The Knesset’s Covid Cabinet convened on Tuesday as the Chinese virus continues to spread throughout Israel. The cabinet discussed potential measures to tighten the lockdown measures against Israeli citizens.
The cabinet dispersed without making any decision following a dispute between members of the government regarding the guidelines of demonstrations during the closure, as well as over the restrictions on prayers on the upcoming Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
The Cabinet has decided that the police and the ombudsman together with a team from the Ministry of Health will decide on a new outline for the demonstrations.
Minister Aryeh Deri, who heads the religious Sephardic (Eastern origin) Shas party agreed to close the synagogues and hold prayers in an open area on the condition that the crowded demonstrations that are often accused of violating social distancing orders, be stopped. Deri elaborated on his sentiments saying that it would be hard to explain to the public why demonstrations are allowed but prayer services are not. The Blue and White party opposed the proposal.
Deri implied that he intends on resigning from the government should it decide to ban prayers and at the same time allow demonstrations: “A government that says yes to demonstrations and not to prayers is a non-Jewish government and I can not be a part of it.”
Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn agreed with Attorney General Mandelblit’s directive that politicians should not engage in guidelines against demonstrations.