Workers making matzah for Passover at Matzot Aviv factory with masks and gloves on April 7, 2020 in Bnei Brak, Israel. (Guy Prives/Getty Images)

Israel: Passover Seder to be Celebrated Under Curfew

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced in a televised address on Monday night that a full curfew would be in place Wednesday night – when Israeli Jews hold the festive Seder meal celebrating the biblical exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt – confining Israelis to their homes until Thursday morning. “Every family will hold the Seder alone. You will celebrate only with the limited number of family members now in your home,” Netanyahu said. Traditionally, Seder meals are a time when extended families, and often friends as well, get together, but this year will be different, as Israel fights the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19. Netanyahu also said that a ban on intercity travel would be in force from Tuesday afternoon until Friday morning. To date, the country has seen 9,006 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 59 people have died from the disease. The prime minister noted that government measures to enforce social distancing seem to be working and that the death rate in Israel (7 per million population) is lower than the rate in many other countries. (Aside from tiny San Marino, Spain now has the highest death rate, at 295 per million population.) “There is a real possibility that if the positive trends continue we will gradually end the lockdown after the Passover holiday,” he said, though the most vulnerable would remain in isolation longer.

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