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Israeli cities and suburbs were ghost towns this week after the country successfully staged a nation-wide curfew.

Israel under national curfew during Holy Week

Christians are not the only ones having to adjust to the new reality during their holy week. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enforced a Holy Week curfew which ended today.  “On Wednesday, before the Passover seder, everyone will remain at their home starting at 6 p.m. until the next day at 7:00 a.m.,” Netanyahu announced earlier in the week. “I know that this is very onerous but there is simply no choice. We will strictly enforce the lockdown.”

Residents were required to remain in their homes without any visitors, including immediate family. Netanyahu recalled the mass gatherings that occurred during Purim holiday celebrations last month and noted that the Passover restrictions were being introduced to avoid further spread of the virus during Passover, which, like Purim, traditionally attracts large gatherings.

“We saw what happened one month ago with the events of Purim holiday,” he said. “The virus contagion had spread in broad circles. I say here in the clearest way possible: Passover will not be Purim.”

The Israeli government also enforced travel bans within the country during Holy Week. Reportedly, between 7 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Friday, all travel between cities was banned in Israel. In addition to the Passover restrictions, the Israeli government also enforced prortective measures that required residents to stay within 100 meters of their homes, barred food and medical supplies shopping and other essential trips.

Netanyahu did offer a glimmer of hope, however, suggesting that the virus’ rate of spread in Israel is slowing, which could allow for restrictions to slowly begin to be lifted following Passover. “I am pleased to inform you that there are positive signs on the horizon,” he said. “We are moving forward with preparations for the scenarios regarding the exit from the crisis.

Churches and other religious sites will remain closed for the Easter Weekend as well.

Israel currently has 9,006 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 62 deaths and 683 recoveries.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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