Enforcing the lockdown in Jerusalem
Enforcing the lockdown in Jerusalem Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Israel's Coronavirus Cabinet met on Monday to discuss whether to cancel the weekend lockdown, but the ministers did not manage to come to an agreement, and it was decided to hold another meeting on Wednesday, Maariv reported.

During the meeting, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said: "There's no such thing as half a lockdown. If we decide on a lockdown, it needs to be a full lockdown. As long as that's not the situation, there's no point in a partial lockdown."

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) demanded either a complete lockdown on weekends, or to completely cancel the weekend restrictions.

Another option raised during the meeting was a full lockdown from mid-August until the end of the month, in an effort to bring down infection rates enough to allow the school year to open safely.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: "The first step is a mask: This advanced technological device prevents infection. You wear it like they wore it a century and a few years ago, and it prevents the disease. If you don't wear it - the disease spreads."

"The second thing is to reduce contact. What we spoke about in the Cabinet, which will continue in another 48 hours, until a decision is made, is reducing contact via several options: One option that we are trying to avoid is a general lockdown on the entire country."

He added that there are three other types of lockdowns under discussion: Local lockdowns for hotspots, nightly lockdowns, and weekend lockdowns.

"Obviously, there is the possibility of using more than one of these things, using some of them, or using all of them," he added. "We must bring down the infection rate - we must. We cannot leave it as is.... We need to manage this wave."

Economy Minister Amir Peretz (Labor) said: "The central goal is to regain the public's trust. We cannot achieve goals without bringing back the public's trust, and in order to do that, the rules must be clear."

On Tuesday, Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Hezi Levy told Galei Tzahal that the possibility of lockdown was not off the agenda.

"It is clear what its price is and that social distance reduces infection. After a discussion with experts, we will bring a toolbox - the traffic light method, a partial lockdown, or a general lockdown. We will present this in the additional discussion with the Prime Minister," he said.