Netanyahu: 'The closure works; we're exiting carefully'

Prime Minister Netanyahu announces ahead of lifting lockdown: 'Decision to impose closure was right. I'm glad I insisted on it, it works.'

Mordechai Sones ,

Netanyahu announces new restrictions
Netanyahu announces new restrictions
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tonight held a press conference regarding the first phase of easing the lockdown.

"The decision to impose the closure was the right one, I am glad I insisted on it," Netanyahu said. "This time we go out carefully and go according to an outline determined by the health experts at the Health Ministry. There's an outline and we went over it on every point, including everything related to the haredi public in the red cities. Exactly what was determined. I didn't agree to any change or waiver.

"I will enter the coronavirus cabinet tomorrow or the day after tomorrow and decide on how to continue, but it's important to keep the rules," Netanyahu added. "If we all keep the rules it will work. If it doesn't seem to work and we go back, we'll have no choice but to go back to tightening the restrictions."

"Regarding red cities, we accepted the recommendation of the team of Health Ministry experts. I call on the haredi public to keep the guidelines. The Torah sanctifies life. Life and health must be maintained. Health precedes the economy. I will keep the rules as the law allows. I know this is a hard task. We'll keep a lockdown around these cities. I want to see red cities turn green. I don't want to see the morbidity in the red cities flow to the rest of the population."

In response to Rabbi Chaim Kanevsky's call to open Talmud Torahs, he said: "I call on the haredi public and its leaders not to do this. We followed the health staff's recommendation to open the kindergartens. They clearly said there should be no openings beyond that." Netanyahu was asked if enforcement would take place, "We have a limited number of policemen and inspectors - and we will activate them. It's impossible to send a policeman to every street corner in every city and every alley."

"I do not want to see incidents of violence," Netanyahu added. "I respect the world of Torah, but I also respect the health of the citizens of Israel. I appeal to the common sense and warm heart of all people - secular and haredi alike. We cannot deceive the virus. Whether we succeed is up to you."