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Israel Hopes Corner Has Been Turned in Pandemic Battle

Israel’s fight against the raging coronavirus pandemic continued Tuesday, as the total lockdown imposed three weeks ago for the second time began showing signs of limited success. Nearly 5,700 new patients were diagnosed with the virus on Tuesday, at a positivity rate of 11.4% of all tests, a slight drop compared with recent days. There are 875 Israelis in serious condition, and 15 have died in the past 24 hours. On Monday, police pushed on in their efforts to disperse crowds in ultra-religious neighborhoods and towns, as thousands congregated illegally, wishing to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. According to police, 18 were arrested throughout the evening, as officers were assailed with stones and burning garbage cans. The worshippers-turned-protesters complained of police brutality and harsh tactics, with some video evidence displaying disturbing images of officers violently shoving, kicking and punching civilians. On Tuesday, the daily Haaretz revealed that police brass in Jerusalem reached an agreement with local ultra-Orthodox community leaders, by which officers would allow thousands of residents to attend the daily celebrations of the weeklong holiday as long as no evidence or footage of the festivities was leaked to the public. Police called the publication “patently false.”