Yaakov Litzman
Yaakov Litzman Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) responded on Monday to the announcement by Ramat Gan’s municipality that it had erected fences to prevent the entry of residents of Bnei Brak to neighboring Ramat Gan.

“During this emergency situation which affects all Israelis, we must stop all discourse that leads to division between sectors,” he said. “The virus does not discriminate between populations and sectors, and neither should we.”

He added that “the haredi community adheres to the Health Ministry’s guidelines. Allegations that haredim are spreading this epidemic are both false and inflammatory. In every community one can find people who flout the laws, and we must enforce the law in every sector and every community. But G-d forbid we should allow people to turn this crisis into a confrontation between sectors.”

Recent days have seen an alarming increase in incitement against the haredi community from many public figures, and Litzman said that “residents of Bnei Brak and other haredi cities should not be treated in such a discriminatory or degrading manner.” He added that “I have contacted police and security services, and requested of them that they act with sensitivity and understanding toward the public, in order to prevent unnecessary hardship in these complex days ahead.”

In the last week alone, the number of diagnosed cases of coronavirus in Israel has doubled, with the highest rates of increase reported in haredi areas – not surprising, given the much higher population density in haredi neighborhoods. The highest rate of increase was reported in Modi’in Illit, where the number of cases reported jumped from 30 to 117 in a single week.

In Bnei Brak, there are now 1,323 confirmed cases, an increase of 893 from last week. In Jerusalem, the number of cases increased by 958 to a total of 1,424. Tel Aviv now reports 387 cases as opposed to just 78 last week. Haifa reports an increase of 53 to a total of 101, and Be'er Sheva now has 129 as opposed to just 30 a week ago.

Tiberias has 98 confirmed cases of the virus; Or Yehuda has 82, an increase of 48 from last week. The town with the highest percentage of coronavirus cases is Efrat in Gush Etzion.

Join our official WhatsApp group