The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted Sunday evening in support of a new set of restrictions for 40 towns and cities across Israel with high infection rates of the coronavirus.
The new restrictions include daily curfews, which will be in place from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. During the curfews, most businesses will be required to close, with the exception of businesses offering ‘essential needs’.
Schools in the towns and cities in question will be closed.
During the Ministerial Committee for Legislation’s deliberation Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the government will consider on Thursday a plan to impose a nationwide lockdown, along with plans for the upcoming holiday season.
Netanyahu also made assurances that even if a lockdown is imposed during the holiday season, arrangements will be made to enable prayers during the Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot holidays.
The curfew plan approved Sunday replaces a previous plan backed by the Coronavirus Cabinet which would have imposed lockdowns on 33 cities and towns across Israel, most of them either Israeli Arab or haredi communities.Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu met with haredi ministers Aryeh Deri (Shas) and Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) and Coronavirus Czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu at the Prime Minister’s Office to discuss alternatives to theplanned lockdown.
The meeting was held after haredi mayors penned a scathing letter to Netanyahu, warning that the haredi public would “never forget this injustice” of imposing a new lockdown on predominantly haredi towns.
In a video address made after the meeting, Netanyahu emphasized that the towns selected for the restrictions were chosen based on their infection rates, not their demographic makeup.
The coronavirus doesn’t distinguish between peoples or within peoples. The coronavirus hurts everyone. Right now Israel has dozens of ‘red’ cities.”
“Cities are not chosen to be ‘red’ because of a desire to harass [a demographic group] or some controversial decision – they are chosen based on scientific results; based on the number of patients and the rate of infection.”
“We must take steps to curb the spread of the virus at events, at weddings, and at schools. We will do what we need to responsibly. Don’t listen to the populists and those spreading disinformation.”