Israel Roundup: Vaccine to be Tested on Rodents, Citizens Strain Under Restrictions

  • Israel is at war with coronavirus, through technology and quarantines.
  • The Ulta-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak is shut down.
  • Israeli warplanes strike Syrian targets.

In February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israel Institute of Biological Research to join fight against the coronavirus pandemic. They are making “significant progress,” and are now commencing animal trials, using rodents. The laboratory is located in Nes Ziona, in central Israel, and hopefully positive results will come from these tests.

The Israel Institute for Biological Research in Nes Ziona.

Israel is protecting the secrecy of these projects as it cooperates with private firms and civilian scientists. It is now ready to ease their secrecy of their projects to increase the speed in which the vaccine can be distributed when proven effective.  They will eventually have to make human tests afterward.

In rare public statements IIBR chief innovation officer Eran Zahavy said last week that the institute had shifted its entire focus on development of the new vaccine against Covid-19 virus vaccine, and also developing other types of treatments.  They are also collaborating with other companies throughout the world to receive new idea to speed up development in the war against Coronavirus.

Israel has reported 5,591 cases of coronavirus with 25 fatalities, as of Wednesday. Each day, new cases are being discovered.  Both Netanyahu and IDF Chief Staff Aviv Kohavi have gone into quarantine after being exposed to the virus. Both have tested negative, but are remaining in isolation anyway.

Just like in America, the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods have been hit hardest by the epidemic. In central Israel, the city of Bnei Brak, which is almost exclusively Orthodox, has been locked down because of the enormous percentage of its residents being infected. Many Orthodox Jews did not take seriously all the restrictions which were made at the time of the outbreak of Coronavirus, and were in the middle of the Purim festival, where people gather in large numbers to celebrate.

Some religious schools remained open, against the restrictions of the Health Department, which caused many of their students and staff to be quarantined. Orthodox religious communities have large families, which are vulnerable to the virus. When one of the members of the family is infected, the whole house is now in quarantine.

Benny Gantz (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu (right) have still not agreed formally to form an emergency, national unity government.

For the first time in Israeli history, the government has prohibited congregational prayer, even limiting these congregations to ten participants. At first, Israel closed all synagogues but allowed praying in open places. Now, they have even prohibited praying in open places. 

At the Wailing Wall, where thousands would gather each day to pray, now there is allowed just ten people to pray there three times a day. People are prohibited to gather in the streets, and each person must stand two meters apart. Supermarkets, the post office, and pharmacies are open. Car travel is limited to two people in a car, and only when their destination is permitted.

Some work offices have remained open but most are shut down. There is talk about insisting that all people wear masks in the streets. At supermarkets gloves, are provided for their customers. There is some temperature taking, but only at several supermarkets and work stations.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to attack Iranian locations in Syria. Israeli warplanes opened fire of Homs, Syria, while flying in Lebanese air space.

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David Wexelman

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

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