President Reuven Rivlin visited the city of Bnei Brak on Sunday and met with mayors of chareidi cities at the coronavirus headquarters in the city.
In his remarks, the President said: “The coronavirus has taken many casualties from us, and the struggle against it to this day demands very severe changes from us in the proper conduct of our daily lives. At the same time, there are groups in the population whose lifestyles make them more vulnerable.
“Naturally, larger families with more children may be more susceptible to infection; those who gather several times a day for tefillah and Torah study are more susceptible to infection. It is natural, and unfortunately the chareidi public has paid a heavy price, with the amount of lives lost.
“In a time of crisis like this,” Rivlin added, “we should not throw accusations at one another. We, the Jewish people, have experience related to stigmas, and accusations of spreading disease. ‘What you hate do not do to your brother.’ There is no place for arguments between us. It is too dangerous.
“There is a real danger, when in addition to dealing with the coronavirus, the chareidi public has to deal daily with the terrible outbreak of the hate virus. And these things I say not only here [in a chareidi city], in front of you. I said them in the Knesset, and in front of the Israeli public.”
The president added: “Even with the hopeful and positive news about the vaccine, we must not let down our fight against the spread of the virus. It is not yet clear how effective the vaccines will be, when they will come, what the long-term effects of the disease will be, and at what rate.
“We must continue to plan our lives as if there is no vaccine on the horizon. To plan how we continue to provide an excellent education for our children, and I know this is a concern that particularly bothers you, how we continue to daven, and learn in yeshivos and in the beis medrash.
“We need to worry for the future of the economy, how to alleviate the loneliness of the elderly. What will Chanukah celebrations look like; it’s just around the corner. And how will we once again celebrate Purim? And even Pesach. We must be prepared and begin to prepare already from now.”
Afterwards, the president held a meeting with the mayors of the chareidi cities: Bnei Brak Mayor Rabbi Avraham Rubinstein, Kiryat Ye’arim (Telshe Stone) council chairman Rabbi Yitzchak Ravitz, Beitar Illit Mayor Rabbi Meir Rubenstein, Elad Mayor Rabbi Yisrael Porush, Rechasim council chairman Rabbi Dan Cohen and Emanuel council chairman Rabbi Eliyahu Gafni.
They discussed further steps in the fight against the coronavirus and the cities’ preparations for winter.