Police checkpoint in Tel Aviv
Police checkpoint in Tel Aviv Police spokesperson

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a warning Thursday night ahead of the Simchat Torah holiday and called on the haredi community to refrain from holding large gatherings which could spread the coronavirus.

In an interview with Kol Barama radio, Netanyahu said: "Take care, there should no dances on Simchat Torah. There is no greater desecration of G-d's name than if because of Simchat Torah we lose a life. Pray outside, keep the guidelines, and thus sanctify both the Torah and life."

''The haredi public is close to me, I love them very much. I saw the mobilization of the haredi public in the first wave and the mobilization of the rabbis to adhere to the guidelines. The haredi public lives in greater density and that makes it more difficult, but it does not exempt us from trying harder. I address you in every language of request: and you should protect yourselves very carefully, keep the rules."

The Prime Minister referred to the phenomenon of "herd immunity" which parts of the haredi sector are seeking to reach. "There is no such thing as 'herd immunity'. Herd immunity means death to the herd. It is a death sentence for many thousands who will die. We have seen what is happening in other advanced countries that have gone this route."

"No one is persecuting the haredi sector and I will not let that happen. But on the other hand, there is no special treatment either. If there are concentrations with morbidity then it does not matter if it is haredi, religious, secular, Arab or Jewish, right-wing or left-wing. Everyone must abide by the rules, we do not persecute any community, we persecute the virus and we persecute the disease," he said.

Netanyahu referred to the Blue and White Party's demand to pass a budget for 2021 immediately. ''We agreed and enacted a law that the 2020 budget will be approved in December and at the same time the 2021. budget is being prepared. This is the law they approved and unfortunately Blue and White denies it. They should stop being an opposition within the government."

''Their endless struggles in government are dragging us to the polls, it's time to stop with that. While they are engaged in politics, I continue to engage around the clock in our struggle with the coronavirus.

The Prime Minister spoke about the atmosphere of Sukkot in the shadow of the coronavirus: ''For the first time in my life, I sat in a sukkah without Ushpizin (guests). I always host lone soldiers, this year unfortunately I could not. During Simchat Torah, as well, we must stick to to the rules."