The Israeli military struck targets in the Gaza Strip early Friday, hours after terrorists in the coastal enclave fired a rocket into southern Israel on Israel's Independence Day. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) claimed that the targets of its counterattack included a munitions manufacturing site, a tunnel for smuggling weapons, and a military post. At least six strikes were carried out by the IDF, according to Palestinian media. The attack was the first to successfully enter into Israel since late March, when a rocket launched from Gaza fell in an open area near Beersheba, as Prime Minister Netanyahu was visiting a restaurant in the city.
Celebrations for Israel's 73rd Independence Day continued Thursday, with events, performances, and parties happening across the country. Wednesday night's opening ceremony in Jerusalem marked a momentous return to live events, following a year of strict pandemic regulations. The celebrations included the annual Independence Day flyover conducted by the Israel Air Force, a festive flotilla that sailed down the Mediterranean coastline between Herzliya and Tel Aviv, and the traditional Yom Haatzmaut ceremony for outstanding Israeli soldiers, which was hosted by President Reuven Rivlin from his residence in Jerusalem.
Israel will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated tourists in May. The country plans to begin welcoming vaccinated group tours, before eventually allowing for the return of individual, vaccinated tourists—which could happen as soon as July. All visitors will be required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test before boarding a flight to Israel. Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, they will undergo an antibody test to confirm their vaccination status. Over time, officials will try to establish a vaccine passport, the goal of which will be eliminating the antibody test requirement.
Forward Focus: This 4-part series focuses on religious diversity in Israel. In this series, we will hear from experts, religious leaders, and changemakers who will take us on a deep dive into the diversity of Jewish life in Israel. Explore Israel's fascinating landscape and what it means to be Jewish in our homeland by learning more and registering here.
Our JCRC is curating a diverse schedule of webinars, hosted by our local and national partners, on Israel and other issues related to our work. Click here to view this calendar.