Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday will hold a special meeting to discuss the plan for operating synagogues during the coronavirus crisis.
The meeting comes at at the request of the Knesset's haredi parties, and will also include discussion on travel to Uman, Ukraine, for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).
Housing Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ), Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), and coronavirus czar Professor Ronni Gamzu will participate in the meeting.
Gamzu's plan for opening synagogues was put together by former IDF Central Command Commander Roni Numa. Under it, the number of worshipers allowed in a synagogue is dependent on the number of entrances the synagogue has, the number of cells (capsules), and the city's rating according to the "traffic light plan." It also limits the number of worshipers to one person per four square meters (43 square feet), up to a maximum of 1,000 people.
According to News 12, Gamzu has agreed that each of a synagogue's exit can serve up to two capsules, but the haredi ministers are insisting on allowing three capsules per exit.
The sides also disagree on what constitutes a "red" city under the traffic light plan. Gamzu wants one of the parameters to be the percentage of new cases from the total number of new cases, so that people will not be afraid to get tested. However, the ministers want the parameter to be the percentage of new cases out of the city's entire population.
Under the plan, prayers will be permitted during the holiday season under the open sky, regardless of a city's rating. These prayer gatherings will be limited to 250 people, who will be in groups of 20. Prayers will be held sitting down, with marked seats. Holding prayer sessions with over 250 people will require the approval of the local authority and the district health office.
In the Western Wall plaza, prayer capsules in areas which allow for sitting down will contain 50 people each, and there will be an empty chair separating members of different households. Where there is standing room only, prayer will be limited to groups of up to 30, with a two-meter distance between worshipers.