Community Intelligence Brief: March 16, 2020

March 16, 2020

Intelligence Brief

Canada Shutting the Border to Most Non-Citizens Due to COVID-19: PM Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier today that Canada is shutting the border to most non-Canadian citizens to limit the spread of COVID-19 and is urging Canadians abroad to return home. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 is also being prevented from entering the country.

Provinces have also been taking measures to protect Canadians, including Ontario. Earlier today, Premier Doug Ford announced measures meant to protect workers, including a law that would provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to the coronovirus.

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Researchers Move Closer To Vaccine By Isolating COVID-19 Virus

Researchers across Canada are making breakthroughs in the fight against COVID-19. In Quebec, a biotech firm said it has taken the first step towards a vaccine by producing a virus-like particle of the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, researchers in Ontario announced they isolated the COVID-19 virus on Thursday, which will help researchers around the world develop vaccines, treatments and tests for coronavirus.

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Benny Gantz, With Thin Majority, Wins Chance to Form Israeli Government

On Sunday, Benny Gantz of Israel's Blue and White party won the endorsements of a narrow majority of lawmakers, earning him the chance to form a government following a year of political deadlock. President Reuven Rivlin also summoned Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to his residence to discuss the possibility of bringing their parties together in a national unity government to contend with the emergency posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Israeli Cell Therapy Could Treat Respiratory Effects Caused by Coronavirus

Pluristem, a regenerative medicine company based in Haifa, says its placenta-based cell therapy product could be used to treat hundreds of patients who are suffering from respiratory and inflammatory complications associated with coronavirus.

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Israeli Emergency Rescue Service Develops App to Track Coronavirus Patients, Help Users Avoid Infection

The Track Virus app, co-developed by emergency medical service United Hatzalah, uses a list of confirmed coronavirus cases from the Israeli Health Ministry to track whether a user has been in close proximity to someone infected with the disease. If the user has been possibly infected, an alert is sent to them via the app.

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Black and Jewish Communities Are Most Targeted in Hate-Motivated Incidents in Hamilton

According to a hate crime report presented to the Hamilton Police Services Board last week, there were 92 hate-motivated crimes and incidents in 2019 - 29 of which targeted the Jewish community and 34 targeted the Black community. Earlier in the week, Hamilton Police Services launched an online platform to help people report hate/bias-related crimes.

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Amazon Bans Sale of Most Editions of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf

Booksellers were informed in recent days that they would no longer be allowed to sell a number of Nazi-authored books on Amazon, including Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. Holocaust education charities and Jewish groups have campaigned since the late '90s to stop Amazon from selling copies of the book, but the retailer had traditionally defended the sale.

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Portugal Approves Annual Day to Commemorate Historic Inquisition of Jews

The Portuguese parliament has approved a law to commemorate the Inquisition of Jews in the country every year on March 31, the date in 1821 the Inquisition in Portugal was officially disbanded. After Jews were expelled from Portugal in 1497, the Inquisition was formally established in 1536 to root out Jews who converted to Christianity but still practiced Jewish rituals.

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Report Antisemitism and News of Concern to FSWC

If you would like to report antisemitism or news of concern to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, please email

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