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138 Israelis being investigated for violating quarantine

One hundred and thirty-eight Israelis are currently being investigated for violating quarantine rules, the police said Tuesday.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that police are working across the country to enforce existing coronavirus restrictions, especially the prohibition on people in quarantine leaving home.

He said growing numbers of people are calling to report neighbors for violating quarantine, accounting for some investigations, while police have started others based on their own information.

“We have made 20,000 visits to people who are in quarantine and have to be in isolated areas,” said Rosenfeld. “We call them up and tell them to come to the window or balcony.”

He stated: “We are using different database systems to reach individuals, to check they are in. They are Israeli police databases, the Health Ministry data system, and the data system from border crossings.”

If Israel’s cabinet approves a full lockdown, the population will see police — and possibly army — patrolling streets to check they are indoors, Rosenfeld noted.

“We are fully prepared for a full closure across Israel, with officers in streets to prevent people from going outside. If necessary the IDF will add extra manpower,” he said.

IDF spokesman Hidai Zilberman has announced that unarmed soldiers will act as an auxiliary force to the Israel Police. The IDF is preparing to assist the police if a full lockdown is declared, dedicating eight battalions — over 2,000 soldiers — to the cause, with the potential for more.

Some criminologists are concerned about what the burden on police during a full lockdown will mean for general law enforcement.

Arye Rattner, criminologist at Haifa University, said: “Police manpower is limited, so if they are occupied with a special mission this may well cause them to neglect crime and domestic violence.” Ability to respond to domestic violence is a serious issue, he said, as cases are likely to spike during a time of enforced confinement.