Israel Roundup — February Snowstorms Bring March Elections

  • Gideon Sa'ar, a major opponent to Netanyahu, may become his replacement.
  • Israel made a surprise air force drill in the north threatening Hezbollah
  • The new miracle drug for Coronavirus discovered in Israel may be tried out in Brazil.

Israel witnessed its first snowstorm of the year this week. There is snow in the mountain areas, including Jerusalem, and rain in other parts of the country. Snow is more common than one might think in Israel. However, Israelis only see snow once or twice in a winter season.

Elections are coming in March. The spat between former cabinet minister and New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar— a former member of Likud— and Likud leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, continues.

Mr. Sa’ar is critical of Prime Minister Netanyahu, arguing that by refusing to make a new budget, he has thrown the nation into a fourth election. According to him, the Prime Minister has failed in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic:

“For him, 5,406 deaths is [nothing]. That Israeli students are the world record holders in sitting at home, mutations are being imported through the huge breach in Ben-Gurion Airport and the failure in enforcement– and it is all a sort of background noise that is bothering him.”

Gideon Sa’ar, a major opponent to Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Saar says his party has an orderly way on how to deal with the current crisis. In his campaign, his goal is to convince the people of Israel that a significant change in direction is required.

Mr. Saar argues he is more flexible than Likud to join in with the left-wing party, Yesh Atid of Yair Lipid, since he has no alignment with the religious parties in the government.  Yesh Atid has strong support from the secular central and left bloc of Israeli citizens.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech on Tuesday threatening Israel. The IDF completed a surprise drill this week in the north. During the drill, the Air Force managed to meet its goal of attacking 3,000 targets in one day of warfare.

Nasrallah’s speech came after this drill. He said, “we don’t seek a fight with Israel, but if it starts a war, we will fight.” Israeli intelligence has identified a willingness of Hezbollah to initiate a limited escalation for two or three days. Nasrallah has threatened to reveal an opposition which Israel has never seen before.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the path to diplomacy with Iran is open over the 2015 nuclear deal, but he won’t specify if contacts have already begun. Iran wants all sanctions to be removed before beginning talks.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has delayed calling Prime Minister Netanyahu. There are two opinions for President Biden not speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Some say he is trying to create a lower profile than existed during the Trump Administration. The second reason is that President Biden wants to wait until after Israeli elections in March. Finally President Biden spoke with Netanyahu discussing various matters both political and regarding strategies in dealing with Corona.

Israel and Russia held secret talks on humanitarian issues in Syria. These talks also include issues of defense. The Israeli Air Force continues to attack Iranian targets in Syria.

Over 3.6 million Israelis have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, which is almost half of the population. Statistics show that there are 94% fewer symptomatic cases and 92% fewer cases of serious illness amongst those vaccinated.

Vaccinations remain voluntary. Israel would like to proceed with further vaccinations, but in order to go further, more education will be needed. People need to be educated about the importance of vaccination, but it cannot be done involuntarily.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks to his people about the threat of Israel to their nation.

In Icholov Hospital in Israel, a new and potentially miraculous drug was discovered to possibly treat coronavirus patients in moderate to serious condition. The drug was initially produced for treatment of cancer patients, but now it has been tested on coronavirus patients with lung disorders.

The medicine is sprayed into the nostrils of patients. In the first trial, 29 of 30 patients were healed within four days. The other patient later left the hospital.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken to health officials in Greece to work together to know more about the effectiveness of this cure. Also Jair Borsanaro, President of Brazil, has shown an interest in further research.

President Borsanaro is known to have been open to other types of medical solutions to coronavirus besides the vaccines. He is anxious to get emergency authorization of this drug to his people in Brazil.

A Russian Israeli tennis player has made history at the Australian Open. Aslan Karatsev, who lived in Israel as a child, makes his first Grand Slam appearance. He is the fifth qualifier to reach a Grand Slam semi-final.

David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites.

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