MK Meir Porush
MK Meir PorushFlash 90

Following the government’s announcement on Tuesday that the haredi city of Elad, as well as several neighborhoods in the city of Tiberias, would be locked down from Wednesday morning for an entire week, Arutz Sheva spoke with MK Meir Porush, Deputy Education Minister and the father of Yisrael Porush, mayor of Elad.

“Imposing a lockdown on an entire city is wrong,” Porush said. “It’s much worse than using the ISA [Shabak] to do contact-tracing,” a policy which has been extremely controversial in the past, with many claiming it breaches individual privacy.

Porush noted that although several dozen coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in Elad, no thorough investigation has been conducted to see where they are clustered. Instead, an entire city of almost 50 thousand people has been subjected to strict closure regulations.

“Imposing lockdowns on entire towns is simply not the right way to go about things,” Porush said. “In Elad, they didn’t bother to check to see where the few dozen cases were located. They just took the whole city as one, and cut it off from the outside world. There must be entire streets there, and maybe entire neighborhoods, that don’t have even one case of coronavirus, and why should they be subject to a lockdown?”

Early in the epidemic, excessive media attention paid to the haredi city of Bnei Brak where a high number of coronavirus cases was detected resulted in multiple demonstrations of anti-haredi feeling, with haredim being demonized for “spreading the virus,” harking back to Medieval themes of anti-Semitic blood libels in connection to the plague. Many felt that the haredim were being unfairly targeted, something which Porush alluded to. “I don’t know what they are trying to achieve with this policy,” he said. “It is incredibly damaging to the haredi community, and if this was someone’s deliberate intent, he should be made to pay the price.”

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