VFI News November 17, 2020

‘Serious’ Covid Cases Dip Below 300 for First Time Since July

The number of coronavirus patients in Israel in serious condition dropped below 300 Thursday for the first time in over three months, according to figures released by the Health Ministry.

An evening update from the ministry showed a total of 298 people with the virus in Israeli hospitals in serious condition, down from highs of over 820 in the middle of October.

The ministry said there were 158 patients in critical condition, with 137 on ventilators, out of a total of 7,922 active cases in the country.

Despite the falling rate of serious cases, the number of daily diagnoses continued its slight upward trend, with 522 new cases since midnight.

Out of over 26,000 virus test results returned Thursday, two percent were positive, slightly up from the 1.9% recorded out of over 36,000 test results on Wednesday.

Since the start of the outbreak earlier this year, 322,068 people in Israel have tested positive for the coronavirus and 2,706 have died. (TOI / VFI News)

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. - 3 John 1:2

Health Ministry Shortens Covid Isolation Period to 12 Days

The coronavirus isolation period will be shortened from 14 days to 12 days in most instances, the Health Ministry announced Thursday.

Under the new procedure, a person who enters isolation after returning from abroad or coming into contact with someone who had the virus must register with the Health Ministry online or through its call center.

The individual should then take a PCR swab test as soon as possible and must be retested on the 10th day after arrival or contact – not after the first test. The second test must be carried out at least 24 hours after the first one.

If both tests are negative and the person does not experience any symptoms, he or she would be certified healthy by the Health Ministry and be allowed to leave isolation.

Coronavirus tests must be performed at drive-in centers certified by the ministry.

The new plan took effect on Thursday at midnight and applies retroactively to people already in isolation. (JPost / VFI News)

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. - Romans 5:3-4

New Deal Could Bring Millions of Vaccine Doses to Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) touted a newly-signed deal with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which they said would secure for Israel millions of doses of the coronavirus vaccine now being tested.

Speaking with reporters Friday afternoon, Netanyahu and Edelstein said the deal marked a “great day” for Israel in the fight against the coronavirus.

“This is a great day for Israel,” said Netanyahu. “We just now signed a deal with Pfizer to receive eight million doses of the vaccine for four million Israeli citizens. We hope that the vaccine will start to be delivered in January, increasing in the months afterward.”

“In the months until the coronavirus vaccine gets here, we all must continue to obey the health regulations.”

Health Minister Edelstein said that Israel is also in talks with another pharmaceutical company which is developing its own coronavirus vaccine.

“We cannot become complacent – there is no vaccine for complacency. Keep wearing masks, maintain social distancing, and adhere to all the health guidelines.” (INN / VFI News)

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. - Jeremiah 33:6

The Pandemic’s Impact on Anxious Israelis

Pandemic-induced stress is causing a huge rise in the anxious habits of teeth grinding and jaw clenching, Israeli researchers have found.

Tel Aviv University’s dental school surveyed a sample of the Israeli population during the spring lockdown and found that some 36 percent of respondents were grinding their teeth at night, compared to 10% before the pandemic.

A common daytime nervous habit, jaw-clenching also saw a major rise, from 17% in normal times to 32% during a lockdown, according to the research just published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Both habits are known to be greatly impacted by emotional factors such as stress and anxiety and have the potential to badly damage the teeth and jaw joints.

Symptoms of temporomandibular disorder (TMD), which is often related to the habits, were reported by 47% of respondents, up from 35% pre-pandemic. The disorders tend to cause chronic facial pain by affecting muscles, nerves, and joints. (TOI / VFI News)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7

“God, we ask that you give Israelis relief from the devastating effects of this virus and Your peace in their hearts.”

Iran May Execute Disabled Bodybuilder who Criticized Covid Rules

The Islamic Republic of Iran arrested the country’s Paralympian Reza Tabrizi because he questioned why gyms have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic while religious shrines continue to remain open, according to posts on social media from human rights experts.

Iranian dissident and women’s rights campaigner Masih Alinejad tweeted on Tuesday that “I got this shocking video from Iran. Reza Tabrizi, a disabled athlete, was violently forced into a police car & harassed by plainclothes agents as he struggled to walk. He was arrested for asking why religious shrines are open while gyms are closed during [COVID-19]. He faces death.”

Tabrizi won a silver medal for powerlifting in the 2011 New Zealand World Para Athletics Championships, according to the British Telegraph paper.

He argued on Instagram that it was “hypocritical” to close down gyms in the city of Mashad but still permit pilgrims into the Imam Reza Shrine. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we pray that you protect the life of Tabrizi and every other life that is in danger because of Iran’s corrupt leadership.”

Knesset Approves Normalization with Bahrain

The Knesset on Tuesday approved Israel’s agreement on the establishment of diplomatic relations with Bahrain with an overwhelming majority, giving Jerusalem the go-ahead to forge ties with a second Gulf state in as many months.

The vote came following a marathon five-hour legislative session that featured some 80 lawmakers giving speeches to the plenum.

Sixty-two lawmakers voted in favor; 14 — all from the predominantly-Arab Joint List party — opposed the agreement. There were no abstentions.

The so-called “Joint Communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic, peaceful, and friendly relations” will now head back to the cabinet, where it is expected to be ratified with unanimous support.

“Bahrain is a small country but it has big aspirations,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of the debate.

He also vowed that additional Arab countries will soon publicize “the normalization that is being developed” with Israel. (TOI / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you bless this accord and that you bring further peace to the region.”

Israel Requests Permission to Fly Over Sudan

Israel has officially asked the Sudanese government to allow Israeli airlines to fly in its airspace, as part of the cooperation between the countries following their normalization agreement.

A senior Sudanese official said that the country's authorities were considering the Israeli request and intended to approve it.

In recent days, it has been reported that Israeli planes have already flown in the skies of Sudan, but the senior source claimed that if there had been such flights, it would have been an unusual procedure.

The designated foreign minister of Sudan said there was no impediment to Israel using Sudan's airspace and spoke of the economic benefits that could emerge from his country from the move. However, he said, it all depends on government approval.

Sudanese Civil Aviation Authority spokesman noted that the Israeli request had indeed been received and was being discussed. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to build connections rather than divisions.”

Pompeo to Visit West Bank Settlement, Golan

In a historic first US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to visit the Psagot winery in the West Bank and Jesus’ baptismal site in the Jordan Valley as well as the Golan Heights, during his visit to Israel next week, according to a report published on Thursday.

An English version of the story ran in Axios.

Pompeo’s visit would mark the first time a US Secretary of State has visited a West Bank settlement or the Golan.

It’s the latest in a series of steps Pompeo has taken to legitimize Israeli settlement activity. The Trump administration suspended plans to annex the West Bank settlement, as a prerequisite for Israel’s normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates.

A visit by Pompeo, however, is a symbolic gesture that speaks to his support for eventual Israeli sovereignty of all the settlements. It is particularly significant that Pompeo has chosen the Psagot winery, which lost a case before the European Union’s top court on the issue of product labeling. (JPost / VFI News)