Wildfires have flared up around central Israel as temperatures in the country reached more than 40 degrees Celsius – in the shade.
Firefighters have been called to blazes near Jerusalem and other wooded areas, while sun worshippers in Eilat have enjoyed Israel’s warmest weather in three years, with temperatures there climbing to a record 46 degrees.
The heatwave has also caused electricity consumption to shoot up, and a Beersheva pensioner has been found unconscious from heatstroke.
The unseasonably sunny weather is said to be because of an air mass from Egypt and Libya.
The Middle East Quartet peace mediators have called for Palestinian security personnel to operate the crossings from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
In a statement, the organisation said there should be a Palestinian Authority (PA) presence at the border as a way of reuniting the area with the West Bank and placing pressure on Hamas.
Following Israel’s move to ease the land blockade by allowing most civilian goods into Gaza, the Quartet, made up of representatives from the United States, Russia, the EU and the UN, said they are exploring “additional ways” to improve conditions.
Israel has lifted a ten-year ban on Jewish and Druze tour guides working in Bethlehem.
The IDF said the shift in policy wa s intended to “contribute to the Palestinian and Israeli economy and promote tourism”.
Israeli tour guides have been unable to work in the city since the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000.
But the policy change means tour groups visiting from Israel, many of whom are Christian pilgrims visiting the biblical birthplace of Jesus, will no longer have to change guides as they enter the West Bank.
Israel has offered humanitarian support to a group of refugees from Kyrgyzstan.
Twelve people from the conflict zone in the south of the country are to be granted immediate Israeli citizenship in a welcoming ceremony.
There is currently large scale ethnic violence tearing the central Asian nation apart, with more than 2,000 people thought to have been killed and many more injured in fighting between the Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.
Israel has set out details of how the Gaza blockade will be eased to allow in increased building equipment and food.
Under the new plan, which Israel has said will be implemented “as quickly as possible” it is expected that all civilian goods will be permitted to go into the area unless they are specifically banned.
Food, domestic supplies and building materials for Palestinian Authority and United Nations approved construction will be allowed in, with only "problematic dual-use" that could be used as weapons or in manufacturing arms prohibited.
Elton John has performed a triumphantly successful concert to nearly 50,000 cheering fans in Ramat Gan, telling Israelis: “Nobody gonna stop me from playing here, baby”.
The country’s music fans have suffered several high profile cancellations, including bands such as the Pixies, Carlos Santana, Gorillaz, the Klaxons and, most recently, Elvis Costello.
Many of the acts cancelling their performances said they had been targeted by pro-Palestinian groups.
But Sir Elton John, who has played in Israel twice previously, told the audience: “We do not cherry-pick our consciences.”
Israel’s announcement that it will ease the blockade of Gaza has been welcomed internationally but dismissed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Israel has already announced that some construction material, like cement and steel, supervised by international groups, will now be allowed through the blockade.
A full list of the newly approved items has not been released but Israeli media has widely speculated that all food items, toys, stationery, kitchen utensils and mattresses will be allowed in to the Strip.