- Israel will extend its lockdown one week.
- UAE and Bahrain join Israel for America not to weaken its stand on Iran.
- Holocaust Remembrance Day was observed this week.
This week, on Wednesday, Holocaust Remembrance Day was observed around the world. Of course, the commemoration could not be like every year, but the message of remembrance of the Holocaust is necessary to be repeated every year. There is always the fear of genocide, which, after the Holocaust, can never be accepted.
Israel has been in a lockdown for the past two weeks. The lockdown will be extended another week because there has not been enough of a decline in infections, hospitalization, and mortalities. The lockdown is difficult for everyone, especially small businesses.
In the Haredi, Ultra-Orthodox sector of the population, a larger percentage of people have been infected during the lockdown than in the other parts of the population, except for the Arab communities.
Orthodox Jewish and religious Arabs have a stronger connection to family life than the secular part of the population. As a result, they find it more difficult to follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health regarding limitation on gatherings for weddings, religious celebration, and prayers. Public gatherings are a source of the spreading of the Coronavirus.
There is a discussion in the Knesset about raising the penalties for offenders of the lockdown. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz have different opinions about the future of the lockdown. They are well known to disagree on many issues. New elections will be in March. Vaccinations are being extended for anyone over the age of 35.
Israel is getting acquainted with the new Presidential administration. Anthony Blinken, who is the descendant of a Holocaust survivor, made a statement that the U.S. will only return to the nuclear agreement made by the Obama administration when Iran will meet all of the requirements.
The Biden administration has made a halt of foreign arms sales, including F-35s to the United Arab Emirates. The State Department calls this a routine action for all new administrations taking on large scale arms sales. They decline to say if this move is permanent.
Even Israel criticized these sales in fear of erosion of their military superiority in the Middle East. Sudan has already signed a pact with the United States about normalizing ties with Israel. The final completion of this peace treaty is planned for the near future, where Israel, Sudan, and President Biden will be present at the White House.
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister emphasized that the countries see eye to eye on the issue of Iran’s expansion in the region, and that any new agreements with Tehran must reflect the new reality in the Middle East.
The UAE and Bahrain on Tuesday urged Israel to join them in an outreach effort to the United States to make clear their position on the Iranian threat in the region. This includes Iran’s nuclear ambitions, ballistic missile program, and support for regional terrorists.