After deliberating a curfew as an anti-pandemic measure, the Israeli government opted out, inadvertently bringing about a prophecy of Hanukkah remaining in place while the other, Biblically mandated holidays will disappear in the era of the final redemption.
Government Backs Down; Curfews Deemed Illegal
The Israeli government was planning on imposing a nightly three-week curfew beginning Wednesday evening and extending throughout the Hanukkah holiday but encountered legal difficulties from the “Coronavirus law”. The law stipulates weighing different alternatives only if they guarantee clear benefits in curbing morbidity rates. At a special meeting concerning the pandemic, public health experts stated that a nighttime curfew may be ineffective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
“At the end of the day, we try to balance all of the considerations — health on the one hand and, on the other, the economy and people’s lifestyles,” Prof. Arnon Afek, a medical adviser to the government on the pandemic, told the Ynet news site.
Afek suggested that the most that could be hoped from a curfew would be a placebo effect, assuaging the concerns of the public.
“I think it makes sense to try a nightly curfew,” Afek said. “Do I think it will work? I’m afraid not. We may end up at a full lockdown, but at least we’ll have proven to all those people who are hurt by it that we made every effort.”
Israel’s chief coronavirus manager Nachman Ash stated that the most that could be hoped from a curfew was that it would only “delay the inevitable.”
Despite the doubts and legal impediments, the government is still trying to shutdown the public.
“Following the legal difficulties that have arisen in approving a nighttime closure, which is intended to prevent a general lockdown, alternatives are now being examined that will make it possible to prevent gatherings on Hanukkah and toward the end of the year,” a government statement said.
According to Channel 12, the Health Ministry will now recommend pinpoint closures based on local rates of infection, while specifically cracking down on Jewish areas with more serious outbreaks over Hanukkah and highly infected Christian-majority areas over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Deliberations of shutdowns and curfews come when the Israeli Health Ministry announced they will begin vaccinating the public on December 20.
Moshe Feiglin: “Curfews Are Like Fasting Between Meals”
One of the few (if not the only) politicians speaking out against seemingly random and clearly ineffective government policies concerning the pandemic is Moshe Feiglin, leader of libertarian Zionist party Zehut. Feiglin has come out strongly against proposals for mandatory vaccination, advocating instead for a “herd immunity” policy accompanied with a parallel policy protecting the elderly and at-risk population.
In September, Feiglin wrote about the ineffectiveness of curfews, describing it as “fasting, but only between meals.”
“In simple words – the government understands that it is unable to deal with the Corona because it has lost (and rightly) the public’s trust and the public’s willingness to be disciplined,” Feiglin wrote.
He noted that too many factions and segments of societies strayed from government mandates for their own agendas, each justifying their actions above others. He suggested that there were two possible models; full closure as in New Zealand or a complete return to routine.
“There is no half pregnancy, no half-filling a cavity in a tooth, and there’s no halfway for the pandemic treatment,” Feiglin wrote. “And because we are not prepared to do this all the way, we have no choice but the second option.”
More recently, he wrote a post critical of the government.
“For the past several weeks, I have published several posts concerning the faulty management of the corona crisis,” Feiglin wrote. “I have tried to alert you to this mistaken strategy, to speak about the extent of the failure and to point out the serious damage. I have alerted you to the terrible bite that has been taken out of our personal rights – like the right to earn a living with dignity, the freedom to travel and have a social life, the right to an education, and so on.”
“I have spoken about the terrible costs associated with the policy of lockdowns – the tests and restrictions, about the collapse of a significant number of small businesses, about the nation-wide and personal depression afflicting hundreds of thousands of Israelis, about the way Israeli schoolchildren are falling behind and the emotional damage they have suffered, about the mental anguish of parents who watch as their children lose all contact with their normal lives – all this even before we began to speak of the sharp increase in cases of family violence and of the suicides, the loss of human dignity, the increase in hatred between groups and factions within Israeli society.”
“We haven’t even begun to talk about the enormous theft of public funds – a debt with which we burden our children.”
He labels his solution, as described above the “common-sense solution.”
Rabbi: Pandemic May Lead to End of Democracy
“I am not advocating for rebellion,” Rabbi Kahana said. “But in the long run, the pandemic could create a chaotic situation in the country and the government will have no choice but to use the army to keep control of the democratic institutions. In the end, these institutions will be unworkable and will be canceled. The democratic institutions are, essentially, anti-Torah. Democracy is built on equality but the Torah is not. The Torah is built on identity; the Jews being the chosen people, Kohanim serving in the Temple, each tribe being in its specific portion of the land. This is why the people who say that everything is the same hate the Jewish state and hate Torah.”
Post-Redemption: No More Holidays Except Hanukkah and Purim
In a previous article, Israel365 News examined the Jewish tradition that after the Final Redemption, all of the holidays will be diminished or disappear except for Hanukkah and Purim; the two holidays that have no basis in the Torah. Pertaining to Hanukkah, a Midrash which stated, “In the future, all sacrifices, with the exception of the Thanksgiving-sacrifice, will be discontinued. (Midrash Vayikra Rabbah 9:7)”.
Remarkably, this prophecy seems to be manifesting as, indeed, the holidays of Rosh Hashanna, Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth were all conducted during a pandemic shutdown.
Similarly, the Yalkut Shimoni, a compilation of rabbinic commentary on the Bible believed to have been composed in the 13th century, states that “All the holidays will be canceled in the future, but the days of Purim will never be canceled.” This is based on a verse in the Book of Esther.
Consequently, these days are recalled and observed in every generation: by every family, every province, and every city. And these days of Purim shall never cease among the Yehudim, and the memory of them shall never perish among their descendants. Esther 9:28
Purim will begin this year on March 10. Only time will tell if, as the prophecy predicts, Purim will be celebrated in all its glory.