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Newsletter : 20fx0924.txt

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Netanyahu: Full Lockdown is Needed for Two Weeks, Followed by Closure

By the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during a meeting with the coronavirus cabinet Wednesday that a full lockdown for two weeks, followed by a loosened closure of two weeks, is needed to curb the coronavirus morbidity rate, according to Walla news. "Morbidity in Israel is rising and the number of serious is rising. We have heard from experts that if we do not take steps we will reach the abyss immediately. We are now required to impose a full closure for two weeks, then continue in two weeks of closure." The lockdown is expected to be more stringent than the one in March, and should include shuttering synagogues, reducing the number of people who can protest, closing all nonessential businesses and markets, reducing public transportation routes and allowing citizens to gather only within their nuclear families. Protesters are expected to be allowed to demonstrate and worshipers to pray in groups of up to 20 people within one kilometer of their homes. Synagogues are expected to open only on Yom Kippur for small groups of worshipers. A decision on halting flights departing Ben-Gurion Airport as early as Friday was not finalized by press time. The decision comes on the day that almost 7,000 people were diagnosed with coronavirus in a 24-hour period – unprecedented numbers. Netanyahu pushed for the total closure despite opposition by the Finance Ministry and some other senior officials. They said that a total lockdown was not needed. The closure will cost an estimated NIS 35 billion ($10 billion) if the lockdown lasts three weeks. "The situation is bad; we're seeing a steep increase in morbidity rates," Netanyahu said via a video message during a break from the coronavirus cabinet meeting. "We need to reach decisions, hard decisions. But as prime minister, I'm obligated to protect your lives, and everyone must understand that this is a life-threatening situation. "That's why there's no other choice. We're going to make hard decisions and save lives – with your cooperation," he concluded.

Trump Quoted as Saying that Jews are `Only in it for Themselves'

By JTA & the Jerusalem Post

President Donald Trump said Jews "stick together" and are "only in it for themselves" following conversations with Jewish lawmakers, The Washington Post quoted senior White House officials as saying. The quotes are in a lengthy article quoting anonymous current and former officials describing how Trump treated race in private conversations. The Post did not add further context to those two partial quotes except to say that by "sticking together," Trump appeared to mean that the loyalty of Jews to one another exceeds all others. Many of the quoted broadsides echo remarks Trump has said in public, perhaps in slightly less blunt terms. In the run-up to the 2016 election, he told Republican Jewish donors, "You're not going to support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians." The story posted Wednesday adds detail to the protests among his staff sparked by his equivocations following the neo-Nazi march in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned deadly. Trump on the day of the protest, in which a white supremacist killed one protester and injured 20 others, said there was violence from "many sides," although the violence overwhelmingly came from the side of the white supremacists. When Gary Cohn, then the White House economic adviser, confronted Trump about the remarks and threatened to resign, Trump denied saying "many sides." "Not only did you say it, you continued to double down on it," Cohn, who is Jewish, reportedly told Trump. "And if you want, I'll get the transcripts." Trump relented and two days after the march unequivocally condemned neo-Nazis and white supremacists — although he subsequently equivocated again, describing "fine people" on both sides of the events. A White House spokeswoman disputed the characterizations to the Post. "Donald Trump's record as a private citizen and as president has been one of fighting for inclusion and advocating for the equal treatment of all," she said.

Jews May Not be Able to Visit the Western Wall Prayers can Still be Placed There

By JTA

A visit to Israel and the Western Wall before Yom Kippur is pretty much out of the question due to coronavirus restrictions, but Jews can still have their prayers placed between the stones of the holy site. The Jewish Agency for Israel has started a campaign to collect the prayers and messages from Jews in Israel and around the world and pledged to place them in the Kotel. Israel's borders have been closed to most noncitizens since early in the pandemic. The country entered a national lockdown last week hours before the start of Rosh Hashanah. "Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Western Wall and its plaza are normally packed with visitors. This year, due to restrictions, it's not possible to come to Jerusalem and place notes with our prayers between the stones of the Western Wall, the holiest place for the Jewish people," Isaac Herzog, the Jewish Agency's chairman, said in a statement. "As an organization whose mission it is to strengthen global Jewry and its relationship with Israel, we thought it would be fitting to facilitate this important act for so many this High Holiday season." The project was officially announced in a Facebook post published by The Jewish Agency. The post included a video depicting several people who've already sent their notes to the organization. To submit a note for The Jewish Agency to place in the Western Wall, please visit: http://my.jewishagency.org/kotel/en

Amazon to go on a Recruiting Spree in Israel

By Ctech
Amazon, for the first time on Wednesday, revealed the scope of its workforce in Israel. According to a statement issued by the tech giant, it plans to recruit 150 new employees in the near future, which will bring its total number of Israeli employees to 1,300. The new recruits, the company said, are not linked to or meant to serve the company's retail activities in Israel. The new positions are meant to fill roles in Amazon's research centers and offices in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Herzliya, including jobs such as client managers, business development managers, chip development engineers, software engineers, hardware engineers, embedding services engineers and consultants, research scientists, solution architects, validation architects and more. "We are excited to be creating 150 new jobs, in addition to our robust workforce, which will enable us to tap into the amazing technology talent pool here in Israel," Harel Ifhar, general manager of Amazon Web Services Israel said. Amazon first opened its offices in Israel in 2014 and since then has been significantly expanding its activities both in the number and size of local teams and in the range of positions it seeks to fill. The Israeli team currently supports several of Amazon's activities including Sizmek, Cloud Endure, Lab 126, Prime Air, Alexa Shopping, Annapurna Labs, AWS, and E8.


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