Health wins and Israel confines itself to its holiest days

Israel is in full countdown to the new national lockdown that will take effect on Friday. After weeks in which the Jewish State surpassed negative marks of infections and deaths every day, health won the pulse of the economy and the country will face a new closure, which in principle will be three weeks, to try to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

The director general of the Ministry of Health, Chezy Levy, announced yesterday that the confinement “will continue until the number of infections falls below a thousand a day,” numbers far removed from the current ones, which mark more than 3,000 and place Israel as the second country with the most infected per million inhabitants, only surpassed by Bahrain. Levy did not dare to give a date, but said that “it is clear that this is not going to happen right now.”

From Friday, rules such as the prohibition to move away 500 meters from home will come into force and meetings will be limited to 10 people indoors and 20 outdoors. The initial confinement will run between the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), and in between will also commemorate Yom Kippur, the day of forgiveness. Days of great family reunions, meals and gifts that this year will be very different.

The first wave of coronavirus hit the Israeli economy hard and unemployment rose from 3% to more than 20%. Before flying to the United States to sign the agreement with the United Arab Emirates, Benyamin Netanyahu asked the Ministry of Economy to present an “aid plan”, but after the experience of recent months these words did not serve to calm small businessmen . “The economic situation is as serious as the health one and the Government must find a solution for both,” Roee Cohen, president of Lahav, Independent Chamber of Organizations and Businesses, told local media. According to the data of this body, 30,000 businesses have already had to close their doors in 2020 in which the number could end with 80,000 bankruptcies.

Within the Health sector itself there is also an open debate on the effects of confinement and professors such as Idit Matot, who is part of the team of experts that advises the Government, criticized the decision in the newspaper ‘Israel Hayom’ because “it will be a disaster it won’t solve anything.

This drastic measure is taken when the Jewish State exceeds the figure of 150,000 infected and 1,000 dead and has 513 patients in serious condition, of which 139 are connected to respirators, numbers that led hospital directors to speak out alarm and request a new lock.

Ultra-orthodox anger

The ultra-Orthodox sectors, among which the highest rates of infections are registered along with the Arab-Israeli population, are firmly opposed to accepting restrictions that will affect some of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar. In cities like Bnei Brak there were confrontations with the Police who were greeted with the shout of “Nazis, Nazis!” Forty places labeled as ‘red zones’ have been under night curfew for a week, but that measure has not served to moderate the rise of the curve.

The housing minister, the ultra-Orthodox Yaakov Litzman, resigned because the new confinement “will make it impossible for many Israelis, including tens of thousands of Jews who do not go to the synagogue during the year, to attend the prayers on these very days. important to our religion. The religious have two political parties whose deputies are key for Netanyahu to form a government.


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