Police Set to Enforce No-Guests Rule at Seder

israel coronavirus
Israeli police officers and soldiers at a temporary checkpoint in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, to enforce the partial lockdown. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Israeli authorities will not be counting on voluntary compliance with the “no-guests” rule for leil haseder. The police will be deployed on main roads and other public areas to enforce the stay-at-home policy.

Anticipating that many Israelis will not be willing to forego the paramount family event of the Jewish calendar, officers will be out in force.

“Police will be in public areas with reinforcements and will erect many roadblocks on intra-city and intercity roads,” a police source was quoted as saying by Walla on Wednesday. “We won’t allow leniency on seder night. There will be increased enforcement, and those who violate the orders will be fined.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the enforcement operation would start next Wednesday morning and include preventing people gathering in crowds at supermarkets for last-minute shopping.

The issue of seder night was causing officials to “lose sleep,” Health Ministry legal adviser Uri Schwartz said in a briefing Wednesday, The Times of Israel reported.

“We are very concerned that gatherings on the festival eve will lead to a surge in infections. It would be similar to the price we are paying today for the Purim parties [last month], which in hindsight were coronavirus infection parties,” Schwartz said. He called on Israelis to limit the Seder to the immediate family.

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate issued a directive on Tuesday saying that people should not invite family and friends to the Seder, among other restrictions, including a ban on burning chametz and davening with a minyan.

Police have already begun enforcing existing Health Ministry rules, and released the following statistics: Some 5,873 fines have been handed out, and closure orders issued for 73 businesses for operating in violation of the Ministry directives; approximately 62,400 home inspections have been conducted; 135 investigations have opened against alleged quarantine jumpers; and there are 42 investigations of false reports.

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