Adhering to the guidelines
Adhering to the guidelinesiStock

Head of the Knesset’s Finance Committee MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) addressed the Health Ministry’s guidelines regarding mass celebrations such as weddings, indicating that the government was unlikely to alter its position in the near future.

Currently, weddings can be held with a maximum of 19 people present (including the bride and groom and their families), provided the entire event takes place in an open area and guests adhere to social distancing guidelines mandating a distance of two meters between people. Despite the difficulty, some couples have tied the knot in recent weeks.

“I think that the time has come to drastically limit the scale of weddings in the haredi community,” Gafni told the Kikar Hashabbat website. “We don’t need to make such huge events. The financial burden this imposes has become too great to bear. It’s simply too hard for the parents of the couple. We should be reassessing the situation.”

Gafni stressed that any communal decision made would follow guidelines set by the rabbinical leaders of the haredi world, although he noted that the particular circumstances of the current epidemic can certainly be made use of in order to push the issue to the forefront.

“We pray that the epidemic will pass quickly, but maybe it has unintended positive consequences,” he said. “There is no good reason for making such huge weddings. It’s not good for the young couple, and not for their families either. I hope that the situation will resolve itself and that people will use this opportunity to start making weddings on a different scale.”

Gafni also commented on the decision of his fellow party member, Yakov Litzman, to leave the Health Ministry which he has headed for the best part of the last decade. Litzman will hold the Construction and Housing portfolio in the unity government currently under formation.

“Minister Litzman did excellent work, and I congratulate him. Today, we know that making the decision to suspend flights into the country was a good decision to make. We’re still not in a good place, but we are in a much better situation than almost every other country in the world,” he said.