Gov’t Official: Bnei Brak Needs to Be Under Closure

YERUSHALAYIM -
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (L) seen with Director General Manager of the Finance Ministry, Shai Babad. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

According to Health Ministry data, the top four communities with the highest rates of coronavirus infection are chareidi communities – and at a government meeting Sunday morning, Director General of the Finanace Ministry, Shai Babad proposed establishing a closure on those communities, in order to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

According to statistics, Kiryat Yearim (Telshe Stone) has by far the highest rate of infection in Israel, with 53 cases per 100,000 residents. It is followed by Kfar Chabad, where the rate is 38 per 100,000 residents. In Bnei Brak, the figure is 13 per 100,000 residents, and in Beitar Ilit, 4 individuals per 100,000 residents were reported. The figures relate to individuals who have been diagnosed with coronavirus and were admitted to hospitals.

At Sunday’s government meeting, Babad said that “there are numerous problems in chareidi communities. We need to discuss ways to isolate them.” Bnei Brak is the most likely candidate for a total closure, because it is part of the crowded urban metropolis of Gush Dan, while the other communities are more isolated, and access to and from them is already very limited, with bus service nearly totally cancelled.

Channel 12 quoted a doctor at a large hospital in the center of the country that “what is happening in Bnei Brak is like in Italy … There are families where 100% of the members are infected. Health Ministry officials must go door to door and remove the sick from their homes and put them in hotels. If this continues we will see masses of people infected.”

In a statement, police said that “the vast majority of Israelis of all communities, including the chareidi community, understand the instructions on quarantine and are observing them.” On Motzoei Shabbos, a levayah was held in Bnei Brak with several hundred people in attendance, in violation of government orders. Regarding that incident and others like it, police said that “dealing with these incidents is a complicated matter and requires the use of judgment by officers and commanders, with the objective a quick end to the incident while avoiding unrest.”