Israel Faces Lockdown as Pandemic Spreads at Record Pace
Israel is facing a grim reality Tuesday and seems to be headed for an immediate, total lockdown, as coronavirus numbers spike by the day and deaths continue to rise. On Thursday, it was revealed that the daily number of confirmed cases topped 3,000 for the first time since the pandemic broke, with the infection rate among test individuals reaching a whopping 9.4%. Israel is now ranked No. 8 worldwide in number of cases per million inhabitants. The dramatic surge in cases has led health officials, chief among them Israel’s coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu, to demand sweeping restrictions in cities and neighborhoods hit hardest by the virus, mainly ultra-Orthodox towns and Arab villages. Yet ministers and MPs, especially those of the ultra-Orthodox sector, reject the calls for partial lockdowns in their communities, and on Thursday continued their attacks on Gamzu, accusing Israel’s top COVID-19 authority of bigotry and anti-Semitism. The government’s “corona cabinet” will convene for an emergency meeting later Thursday, where dramatic decisions will likely be made.