Thousands of ultra-Orthodox skip confinement at massive rabbi’s funeral

  • The attendees went to the Har Hamenujot cemetery, where the burial will be held this afternoon, which is also expected to be massive

  • The popular religious has died at the age of 99 from covid-19

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews have attended this Sunday the funeral of an important rabbi in Jerusalem, died of covid-19, in clear violation of the confinement that has been in force for more than a month in Israel and that the Executive plans to extend today. The massive funeral took place in the western part of the city, where several thousand ultra-Orthodox youths without masks could be observed around the vehicle that transported the body of the rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, who died this morning at the age of 99 after battling the disease for months.

The attendees went to the Har Hamenujot cemetery, where he is scheduled to be buried this afternoon, in a ceremony that is also expected to be massive.. This episode joins a long list of violations restrictions by sectors of the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, which has the highest morbidity rate in the country and which in recent weeks has starred multiple clashes with the Police, after refusing to abide by the rules of confinement.

Current regulations impose the closure of the educational system, which many ultra-Orthodox schools have not respected, and of all non-essential work activities, as well as a limitation to movement no more than one kilometer from home and a maximum of five people in indoor meetings and 10 outdoors, among others.

Extension of restrictions

The lockdown came into effect at the end of December and expires this midnight, although it is expected that the Executive approves today an extension, which will depend not only on health recommendations but also on political negotiations between the two main parties that make up the Government. Since last week, the almost total closure of Ben Gurion International Airport has been added to the general closure, which in principle would reopen tomorrow, although it is possible that this will also be extended for a few more days.

The country is currently in what the authorities have described as a race between the spread of infections, contained by confinement but aggravated by the arrival of new strains of the virus, and a swift vaccination campaign.

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The latest figures indicate that Israel, with nine million inhabitants, has registered more than 640,000 cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, of which 72,000 are still active and 1,162 are seriously ill.

On the other hand, more than three million people have already received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and about two million also the second, which maintains the country as the world leader in percentage of inoculated population.

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