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Israel Attorney General: ‘Govt. can’t declare shutdown on weekends’

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit told the government ministers Thursday night that the government does not have the authority to declare a general closure on weekends and that such a move requires legislation in the Knesset.

A new government plan to impose nationwide lockdowns every weekend will only be put into place starting next week, not this coming weekend.

Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that the ministerial forum headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had endorsed a plan to impose new restrictions aimed at “combating the coronavirus,” including nationwide lockdowns imposed every weekend.

Contrary to initial reports, however, the first weekend lockdown will not be imposed until next week at the earliest.

The government is set to meet at 8:30 p.m. Thursday to deliberate on the proposed restrictions, which include the closure of on-site dining at restaurants – with takeout and delivery services allowed to remain open – and the closing of public pools, beaches, gyms, and summer school programs.

The Education Ministry has opposed the plan to close summer school programs, noting that just 895 students out a total of more than 700,000 were found to be infected.

In addition, synagogue services will be limited to 10 people at any given time, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people.

But the weekend lockdowns, which would bar leaving one’s house from Friday morning until Sunday morning except for “essential needs” including groceries and medication, will not be imposed without passage of new legislation in the Knesset.

Netanyahu spoke with MK Yaakov Asher (United Torah Judaism), who heads the Knesset’s Constitution Committee, in a bid to speed passage of a bill empowering the government to impose nationwide lockdowns every weekend.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained at the cabinet meeting Thursday evening why new restrictions must be imposed soon to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“In three weeks we will reach 1,600 patients in serious condition if we continue as we are without new conditions. If we do not flatten the curve then we will be putting many Israelis in danger,” Netanyahu said.

Defense Minister Gantz proposed instituting a closure at night.

Source: Arutz Sheva