Israel Hits 100,000 COVID-19 Cases Amid Criticism of Government Response
Israel officially reached a tally of more than 100,000 coronavirus cases on Friday as the government struggled to contain a resurgence in infection rates.
The latest daily tally showed 1,496 new cases, bringing the total number to 100,716, the health ministry said. Israel has reported 809 deaths among its 9 million population.
In May, Israel lifted a nationwide lockdown that had flattened an infection curve, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials celebrated as a success. Daily cases that numbered in the hundreds dropped to low double digits.
But a second surge of cases and ensuing restrictions have kept many Israelis out of work. Some restrictions have since been lifted to revive business activity, but unemployment still hovers at 21.5%.
Netanyahu’s government has come under fire by Israelis who have taken to the streets in near-daily demonstrations to demand better economic aid.
The protests have also focused on corruption allegations against Netanyahu, which the right-wing premier denies.
An August 5 poll from the Israel Democracy Institute found that only 25% of Israelis approve of Netanyahu’s handling of the pandemic, while some 58% identify with the protests against the government’s economic policies.