VATICAN ARCHIVES Pope Francis announced on March 4 that he will open the Vatican’s secret archives on the pontificate of Pope Pius XII (1939-58) in March 2020 to shed light on his role during the Holocaust. Francis told the Officials of the Vatican Secret Archive that Pius’s legacy had been tainted with “some prejudice and exaggeration.” Yad Vashem commended the decision, saying it would “enable objective and open research as well as a comprehensive discourse on issues related to the conduct of the Vatican, in particular, and the Catholic Church, in general, during the Holocaust.”SOLDIERS WOUNDED Two Israeli soldiers were wounded, one seriously, when three Palestinian men rammed their vehicle into troops on a road northwest of Ramallah on March 4, the IDF said. It added that soldiers shot back at the assailants, “neutralizing” two and wounding the third. IDF soldiers have been the targets of multiple car-ramming attacks in the area in recent years. GAZA VIOLENCE The IDF said it attacked “terrorist targets” in the Gaza Strip several times in early March in response to rocket fire and incendiary balloons launched at Israel that triggered alert sirens across border communities. While fires caused damage but no casualties on the Israeli side, Palestinian media reported that a 15-year-old boy was killed at night by IDF fire during violent protests on the border.PA anger The Palestinian Authority assailed an American decision in early March to merge the US Embassy with its Consulate General in Jerusalem, which had served as the de facto embassy to the PA. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the merger was meant to improve efficiency, and would be replaced by a new Palestinian Affairs Unit. But PA official Saeb Erekat dismissed this claim, calling it “the last nail in the coffin of the US administration’s role in peacemaking.” NATION STATE President Reuven Rivlin told a Jerusalem conference on March 11, marking 40 years since the Egyptian-Israeli peace accord, that “the State of Israel has complete equality of rights for all its citizens.” The comment came after actress Rotem Sela blasted Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) for claiming that the Blue and White party would have to rely on Arab parties to form a government. “What is the problem with Arabs?” she wrote, provoking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to issue “an important correction,” saying that Israel “is the nation-state not of all its citizens but only of the Jewish people.”THREE GOLDS Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram, 19, won three gold medals at the Grand Prix Marbella in Spain on March 3 – in the hoop, clubs and ribbons contests. In September 2018, Ashram won three medals in the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, making her a favorite to win a medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. BIG DEAL US technology giant Nvidia will purchase Israeli chipmaker Mellanox in a deal worth $6.9 billion, the companies announced on March 11. The Yokne’am-based company, founded in 1999 and listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market, supplies end-to-end interconnect solutions and services for many of the world’s biggest data center servers and storage systems. Under the deal, Nvidia and Mellanox will together empower more than 250 of the world’s TOP500 supercomputers.ODED TEOMI Well-known Israel actor Oded Teomi, 81, died of a heart attack early on March 2 and was buried in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Cemetery the next day. Teomi won a Life Achievement Award at the Israel Theater Prizes in 2011, after playing dozens of stage roles with the Cameri Theater since 1958, and won the Avraham Ben-Yosef Prize in 2007 for his unforgettable portrayal of Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman.” He is survived by two children and two grandchildren.