Israeli Society

Holocaust survivor becomes Israel’s first coronavirus fatality

An 88-year-old Holocaust survivor suffering from coronavirus reportedly became the first person in Israel to die from the illness.

Arie Even, who immigrated to Israel from Hungary in 1949, contracted the virus while staying in an assisted living facility where several of the residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Haaretz.


Israel to allow its citizens to visit Saudi Arabia

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Sunday signed an order allowing Israelis to travel to Saudi Arabia.

The decision was made in coordination with the security services, the foreign ministry, and the head of national security.
Traveling to the Arab country will only be allowed on the grounds of religious worship during the Hajj as well as business…

Record 4.9 million people visited Israel in 2019, 12% more than 2018

Israel saw a record number of 4.9 million entries into the country last year, of which 4.6 million were tourists who stayed at least one night, according to figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The tourism figures for 2019, published Monday, showed an increase of 12 percent in the number of entries compared to 2018.

Most visitors, over…

Report: Israeli economy grew 3.3 percent in 2019

(December 31, 2019 / JNS) The Israeli economy grew by an estimated 3.3 percent in 2019, higher than forecasted, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday, according to a report in the business daily Globes.

The GDP growth in 2018 was 3.4 percent.

The Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the budget deficit of the government and…

Israeli exports soared by almost 70% over past decade

Israeli exports of services and goods are forecast to break another annual record in 2019 as full-year revenues climb toward $114 billion, the Foreign Trade Administration said on Monday.
The predicted export value represents a 4.5% increase compared to 2018, and some 68% higher than 2009, when Israeli exports totaled approximately $67.7b. Over…

Beirut floodwaters sweep away Jewish graves

BEIRUT — Flooding at Beirut’s only Jewish cemetery has swept away entire graves after heavy rainfall hit the Lebanese capital.

The floodwater destroyed a retaining wall at the graveyard in the Ras al-Nabaa district overnight into Thursday, dragging sarcophagi and large chunks of rubble onto the pavement below.

Nagi Georges Zeidan, an expert on…

Israel’s Christian population grows to 177,000 citizens

The Christian population of Israel currently stands at approximately 177,000 citizens, or 2% of the overall population, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) ahead of Christmas.

Last year, the population grew by 1.5%, compared to 2.2% in 2017. Over three-quarters (77.5%) of Christians living in Israel are Arabs,…

Jewish Agency: 250,000 immigrants in past decade

In 2019 alone, 34,000 immigrants have come to Israel, up 18% from last year and one of the best years over the past decade.

More than 250,000 immigrants reached Israel from 150 countries in the past decade, the Jewish Agency reports. Russia, the Ukraine, France the US and Ethiopia were the leading countries in terms of providing immigrants to…

Israel, Greece, Cyprus to sign major pipeline deal in January

(December 23, 2019 / JNS) The governments of Cyprus, Greece and Israel plan to sign an agreement next month for a pipeline project to ship gas from the Mediterranean to Europe, the Greek prime minister’s office announced on Sunday, the AP reported.

The proposed pipeline system will take Israeli natural gas to the Greek island of Crete and the…

Saudi journalist claims citizenship was revoked because of support for Israel

(December 22, 2019 / JNS) A Saudi journalist claims that his support for normalized ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel is the reason why the Saudi government has revoked his and his family’s citizenship.

Abdul Hameed al-Ghabin told The Media Line that he was not officially told why their citizenship was revoked, and the Saudi government has not…

UAE foreign minister tweets article about Israel, Arab alliance

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for the United Arab Emirates, tweeted an article supporting an emerging alliance of Arab states with Israel. He tweeted from his personal account to his 4.6 million followers. The tweet repeated the headline of the article: “Islam’s reformation, an…

Netanyahu, Friedman light first Hanukkah candle at Western Wall

(December 23, 2019 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman lit a menorah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Sunday night to commemorate the first night of Hanukkah.

At the lighting ceremony, the prime minister said, “2,200 years ago, the Maccabees fought the war of liberation for the Jewish…

Rivlin hosts bar and bat mitzvah children traumatized by terror attacks

‘The people of Israel are with you,’ President Reuven Rivlin tells the children in a moving ceremony.

As a society, we try to prevent children from witnessing tragedy, which is why it is so heartbreaking to see children who have experienced the horrors of terrorism.

Recognizing this, President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday evening hosted his annual…

Two-meter high menorah lands at the Western Wall ahead of Hanukkah

The preparations for Hanukkah at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem kicked off on Tuesday with the installation of the traditional massive menorah, which will be lit every night during the holiday.

The menorah is made of bronze, reaches over two meters high and is about two meters wide, according to a statement by The Western Wall…

Immigration to Israel on way to passing last year’s numbers

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The number of immigrants to Israel this year is on the way to topping the 2018 figures, according to the government.

Some 27,300 people have made aliyah through October, according to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, The Times of Israel reported Monday. In all of 2018, more than 28,000 olim moved to Israel,…

First Israeli cycling team in Tour de France will promote ‘Start-Up Nation’

(December 12, 2019 / JNS) Israel Cycling Academy (ICA) just announced a partnership with Start-Up Nation Central (SNC), a Tel Aviv-based nonprofit that connects international companies with Israeli innovation.

Under the name “Israel Start-Up Nation,” the team will compete on cycling’s biggest stage as a new entrant in the World Tour.

As a…

Israel sending team to Samoa to help battle measles outbreak

Israel is sending an emergency medical team to help Samoa contain its deadly measles epidemic, Israel’s ambassador to the Pacific nation announced Thursday.

“Israel is sending an emergency medical team in coordination with the WHO to Samoa in response to the Samoan measles outbreak. Israel is committed to supporting our dear friend Samoa in this…

NY to DC, Paris, Dublin, Hague: Israel gains legitimacy around the world

Amid a negative drumbeat of reports about the country hurtling toward a third election within the year, Iran racing to encircle Israel, and antisemites either vandalizing Jewish graves or saying that Israel is “built on the idea that Jews are superior to everyone else,” there was actually some positive Israel-related news this week.

It started…