The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they unfolded.
Almost a quarter of the serious COVID-19 patients currently in hospitals are under the age of 60, the Ynet news site reports, citing Health Ministry data.
The number of coronavirus patients in serious condition topped 1,000 today, the first time hospitals in Israel have held that many since the start of the pandemic.
As the third wave of the pandemic continues to take a heavy toll on the country, the Health Ministry reports a record 1,029 serious cases, an increase of 36 in the previous 24 hours and nearly 300 in a week.
According to the reported data, 76% of the serious patients are aged 60 and up: 6.3% are 90 and up, 21.3% are aged 80-89, 26.7% are 70-79, and 22.7% are 60-69.
Some 14.6% of the patients are aged 50-59, 5.4% are aged 40-49, and 2.1% are aged 30-39.
Also in serious condition are three men and one woman in their 20s, three teenage girls, and two girls younger than 10.
As Israel starts handing citizens the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, President Reuven Rivlin gets his second shot, three weeks after receiving the first.
Rivlin is inoculated at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein became the first in the country to get the second and final dose.
מקבל את מנת החיסון השנייה בהדסה עין כרם, מהאחות חוה.
אזרחיות ואזרחי ישראל כולם, אנא צאו להתחסן גם אתם על-פי הנחיות משרד הבריאות. שרק תהיו לנו בריאים.
(צילום: מארק ניימן, לע"מ) pic.twitter.com/VzRiUHyaQ2
— ראובן (רובי) ריבלין (@ruvirivlin) January 10, 2021
Authorities say they have pinpointed the location of two black boxes from a crashed Indonesian jet, referring to cockpit voice and flight data recorders that could be crucial to understanding what happened to the aircraft, which had 62 people aboard.
“We have located the position of the black boxes, both of them,” says Soerjanto Tjahjanto, head of Indonesia’s transport safety agency.
“Divers will start looking for them now and hopefully it won’t be long before we get them.”
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein says Israel will be able to vaccinate 5 million of its 9.29 million citizens with the first dose by the end of March.
It isn’t clear how many Israelis are eligible for vaccination, a number that wouldn’t include those aged 0-16 and the almost 500,000 who have contracted the coronavirus.
At a briefing with senior ministry officials, Edelstein says the option of nighttime vaccinations should be considered.
A drive to inoculate teachers and education workers will start between Wednesday and Friday, he says.
The High Court of Justice says it won’t hold another discussion on the decision to allow visitors to bring bread and other leavened food into hospitals during the Passover festival, drawing outrage from religious bodies and politicians and praise from liberal activists.
The country’s top court previously rejected the Chief Rabbinate’s petition demanding that hospitals refuse to let the public bring chametz into their premises to respect observant people’s faith.
Religious Jews are forbidden from consuming or owning leavened products during the seven-day festival. Secular groups say a ban on bringing such food into hospitals infringes on their personal rights.
Ultra-Orthodox politicians slam the court and echo calls from the right to limit its powers by passing a law enabling the Knesset to override its rulings with a special majority.
“The chametz ruling is another example of how the judges are disconnected and unwilling to listen, while forcing their decision on the traditional majority in the State of Israel in the name of liberalism,” says United Torah Judaism MK Yaakov Asher.
Shas party leader Aryeh Deri says: “It is impossible that in a Jewish state, hospitals will be obligated to let chametz into their premises on Passover.”
MK Moshe Gafni calls the judges “insolent,” while religious Likud MK Shlomo Karhi tweets that after the election, his party will “dismantle the ruling junta and deny them the option of behaving like a parliament that wasn’t elected by anyone.”
The Rabbinate says the court’s decision has delivered a “critical blow to most of the public” and will possibly cause observant Jews to avoid hospitals during Passover and endanger their health since “the Chief Rabbinate will find it difficult to ensure kosher food at hospitals.”
Social activist Mohammad Darawsheh becomes the latest to form a new political party in Israel ahead of the March 23 election.
In a statement, Darawsheh says the party will be called Ma’an (“together” in Arabic) and will “focus only on the social and economic issues that interest the Arab citizen.”
He says his party will strive to move the Arab community “from victimhood to decision-making positions.”
An inspector for the Haifa Municipality is hit by a bullet she unintentionally discharged in the city’s Hashomer Street, the municipality says.
She is taken to the city’s Rambam Medical Center in serious condition.
The ultra-Orthodox parties are trying to get the Knesset plenum to convene immediately and pass a new law prohibiting leavened wheat products from being brought into hospitals during the Passover festival, Hebrew-language media reports, following a High Court final ruling issued today that says hospitals must let such food in.
United Torah Judaism MK is working to collect signatures from enough lawmakers to ask Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin to hold the plenum session even though the parliament has dissolved and Israel is in an election period.
The March 23 vote comes days before Passover begins, meaning there won’t be an opportunity to wait until a new government is sworn in before passing such a law.
A plane carrying some 700,000 more doses of the Pfizer vaccine lands at Ben Gurion Airport.
The shipment, touted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of his election campaign, is set to be received in person by the premier, who is broadcasting it live on Facebook and is expected to speak to the media shortly.
שידור חי מנתב״ג עם עוד מיליוני חיסונים שהבאנו לישראל. חוזרים לחיים!
Posted by Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו on Sunday, January 10, 2021
Prof. Nachman Ash, the top official tasked with overseeing the government’s pandemic response, says there is a “race” between skyrocketing infections and rapid vaccinations, saying that if the number of serious patients starts going down, the lockdown could be eased even if infections remain high.
Ash estimates that 10-20% of the new cases are mutated coronavirus strains, either the British or the South African variant.
He says cases are still growing, but not exponentially, which could be an initial positive sign.
He adds that the aim is to inoculate some 200,000 people per day.
Speaking at Ben Gurion Airport as 700,000 more Pfizer vaccine doses arrive, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will start inoculating all citizens over the age of 50, in addition to those over 60, 72% of whom have received the first dose.
Hailing the shipment’s arrival as “a great day for Israel,” Netanyahu says that the next shipment will arrive next Sunday.
He says that starting tomorrow, 170,000 people will be vaccinated per day.
He also says that in the coming days he’ll offer more financial help to businesses battered by the coronavirus restrictions.
The commander of the Golani Brigade’s Reconnaissance Battalion was attacked by settlers last night outside the Kedumim settlement during a violent protest over the death of a teenage Jewish extremist in a car chase with police last month, the Israel Defense Forces says.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi denounces the attack on the officer, saying in a statement that such violence must be rejected by Israeli society.
The assailant, whose name has not been released, was detained at the site of the attack and handed over to police, the military says.
The assault occurred while the military was opening up a roadway that had been blocked by the protesters on Saturday night.
“After a traffic jam had built up on the scene, a military force removed the protesters and ordered them to clear out the roadway. When they refused, the troops worked to clear the protesters from the highway. One of the protesters used physical violence against the IDF officer. He was detained at the site and handed over to the police officers on the scene for further treatment. The officer filed a complaint with the police,” the military says.
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of making serious mistakes in the way he related the US Democratic Party, adding that he, Lapid, keeps close contact with the party.
He says US President-elect Joe Biden will be cordial with Netanyahu but the rest of the party will not forget how the premier behaved.
Lapid also says he is learning from Biden’s team how to organize and run an election campaign during the pandemic. He says that as soon as possible, he and his campaign staff will be back in towns and cities nationwide, going door to door “as the Biden people did.”
A second Republican senator has called for US President Donald Trump to step down in the wake of the Capitol rioting last week.
This time it’s Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. He’s calling on Trump to resign for what Toomey says would be the good of the country after the Capitol riot that was carried out by supporters of the president.
Toomey says resignation is the “best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rear view mirror for us.” But Toomey says he’s not optimistic that Trump will step down before his term ends on January 20.
Toomey also says that Trump’s role in encouraging the riot is an “impeachable offense.”
Toomey is the second GOP senator to call for Trump to step down, joining Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Trump supporters who were angry over his loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. Five people were killed.
Toomey was interviewed today on CNN’s “State of the Union” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
A White House source speaking with The Mail on Sunday gives an inside look at US President Donald Trump’s failure to grasp the impact of the mob of his supporters raiding the Capitol last week, describing it as “the final hours of a deranged president in his bunker.”
Trump was livid, the unnamed source says, not at the attack itself and its far-reaching ramifications for the country’s democracy, but merely at the harm done to his own image.
“Trump was ‘apoplectic’ in embarrassment because the ‘white trash’ mob on screen made him look bad,” the report says.
The source is quoted as saying: “He was angry, not at the appalling crimes they were committing, but because he felt embarrassed. When they first stormed the Capitol he was enjoying it. These were ‘his people.’
“But when he saw pictures of the half-naked guy in the fur hat he started complaining they looked ‘cheap and poor.’ Even at one of the worst moments in American history, he was thinking about his image. He didn’t grasp the scale of the disaster.”
The report says that for hours, Trump ignored calls — including by Vice President Mike Pence — to issue a televised address calling off the mob.
“Why should I? These people are my supporters,” he reportedly said.
When they tried to get Trump’s wife, Melania, to help, they were left “dumbfounded” by her reaction, the source says.
“The heart of US government was under siege, our very democracy on the line, but Mrs. Trump was calmly arranging porcelain figurines” for a photoshoot for a new coffee table book about presidential artifacts, he says.
“She said nothing. She remained silent and carried on arranging a vase for the shoot. She checked out of this presidency and her marriage a long time ago,” the source claims.
Izhar Shay, who recently quit the Blue and White party and resigned as science and technology minister, announces he is joining Moshe Ya’alon’s Telem party, after the latter split from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid.
Reports have said Shay is expected to receive the No. 2 slot on Telem’s electoral slate.
Telem has also announced that anti-Netanyahu protest leader Gonen Ben-Yitzhak, Arab Israeli activist Ayman Aburia and Prof. Hagai Levine, a resigning government adviser on the pandemic response, have all joined the party as well.
The United States starts the “process of establishing” a consulate in contested Western Sahara, after Washington recognized Morocco’s sovereignty there in exchange for Rabat normalizing ties with Israel.
US ambassador David Fischer visits the port of Dakhla, 1,440 kilometers (895 miles) southwest of Rabat in the far south of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, to mark the start of work on a diplomatic office.
“It is such an honor for me to visit this stunningly beautiful and critically important region of Morocco, and to begin the process of establishing a US diplomatic presence here,” Fischer says, according to the US embassy.
Western Sahara is a disputed and divided former Spanish colony, mostly under Morocco’s control, where tensions with the pro-independence Polisario Front have simmered since the 1970s.
Last year, Morocco joined the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan in agreeing to normalize ties with Israel under US-brokered deals.
In return, US President Donald Trump fulfilled a decades-old Moroccan goal by backing its contested sovereignty over the barren but phosphate-rich region, which lies next to key Atlantic fishing zones.
Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita says “Morocco feels stronger in its legitimate fight for its territorial integrity… with the support of its friends.”
US House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn says the House could vote this week to impeach President Donald Trump but delay sending the legislation to the Senate until after many of incoming President Joe Biden’s Cabinet secretaries are confirmed for their posts.
The South Carolina Democrat says “it may be Tuesday or Wednesday before action is taken, but I think it will be taken this week.”
Clyburn says he’s concerned that a Senate trial could distract from the process of confirming Biden’s nominees.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s Republican leader, has said an impeachment trial could begin as early as January 20 – Biden’s inauguration day.
Clyburn tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that McConnell is trying to be “disruptive” but that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will decide when to appoint impeachment managers and send the articles to the Senate.
Clyburn says an option would be to give Biden the “100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running, and maybe we’ll send the articles sometime after that.”
Pinchas Gerby, an Israeli supporter of US President Donald Trump who participated in the breach of the US Capitol last week, speaks to Israel’s Channel 12 news about his experience.
Gerby says he was inside the Capitol building for some 30 minutes.
At the end of the pro-Trump outside the legislature, “we saw a row of police” preventing them from entering the building, Gerby says.
But then, “a mass of people pushed us forward and breached the line of police officers, there was no violence, I wasn’t dangerous, I didn’t go wild.”
Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of the siege.
— ITV News (@itvnews) January 6, 2021
Gerby says he and others calmly walked through the corridors and rooms of the Capitol. “When someone shattered the window glass we saw that guns were being pointed at us,” he says.
— Tal Schneider טל שניידר تال شنايدر (@talschneider) January 6, 2021
However, the situation remained so calm that at one point Gerby even asked for directions to the bathroom.
“I then saw that policemen were going room by room to empty them,” he says, adding that he was then escorted outside the compound.
“You may call me naive, but I was protesting the fact that the courts didn’t look at the evidence” for widescale voter fraud, he says. No such evidence has been reported by credible sources or accepted by any official overseeing the election, whether Republican or Democrat.
He says he didn’t do anything wrong since he wasn’t arrested.
However, friends later warned him that the FBI sent out notices asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating members of the mob that breached the Capitol.
“You really think that with today’s technology the FBI needs help from the public to find me? They can find me in 2.5 seconds, which is 2 seconds too many,” Gerby concludes.
The Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department (PIID) cancels the summoning of journalist Kalman Libeskind for questioning over the alleged “disruption” of the investigation into a settler teen’s death, following outrage from journalists and press freedom activists.
The PIID summoned Libeskind after the prominent columnist for the Maariv daily last week published a detailed version of events by one of the police officers who were in the car that collided with the vehicle in which Ahuvia Sandak and his friends were driving, causing it to flip and resulting in Sandak’s death.
Sandak and his extremist friends had been suspected of throwing rocks at Palestinians. The unnamed officer related to Libeskind the entire events of that day seen through his eyes, including that the car driven by the settlers had been driving dangerously, which caused the accident.
Hours after the PIID summoned Libeskind, after countless journalists and groups slammed the move, the Justice Ministry says he wasn’t summoned as a suspect but only to “clarify a specific matter” that arose during the investigation, but that a new development made his testimony unnecessary.
— חרדים10 (@charedim10) January 10, 2021
The officer himself was questioned for disrupting the investigation by talking to the media, and was then released under restrictions, the statement says.
The Haaretz daily says Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit only heard about the decision to summon Libeskind through the media, and that he intervened in the case to cancel the summons.
Africa passes the milestone of 3 million confirmed cases COVID-19, including more than 72,000 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
South Africa accounts for more than 30% of the continent’s total with more than 1.2 million reported cases, including 32,824 deaths. The high proportion of cases in South Africa could be because the country carries out more tests than many other African countries.
South Africa is battling a resurgence of the disease, driven by a variant of the virus that is more contagious and spreading quickly. Many hospitals are reaching capacity, yet the numbers of those infected are expected to continue rising, according to health experts.
South Africa’s 7-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from 19.86 new cases per 100,000 people on December 26 to 30.18 new cases per 100,000 people on January 9, according to Johns Hopkins University.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will meet with his Cabinet this week to consider if further restrictions should be taken to slow the spread of the disease, while balancing the need to encourage economic growth.
The government says it will once again discuss on Tuesday the option of appointing Kobi Shabtai as full-time Israel Police commissioner and Katy Perry as the permanent head of the Israel Prisons Service.
Public Security Minister Amir Ohana last month said both full-time appointments would be made after both forces were led by interim chiefs for two years. But later, Ohana said they will only be tapped in an temporary capacity due to disagreements with the Blue and White party, which conditioned its support on dozens of other permanent appointments being announced.
But last week, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said he supports Shabtai’s “immediate” approval as full-time police chief.
Former defense minister and IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon launches his Telem party’s campaign after breaking away from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, arguing that the current leadership “chaos” in Israel rivals the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when the government and security establishment were thoroughly unprepared by the simultaneous invasion of several Arab armies.
“Israel is going through a severe leadership crisis, the worst we’ve known, because the prime minister is in a serious conflict of interest with the State of Israel,” Ya’alon charges at a press conference.
“He denied us a state budget, he is thwarting the appointment of law enforcement officials, he is taking the national agenda hostage to his interests as a criminal defendant,” he adds.
He says the Netanyahu era is “over,” says more people will join his centrist, anti-Netanyahu party, and calls for unity despite the center-left political parties being more fragmented than ever.
— גלצ (@GLZRadio) January 10, 2021
Israel will mainly use Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to immunize its citizens as part of the country’s deal with the company, with 400,000-700,000 doses to make their way to the Jewish state every week, handing the company an edge over its rival Moderna, Channel 12 news reports.
The report says a deal with Moderna to push forward the arrival of its first vaccine doses was a pressure tactic in the negotiations with Pfizer.
Meanwhile, the Kan public broadcaster reports that the government is in disagreement over whether to set a target of 2.5 million or 5 million vaccinated Israelis that must be met before the lockdown restrictions start being eased. Thus far, 1.817 million have gotten the vaccine.
US Senator Roy Blunt says he does not see a need for congressional Republicans to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his role in promoting last week’s Capitol riot, but warns him to “be very careful” in his last 10 days in office.
The Missouri Republican calls Trump’s decisions and actions leading up to last Wednesday’s riot “clearly reckless.” But he says the US should be “thinking more about the first day of the next presidency” of President-elect Joe Biden than on removing Trump from office.
Blunt says he does not think Trump will act recklessly again. He told CBS’ “Face the Nation”: “My personal view is that the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again.”
Biden will be sworn in on January 20, 2021.
Despite a tighter lockdown being imposed on Friday, Israeli roads were only about 30% emptier today than on a normal Sunday, the Kan public broadcaster reports, citing data by police.
The reports says that over the weekend, as part of stepped-up enforcement, police caught and fined four COVID-19 patients driving on the roads and 20 others who violated the terms of their quarantine.
Despite many expecting the number of divorces to grow in the shadow of the pandemic, the number of divorces among Israeli Jews went down in 2020, according to an annual report by rabbinical courts.
The figures show that 11,076 couples divorced last year, compared with 11,451, a drop of 3 percent.
Sixty-seven percent of Americans put the blame for last week’s US Capitol riots squarely on US President Donald Trump, according to a poll by ABC News and Ipsos.
Only 15% of respondents think Trump bears no responsibility for the chaos that resulted in at least five deaths and cast a cloud over the country’s democratic procedures.
The survey also shows that 56% of Americans think the president should be ousted before his term ends on January 20, while 43% think he should not.
The answers to that question are largely divided along party lines, with 94% of Democrat supporters but just 13% of Republican backers saying Trump should be removed from office.
US movie star-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger likens last week’s riot at the Capitol by a mob supporting US President Donald Trump to the November 9, 1938, Nazi pogroms known as Kristallnacht.
Schwarzenegger compares the insurrection at the Capitol building in Washington, DC, to the rise of Nazi Germany and speaks for the first time about his father’s past.
In a lengthy video posted to Twitter, Schwarzenegger calls last week’s storming America’s “Night of Broken Glass,” or Kristallnacht, and refers to the perpetrators as the “Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys.”
My message to my fellow Americans and friends around the world following this week's attack on the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/blOy35LWJ5
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 10, 2021
“The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol — but the mob did not just shatter glass, they shattered the ideas we took for granted,” he says.
“They did not just break down the doors of the building that houses American democracy, the trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.”
“I’ve never shared this so publicly because it is a painful memory, but my father would come home drunk once or twice a week, and he would scream and hit us and scare my mother,” Schwarzenegger says, of his childhood in Austria. “I did not hold him totally responsible because our neighbor was doing the same to his family, and so was the next neighbor over.
“They were in physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies, and in emotional pain from what they saw or did. It all started with lies, and lies, and lies, and intolerance.
“So being from Europe, I’ve seen first-hand how things can spin out of control…”
Schwarzenegger’s father Gustav, a police chief, voluntarily joined the Nazi Party in 1938, and served in World War II as a “Hauptfeldwebel.” Wounded in 1943’s Battle of Stalingrad, he was discharged later that year after suffering malaria. Schwarzenegger asked the Simon Wiesenthal Center to look into Gustav’s wartime record, and it found no evidence of atrocities.
Does The Times of Israel give you valuable insight into Israel and the Jewish world? If so, please join The Times of Israel Community. For as little as $6/month, you will:
We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.
That’s why we come to work every day - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.
So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.
For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.