Israel is monitoring several possible cases of the Coronavirus within its borders and fought off 800 cyberattacks targeting the planes of world leaders attending the World Holocaust Forum. Plus, Democrat Mike Bloomberg says he stands for Israel.
Three Israelis Possibly Infected with Coronavirus
Three Israelis are hospitalized after experiencing possible symptoms of the deadly Coronavirus that has killed at least eighty and infected nearly 3,000 in China.
The Times of Israel reports that while medical authorities do not believe that there is a high chance the three cases are Coronavirus, they are taking every precaution. Israel’s Channel 12 did report that at least some of the patients had recently returned from China.
This version of the Coronavirus originated in Wuhan and is spreading rapidly within the region. At least eighty deaths have been reported in China, and cases have been confirmed in at least fifteen other countries. The city of Wuhan and other major cities in China have been placed on lockdown, trapping millions of people. A new report from the Chinese government indicates that the virus can be spread before carriers start showing symptoms, which only further complicates containment.
Like many other countries, the Israeli Health Ministry issued a travel warning on Friday for Wuhan and nearby areas and urged Israelis to avoid all travel to the region unless it was critical. The ministry also said it was keeping a close eye on the situation and would provide updates. In response to the travel interruptions, Israel’s El Al Airlines is reportedly allowing travelers with tickets from Israel to China to change their flight without any fees or penalties.
Two other Israelis were already released from quarantine for exhibiting the same symptoms earlier this week, and health officials said they expect the same for the three currently under observation.
Cyber Attack Targets World Leaders Attending World Holocaust Forum
As dozens of world leaders flew into Israel to participate in the World Holocaust Forum last week, they were met with a wave of cyberattacks directed at their planes and the airport.
All the attacks were successfully beaten back thanks to a high level of preparedness from Israel. The Times of Israel reports that the attacks “were aimed at disrupting the flight paths of more than sixty planes carrying heads of state, kings, and presidents.”
The barrage included at least 800 distinct cyberattacks originating in Iran, China, North Korea, Russia, and Poland, according to Israeli Channel 12 News. While no other information has been released at this time, such as the responsible parties for the attack, it comes as no surprise that the attack was foiled.
Renowned for its prowess in cyber warfare, Israel is well suited to deal with such attacks, especially ones that target aviation. In 2017, Israel’s cybersecurity authority launched Hercules, a unique project designed to identify the dangers to aviation and to find solutions. Thanks to Hercules, the world leaders including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, all had another happy landing.
The high-profile visitors were welcomed in Jerusalem by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and thanked for coming to Israel to honor the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The Jerusalem Post reports that he thanked the attending Arab world leaders in particular.
"This is another indication of change in the attitude of Muslim bodies and, of course, of Arab countries to Israel and the Jewish truth of the Holocaust," Netanyahu said.
Rocket, Incendiary Balloons from Gaza Trigger Israeli Strike
The Israeli air force struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday after a rocket launched, and incendiary balloons were spotted.
The rocket struck an open area, and the balloons carrying explosives were found near the Gaza border and defused by a bomb disposal unit without any damage or casualties, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Not considered a significant escalation, the incident comes before high-level talks between Israeli leadership and the White House regarding the Trump administration’s promised peace plan that follows up on the already presented economic proposal. Any proposed plan will likely be met with the same icy rejection that has shut down previous attempts, but the current lull between Israel and Gaza factions may open more windows for negotiation.
Under Egyptian pressure, Hamas has reportedly agreed to halt the incendiary balloon attacks on top of already severely restricting the weekly border protests that have left dozens dead.
Presidential Candidate Mike Bloomberg Promises Support for Israel
Democratic presidential candidate told Jewish Americans on Sunday that he would support Jews and the State of Israel in contrast to other Democratic candidates who have left that question open-ended or openly spoken against Israel.
“As president, I will always have Israel’s back,” said Bloomberg, speaking to Jewish American supporters in Florida. The Associated Press reports that he went on to vow to “never impose conditions” on U.S. military aid to Israel if elected.
Rather than speaking in too much detail on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Bloomberg turned his attention to the scourge of anti-Semitism in the U.S.
“This time is a time of great anxiety in the Jewish community, both around the world and here at home — as ancient hatreds are given fresh currency with new technologies,” he said. “We are confronted by signs that we thought we would never see outside of old black-and-white newsreels: synagogues attacked, Jews murdered, Nazis marching brazenly and openly by torchlight.”
Both Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders are Jewish candidates for the Democratic primary, but Bloomberg made clear that their shared identity did not mean they shared the same policies.
“I’m not the only Jewish candidate running for president. But I am the only one who doesn’t want to turn America into a kibbutz,” he said.