Coronavirus lockdown
Coronavirus lockdownYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The government on Thursday morning approved a full lockdown from Friday until after the holiday of Simchat Torah.

According to the outline decided upon at the Coronavirus Cabinet meeting earlier, the labor market will be significantly reduced except for vital workers. Prayers and demonstrations will also be held in capsules of up to 20 people, at a distance of up to a kilometer from their homes.

Prayers on Yom Kippur will be permitted inside the synagogues under restrictions. It was further determined that in the middle of the closure there will be an assessment of the situation in which it will be decided how to act after Simchat Torah.

The proposal will be submitted for final approval in the Knesset plenum later on Thursday. The Ministries of Finance, the Prime Minister, the National Security Council and other bodies will determine an outline regarding the public sector.

In addition, the government has approved the possibility of declaring a special state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic, which includes a clause restricting the demonstrations to the permitted distance of exit from one’s home. The approved wording states that it will be possible to impose a fine on a demonstrator who does not maintain a distance of two meters.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting, "We are required to impose a full lockdown for two weeks - from next Friday until the end of Simchat Torah. Then we will continue with two weeks of lockdown, I hope with fewer restrictions."

Finance Minister Yisrael Katz voted against a full lockdown, saying, “Measures to curb the disease could be promoted without fatally damaging factories and businesses in the private sector, which do not receive customers and follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health very carefully. The economic resilience of the State of Israel is part of the national resilience and must be maintained."