PM in talks to nix lockdown on haredi cities

Prime Minister's Office considering alternatives to full lockdown on haredi towns, is working with haredi mayors to reach deal.

David Rosenberg ,

Binyamin Netanyahu speaks with Yaakov Litzman
Binyamin Netanyahu speaks with Yaakov Litzman

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering plans to avoid a full lockdown on a number of haredi towns and cities, following a backlash from multiple haredi municipalities.

The Prime Minister on Sunday pushed off a planned meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which was to have officially designated a number of towns as no-go zones because of their high coronavirus infection levels.

After the meeting was canceled, Netanyahu met with the leaders of the two haredi factions, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri of the Shas party, and Construction and Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman of the United Torah Judaism.

The three leaders met with Israel’s Coronavirus Czar, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, at the Prime Minister’s Office Sunday to consider alternatives to full lockdowns in a number of haredi-majority towns.

The predominantly haredi communities of Emmanuel, Elad, Rekhasim, Bnei Brak, Beit Shemesh, and Beitar Illit are among the towns slated to be placed under lockdown starting Monday.

Last Thursday, the Coronavirus Cabinet voted to impose a comprehensive lockdown on 31 cities and towns – later raised to 33 – which have high coronavirus infection rates.

The lockdown is set to last for one week.

Earlier on Sunday, Channel 12 released a letter penned by a group of haredi mayors which castigated Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus crisis in general and the lockdowns in particular, warning that the haredi community in Israel would “never forget this injustice you’ve done.”