Israel Introduces Pandemic Curfews

Israel`s Health Ministry announced another 3,425 coronavirus infections in 24 hours, shattering previous records for daily infections with COVID-19. The country’s death toll from the pandemic has now surpassed 1,026 and reports say there are nearly 30,000 active cases.

The accelerating rate of infection has led to significant disagreements within the government as politicians try to balance health concerns with economic troubles. Those disagreements have slowed the government’s response to this latest surge.

Magen David Adom workers at the Sheba Medical CentreMagen David Adom workers at the Sheba Medical Centre (photo: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

But today the government approved night-time curfews in many cities and towns that have high infection rates. Those curfews will come into effect this evening at 7 pm and run through to 5 am, continuing daily through to 15th September.

During the curfew, people must stay within 500 metres of their home and non-essential businesses will be closed. Schools will be closed at all times, except for special needs programs.

A total of 40 cities are affected by the curfews, most of them containing Haredi and Arab communities, which have struggled more than others with the virus.

In fact, the government was expected to lockdown around ten cities on Sunday and issue restrictions for another 20. But leaders of the Haredi communities mounted strong opposition, saying they would not cooperate with a lockdown.

Opposition politician Avigdor Lieberman has urged Israelis to ignore police and Health Ministry regulations, saying they should rely on “common sense” not the government.

That has prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call upon opposition politicians to show more responsibility, appealing to them in a letter:

‘Do not bring the State of Israel to anarchy. Anarchy will lead to very many
severe cases and, I regret, many more deaths as well.’