Archives For Ron Cantor

He may have placed 139th but Israeli Guy Niv was proud to become his nation’s first cyclist to complete all 21 stages of the Tour de France this week, finishing the race in nearly 93 hours.

“I felt shivers when I crossed the finish line on the Champs-Elysees. It was a sense of vast relief and sheer happiness: I have done it for the next generation of young Israeli cyclists. They can now dream of achieving this and more,” Niv said.

The Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) cycling team, Israel’s first professional cycling squad, made its debut in the world renowned race this year. Team owner Sylvan Adams promised that Israel would be back.

“We are just getting started,” Adams added.

His teammates and ISN directors were amazed at the ease with which Niv tackled his first Tour.

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Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, walked out of the General Assembly during a speech by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday in which he castigated Israel.

“The dirty hand that reaches the privacy of Jerusalem, where the sacred places of the three great religions coexist, is constantly increasing its audacity,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan criticized the peace agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, while commending the Palestinians for standing up to “Israel’s policies of violence and intimidation for more than half a century.”

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According to media reports, Israeli government and business leaders flew to Bahrain on Wednesday in order to finalize the normalization treaty signed last week but he two countries in Washington D.C. last week.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa spoke by phone and apparently arranged the high-level delegation trip. During the call Salman “underscored the importance of securing regional and international stability and enhancing efforts to support peace in the region,” according to the state-run Bahrain News Agency.

The two leaders reiterated the content of the so-called Abraham Accords that both nations signed on Sept. 15.

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With Israel shutting down due to COVID-19 just as the borders of Greece and a few other countries opened up, tens of thousands of Israelis took advantage of the opportunity to escape the country’s second lockdown in a half a year. I myself left days before the lockdown for the US, but not to escape the “seger” (lockdown), but to see my aging parents.

According to a Channel 12 report, some 15,000 Israelis flew out last week and another 7,000 over the Rosh Hashanah holiday, with an anticipated 40,000 more to follow over the next two weeks.

The numbers are impressive considering the borders have just opened and the hoops a potential traveler must go through to get permission to enter another country. I can tell you that the airport experience was one of the strangest, most uncomfortable airport experiences of my life. Every traveler must arrive at the airport with a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of their flight, printed in English with matching passport numbers. 

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No sooner had a three-week lockdown commenced in Israel on Friday than government officials began talking about tightening restrictions, fearing that the current ones will not be effective enough to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in Israel.

Israel’s hospitals raised the “red flag” last week, alerting authorities that the rapidly rising rate of infections could collapse the healthcare system. In fact, on Wednesday a record number of 6,900 new virus cases was reported in one day. Doctors predict that soon the Israeli healthcare system would be unable to provide optimal treatment to patients with COVID-19 in serious condition.

“The question is not the number of beds, but who is taking care of the patients,” Prof. Gil Fire told Ynet. “There is only a limited number of trained doctors who know how to treat serious patients. The workload is unusual, especially in light of the workload at other hospitals that refer to us [patients]. Our emergency room is very busy, patients are lying in the corridors, and in the last week, we have seen an increase in admissions to the general emergency department.”

A second national shutdown began on Friday afternoon with the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, and shuttered restaurants, mall, gyms and schools for at least three weeks while limiting the number of people in workplaces and houses of worship and restricting resident to a 1-kilometer perimeter from their homes.  

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