Elad Mayor Yisrael Porush
Elad Mayor Yisrael PorushYehonatan Gottlieb

Following the visit of former Defense Minister and Yamina party head, MK Naftali Bennett, to the haredi-national-religious city of Elad on Sunday, Mayor Yisrael Porush spoke with Arutz Sheva on the current situation in his city, and the threat of a lockdown (starting Monday) hanging over it, after Elad was designated a “red” zone.

“As you know, [MK Naftali] Bennett was here earlier today,” Mayor Porush tells me. “He seems to understand what’s going on here, and he wants to help. It’s just a shame that he’s not Defense Minister today… He wouldn’t be dealing with the situation in the way the government is dealing with it. He knows how to listen, he understands, and he wants to know what’s going on – and I hope that he’ll figure out how to make his voice heard, but I doubt that they’ll take any notice of him, just as they don’t take any notice of us.”

The mayor alleges that the government is showing evident bias in the way it presents the morbidity statistics for haredi cities as opposed to the way in which it treats secular cities. “This is what happens when you test every single yeshiva student,” he points out. “Do you really think there are no coronavirus carriers in Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, Holon, and Or Yehuda? No – what happens in such places is that if they don’t have symptoms, they just stay home [and don’t bother to get tested]. And 98 percent of yeshiva students don’t have symptoms, but they tested them anyway in order to push us into the ‘red.’ We were already a ‘yellow’ city – we got past the ‘orange’ and became ‘yellow’ – but then they did hundreds of tests and this is the result. So there you have it – they’re stronger than us, and if they want to hit us hard, they know exactly how to do it.”

Mayor Porush blames those dealing with the coronavirus crisis for arousing hatred of haredim among the general population. “This is beginning to remind me of the stories we were told as children, about how the non-Jews used to accuse the Jews of spreading disease – and now this is what’s happening here. Last week, I was in Yehud and in Or Yehuda, and I attended several weddings which were packed with people where no one was wearing a face mask. And just look at what goes on today at the cultural centers, on the beaches – but we just have to swallow whatever they throw at us.”

ראש עיריית אלעד: אם הם רוצים לדפוק אותנו - הם יותר חזקים