successfully and simultaneously intercepted a barrage of rockets and drones in a recent round of tests.
The news comes as the IDF warns of a possible new confrontation with Hezbollah in Lebanon where the Iranian-backed terrorist group is constantly working to improve its missile and drone capabilities. The tests were completed on Tuesday by the Defense Ministry and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, demonstrating a significant upgrade of Iron Dome’s technological capabilities. The Iron Dome was tested in a range of complex scenarios and successfully intercepted and destroyed targets simulating existing and emerging threats, including the simultaneous interception of multiple drones as well as a salvo of rockets and missiles. (JPost / VFI News)
‘IRON STING’: ISRAEL COMPLETES TESTING OF ‘GROUNDBREAKING’ LASER-GUIDED MORTAR: A new laser-guided mortar completed trials and will bring greater firepower to smaller units while reducing collateral damage to noncombatants due to its high levels of accuracy, the Defense Ministry said in a statement Sunday.
The Iron Sting 120mm mortar was developed by the ministry along with the Israel Defense Forces and Elbit Systems and, following the successful completion of the tests in the south of the country, is set to be delivered to the army. Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in the statement that Israeli industry provides the IDF with technology “that changes the combat arena and gives us more lethal, accurate and effective means.” (TOI / VFI News)
‘ISRAEL WILL BE HIT BY 2,000 MISSILES A DAY IN FUTURE WAR’ – IDF GENERAL: Israel will come under an onslaught of 2,000 rockets and missiles every day during a future war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Uri Gordin warned on Monday.
Speaking at the B’Sheva Conference in Jerusalem, Gordin said that some 2,000 rockets and missiles will be fired at Israel every day and will challenge Israel’s military and civil defense capabilities. “Our enemies on the different fronts need to know that if needed, we will activate a powerful military that has never been seen before,” Gordin said. He added that Israel’s enemies should know that the Israeli home front is resilient and has proven itself in the past. (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