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Israel breaks one-day record, Orthodox camp riles Vermont town, Robert De Niro zooms Israeli students
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Coronavirus 2020Daily Coronavirus Update

Israel breaks one-day record, Orthodox camp riles Vermont town, Robert De Niro zooms Israeli students

Actor Robert De Niro participated in a Zoom call with over 2,000 Tel Aviv University students, July 12, 2020. 
(Tel Aviv University)
Actor Robert De Niro participated in a Zoom call with over 2,000 Tel Aviv University students, July 12, 2020. (Tel Aviv University)

Israel’s army reported a near tripling of coronavirus cases in nine days, The Times of Israel reported.

The military released figures showing infections rising from 203 on July 4 to 568 on Monday, according to the news site.

An Israeli agency reported Tuesday morning that 1,688 coronavirus infections were diagnosed a day earlier, the highest number seen in any 24-hour period.

With numbers continuing to rise, government officials were said to conclude there was no escaping a reimposed closure throughout Israel, with Channel 13 quoting an unnamed senior official in the Health Ministry as saying Israel was “a step away from a full lockdown.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged that the country reopened too soon after having diminished the number of infections.

Orthodox Jews in Lakewood, N.J and others across the country have provided “an extraordinary quantity of antibody-rich plasma for the U.S. government supported Covid-19 expanded access program,” NBC News reports.

Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, who is leading a nationwide study on the use of blood plasma to treat patients with severe Covid-19, said donations from Orthodox Jews account for roughly half of the supply used to treat 34,000 people.

The effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy in treating Covid-19 patients has yet to be established in clinical trials, but Joyner said he’s optimistic. An initial study has already shown the treatment to be safe for Covid-19 patients.

Some 8,000 vials of blood serum have been donated for use by scientists at 10 institutions across the globe in their quest to figure out why the virus is so deadly for some and not for others.

Bikur Cholim of Lakewood has organized the drives to provide donations of convalescent plasma to combat COVID-19. “There’s no way we’d be able to treat so many people without them,” Joyner told NBC News. “They were the straw that serves the drink in a lot of ways.”

An out-of-state Orthodox Jewish summer camp group crowding into a Vermont hotel has run into trouble with authorities over state coronavirus violations, WCAX.com reports.

Authorities in Rutland Town worry out-of-state campers who just arrived at the Holiday Inn aren’t following the governor’s guidelines.

A separate group staying at Southern Vermont College in Bennington is following occupancy orders, the one in Rutland is not, they say. BRC Teens Camp runs both programs.

“We were obviously concerned with the sheer volume of people who were coming and sort of the location of where they were coming from, due to that area being such a hot bed of Covid-19 activity over the last several months,” said Josh Terenzini, the chair of the Rutland Town Selectboard.

Between 350 to 400 campers are scheduled to stay at the Holiday Inn in Rutland for the next three weeks, the majority of them from the greater New York City area, exceeding the governor’s executive order limiting capacity to 50 percent. Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling says his team is giving the Holiday Inn 72 hours to meet that cap, essentially kicking out 50 to 100 campers.

Rabbi Moshe Perlstein, the BRC Teens Camp’s director, is defiant, saying none of the campers will step off the hotel property and that they canceled all outdoor excursions, limiting the risk to the community. He also said each of the campers took a Covid-19 test and came back negative.

“We’re here, and we’re here to stay, and then we’re going home,” said Rabbi Perlstein

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers say identity thieves can extract private information from your Zoom meetings.

The researchers are warning video conference users to not post screen images of Zoom and other video conference sessions on social media, because of the ease in which hackers can extract private information from collage images of meeting participants posted on Instagram and Twitter.

The BGU team easily identified people from public screenshots of video meetings on Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. “It is relatively easy to collect thousands of publicly available images of video conference meetings and extract personal information about the participants, including their face images, age, gender, and full names,” says Dr. Michael Fire, of BGU Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering (SISE). “This type of extracted data can vastly and easily jeopardize people’s security and privacy, affecting adults as well as young children and the elderly.”

The researchers explored the dataset of more than 15,700 collage images and more than 142,000 face images of meeting participants.

Their recommendations include not posting video conference images online, or sharing videos; using generic pseudonyms like “iZoom” or “iPhone” rather than a unique username or real name; using a virtual background vs. a real background since it can help fingerprint a user account across several meetings; and for hosts to enable privacy mode features such as filters or Gaussian noise.

Actor Robert De Niro participated in a Zoom call with over 2,000 Tel Aviv University students and spoke about Covid-19, his work and some of his visits to Israel part of an ongoing series of conversations with major players in the world of film and television.

Ido Aharoni, a TAU alumnus and governor, conducted the interview.

De Niro reminisced Sunday about his first trip to Israel, about 40 years ago. His most recent trip was in 2013 on the occasion of former President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday. He travelled to Israel with one of his children and described Shimon Peres as “a great person, a great statesman.”

Recommended Reading

Hashem Still Has a Plan.” Allan Ripp profiles Bina, the diminutive nonagenarian Jewish refugee who “often occupied one of the green benches inside Central Park off West 96th Street” and who explains why Covid-19 was no big deal for her.

Streaming

Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School presents a program on “Deafness, Jewish Law, and Inclusion.” Rabbi Dov Linzer headlines the next “Changemakers” on Tuesday, July 14 at 9 p.m. The session will be close-captioned for those who request it.

The Israeli American Council and Tel Aviv University hold a global e-summit, “Inspire the Future of Education in Partnership, with events July 13-14. The summit will bring together Israeli and American senior executives from ed-tech, leading academics, and social entrepreneurs to examine the pivotal role of innovation in the field of education. The two-day program will feature panels and one-on-one conversations, as well as breakout sessions and online networking opportunities with other summit attendees. Admission to “ZoomOut” is free of charge for educators and open to the general public. Registration for the summit is required for all participants.

T’ruah hosts Call of Justice, a weekly virtual action, asking participants this week to call members of Congress to urge them to support the BREATHE Act, legislation meant to protect Black lives. The guest speaker will be Yehudah Webster of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. Tuesday, July 14, 2:30-3:00 p.m.

Israel Policy Forum sponsors a video briefing on U.S. assistance to Israel and the Palestinians and the 10-year US-Israel MOU on Tuesday, July 14, at 2 p.m. Panelists include Andrew Miller, deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), and Dana Stroul, Fellow in The Washington Institute’s Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics. Webinar ID:989 4256 6864

The Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County presents a Curator’s Corner event on “The Daily News Covers the Death of Hitler,” on Wednesday, July 15, at 11:00 a.m. Dr. Thorin Tritter, HMTC’s museum and programming director, will focus on a copy of the Daily News from May 2, 1945, displayed at the museum, emblazoned with the headline, “Hitler Dead.” Email Millie Jasper at mjasper@hhrecny.org to register.

Partners for Progressive Israel presents “From Fringe to Mainstream: How the Rightwing Marketed Annexation,” a panel discussion on Wednesday, July 15 at 12:30 p.m. Panelists include Einat Ovadia, executive dDirector of the new activist think tank, Zulat for Equality and Human Rights, and Adi Granot, Zulat’s Annexation Project Manager and the author of the new report: “Laundering the Discourse: It Ain’t ‘Annexation’ – It’s Apartheid.”

America-Israel Friendship League sponsors a webinar on Israeli tourism, Bethlehem and the interfaith impact of the coronavirus outbreak with David Nekrutman, executive director of the Ohr Torah Stone Center for Jewish‐Christian Understanding and Cooperation; Pastor Steven Khoury; and Wayne Firestone, AIFL’s executive director. Wednesday, July 15, 12 p.m.

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