COVID-19, in Israel the ultra-Orthodox revolt against the restrictions continues

Israel

Netanyahu approved the law that doubles the fines for violating the limits in gatherings (from € 1,300 to € 2,600). After weeks in which, in several cities of the country where the largest ultra-Orthodox communities reside, numerous violent clashes took place between extremist groups and the police who tried to enforce the restrictions for containing the virus.

Despite the closure of the Tel Aviv international airport, Israel continues to witness protests against anti-Covid-19 measures. Yesterday local media reported an unprecedented gathering in Jerusalem: thousands attended the funeral of a 99-year-old rabbi victim of the coronavirus. The government doubles the fines for those who violate the rules on social distancing. For weeks, in various cities of the country, harsh clashes between extremist groups and the police, trying to disperse the crowd.

The complex system on which the relationship between the ultra-Orthodox community and the institutions of the Israeli state is based revealed itself in all its fragility in the year of Covid, especially during the third lockdown it reached unprecedented levels. On Sunday, Jan.31, in Jerusalem, thousands of religious people took part in the funeral of the important rabbi Meshulam Soloveitchik, who died on Friday at 99 due to Covid. The event showed the police total powerlessness, who only managed to reject several buses that continued to arrive in the city for the ceremony, but not to prevent uncredible crowds. Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch tweeted: “A funeral that will lead to many more funerals.”

In recent days, in Jerusalem, in the Haredim neighborhood of Mea Shearim, hundreds of people clashed with the police trying to close an illegally opened religious school, yeshiva. The policemen were targeted by throwing garbage and other objects with screams of Nazis. Similar scenes in Ashdod, a coastal city in the south of the country, where four officers were injured in the incidents that occurred when the police tried to interrupt the lessons of a religious elementary school open despite the provisions. Even in Bnei Brak, a town with a large prevalence of Haredim, the police tried to close a religious school linked to the Hasidic rabbi Vizhnitz.

In the last 24 hours, Israel recorded 2,842 new infections compared to over 30 thousand tests conducted (in lesser quantities as always during the sabbatical) with a positive rate of over 8% due to non-compliance with the restrictive measures.On the vaccination front, the Tel Aviv Government has decided to extend immunization to young people, aged 16 to 18, in order to allow school activity to resume and an almost normal life.Since the start of the pandemic, the Jewish state has counted 646,277 cases of coronavirus, of which 4,796 have died.

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