Netanyahu Pushes to Tighten Lockdown Restrictions Immediately

Shacharis at the Kosel on Wednesday, under coronavirus restrictions. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that being that Israel is in a state of emergency due to the dramatic increase in coronavirus cases, he will push to tighten coronavirus lockdown restrictions immediately.

The Coronavirus Cabinet meeting was postponed until 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

After multiple delays, the ministers are expected to vote on a host of new restrictions, including further limitations on the private sector’s activity, limited tefillos on Yom Kippur, and a ban on the arbaah minim markets.

Netanyahu also summoned Transportation Minister Miri Regev to the Cabinet meeting, apparently due to the desire to halt outgoing flights from Ben Gurion Airport. Incoming flights will continue as usual.

The potential shuttering of the country’s shuls over Yom Kippur is seen as a highly controversial move that could spark a coalition crisis.

Shas leader Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri, who on Tuesday said he would only support limitations on shuls if demonstrations were significantly restricted, stressed Wednesday that he believes the shuls should remain open on Yom Kippur regardless of any other restrictions imposed by the government.

Batei knesset must be allowed to remain open on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year,” he wrote. “They can operate according to the ‘purple tag’ restricted outline that was already established by the government, just as businesses can operate.”

Rabbi Deri conceded that shuls could be closed for the remainder of the lockdown, after Yom Kippur. “During the rest of the lockdown, if the Health Ministry objects to people gathering in enclosed spaces, we will all hold tefillos outdoors.

“During the lockdown, anyone who wants to attend a protest will do so only in the vicinity of his home. It has to be made clear that the same law applies to both batei knesset and protests.”

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