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Chief rabbis of Israel call for fast ‘to remove the coronavirus disease from our midst’

A letter from the rabbi says the fast will last midnight. It also instructs municipal rabbis to hold a prayers that day at 4:30 p.m. at synagogues throughout Israel, while maintaining Health Ministry directives on limiting gatherings to 10 people and staying two meters apart.

The call is backed by Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau and Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, as well as the Chief Rabbinate Council.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman opposed his ministry’s advocating of a full lockdown to contain the coronavirus during a meeting today at the Prime Minister’s Office, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

The following is the text of an exchange between Litzman, head of the ultra-Orthodox United Judaism Party, and Netanyahu, as reported by Kan:

Litzman: How does it look that every day or two there’s another decision [to impose new restrictions] and another decision?

Netanyahu: So because of public perception we shouldn’t do this?

Litzman: It can’t be that one can take their dog out, but the mikveh is closed.

Netanyahu: What can you do, the virus doesn’t respect religion.

Litzman: Well if it doesn’t respect [religion], we will.