JERUSALEM-The Israeli government said on Thursday that it is tightening a second nationwide lockdown after the coronavirus infection rate soared to about 7,000 new cases per day (the world’s highest case) this week.
This new measure will take effect on Friday and will last at least until the end of the Jewish High Holy Day in mid-October. Most businesses and workplaces will have to be closed, and all gatherings, including protests and public prayers, will be restricted to groups of 20 people outdoors within a maximum of about 1,100 yards.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet that the meaning of leadership is to make difficult decisions, necessary decisions, and decisions to save lives. According to a statement from his office, he added: “We have no privilege to know that we could have avoided additional deaths, and we did not take action.”
As on Rosh Hashana (Rosh Hashana), the rabbis will be asked to arrange believers into groups of 20 to 50 people, wearing masks, and separating them with dividing lines. The number and size of the teams will be calculated based on the local infection rate, how many entrances each synagogue has, and the available space.
The ultra-Orthodox cabinet minister believes that for many Jews, praying in the hot outdoors on Monday is unbearable, especially for those who observe the Holy Day of Yom Kippur and fast for 25 hours.
But others say that preferential measures that allow round-the-clock service in the Yom Kippur synagogue did not achieve the goal of strict lockdown, because existing evidence shows that the virus spreads more easily indoors than outdoors.
Synagogues are usually packed with Yom Kippur, which is usually the most attended service of the year. After Rosh Hashana, images from the local news media showed dozens of Orthodox Christians crowded near the entrance of a synagogue in the northern city of Haifa.
This new restriction will pay a high economic price, mainly to resolve the political and cultural disputes that have intensified Israel.
On the one hand, there are those who advocate assembly and protest against the Prime Minister in accordance with the law, because thousands of people work on the streets near the official residence in Jerusalem every week. On the other hand, as long as large-scale protests are allowed to continue, Orthodox politicians oppose restrictions on prayer.
Critics questioned Mr. Netanyahu’s motives. Mr. Netanyahu is on trial on corruption charges and criticized the protesters and regarded them as spreaders of the virus.
The opposition congressional leader Yair Lapid said that the “bottom line” of the blockade still exists: “It is forbidden to demonstrate against Netanyahu.”
Mr. Netanyahu and his Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit (Avichai Mandelblit) said that the urgent need to solve the public health crisis even overrides basic rights, including unlimited exhibitions or holding public The right to pray.
Mandelbritt said in a statement on Thursday: “Given the range of incidence is so large that a complete lockdown is necessary, there are legal reasons to restrict demonstrations, prayers or any other activities involving gatherings. “
He added that the police have determined that up to 2,000 protesters can accommodate the area around the prime minister’s residence while maintaining social distance and standing in a separate crowd of 20 people.
Nevertheless, the Knesset must approve any measures that restrict the freedom of demonstration, which are based on the law.