Yisrael Katz
Yisrael Katz Flash 90

Finance Minister Yisrael Katz referred in internal discussions ahead of the coronavirus cabinet to be held this morning to his difficult dispute with the Health Minister and his office regarding opening businesses next week.

"The street shops that are on the verge of collapse must be opened immediately. What is this insanity?" He wondered, adding, "The Health Ministry is detached from the people and is acting with opacity. Enough waging gratuitous struggles on the backs of the tiny merchants.

"People built businesses with their own ten fingers and are now left destitute. The rains will soon start and it will be difficult to start up. It's simply impossible. We're allowing massage and personal treatments without masks while only the street shops, which are the safest in the world, remain closed," the Finance Minister accused.

"They want to push 80,000 people below the poverty line. Make the petty merchants enemies of the people, because they don't have a strong lobby. I won't give up and I'll fight for them with all my might, to allow their immediate return to activity."

Discussions on opening trade between the Finance and Health Ministers ended yesterday at an impasse. In the face of Katz's demand, Minister Yuli Edelstein clarified that opening stores should be postponed to the next stage of exiting the lockdown. The Prime Minister's attempt to reach an agreed compromise did not go well and the decision will be made by cabinet ministers.

Meanwhile, outgoing coronavirus coordinator Prof. Ronni Gamzu will not oppose the coronavirus cabinet's discussion on opening synagogues.

Currently, 10 people may gather in a closed space with masks and while keeping physical distance. However, prayer in a synagogue is still forbidden. Tomorrow in the coronavirus cabinet, Aryeh Deri will demand that synagogues be opened as well, and Minister Yizhar Shai of Blue and White also supports this.

Channel 12 News reported that in conversation with his associate, Rabbi Yossi Erblich, Gamzu said that distance is kept, windows kept open, and masks worn, there is no reason to forbid prayer in a group of 10 people in a closed space and 20 people in an open space.

However, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein wants to condition approval of opening synagogues on haredi commitment to issue a public call to obey Health Ministry rules.