AFTER EXPLOSION: ENTIRE LEBANESE CABINET RESIGNS: The entire government of Lebanon resigned Monday following the massive explosion, which left over 200 people dead and 7,000 injured in Beirut last week.
The country’s Health Minister, Hamad Hassan, confirmed the Cabinet had resigned in a conversation with reporters following Monday’s Cabinet meeting. Hassan said that Prime Minister Hassan Diab will go to the presidential palace to “hand over the resignation in the name of all the ministers.” Earlier Monday, Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm announced her resignation. On Sunday, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad and Minister Damianos Kattar also resigned in response to the public uproar which followed the deadly blast. Prime Minister Hassan Diab may also resign. Thousands of Lebanese citizens have demonstrated in the streets over the last week, blaming the government for failing to properly deal with the nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate which had been stored at the Beirut port for six years and which was responsible for the massive explosion. (INN / VFI News)
LEBANON: DAMAGED SYNAGOGUE MAY BE ‘BEYOND REPAIR’: In Lebanon, new updates continue to roll in regarding the heavy damage caused by the explosion in the port of Beirut last week. According to local reports, the only remaining synagogue in the country, Maghen Abraham, was badly damaged and it is now doubtful whether it can be restored.
The synagogue has been inactive for years, but Lebanese authorities have preserved it as a historic site. It’s located in the Wadi Abu Jamil district in downtown Beirut, where the city’s Jewish quarter used to stand, a few kilometers from the port of Beirut. Lebanon’s Jewish community once numbered up to 22,000, when the country served as a refuge for those who fled the Spanish Inquisition. But Jews fled the country during the 20th century until finally, even the Maghen Abraham Synagogue closed its doors in the mid-1970s. After 1951, only two Jews remained in the Wadi Abu Jamil area of Beirut, just 60 in the entire country, with the once-prominent community virtually ceasing to exist. (INN / VFI News)
SUSPICIOUS TUNNELS DISCOVERED NEAR BEIRUT PORT: Videos circulating online, as well as rumors and reports, indicate that “tunnels” have been found in the wake of the Beirut explosions. Some have asserted that this is evidence of Hezbollah “tunnels” storing weapons at the Port of Beirut, while others think they were used for human trafficking. Both SkyNews and Russia’s Sputnik News claimed there was a “labyrinth network of tunnels.”
The Lebanese Armed Forces have denied the existence of tunnels, just as Hezbollah has denied doing anything at Beirut Port. It’s unclear how the army could refute the claims without investigating the images and videos already circulating online. Nevertheless, the army denied the existence of tunnels. Yet Sky News did show a ceiling of a subterranean chamber and noted that people had hope that loved ones might have survived the blast in the tunnels. The Sky News report, which was posted online on Sunday, said the people excavating the site and searching for survivors “know there is a labyrinth of subterranean chambers here; they have discovered the opening of one of them.” (JPost / VFI News)
FRENCH MP: HEZBOLLAH MUST BE DECLARED A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION: French MP Meyer Habib, who serves as deputy chairman of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, is demanding that France declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization, as Germany has done recently.
Habib said that in the wake of the deadly explosion in Beirut “the Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah’s grip on Lebanon is the only question that should concern us today.” “The Lebanese are now declaring this loud and clear: The disaster is a direct result of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s takeover of the Land of the Cedars. Already a year ago, on July 23, 2019, I wrote a letter to the President of France asking to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization,” Habib recalled. He continued, “Hezbollah has a lot of French blood on its hands and our country was even one of its first victims.” In 2013, the European Union blacklisted Hezbollah’s “military wing” as a terrorist organization, while failing to blacklist the group’s political arm. Hezbollah plays a major role in Lebanese politics and is a key player in its government. (INN / VFI News)
HOUTHI REBEL SHAMES UAE FOR ‘BUILDING SYNAGOGUES’: The United Arab Emirates is “building synagogues for Jews,” Houthi rebel leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi said in a statement published over the weekend in Iranian media. Iran is a major backer of the Houthi rebels, who have been fighting a civil war in Yemen.
The official slogan of the Houthis contains the statement: “Death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam.” The movement is one of the few in the region that is officially and openly antisemitic. While the rebels are called Houthis, the movement’s official name is Ansar Allah. “The UAE authorities are looking to improve their image by building a synagogue for the Jews,” Houthi said. The UAE is involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which is waged against the Houthis and has “displaced millions of Yemenis,” he said. Houthi’s latest statement was posted at Tasnim News in Iran on Sunday. Iran transfers missiles and drones to the Houthis, and the group has used them to target Saudi Arabia. The US Navy has intercepted several weapons shipments from Iran to Yemen. (JPost / VFI News)
CORONAVIRUS: ISRAELI COMPANY CLOSE TO RELEASING PROMISING NEW DRUG: A new anti-viral, anti-inflammatory drug against coronavirus might be soon offered to patients all over the world by Israeli pharmaceutical company RedHill.
The treatment, based on a chemical compound called Opaganib, has already shown very promising results in compassionate use carried out at the Shaarei Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, as Gilead Raday, RedHill’s Chief Operating Officer, said. Now, two new studies carried out in the US and several countries in the world might be able to soon provide the additional data required for emergency authorization – the same received by the renowned Remdesivir. Headquartered in Israel, Redhill Biopharma was established in 2009 and is listed in the Nasdaq. Most of its activities are US-focused and specialized in gastro-intestinal drugs, both developed in-house and acquired. However, among the pipeline of products the company features, Opaganib presented anti-viral effects long before COVID-19 appeared.
GLAMDEMIC: ISRAELI JEWELRY COMPANY DESIGNS MOST EXPENSIVE COVID MASK IN THE WORLD: Yvel, the luxury jewelry brand based in Jerusalem, is currently working on what is likely the world’s most expensive COVID19 protective mask.
The mask, designed by Orna and Isaac Levy, Yvel’s owners and designers, is valued at $1.5 million and is made of 250 grams of pure 18k gold, and set with no less than 3,608 natural diamonds, with a total weight of about 210 carats. It is being custom made for an anonymous Chinese billionaire from Shanghai. The mask provides the highest level of filtration (N-99) and meets the most stringent standards. With the outbreak of the COVID19 epidemic, Yvel’s visitors’ center and jewelry factory has closed, but the Levys carefully selected 25 jewelers and diamond setters from the company’s staff, working in shifts, to carry out the special order. Surprisingly, the customer conditioned the purchase of the mask on the fact that the mask would be the most expensive in the world. “It was quite easy for us to overcome this challenge,” says Isaac. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAELI START-UP LAUNCHES FIRST-EVER AT-HOME ULTRASOUND FOR FUTURE MOMS: A tele-ultrasound device developed by Israeli start-up PulseNmore will allow pregnant women to perform an ultrasound at home without the need to visit a clinic or a hospital.
Clalit Health Services already has ordered 20,000 units of the device for its members, according to Chief Operating Officer Jordan Rubinson. “Traditionally, ultrasound technology has been associated with very big, expensive machines in hospitals operated by highly trained technicians,” he said. “In the past few years, a new generation of devices that are smaller and easier to use have been developed and offered to physicians themselves. But they still require sophisticated users, and they still cost thousands of dollars. Our solution represents the next step.” PulseNmore’s product is a small device that attaches to smartphones. It is operated by the woman herself, either during a live telemedicine appointment or by following five-step instructions on the devoted app to produce a video of the fetus that is uploaded to the system and can be examined by a doctor. (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