Palestinian cities locked down, Israeli lab claims vaccine breakthrough, British Jews at high risk


The Palestinian Authority placed two major West Bank cities, Hebron and Nablus, on lockdown following a steep rise in Covid-19 cases.

The PA said Saturday that more than 100 Palestinians in the West Bank tested positive for the coronavirus in 24 hours, Ynet reported.

There have been 10,22 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the West Bank since the start of the pandemic, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported. Some 41 cases were discovered in Hebron on Saturday alone.

In a statistical analysis of deaths from the coronavirus in England, Jewish males were shown to have double the risk of dying from Covid-19 than the general population.

The report published Friday by the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics looked at deaths from the virus between March 2 and May 15. At the time there had been 453 deaths of people identifying as Jewish in the census, including a disproportionate number among elderly Jews and from England’s charedi Orthodox community. 

Jewish males had a mortality rate of 187.9 deaths per 100,000 compared to 92.6 deaths overall per 100,000 in the general population, which is primarily Christian. For Jewish females, the rate was 94.3 deaths per 100,000 compared with 54.6 overall.

The report means that “Jewish males are at twice the risk of Christian males, and Jewish women are also at higher risk,” The Jewish Chronicle of London quoted Nick Stripe, head of a department at the kingdom’s Office for National Statistics, as saying.

A “substantial part of the difference in mortality” between religious groups, the report says, owes to “the different circumstances in which members of these groups are known to live; for example living in areas with higher levels of socioeconomic deprivation and differences in ethnic makeup.”

An Israeli Defense Ministry-run laboratory has claimed that it has completed successful coronavirus vaccine trials on rodents, paving the way to further testing on other animals and then possibly human trials, the Times of Israel reports. In a paper published on Friday on the website of bioRxiv, an online repository for papers that haven’t yet been peer-reviewed, the Israel Institute for Biological Research, based in Ness Ziona, said it hopes to have a finished vaccine in a year, or possibly even earlier.

The New York Legal Assistance Group, which conducts a major outreach in the Jewish community, has expanded its NY Covid-19 Legal Resource Hotline. Information on such topics as advanced planning, consumer debt, unemployment benefits and housing is available. Its new hours are 7 a.m.- 1 p.m., Monday-Friday. (929)-356-9582.

Recommended Reading

I Like Shabbat on Zoom.” Online Jewish programming offers advantages, author Barbara Sheklin Davis writes in an essay on ejewishphilanthropy.

Latino-Jewish cooperation during COVID-19.” In an op-ed in The Hill, an American Jewish Committee official and the president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce describe how their organizations are working together on health and socio-economic challenges, and jointly fighting bigotry and dangerous conspiracy theories, exacerbated by misinformation that is spreading on social media platforms.


UJA-Federation Westchester will sponsor an online, sing-along performance of the recent hit production of Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Israel Policy Forum will sponsor a webinar panel discussion on “The Road Ahead: Leading Responsibly for Israel’s Future,” on Tuesday at 5 p.m. Participants will include Susan Rice, John Allen, and Daniel Shapiro. The event will take place a week before the July1 date when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has declared he may implement Israeli’s unilateral West Bank annexation.

Hebrew Union College will sponsor a lecture on The Black-Jewish Alliance: Then and Now, featuring Gary P. Zola, executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, and Cheryl Greenberg, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of History at Trinity College, on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Join The Jewish Week and UJA-Federation of New York for “On the Trail of Kafka’s Literary Afterlife with Benjamin Balint,” Thursday, June 25, 6:00 pm. Balint, winner of the 2020 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for his book “Kafka’s Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy,” will be in conversation with Sandee Brawarsky, culture editor of The Jewish Week. The event is free but you must register here.