Israeli’s are headed for a second Israel coronavirus lockdown just before the Jewish High Holy Days begin. Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue will be closed for services for the first time in its 62-year history.
“The reason is a very simple one,” said Zalli Jaffe, president of the synagogue. “The most important criteria in Judaism is the safety, the physical safety, of every human being. People are devastated. But people understand.”
That’s just one causality of Israel’s second coronavirus lockdown, which includes closing schools, malls, hotels and restaurants (except for delivery). Israelis will only be allowed to venture about a quarter of a mile from home except for exercise or basic needs.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin apologized to Israelis for the way the government has handled the pandemic. “Tonight, I want to tell you that I understand well the feeling of confusion, of embarrassment, of concern, that many certainly feel,” he said. “I understand and ask before everything else, to apologize for this.”
Rivlin said the Israel coronavirus lockdown will harm Israelis’ ability to celebrate, grieve and pray together. He encouraged citizens to be strong, and then turned to the government.
“The trust of this people is worth more than gold,” he told government leaders. “We must do everything, everything, to restore personal, medical and economic security to all Israelis.”
Meanwhile, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Israeli police are ready to enforce the closure.
“The Israeli national police have completed health and safety measures for the scheduled lockdown, which will continue for three weeks, until the 11th of next month,” he said. “More than 7,000 police officers will take part in blocking different neighborhoods and preventing movements.”
The Israeli military will also work with police to prevent people from violating the government’s lockdown measures.