Leftist professor: 'Israel needs to close off haredi cities to prevent spread of COVID-19'

Hebrew University condemns professor who implied haredim spread coronavirus: 'Embarrassing and racist'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Haredi man on cellphone
Haredi man on cellphone
Sarah Schuman/ Flash90

Hebrew University's Professor Amiram Goldblum has called for lockdowns on haredi cities and neighborhoods, claiming that haredim are responsible for spreading COVID-19, the new coronavirus, Israel Hayom reported.

In a Facebook post, Goldblum, who has a PhD in organic chemistry, wrote: "They're hiding the truth from you, because of the elections: The virus is spreading quickly in Israel since the Koreans visited the Cave of the patriarchs. In Italy they have closed off towns and cities to prevent the spread of the disease. Israel needs to close off Elad, Bnei Brak, and Modi'in Illit and Beitar Illit, and Netivot and Beit Shemesh, as well as large neighborhoods in Ashdod and Jerusalem."

All of the locations Goldblum named are home to large haredi communities.

Israel Hayom also quoted another post Goldblum wrote, which was later erased: "The list of places where they (the Korean tourists) visited is in the newspapers. Among others - the coronavirus came with them to the Cave of the Patriarchs and from there, via Jewish visitors who kiss mezuzahs (parchment placed on doorposts) - it was brought to many synagogues in Israel and to religious and haredi communities. Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Ashdod, Bnei Brak, Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit, and others."

In fact, despite the hundreds of people who have been quarantined after coming in contact with the infected South Koreans, only two people so far have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Both of those patients disembarked from the Diamond Princess and were diagnosed upon their arrival in Israel.

In addition, many secular and non-religious "traditional" Jews kiss mezuzahs and attend synagogue.

Hebrew University rejected Goldblum's statements, saying: "Amiram Goldblum's embarrassing and racist statements do not reflect the position of the Hebrew University management, nor do they reflect the position of the Hebrew University community, which works day and night to advance a heterogeneous society."

"Thanks to the Hebrew University's commitment to haredi students, we have become the leading university institution in Israel with regards to the integration of haredim in BA, MA, and doctorate programs."

Goldberg, a leftist activist, is one of the founders of the "Peace Now" organization. According to him, "anyone who wants to protect his life will not come close to mezuzahs - will not don tefillin (phylacteries) at stands in the street, will not enter any public places in religious or haredi neighborhoods - until it is clear that the virus has been eliminated in Israel - it is recommended to avoid entering synagogues, community centers, wedding halls, and....voting booths in schools and other public places. Demand the Interior Ministry provide safe voting booths!"

Last year, Goldblum called IDF soldiers "Jewish terrorists," expressing hope that lightning would strike them down.