Corona Cabinet to Discuss Lockdown for Chagim

Israeli police guard at a roadblock on a road in Yerushalayim in April, as the country was under lockdown due to the coronavirus. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The number of coronavirus patients in serious condition in Israel is above 400, leaving the country’s hospitals at risk of being unable to serve its population. On Thursday afternoon, the Corona Cabinet is set to meet to discuss the various options, among them a lockdown for the upcoming Yamim Tovim.

National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabat appears to be the main proponent of a renewed lockdown, after he said Wednesday that such a decision is not a matter of “if, but when.”

Both Ben Shabbat and coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu seemingly believe that another lockdown, similar to the one imposed during Pesach, is a viable option. It is still undecided if the lockdown would span over the entire month of the chagim or imposed only on the Yamim Tovim themselves.

Gamzu is said to suggest that in “green” areas, gatherings of up to 250 people should be allowed in the open and up to 100 people inside a building.

According to a report by the MACRO Center for Political Economics, a 25-day lockdown spanning from September 17 to October 11 – from Rosh Hashanah until the end of Sukkos – will cost the state an estimated NIS 13.6 billion.

New studies show that severe economic hardship is causing people in Israel and internationally to suffer from emotional distress, stress and anxiety.

Housing Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said ahead of the meeting that it is ludicrous for the government to impose a lockdown a full month before the chagim. “How can we already decide now on something unknown?” he asked. “It seems the government has an easier hand on things that have anything to do with the religious community.”