Beit Shemesh
Beit Shemesh Yehonatan Veltzer/TPS

Following the closure of neighborhoods in the city of Beit Shemesh and the increase in morbidity in other parts of the city, an urgent meeting was held this evening led by Defense Minister Bani Gantz, Brig. Itamar Bartov, IDF Home Front Commander Brigadier General Itzik Bar, Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch, and Beit Shemesh Municipality head Itamar Bartuv.

The meeting took place following a conversation yesterday between the Defense Minister and the Mayor.

Gantz informed Bloch that the Defense Ministry, with Finance Ministry budgetary assistance, will provide the city with stipulated elements to "fight coronavirus".

Among other things, spaces in hotels will be allocated for both the haredim (individuals and families) as well as other populations. The IDF and specifically its Home Front Command will set up regular buses in the city that will immediately begin direct transportation to hotels. In addition, the Defense Ministry and IDF will be prepared to supply food packages to residents if the closure continues for a protracted period.

The Municipality will be allocated a dedicated information budget costing more than one hundred thousand shekels to impart to residents the need and options for evacuation to hotels, in various languages ​​and in the various media relevant to the haredi city.

Defense Minister and Alt Prime Minister Benny Gantz said: "We acted quickly because this is a current problem and a case study for the State of Israel in a medical emergency. We're committed to fighting coronavirus with confidence. We're committed to keeping Beit Shemesh open, healthy, and safe."

Beit Shemesh Mayor Dr. Aliza Bloch added: "It excites me to see that within 24 hours we got an answer. Only cooperation of the Defense Ministry with the Health Ministry, the Israel Police, and the local authority can produce a headquarters of combined forces to cut off the spread of the virus. I welcome the cooperation, which is a matter of protecting life. Another issue that is important to emphasize is that the cooperation should also be mobilized to build trust with the haredi public. This is a crisis of confidence and within such a crisis it is impossible to move towards a solution. Another task of all these factors is to build a bridge that will lead to a solution."

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