Israel Weekly News Roundup June 24 2022
5 Things you need to know
Israeli Government Coalition Has Come to an End: PM Bennett and Foreign Minister Lapid announced that the coalition can no longer function, and they decided to call for general elections, for the fifth time in the last three years. The elections will be held at the end of October or beginning of November.
Meanwhile there are still some efforts by members of the Likud to establish a new coalition with Netanyahu, now head of the opposition, as Prime Minister. If that happens, there will be no elections. But the chance is very low of this succeeding. Right wing leaders who refuse to join Netanyahu, do so because of his indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Public opinion polls still don’t predict a clear winner, and the balance between the two blocks is solidly divided.
According to the political agreement, if elections are announced, Lapid immediately becomes interim Prime Minister, until a new coalition is established after the elections.
Meanwhile Netanyahu still faces his continuing trial, that meets three times a week.
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Towards End of School Year Teachers Union Calls Strike: with less than a week to the end of the school year in pre and elementary schools, the teachers’ union escalates its protest and calls a strike. Minister of Education Shasha Biton (New Hope) voiced her public support of the teachers’ union demands, negotiations are to resume on Sunday, June 26th, and the union’s leader Yaffa Ben David, has agreed to withhold the strike until then. It is unclear whether the interim government could sign a new agreement before the next school year. The teachers’ strike sparked heated public debates between those who support the teachers’ struggle for better pay, and those voicing their anger at the union’s leadership and criticizing the education systems poor achievements and long vacations. The public’s interest in the issue was enhanced by reports of a severe shortage of teachers, and the substantial challenges facing Israel’s education system after more than two years of the COVID-19 crisis.
A Worrying Rise in COVID-19 People who Test Positive: Infection ratio has risen to more than 1.27, and health authorities are worried that a new variant has entered the country. The health system has not issued any new restrictions so far, but they are considering calling on people to start wearing masks in closed and crowded places.
Meanwhile, the association for pediatric doctors is considering encouraging parents of toddlers to give them the covid vaccine. Last week the American Center for Disease Control (CDC) approved the vaccine for everyone six months and older.
Chaos at Ben Gurion Airport: with summer vacation fast approaching and COVID-19 travel restriction a thing of the past (for now), the media shares daily visuals of long lines at Israel’s only international airport. The chaos at the airport at the beginning of the high season is a painful reminder of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel. Shortage of ground staff is the main cause for flight delays and cancellations, and suitcases not reaching their destinations on time. Right wing politicians and pundits were quick to hold Minister of Transportation Merav Michaeli (Labor) accountable for the current chaos, including former minister Betzalel Smotritch, who saw similar chaos during his tenure.
Hebrew Book Week is Celebrated with Book Fairs All Over the County: It is an opportunity for book writers to meet the readers, sign their books, and for readers to buy new and old books at reasonable prices.
The first Hebrew book fair was held on April 1st, 1926, and was initiated by the office to distribute the Hebrew book in the land of Israel. This was before the state of Israel was established. The current annual event, that lasts 10 days during June, started on 1961.
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