The Four Species of Sukkot
The Four Species of Sukkot צילום: David Cohen/FLASH90

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) expressed support for the government’s plan to impose a nationwide lockdown starting this Friday, the second such lockdown this year.

In contrast to the sharp opposition of Construction and Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), who resigned from the government this Sunday in protest of the lockdown, Deri said in an interview with Radio Kol Hai Tuesday that the lockdown was both necessary and could not have been implemented earlier, saying that the army – which will be deployed to help enforce the lockdown – was not prepared last month.

“I stand behind the decision to impose a lockdown during the holidays. We couldn’t do the lockdown in August since the army still wasn’t prepared. After the holidays we’ll be approaching winter, and that’s dangerous.”

Deri went on to say that there was a possibility the lockdown could be eased someone ahead of Yom Kippur.

“It’s possible that we might relax the restrictions before Yom Kippur to enable Jews to visit synagogues.”

The minister added that the government had used emergency equipment to help provide for alternate prayer spaces so that worshippers will be able to pray outside of synagogues.

“We opened up the state’s emergency storage facilities to take out awnings and chairs for many prayer groups.”

Regarding the Sukkot festival, which is set to begin the evening of October 2nd, Deri said that the government would classify the sales of the Four Species (Arba’at HaMinim) used during Sukkot as an ‘essential need’, allowing vendors to remain open and permitting customers to travel outside of the 500-meter limit from their homes.

“We will also allow cantors to go to synagogues and will make arrangements for yeshiva students to return home after Yom Kippur.”

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