The IDF has deployed advanced air defense batteries in the southern city of Eilat, preparing for a possible Iranian attack on Israel from Yemen.
Israel’s security establishment is on high alert in anticipation of a possible Iranian retaliatory attack to mark a year since Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Al-Qods Force of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), was assassinated by the US.
Some military officials have estimated that Iran will take advantage of the coming weeks before Joe Biden enters office to retaliate against Israel.
Iranian officials have vowed to retaliate, while Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen have threatened to attack Israel.
Houthi General Mohammed Nasser al-Atifi told the Arab media outlet Al-Medean in December that his troops have “a bank of targets, both land and sea-based, at which it can strike the Zionist enemy.”
His troops “will not hesitate to attack them if the leadership decides to do so. Our military forces are prepared for this kind of attack,” he added.
The government voted Tuesday night to tighten the Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in Israel to stem the rapid spread of the virus in the country, possibly caused by the UK variant.
After a week and a half of a semi-lockdown, the government announced a series of restrictions that will essentially shut down the country almost completely.
The tight lockdown will be imposed from midnight on Thursday, for at least 14 days, and will include the complete closure of the education system and all non-essential businesses.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting that “we see the Coronavirus running amok around the world. The British mutation is out of control. Britain is now under full lockdown after a massive mortality rate. Unfortunately, the new Coronavirus mutation is also leaping forward with us, but not at the same pace”.
Several cases of the new Coronavirus variant that was first identified in the United Kingdom and which is rapidly spreading around the world were found in Israel and multiple locations around the country.
“The hospitals are warning us that we are entering the most dangerous wave since the outbreak of the pandemic. The Health Ministry and the experts are warning us that we are in an emergency situation and that if we do not act immediately we will lose many hundreds of Israelis – and even more – who will die,” he said.
He called on all citizens of Israel to “make a final effort – together. We will make a tightened and immediate lockdown together with the continuation of the huge vaccines operation.”
“This is how we will save lives. This is how we will be the first in the world to emerge from the coronavirus. This is how we will open our economy and this is how we will get back to living,” he stated.
The Ministry of Health updated Wednesday morning that it documented 8,164 new infection cases over the past 24 hours.
Of the 121,816 tests done on Tuesday, a high 6.8% returned positive.
824 patients hospitalized with Corona are in serious condition, 207 of them are on life support.
Since the outbreak in February 2020, 3, 495 Israelis have died of the virus.
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s decision to enrich uranium to 20% at its plant in Fordo “should serve as a wake-up call to all those who advocate for appeasement towards Iran,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated, demanding that the international community act.
Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei announced Monday that Iran has started enriching uranium to the 20% purity level at the underground Fordo nuclear facility.
“The government had announced earlier that the parliament’s ratification is a binding law which should be abided by the government,” Rabiei stated.
The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) stipulates that Iran can enrich uranium to the level of 3.67%.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated in response that Iran has “again breached its international obligations.”
It noted that according to the archive of Iran’s Amad Project to develop nuclear weapons that was exposed by Israel, the facility in Fordo was built with the goal of enriching uranium for a nuclear weapon program.
“The use of this facility for enrichment purposes clearly indicates Iran’s intentions,” the Foreign Ministry underscored.
“This act should serve as a wake-up call to all those who advocate for appeasement towards Iran,” it added.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi called on the international community “not to tolerate Iran’s defiant acts and to view this step as a red line that requires a decisive and immediate response. Israel will never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated during the Cabinet meeting on Monday that Iran’s announcement “is a gross and total violation of its commitments.”
“There is no other explanation except for the continued realization of Iran’s intention to manufacture nuclear weapons. I reiterate: Israel will not allow Iran to manufacture nuclear weapons,” he said.
An Israeli woman who was injured in a rock attack on her car on Sunday is in serious condition after undergoing emergency surgery.
Rivka Teitel was driving with two of her children in Benyanim on Sunday when they were attacked by rock-throwing terrorists near the Arab village of Deir Nidham. She was hit in the head with a rock.
Initial reports indicate that her son pulled the parking brake, thus avoiding a car accident.
Teitel was evacuated semi-conscious and in moderate condition but was later admitted to emergency neural surgery.
After a prolonged operation, she is still in serious condition.
The IDF launched a broad manhunt after the attack, and acting on intelligence from the Shin Bet, arrested several suspects in the village of Deir Nidham.
The village is under full lockdown.
The WAFA news agency reported that at least 15 suspects were arrested.
“We will continue operating in order to preserve the security in the region,” the IDF stated.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein visited on Friday the anti-Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination facility in the Arab city of Umm Al-Fahm and met the 1,000,000th person in Israel to be vaccinated.
Jabarin Muhammad, 66, an Arab resident of Umm Al-Fahm, was the 1,000,000th Israeli to be vaccinated.
Israel launched Operation “Lend a Shoulder” to vaccinate the population against COVID-19 two weeks ago
“What excitement, Jabarin is the 1,000,000th person in the State of Israel to be vaccinated. We are breaking all of the records,” stated Netanyahu.
“We are ahead of the entire world. We are moving forward at great speed to vaccinate the entire population,” he added.
“As soon as we reach a critical mass of people who are vaccinated, we will be able to open commerce, the stores and the restaurants. We will be able to fly abroad, to make deals and travel in all the countries that we have made peace with, peace that has opened the world and is also changing our history, as Israeli society and as a country,” he said.
Edelstein further noted that “now, after the 1,000,000th person to be vaccinated is here with us, it is possible to say with certainty that Israel, with God’s help, will be the first country in the world to be vaccinated. This is a great achievement. Within a few months, we will be able to say: ‘Hasta la vista’ to the Coronavirus and return to normality.
He emphasized that “we are all in this together. There is no difference between Jews and Arabs, religious and secular. As long as we are unsuccessful in reaching great numbers of vaccinated people in every place, we will be unable to go out to all of the places that are so important to us all.”