Beitar Mayor, Residents Decry Corona Cabinet’s Last-Minute Decision to Close Schools

YERUSHALAYIM -
Police put up roadblocks outside Beitar Illit, which was under a week-long lockdown due to the high numbers of newly infected people with the coronavirus in July. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As of Monday, schools were supposed to open in Beitar Ilit, but close to midnight on Monday, Beitar Ilit’s status was suddenly changed from an orange to a red area, and therefore the Corona Cabinet announced that schools would not open in Beitar.

Beitar Ilit Mayor Rabbi Meir Rubinstein sent an urgent letter to Health Minister Edelstein Tuesday, demanding to know “how it is that Beitar Ilit was defined a red area, when the data we have shows a completely different picture.”

The letter of Mayor Rabbi Meir Rubinstein to Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Tuesday.

“My children went to sleep with everything ready for school, and they wake up to find out that there’s no school? Talk about last minute,” a Beitar resident said angrily.

“We’re also trying to figure this out,” commented a chareidi member of the advisory committee of Professor Roni Gamzu. “It’s alright to define Beitar as a red city, but according to what criteria? Try to ask this, but you won’t get an answer.”

Of note is that the Shas representatives resigned from the advisory committee, claiming that “we had no ability whatsoever to take part in the proceedings…. We have the feeling that we were just there for decoration. Meanwhile, our tzibbur viewed us as if we’re involved in the decision-making, whereas nothing could have been further from the truth.”

Among the red areas are also chareidi towns Rechasim, Emanuel and Teveria.

The chart released by the Beitar municipality, showing that the city should be considered “orange” not “red.”

The other red cities and towns are Umm al-Fahm, Daliyat al-Karmel, Jat, Tira, Ein Mahil, Kfar Qasm, Ussefiya, Shaar Hanegev, Kafr Kanna, Zemer, Al Batuf, Laqiya, Beit Jann, I’billin, Maale Meron, Kafr Bara, Jaljulia, Nahal Sorek, Ka’abiyye-Tabbash-Hajajre and Jadeidi-Makr.

The order keeping the schools closed lasts until Thursday, when the Coronavirus Cabinet is expected to meet again to reassess the situation.