Command & Control: Israel Police Use Hi-tech to Enforce Coronavirus Regulations (VIDEO REPORT)
The Israeli cabinet was set to hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss easing coronavirus-related restrictions even further after public anger boiled over a day earlier. People were incensed by a controversial decision to allow three IKEA outlets to re-open even as small businesses throughout the country remained shuttered.
The government also reportedly re-opened lottery booths, leading to widespread criticism given that the nation’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed, from less than 4% at the beginning of the health crisis to about 25%.
In response to the backlash, the cabinet was expected to green-light the re-opening of clothing stores as well as beauty salons and hairdressers, among other non-essential enterprises. The director-general of Israel’s Health Ministry conceded that “we should have made some decisions more logically, but we will fix it.”
Notably, the representative for retailers at Jerusalem’s renowned outdoor Mahane Yehuda market announced that stalls would begin operating again on Sunday, with or without the government’s blessing.
All of this comes as officials on Thursday raised the confirmed number of coronavirus cases in Israel to more than 14,500. Some 190 people have died.
After weeks of tight restrictions on freedom of movement that have kept most people at home, the gradual jump-starting of the economy presents new challenges for the Israel Police, which has been on the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus, tasked with ensuring that regulations, especially those pertaining to forced quarantine, are upheld.
The Media Line got a behind-the-scenes look at the COVID-19 command center at police headquarters in Jerusalem.