Reopening of Economy Accelerates

The scene at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Yerushalayim, Thursday. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israel staggered forward in an accelerated reopening of the economy on Thursday, with reports of a sooner-than-expected order to allow more businesses to resume operations.

Most stores and small shopping centers will be able to reopen as early as Friday after the Health Ministry gave its consent, though the cabinet will still have to vote on it, according to media reports Thursday evening.

Yerushalayim’s Mahane Yehuda market will be allowed to conduct business on Sunday, according to Army Radio. Owners of food stalls there protested the decision on Wednesday to permit IKEA furniture stores to open while keeping the open-air market closed. The decision was worked out by Yerushalayim Mayor Moshe Lion, a Mahane Yehuda representative and the prime minister’s office, according to Arutz Sheva.

Hairdressers, clothes and cosmetics stores are also said to be included in the return to work, according to Channel 13, which said the revised schedule was due to concern that the businesses would open anyway, and without proper compliance with health restrictions. The reopenings will be contingent on following Health Ministry directives for masks, gloves, distancing, etc.

Large, indoors shopping malls will have to wait to reopen.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett called on Thursday for the “immediate and calculated” reopening the economy and education system, castigating the Health Ministry’s go-slow policy as “destructive.”

“One million Israeli citizens have lost their jobs in the past month. Many more will follow them,” Bennett said, according to The Times of Israel.

“The continuation of Health Ministry closure policy is destructive for the future of the state of Israel,” he added. “There is another way: responsible but determined.”

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