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New Lockdown Plan: Synagogues to be closed, Sukkot markets to be banned

Israel’s Coronavirus Cabinet is considering mandating the closure of all synagogues in Israel, banning Sukkot markets, scaling back private sector business operations, and other measures to combat the coronavirus, Channel 12 reported Tuesday morning.

Just minutes before the Coronavirus Cabinet is set to convene at noon, the new report reveals a number of new restrictions the cabinet will consider imposing, as part of the broader proposal for tightening the ongoing nationwide lockdown.

The plan was drawn up by Coronavirus Czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu, who has in recent days expressed skepticism over the need for a tighter lockdown and urged the government to wait before imposing a stronger closure.

According to the report, the new lockdown plan would include the total closure of synagogues, including on Yom Kippur, and a ban on street gatherings during Yom Kippur and the Sukkot holiday. Mikvas (ritual baths) would also be banned on the eve of Yom Kippur.

In addition, the new plan would severely limit the number of businesses allowed to operate, cutting the private sector down to 50% of its operational capacity.

Sukkot markets, which sell the Four Species for the Sukkot holiday, would be also be closed.

Last week, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) vowed that markets for the Four Species would be designated as ‘essential businesses’, allowing them to remain open despite the lockdown.

Ahead of the Coronavirus Cabinet’s deliberation Tuesday, Prof. Gamzu said that if the cabinet does decide to tighten the lockdown, it should do so as quickly as possible.

“If it is decided to intensify [the lockdown] we must carry out all the restrictions together, not piecemeal,” said Gamzu. “And we must impose the new restrictions as soon as possible.”

Other possible restrictions, suggested by ministers in the “Coronavirus Cabinet”, include nightly curfews – in addition to the lockdown’s restrictions on travel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) have pushed for greater restrictions to be put in place.

Finance Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) has argued against the new restrictions.

The current lockdown, Israel’s second, was imposed last Friday afternoon, and is tentatively scheduled to last three weeks, though senior Israeli health officials have hinted it may be extended.

Header: In this Thursday, April 2, 2020 file photo, Israeli police officers wearing protective gear wait to detain ultra-Orthodox men as they pray in a synagogue in Bnei Brak. ‏(AP/Ariel Schalit )

Source: Arutz Sheva