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Tragedy in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market

The owner of a shop in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market place committed suicide Sunday as a result of ongoing financial pressures created by the nationwide coronavirus closures, Galei Tzahal reported.

At his family’s request, no further details were published about the veteran shop owner.

The shop owner had operated his business for years in the ‘shuk’, or market, which has been shuttered in keeping with government restrictions on business in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

As a result of the restrictions, unemployment has surged in Israel from 3.6% in February, before the nationwide closures were put in place, to nearly 26.3% in April.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion responded to the shop owner’s suicide in a statement Sunday, saying that he was “horrified and pained by the unfortunate news from the Mahane Yehuda market.”

“A business owner who couldn’t withstand the economic woes took his own life.”

Lion called on the government to lift restrictions on business activity in the Mahane Yehuda market.

“I call on the government to immediately open the market. The livelihoods of thousands of families are in danger. Every delay could cost lives.”

Earlier on Sunday, demonstrators clashed with police at the Mahane Yehuda market, as protesters demanded the government permit businesses in Mahane Yehuda to reopen.

Videos posted online showed a scrum of small businessmen scuffling with uniformed officers at the market’s Agrippas Street entrance. One of the protesters was arrested and later released and Tali Friedman, who represents Mahane Yehuda’s shop owners, was summoned for questioning by the police.

Chairman of the Shuk Merchants, Tali Friedman, called the government “detached,” telling it to “wake up and allow us to open the market. You forgot who is essential to citizens. You spit in our faces.”

Above a vegetable store
The building is empty now
The walls bare and worn

Yet immersed and sway
Reminiscent of holidays,
Of scented jasmine
Of an old tune that rings
Summoning to a feast

From ‘1 HaAgas Street’
by Ehud Banai

An estimated 200,000 people visit the shuk weekly. With the tensions that are often pronounced among different ethnic, religious, and social groups, the shuk has been called “a national treasure.”

Source: Arutz Sheva