JERUSALEM – The Israeli government said on Thursday it would strengthen The second national shutdown After Coronavirus cases rose to about 5,000 cases per day last week, The highest per capita rate in the world.
The new measures, which will go into effect on Friday, will remain in effect at least until the end of the holy Jewish holidays in mid-October. Most businesses and workplaces will have to be closed, and all gatherings, including protests and mass prayers, will be limited to groups of up to 20 people outdoors about 1,100 yards from the home.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet, which met overnight to decide on this, “Over the past two days, we have heard from the experts that if we don’t take drastic and immediate action, we will come to the brink.” Close restrictions. In the past few days, infection rates have risen to about 7,000 new cases per day.
Exceptions are made for restrictions on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, which begins at sunset on Sunday. A limited number of worshipers will be permitted to pray inside the synagogue As they did last week on the Jewish New Year, “Rosh Hashana.”.
As in Rosh Hashana, rabbis would be required to arrange worshipers in groups of 20 to 50, wearing masks and separated by commas. The number and size of groups will be calculated according to local infection rates, the number of entrances to each synagogue and the available space.
Ultra-Orthodox government ministers have argued that for many Jews, praying in the open air on Mondays will be intolerable, especially for those who fast the 25 hours of the holy day of Atonement.
But others said the concession that allowed all-day services inside the synagogues in Yom Kippur defeated the purpose of the tight lockdown because available evidence indicated the virus spreads more easily indoors than outdoors.
Temples are usually full on Yom Kippur, and services are usually the most attended of the year. After Rosh Hashana, photos in local media showed dozens of Orthodox men gathering around the entrance to a synagogue in the northern city of Haifa.
The new restrictions, which will impose a heavy economic price, were largely aimed at addressing the political and cultural conflict raging in Israel.
On the one hand, there are those who assert their right under law to assemble and protest against the prime minister, with tens of thousands doing weekly work in the streets near his official residence in Jerusalem. On the other hand, there are Orthodox politicians who oppose restrictions on prayer as long as mass protests are allowed to continue.
Critics have questioned the motives of Mr Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges, and has criticized the protesters, calling them spreaders of the virus.
Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition in Parliament. He said the “bottom line” of the closure is stillIt is forbidden to demonstrate against Netanyahu.
Mr Netanyahu and his Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, have said that the urgent need to address the public health crisis goes beyond even basic rights including the rights to demonstrate or hold mass prayers without restrictions.
“The meaning of leadership is making difficult decisions, necessary decisions, and life-saving decisions,” Netanyahu told his cabinet, according to a statement issued by his office. “We have no privilege to know that we could have prevented additional deaths and that we did not act.”
Mr Mandelblit said the public health crisis was a justification for restricting protests as well as prayer.
“Given the scale of the disease so high that it necessitates a general lockdown, there will be a legal justification to significantly limit demonstrations, prayers, or any other activity that involves gathering,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
He added that the police decided that up to 2000 demonstrators could unite in the area around the prime minister’s residence while maintaining social distancing and standing in separate groups of 20 people.
However, the Israeli parliament must approve any measures that limit the freedom of protest set out in the law.