The Israeli army and Hamas are again exchanging missiles. Far-right Jewish activists come to blows with the police and Palestinian youth. All while Israel could just breathe a sigh of relief after a particularly effective vaccination campaign that almost completely liberated the country from the tangle of Covid-19. The vacuum left by the virus was seemingly immediately taken by violence.
The Jewish state of Israel has again felt the almost familiar threat of terror from missiles in recent days. It all started with a Syrian missile fired towards the Negev on Thursday to shut down one of the country’s main nuclear reactors. That incident happened just a week after Israel officially lifted the mouth mask requirement in the country on April 18.
The latter was possible after Israel, which was almost at all times the vaccination champion of the world, was able to experience the positive effects of the vaccinations very clearly this month. By the end of this workweek, at least 5 of 9 million Israelis would have received two injections of a Covid-19 vaccine. That’s about 54 percent of the population with strong antibody shields against the virus. In fact, 80 percent of them are above the 16-year-old limit to qualify for a vaccination.
Violent street fighting and missiles from Gaza
There was not much time for festivities or rest for the Israelis. On Friday evening, hundreds were injured when street fighting broke out between far-right Jewish activists, Palestinian youth and the police in east Jerusalem. There had been growing religious tensions between the two groups for days. The Jewish community of the city sees Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinian community raises the east of Jerusalem as its capital.
Yesterday, another 30 rockets were fired towards Jerusalem from the Gaza Strip by members of Hamas. In response, the Israeli military fired at several Hamas military targets, it said in a Saturday night press release. According to Hamas, the attack was in response to fighting between Arab and Jewish communities in Jerusalem. “We are doing our job to protect the national Palestinian community,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.
Netanyahu cannot find a solution for a new government
Meanwhile, there is also a political impasse in the country. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently indicated that he sees no solution to the political puzzle of forming a new government. In particular, securing support for the Islamic United Arab List, which promotes the interests of Arab Israelis, seemed particularly problematic.
As of Sunday, Netanyahu has only 9 days left to form a government. Naftali Bennett, the current Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Education, is now trying to form a government himself that he will head as prime minister. For this he seeks, among other things, a compromise with the ‘Religious Zionist Party’.