Since the battle against the coronavirus began in Israel the government has sought out various methods to contain the virus. Many of these have blended initiatives  from the Ministry of Health with other ministries, including the army and Ministry of Defense. Here is a look at the article and statements related to this.

March  31

Some 1,000 IDF troops from the Homefront Command have started distributing food and other necessities to the elderly and other at-risk populations.

27 respirators, 8 million masks arrived in Israel in joint operation of MoH and PM and Mossad and MoD and IDF.

IDF: As of mid day of Tuesday, approximately 600 IDF commanders and soldiers from training bases will start assisting the Israeli Police to implement the Ministry of Heath’s and the government’s restrictions amongst civilians by preforming patrols, isolating and securing areas, blocking routes and more. The relevant troops underwent dedicated preparations to operate in civilian environments, led by the IDF Ground Forces and the Behavioral Science Department in the Manpower Directorate. The commanders and soldiers were introduced to the characteristics of the mission, the challenges it holds, analyzed possible scenarios and learned how to create common language and coordinate between multiple security forces. The operational protocols in civilian areas were clarified as well. Each soldier will operate paired with a police officer and will wear a badge with Israel’s flag on it. Only commanders will carry weapons.

The IDF will continue assisting in the fight against the spread of the Corona virus within civilian areas as necessary, while following the Ministry of Health’s instructions.

Commander of the Golani Brigade training base, Lt. Col. Sivan Bloch, to his soldiers: “We trained you to fight against enemies in Lebanon, Syria, the Judea and Samaria area and Gaza. This time, you fight against a slightly different enemy- the Corona virus. We must perform this mission with the highest quality and in the most professional way we can. This is our duty. You are now in a civilian environment, Tiberias, Afula, Rosh Pinna. You are about to assist police officers preform their mission and your presence enables us to enhance the number of police officers and by that making sure that Israeli civilians follow the instructions. This is our part of the combat against the spread of Corona virus”. Commander of the Border Protection Array training base, Lt. Col. Ido Saad: “Following significant preparations over the past few days, we are ready to perform the IDF’s most important mission- defending Israel’s citizens. We will continue to operate as necessary to restore the civilian routine in the country as fast and best as we possibly can”.

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A Radar System with Electro-optical Sensors Will be Used to Monitor Patients’ Vital Signs (Israel’s MoD)

MoD: The DDR&D in the Fight Against the COVID-19 Pandemic:  A Radar System with Electro-optical Sensors Will be Used to Monitor Patients’ Vital Signs The National Emergency Team of the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), in the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD), has adapted two systems developed by defense industries Elbit and IAI, to measure the vital signs of patients. The data, including pulse, respiratory rate and temperature, are measured remotely using a combination of radar and electro-optical sensors, thus reducing the risk of infection to medical personnel. The next stage of development: screening and prioritizing patient care based on the analysis of vital data.

The National Emergency Team led by the Director of the DDR&D, Brig. Gen. (Res.), Dr. Dani Gold, continues to identify and develop advanced technological solutions to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In recent days, the team has successfully completed a test in which two systems were adapted to measure the vital data of patients, remotely. The systems, developed by Elbit Systems and Elta, a subsidiary of IAI, use an array of radar and electro-optical sensors. The team has two medical advisors, Dr. Yossi Shaya and Dr. Akiva Esterson of the Beilinson – Rabin Medical Center.

The vital signs measured using the system will be displayed on a monitor for the physician to review. In addition, the data is displayed in a graphic user interface that facilitates decision-making processes. The system will enable medical staff to remain in a sterile environment, and limit contact with the patient, thereby significantly reducing the risk of infection.

The goal of the test was to determine the systems’ reliability and accessibility. As a result of the test, plans are underway for the implementation of these systems in medical centers. The test was conducted in collaboration with Elbit, Elta Petah Tikva, EchoCare Technologies, Vayyar, Neteera, Rabin Medical Center (Beilinson and Sharon Hospitals), the Directorate of Research and Development in the DDR&D, led by Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem, Dr. Yoni Savir of the Technion and additional research groups from the academic community and the IDF.

Col. A, DDR&D in the Ministry of Defense: “The combination of the technological capabilities of the defense industries and the extraordinary capabilities of the officers in the DDR&D, enables us to adapt systems developed for security purposes, to fulfill medical needs in light of the corona virus. The system that we have adapted is based on radar and thermal cameras and can measure patients’ vital signs remotely. “

Dr. Yossi Shaya, Beilinson Medical Center: The DDR&D turned to us with the idea of monitoring patients using radar. These are systems that we don’t normally work with, but they asked us what our needs are, in the hope that these systems may be adapted to fulfill them. They asked what vital signs should be monitored among Corona patients, at the point of diagnosis and during treatment – and aimed to do so without the involvement of medical staff. The idea is that our medical teams are at the forefront of this fight and should be protected, and the way to do so is to reduce direct contact with Corona patients. Thanks to the creative thinking of the DDR&D, of using technology that is normally used against [Israel’s] enemies, I hope we will be able to win in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.”

Yossi Cohen, VP CTO, Elbit Systems: “We are delighted to take part in the effort to develop new technological solutions that will contribute to the fight against the Corona virus. We will continue to harness groundbreaking technological capabilities developed in the company to assist the efforts of the Ministry of Defense, medical centers and local authorities.

Yoav Tourgeman, IAI VP and Elta CEO: “IAI is proud to be part of the national effort to fight the COVID-19 virus. Elta’s advanced radar systems, which are used in routine defense activities, have been adapted to monitor the vital signs of patients and to protect medical staff. We will continue to support the national effort to find effective and innovative solutions, and together we will succeed.”

Within the framework of the National Emergency Team to combat the virus, the DDR&D staff and their partners are working to adapt technology developed for military / security needs for civilian applications. The work is done around the clock and in shifts, in order to quickly reach the implementation stage in hospitals. The system for the remote monitoring of vital signs will be added to the comprehensive toolbox that the DDR&D is developing, to quickly diagnose and identify carriers, to prevent the spread of the virus, to prevent the infection of medical staff within hospitals, and to manufacture protective gear for medical staff.

March 30

Jpost: “There are only 2,864 ventilators available in Israel, including those that belong to the Israel Defense Forces, for what are expected to be 5,000 critically ill coronavirus patients who require artificial respiration.”…It was revealed last week that the Health Ministry was aware as early as January 20 that the coronavirus was likely to penetrate Israel but took little action…This number is added to the 800 to 900 units that Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov said could be obtained from the army to reach the nearly 3,000 ventilators now available.

MoD: The DDR&D in the Fight Against the Pandemic: The “Maya” Sticker, Developed for Military Purposes, will Upgrade Face Masks and Protect Medical Staff. The National Emergency Team in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), headed by Brig. Gen. (Res.), Dr. Dani Gold, has decided to adopt the development made by Prof. Eyal Zussman of the Technion’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering- a unique sticker that may be attached to a face mask, in order to increase its protective capabilities. The adaptation of this tool for current needs, was made in collaboration with the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya (northern Israel). This advanced addition will render masks more effective and reduce the risk of contagion among medical staff.

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Graphic from Israel’s MoD and Prof. Samer Srouji

Head of the Nanoengineering Lab at the Technion’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Prof. Eyal Zussman, and his team have developed a unique sticker, which may be attached to a standard surgical mask in order to improve its effectiveness. The sticker is produced using a 3D printer, and is composed of nanoscale fibers coated with disinfectants – a mechanism that enhances the capture and neutralization of nanoscale particles. The sticker was developed in collaboration with the scientists of the Department of Chemistry and Biological Infrastructure in the DDR&D, led by the department’s head Dr. Dan Greenstein, and accompanied by Prof. Samer Srouji, Director of the Oral Surgery Institute at the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya.

The Ministry of Health has given its initial approval of the sticker and in the coming days, a pilot will begin at the Galilee Medical Center to assess the medical staff’s implementation of the new tool. Dr. Masad Barhum, Director of the Galilee Medical Center, thanked the Ministry of Defense and the Technion for the fruitful cooperation, and expressed his hope that the use of this sticker will reduce the incidence of infection among medical teams.

Prof. Srouji, Galilee Medical Center: “The solution at hand is accessible, fast, and uses advanced technology. We hope that the success of this pilot will lead to the implementation of this solution in additional hospitals across the country.” The “Maya” sticker joins a comprehensive set of tools developed and adapted by the DDR&D to combat the COVID-19 virus on every level: rapid diagnosis and early detection of virus carriers, curbing the spread of the virus, monitoring patients and preventing the infection of medical professionals.

The National Emergency Team led by the Director of the DDR&D, Brig. Gen. (Res.), Dr. Dani Gold, continues to identify and develop advanced technological solutions to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The DDR&D staff and their partners are working in all areas of research and development to adapt technology developed for military/defense purposes, for civilian needs in light of the global pandemic. The work is done around the clock and in shifts, in order to quickly reach the implementation stage in hospitals.

IDF: Today (Sunday), the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, visited the Tel Hashomer base at the Information and Knowledge Plant and the Control Center of Tests of the Intelligence Directorate. The visit was accompanied by the head of the Intelligence Directorate, Maj. Gen. Tamir Haiman, and other commanders. During the visit, the Chief of the General Staff spoke to senior personnel in the Ministry of Health and discussed the main activities of the Intelligence Directorate and the Technology and Logistics Directorate in assisting civilians at this time. Among the participants in the meeting were Y, The Commanding Officer of the Special Operations Unit, Brig. Gen. A, Head of the technology arena in the Research Division, Col. N., Director of the Clalit Research Institute, Professor Ran Blitzer, Head of the Health Service Center Professor Sigal Sadecki and Director of the Medical Technologies, Information and Research Division, Dr. Osnat Luxenbourg.

As part of the meeting, the Chief of the General Staff examined the work of the information and knowledge enterprise, which is a multidisciplinary organization led by the Research Division and Unit 8200.

The organization operates under the Ministry of Health and attempts to create a wide database on which advanced capabilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning will be used. This is done in order to get answers to questions raised by the Ministry of Health and the Home Front Command.

The Chief of the General Staff met and spoke with soldiers serving in the Technological Unit in the Intelligence Directorate and the Special Operations Unit on the subject of the development of respirators in cooperation with the Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital, based on standard respirators.

Afterwards, he was presented with the unit’s work of creating protective masks for medical teams from which more than 7,000 masks have been transferred to be used by the IDF.

In addition, the unit also continues to transform ambulances into adapted vehicles for coronavirus patients’ evacuation, through unique production and protection of the interior of the vehicle.

March 29

Bennett calls for  defense establishment to lead on coronavirus fight. Jpost:Called on the government to transfer the responsibility of fighting the coronavirus from the Health Ministry to the IDF and defense establishment, as he released an exit plan from the virus, which has had a significant impact on the economy. “We are in a war,” he said Sunday. “The IDF is a bulldozer and that’s what we need to fight against this virus. “The Health Ministry has not been built for this kind of emergency. They are smart, good and dedicated professionals, but the ministry specializes in healthcare, not emergencies and logistics. Therefore, I am convinced that the responsibility for establishing and operating the testing system must be transferred to the security system.” He advocated enabling most  of population to return to normal activities after Passover and isolating the worst cases or areas.

March 28

The IDF will deploy 500 soldiers to accompany police to enforce Health Ministry regulations. As part of the IDF’s preparations for the extended stay by troops, 400 washing machines and 400 dryers have been delivered to bases across the country as well as thousands of uniforms, sleeping bags, mattresses, folding beds, bunk beds and personal hygiene kits for men and women.

March 27

IDF: Following a request made by the Israel Police and in accordance with the situation assessment and the government’s approval, The IDF is preparing to allocate approximately 500 soldiers in order to assist the Israel Police with its mission. The troops will be allocated in light of the instructions issued by the government and the Ministry of Health in order to limit the spread of the Corona Virus, and will take place starting from Sunday, March 29th, 2020. One company of soldiers, coming from various training bases of field units, will be allocated to each district of the Israel Police. The troops will be assigned to police officers and will assist with their teams in patrolling, isolating and securing certain areas, blocking routes and additional similar assignments. The troops will be properly trained for their mission and prepared to operate amongst civilians. The IDF will continue assisting in the fight against the spread of the Corona virus within civilian areas as necessary, while following the Ministry of Health’s instructions

“The IDF continues in its efforts to limit the spread of the Corona virus, and works in cooperation with government ministries and other organizations with the aim of assisting the Israeli civilians, preventing infection among IDF service members and maintaining functional and operational abilities of the IDF. The Home Front Command continues in its widespread assistance to various government ministries, MDA and civilians as well as local municipalities in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading.”

March 26

Arrivals from infected countries must go to quarantine.

Mossad brings another400,000 test kits to Israel.

March 25

MoD: The National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), in the Israel Ministry of Defense and its American Counterpart, FEMA, Have Established a Cooperation Mechanism to Fight the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic. Last night (24/03/2020), the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), in the Israel Ministry of Defense, and its American counterpart, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), held their first joint discussion. The conference call was held together with representatives of the health ministries of both countries, the National Security Council (NSC), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The discussion resulted in the decision to establish a joint working group and knowledge-exchange mechanism in light of the fight against the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

On the Israeli side, the conversation was led by the Head of the Cooperation and Assistance Unit in NEMA, Mr. Kobi Wimisberg, Director of the International Department of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ashi Shalmon, and the Head of the Foreign Policy Department in the NSC, Dr. Avner Golov. The American team included representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This discussion was part of the international cooperation initiative led by NEMA

Some of the topics that were discussed: curbing the spread of the virus, vaccination, issues related to quarantine, assisting the elderly population, emotional support, returning to routine activity, and economic rehabilitation. In addition, representatives from both countries exchanged information about the challenges they face.

The discussion also touched on potential areas of cooperation between the United States and Israel, and on the establishment of a mechanism of ongoing exchange and discourse.

NEMA is the institution within the Ministry of Defense that defines the national strategy, policy and principles in confronting national emergencies. It is also the body responsible for areas of international cooperation in times of national emergency.

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March 24

The Israeli Defense Forces and the  defense establishment will take responsibility for the care of Israel’s elderly population during the coronavirus crisis, the Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday. “The IDF and the Ministry of Defense are taking responsibility for protecting the elderly population of the State of Israel,” Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said.

IDF: (Tuesday), the IDF Coronavirus Detection Laboratory opened at the Tzrifin Military Rabbinate Base, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. The laboratory is capable of testing hundreds of coronavirus samples per day. Samples will be collected by a dedicated staff consisting of the Military Police, the Logistics Corps and the Medical Corps.  In order to operate the lab, a dedicated branch has been established at the “MiKol HaLev” call center. Soldiers suffering from symptoms may turn to the center for advice. This move is part of the IDF’s efforts in the fight against the coronavirus and is one of the steps taken by the Medical Corps and the Military Rabbinate in order to maintain the operational capabilities of the IDF. This is part of the national assistance effort that the IDF is currently providing to the civilian health care system. The Surgeon General of the IDF Medical Corps, Brig. Gen. Dr. Tarif Bader: “We are proud of the effort to convert the DNA lab into a laboratory capable of coronavirus detection. This is thanks to the hard work of IDF Medical Corps professionals. This move makes a significant contribution to the ability of the Medical Corps to respond to IDF needs during this epidemic as well as contributes to IDF capabilities.”

Chief Military Rabbi, Brig. Gen. Eyal Karim: “The Military Rabbinate is the body that is trusted in routine times and times of emergency to process our fallen soldiers and identify their bodies. As such, the DNA Laboratory at the Military Rabbinate base was established as an advanced addition to existing capabilities. Two weeks ago, we identified the potential to convert the lab and its machinery into a lab to identify the coronavirus. We will continue to assist in any task required during these complex days.”

MoD: Artificial intelligence based voice test. A test that will begin in the coming days will sample the voices of carriers and patients diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, using a mobile application developed by Israeli start-up, Vocalis Health. These voice samples will be analyzed using an AI-based algorithm in order to identify the unique vocal ‘fingerprint’ of carriers and patients. This information will be useful in both early diagnosis and in the monitoring of patients to detect the deterioration or improvement in their health.

The National Emergency Team led by the Director of the DDR&D, Brig. Gen. (Res.), Dr. Dani Gold, continues to identify and develop advanced technological solutions to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The team is currently conducting a trial with Israeli start-up Vocalis Health, founded by Mr. Tal Wendrow and Dr. Shady Hassan. The company is developing an artificial intelligence-based platform that tracks and monitors health issues through voice sampling in order to detect virus symptoms related to the patient’s respiratory system.

This voice test is the result of collaboration between the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), in the Ministry of Defense, Israeli start-up Vocalis Health from aMoon venture fund, Rabin and Sheba Medical Centers, Afeka Academic Center and additional research groups from the academic community and the IDF.

Within the framework of the study, voice recordings will be collected from carriers, patients and the general public via a mobile application. These recordings will then undergo data analysis using neural networks. The purpose of this study is to develop a unique algorithm based on machine learning and sound characteristics in order to make initial medical assessments and in order to monitor the symptoms and conditions of patients. The advantage of this monitoring system is that it can be conducted from afar, in order to prevent the spread of the disease and overburdening of the national healthcare system. The research is conducted in collaboration with medical institutions in Israel and abroad, including the Sheba and Rabin Medical Centers, Beilinson and Sharon hospitals, the Directorate of R&D in the DDR&D, led by Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem in IMoD, academic institutions such as the Afeka College of Engineering, and the IDF. Preliminary results of the study are expected within 4-6 weeks.

March 24

Israel IDF prepares for lockdown.Twenty-three soldiers are sick with coronavirus, and one recovered, Zilberman said. Another 5,600 soldiers and civilian employees of the IDF are in quarantine, including 240 lone soldiers who are being housed at a military resort facility in Givat Olga. The military will be opening another quarantine facility for lone soldiers at Beit Hahayal in Kiryat Shmona, Ynet reported.

March 23

During the past week, IDF soldiers and commanders have been participating in a blood drive in order to meet the goal set by the Chief of the General Staff: 7,000 blood transfusions.

March 22

Jpost: On Sunday, officials from the Health Ministry told KAN that the Defense Ministry under Bennett was trying to take control of the country’s efforts to deal with the pandemic in an attempt to gain political credit…With the militaries of neighboring countries imposing coronavirus lockdowns, the Public Security Ministry has asked the IDF to provide 16 battalions to help the police enforce a nationwide quarantine should one be imposed.

IDF: The Chief of the General Staff also visited the “MiKol HaLev” center, which is playing a major role in the efforts made in order to prepare the IDF in facing the Corona virus, there he learned about implementing the instructions, and the actions and challenges of the people who serve there.

Alongside the preparations, the new soldiers were recruited today under the instructions and procedures meant to prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, various adjustments were made in the various training bases in which new recruits arrived. The Golani Brigade training base prepared, among other aspects, for the recruitment of new soldiers, by moving the other soldiers training in the base to the “Elyakim” Command Training Base.This in order to reduce the number of those staying there and maximizing separation between those remaining at the base and the new recruits. In addition, the reception of soldiers in the brigade training base was conducted in two large open tents as a substitute for office reception.

IDF: Following the spread of the Corona virus, actions regarding a lockdown have been enforced in Germany leading to hotels being shut down. Subsequently, today (Sunday), approximately 30 combat troops of the Israeli Navy in mandatory service were returned from Germany to Israel by a designated IAF delegation. The delegation consisted of 16 aircrew members on an IAF KC-707 (“Re’em”) cargo plane.

The troops recently stayed in Germany as part of their role as crew members of the “Sa’ar 6” Israeli Navy ship, expected to arrive in Israel later this year. The troops will immediately go into quarantine upon their return, in accordance with the instructions of the Ministry of Health. Service members in professional service working on the project will continue their work in the shipyard in Germany in order to qualify the ships and the crews.

March 21

IDF: The IDF continues the efforts to prepare for and combat the spread of the Corona virus and operates in cooperation with government offices and other organizations in order to assist the civilian population and to prevent contamination among IDF service members, while preserving operational capabilities. The Home Front Command continues its efforts to provide assistance in many fields to various government offices, to Magen David Adom (MDA) and to the civilian population in the efforts to prevent the Corona virus from spreading. Yesterday (Friday), approximately 40 combat troops from the Search and Rescue Brigade and the Jerusalem and Central Home Front Command Districts, assisted the local authorities in evacuating and sanitizing a hostel in the city of Gedera in which a staff member was diagnosed with the Corona virus. The teams sanitized the hostel, while allowing quarantine for the civilians living in it without causing panic or affecting their routine.

The IDF and the Home Front Command will assist as needed in the national mission to prevent the spread of the virus. The commander of the “Shahar” Battalion, Lt. Col. Idan Parkin: “This week, the troops participated in an exercise that included providing help to the public during emergencies. A short while after, they were required to operate in an incident like that in real time. Approximately 40 troops arrived at the hostel and re-organized it in order to quarantine the civilians. They sanitized the building effectively while remaining sensitive in working with a special needs population. I’m proud of the troops who are doing their job thoroughly and professionally. This is an additional proof that the Home Front Command is prepared to assist at any time and place as needed.”

Over the weekend, the IDF has opened the recovery-village in the Yahad Lemaan Hahayal Recreation Resort in Ashkelon. The facility started to receive patients in moderate condition. Lt. Col. Oshrat Gozlan, commander of the recovery village and Head Nurse in the IDF: “The first patients were admitted and housed in their rooms. They are all feeling well and we are monitoring them continuously. The IDF Medical Corps and the logistics teams are prepared and ready to treat all IDF service members, as needed”.

IDF: We would like to emphasize that as long as the public transport continues, IDF service members should use it. The IDF is prepared to establish a national transport array if required.

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Developments of the Technological Unit of the Intelligence Directorate of the IDF.

March 20

IDF: As part of the IDF’s efforts to fight the Corona virus and in order to prevent and reduce its spread among its soldiers, the Yahad Lemaan Hahayal recreation resort in Ashkelon, has recently been converted into a recovery-village, which will serve as a facility for sick soldiers in mandatory and professional service. The conversion of the resort was led by Yahad Lemaan Hahayal and the IDF Medical Corps. The recovery-village opened its gates today (Friday) and will start receiving patients. The patients will be accompanied throughout their stay by a doctor and a nurse whom they can contact through a special app. Each patient will receive a personalized medical kit that will track their rate of recovery. In addition, an area has been established in the recovery village where it will be possible to move freely according to protocols. The Surgeon General of the IDF Medical Corps, Brig. Gen. Dr. Tarif Bader: “The Medical Corps is prepared to provide the best response to IDF soldiers in all conditions and is implementing our responsibility to our soldiers’ health, alongside contributing to the national medical effort.”

MoD: The DDR&D in the Israel Ministry of Defense Established an Interinstitutional and Multidisciplinary National Emergency Team to Address the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic

The team, led by Director of the DDR&D, Brig. Gen. (Res.), Dr. Dani Gold, is focusing on several areas of development: quick diagnosis and early detection of virus carriers, prevention of virus transmission and subsequent infection of large portions of the population, medical monitoring and prevention of infection within hospitals, and manufacturing protective equipment for medical staff.

The team is using advanced technology, both civilian and military, to develop the aforementioned capabilities. This includes the use of big data, artificial intelligence, command and control systems, various sensors and mobile technology.

Minister of Defense, Naftali Bennett: “Today we are establishing an ‘elite unite’ that will identify and develop advanced technology to fight the spread of the Corona virus. Our aim is to always be one step ahead of Corona, in order to ‘flatten the curve’. We are operating in several areas, and we will do so continuously. The national emergency team will have all the assistance and resources necessary at its disposal, so that we can find a solution for the difficult pandemic that we are experiencing. Together we will overcome this crisis.” The Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), in the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD), has established an inter-institutional and multidisciplinary team to identify, develop and implement new technological solutions and concepts that will contribute to the national effort of curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The team is led by the Director of the DDR&D, Brig. Gen. (Res.), Dr. Dani Gold, and includes experts from dozens of institutions including the Ministry of Health, National Security Council, Ministry of Finance, Prime Minister’s Office, IDF, Innovation Authority, various hospitals, defense industries, startup companies, think tanks and academic institutions. Solutions are being tested in order to achieve the following capabilities: immediate diagnosis and detection of virus carriers from afar, use of mobile technology to map the routes of carriers (especially within hospitals and medical institutions), in order isolate carriers and prevent the infection of medical staff and others, manufacturing protective equipment for medical staff, development and production of ventilators, sanitization of various surfaces and spaces, and more.

Director of the DDRD in IMoD, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Dr. Dani Gold: “The brightest minds in the country, from all the various sectors, are committed and working around the clock in order to identify and develop the technological solutions that will contribute to the national effort to cope with the corona pandemic. We hope to share good news with the State of Israel, as soon as possible.”

March 19

Mossad brings 100,000 test kits to Israel, some questions raised after about missing components.

MoD:  The Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD), is purchasing 2500 ventilators on behalf of the Ministry of Health. The procurement totals over NIS 50 million. This evening (19.03), 24 hours since the start of the procurement of medical equipment, the Directorate of Production and Procurement (DOPP), in IMoD has issued initial orders to procure 2,500 ventilators. Of these, 1000 systems will be manufactured in Israel, and an additional 1500 will be brought from abroad. The procurement totals over NIS 50 million, and has been placed in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of Health. The Directorate of Production and Procurement and the Ministry of Health are partners in the national effort to respond to this crisis and provide for the citizens of the State of Israel. The DOPP has recruited the unit responsible for international transport and transit within the Ministry, to aid in the delivery of the equipment to Israel. The initial delivery of the equipment is expected to begin in approximately one month and a half, and will continue into the coming months. The Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Health will continue to identify and procure additional equipment as the needs evolve.

March 18

IDF: (Wednesday), the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, visited the Home Front Command, along with the Commanding Officer of the Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai, the Commanding Officer of the Manpower Directorate, Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz and other commanders. During the visit, the Home Front Command presented the main efforts that are being made in order to assist Israeli civilians, including the health system, organizing assistance to hospitals, Magen David Adom, information campaigns, preparing local authorities for emergencies and more. The Chief of the General Staff spoke with soldiers from the Home Front Command that are manning the call center, which will soon be open for the benefit of Israeli civilians. Later, he visited the Joint Information Center of the Home Front Command and MDA. As part of the tour, he was briefed about the challenges the soldiers in mandatory and reserve service who are manning the center face.  The Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi: “This is an emergency time and the IDF adjusts its activity to fit its needs and the requirements of the state, and you are a great example of that. The IDF is already working in a number of areas in order to assist, and will continue to work on any required task. All IDF soldiers are required to prepare for further developments – as always, we will be ready for every mission. Your role in assisting the civilians directly affects the ability of the State of Israel to cope with the spread of the virus.”

March 17

1,500 reservists approved to fight the virus.

MoD: In accordance with the directive of Defense Minister, Naftali Bennett, to promote the use of hotel facilities as recovery centers for patients diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, the Directorate of Production and Procurement (DOPP), has issued a call for the use of additional hotels across the country. This is a pre-tender, public appeal intended for all hotels and suitable facilities that meet the requirements detailed in the application. The Ministry of Defense requires details on the nature and availability of the assets by March 18th, 2020.

IDF:  (Tuesday), in accordance with the instructions of the Minister of Defense, the Home Front Command and the Ministry of Defense launched the first hotel aimed to host for Coronavirus patients in light condition. The hotel will open at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv under the management and command of a senior reserve officer operating under the Home Front districts. ‎‏Later in the week another hotel is expected to open at the Dan Hotel in Jerusalem. This morning, logistical-medical equipment was made available for use by the medical staff staying at the facility. The hotel will include a separated situation room to allow the coordination between the medical services as well as medical surveillance teams to the hotel management team and the Israel Police, whose role is to enforce the entry to the facility. ‎‏The admission of patients will be done by coordination and written referral of the Kupot Holim (HMO’s). An unauthorized entry will not be allowed. ‎‏Medical treatment is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Health and HMO’s. ‏The Home Front Command’s logistics and medical arrays have assisted in preparing the hotels for guest reception. ‎‏In the first stage, only 20 patients will be accommodated in the hotel, and subsequently the amount will be expanded as needed and possible.

March 16

IDD readies hotels to take coronavirus patients. Head of the military’s Home Front Command on Monday said his unit was preparing to open a Tel Aviv hotel that it converted into a quarantine facility for coronavirus carriers who have only light symptoms. Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai said that Tel Aviv’s Dan Panorama Hotel would open for patients on Tuesday morning, followed hours later by Jerusalem’s Dan Hotel (formerly the Hyatt)

March 15

MoD: On Sunday (15/03), the employee of a company providing services to the Ministry of Defense, located in a facility in Petah Tikva, was diagnosed as a carrier of the COVID-19 virus. The employee has been admitted to a hospital, and following an epidemiological investigation carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, his colleagues were instructed to begin a period of quarantine.

There are currently no additional restrictions for employees in the building. The Ministry of Defense is working to sanitize the facility where the affected employee was working, in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health.

March  14

According to Bennett, the facilities, either hotels or empty boarding schools, will be able to hold 3,000 patients.

March 11-15

Israel’s domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, denied a report Tuesday that it would use technological means to help enforce self-isolation…The security service will use location data to send messages ordering self-quarantine to anyone who was in vicinity of an infected person.