Monday, March 1st | 17 Adar 5781

Subscribe
September 13, 2020 6:34 pm

Israeli Minister Quits as Coronavirus Lockdown Looms Over Jewish Holidays

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman gesture as they deliver statements during a visit to the Health Ministry national hotline, in Kiryat Malachi, Israel March 1, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo.

An Israeli cabinet minister tendered his resignation on Sunday in protest at a looming coronavirus lockdown that he argued would unfairly impede religious celebrations of Jewish holidays.

The restrictions – the most extensive Israel will have imposed since a lockdown that ran from late March to early May – are expected to go into effect on Friday, the Jewish new year Rosh Hashanah, and span into the Yom Kippur fast day on Sept 27.

“This wrongs and scorns hundreds of thousands of citizens,” Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, who heads an ultra-Orthodox Jewish party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, said in his resignation letter. “Where were you until now? Why have the Jewish holidays become a convenient address for tackling the coronavirus…?”

Under law, Litzman’s resignation takes effect in 48 hours. Although a sign of strained relations between Netanyahu and his ultra-Orthodox political partners, Litzman’s move was unlikely to have any immediate effect on the stability of the veteran leader’s governing coalition.

Related coverage

March 1, 2021 1:04 pm
0

Can Tesla Conquer Israel Without Storefronts?

CTech - The electric car manufacturer Tesla is entering the Israeli market, but there are no signs that it’s planning...

In remarks to the cabinet as it convened to vote on the lockdown, Netanyahu voiced regret at Litzman’s move but added: “We have to move on, to make the decisions necessary for Israel in the coronavirus era, and that is what we will do in this session.”

Israel, which has a population of 9 million, has reported 153,217 coronavirus cases and 1,103 deaths. With new cases topping 3,000 daily in recent weeks, authorities worry that the health system could be overwhelmed.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who heads another ultra-Orthodox Jewish party, came out in favor of the restrictions, saying in a video posted on Twitter that not abiding by them over the upcoming holidays would be tantamount to murder.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

Algemeiner.com

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.