Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch: 'Lockdown has already been tried and failed'

"I refuse to be dictated to," says Bloch, who only found out about the impending lockdown in Beit Shemesh via the media.

Orly Harari ,

Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch
Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch
Miriam Alster, Flash 90

According to Beit Shemesh Mayor Dr. Aliza Bloch, the first she heard of the government’s intention to impose a lockdown on two of the neighborhoods in her city was via the media.

As things stand, on Monday September 7, around 30 locations around the country are to be subjected to strict lockdown restrictions, including Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph and Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel. In addition, the government intends to close educational institutions throughout the whole of Beit Shemesh, and impose a nighttime curfew on the entire city.

“We’re talking about a method that was tried three times already,” Bloch tells Arutz Sheva. “It was tried three times, and it failed three times. We have to find a solution that works.”

She adds that she doesn’t feel especially inclined to follow government dictates that she only finds out about in the media. “I don’t like being dictated to in such a manner. Beit Shemesh’s coronavirus command center continues to operate around the clock, at full capacity, to deal with the situation,” she points out. “We are already isolating coronavirus carriers and removing them from their homes and taking them to coronavirus hotels to keep the rate of contagion down. We cooperate closely with the Home Front Command, publicizing the government’s regulations, encouraging people to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing rules.”

Mayor Bloch expresses her frustration at the seeming lack of interest or understanding in government echelons regarding the serious consequences of lockdown. “There are many businesses in Beit Shemesh that are still struggling to recover from the fallout from the first lockdown,” she notes. “We at the municipality are doing our best to help them get back on their feet. Doesn’t the government realize what lockdown does to these people? And what about the 45,000 students in our schools? Do they have any answers for them? This is simply not the way to deal with things. I would like to send a message to Professor Gamzu [the government’s coronavirus project manager] and tell him: Stop dictating lockdowns. He has to do what he can to avoid taking this step.”

As of late Sunday afternoon, it appears uncertain whether the lockdown on haredi cities and neighborhoods will go ahead in the end; the Prime Minister is meeting with haredi MKs in an effort to find an alternative solution, with haredi mayors from several cities pointing out that what appear to be discriminatory government policies have led to their cities being designated “red,” given that secular cities were not required to test asymptomatic students, as was the case for those learning in yeshivas.