Israel’s Supreme Court clears Netanyahu to form government despite corruption charges

UNTV News   •   May 7, 2020   •   174

Photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and head of the Blue and White party Benny Gantz signing an agreement to form an emergency coalition government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment on corruption charges does not disqualify him from forming a government, Israel’s top court said late on Wednesday (May 6), paving the way for the veteran leader to remain in power.

In its ruling against opposition petitioners, the Supreme Court also found that Netanyahu’s unity government deal with his election rival Benny Gantz does not violate the law, dismissing arguments that it unlawfully shields him in a corruption trial.

The ruling removes a critical legal hurdle to the coalition government the right-wing Netanyahu and centrist Gantz plan to swear in next week, following three inconclusive elections in the past year.

It also moves the country closer to ending its political deadlock as it grapples with the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.

Netanyahu was indicted in January on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He denies any wrongdoing in all three cases. (Reuters)

(Production: Eli Berklzon, Rami Amichay, Lee Marzel)

Like Pac-Man, innovative Israeli coronavirus mask gobbles food

UNTV News   •   May 19, 2020

Israeli inventors have developed a coronavirus mask that allows diners to eat food without taking it off, a device that could make a visit to a restaurant less risky.

A squeeze of a lever, much like a cyclist operates a handbrake, opens a slot in the front of the mask so that food can pass through.

The process could get messy with ice cream or sauces, but more solid morsels can be gobbled up in a flash in the style of Pac-Man in the iconic video game.

“The mask will be opened mechanically by hand remote or automatically when the fork is coming to the mask,” said Asaf Gitelis, vice president of Avtipus Patents and Inventions, who demonstrated the device at its offices near Tel Aviv.

“Then you can eat, enjoy, drink and you take out the fork and it will be closed, and you’re protected against the virus and other people sitting with you.”

The company said it plans to start manufacturing the mask within months and had already submitted a patent. It said it would likely sell at a 3 to 10 shekel ($0.85 to $2.85) premium above the price of the simple pale blue medical masks many Israelis wear.

Outside a juice bar in Tel Aviv, Reuters showed a cellphone video of the mask in action. Opinion was divided.

“I think this mask that enables me to eat while I’m still wearing it, it’s a must have,” said Ofir Hameiri, a 32-year-old graduate student.

But maskless and eating an ice cream cone, Ron Silberstein, a 29-year-old musician, said: “I don’t think this mask could hold this kind of ice cream – it’s dripping all over. I wouldn’t want to wear it afterward”.

Israel has largely reopened its economy after a dramatic drop in cases of the novel coronavirus. But restaurants are open only for takeout for the time being. (Reuters)

(Production: Eli Berlzon, Rami Amichai, Rinat Harash, Jeffrey Heller)

Israeli firm treats COVID-19 patient using placenta therapy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 23, 2020

An Israeli regenerative medicine company that is developing a platform of novel biological therapeutic products has announced that they were able to treat their first coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient in New Jersey, USA under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Single Patient Expanded Access Program, also known as a compassionate use program.

In a statement, Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. said the treatment is “part of the U.S. Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), an emergency program for possible therapies that uses every available method to move new treatments to patients as quickly as possible.”

Pluristem said the patient was administered a treatment called Placental expanded (PLX) cell therapy.

The company added that the patient was critically ill with respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) prior to the PLX treatment.

The patient was also under mechanical ventilation in an intensive care unit (ICU) for three weeks.

Pluristem CEO and President Yaky Yanay said they are now focusing on the initiation of a multinational clinical study.

“In parallel with our planned clinical trial, we expect to continue treating patients under compassionate use through the appropriate regulatory clearances in the United States and Israel, as well as expanding treatment under compassionate use in other countries,” he said. AAC

Filipino travelers advised on obligatory quarantine policy in Israel

Marje Pelayo   •   March 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has advised Filipinos to defer non-essential travel to Israel after its government imposed obligatory quarantine to incoming travelers regardless of country of origin.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu on Monday (March 9) ordered mandatory quarantine to everyone entering Israel due to the threats of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The order which is set to take effect on Thursday (March 12) will require all foreign nationals entering Israel to undergo 14 days of home quarantine.

The DFA said the Israeli government also advises individuals who are currently on home quarantine under previous instructions of the Israeli Ministry of Health to continue quarantine for up to 14 days following their return to Israel.

In addition to that, those who returned to Israel from abroad in the last 14 days are not required to undergo home quarantine, but are advised to contact Magen David Adom or MDA (Israel’s national medical emergency services) and undergo immediate home quarantine if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.

Likewise, tourists in Israel are required to maintain good hygiene practices, avoid large crowds, and document their travels within Israel.

They are also advised to immediately contact MDA if they develop any symptoms of the disease.

Furthermore, the Israeli government reminds tourists that they will be unable to exit to neighboring countries and then return to Israel.

For assistance, the DFA advises Filipinos en route to or have returned to Israel to contact the Philippine Embassy at (+972-3) 6010-500 and (+972-54) 4661-188 should they encounter issues on the said guidelines.

Based on the latest report of the country’s Health Ministry, Israel has confirmed 70 cases of COVID-19 infection.

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