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Israel Retreating in Battle vs. Coronavirus: Reinstating Restrictions

The coronavirus appears to have regained the upper hand in its battle against the state of Israel following a number of consecutive days in which record numbers of new cases were confirmed. The back-to-back spikes have prompted health and political officials to reinstate a limit of 50 persons for event halls, outdoor assemblages, bars, synagogues, churches and mosques. The deputy health minister has made it official: Israel is in the midst of a second wave of the virus, the second being “more difficult and dangerous” than the original outbreaks. Many Israelis are angry at the government’s invasion of privacy as tens of thousands of citizens received orders via cellphones to observe quarantines, the information underlying the orders coming from surveillance via individuals’ telephones. Civil rights advocates have challenged the government’s use of its domestic spy agency and the Shin Bet’s use of the same technology to track those who have come in contact with known coronavirus carriers as the agency uses to track terrorists. For its part, the Palestinian Authority has declared a five-day lock-down in an attempt to gain the upper hand on the virus.