Israeli Government Hopes Increased Fines Will Help Ailing Country
Israel’s government on Sunday will pass a new bill increasing fines levied against individuals and institutions violating the coronavirus lockdown, after a tense back and forth between the country’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz. Over the past week, the latter’s Blue and White party threatened to not support the extension of the current shutdown, slated to expire Sunday night, if the fines proposal is not passed in its entirety. Netanyahu, on the other hand, hoped to significantly water down the bill, fearing its implications on support from his ultra-Orthodox political allies. The bill is thought to be especially painful to the ultra-Orthodox community, which in recent weeks has openly flouted closure orders, opened schools and conducted mass wedding celebrations. Consequently, 17 of the top 20 municipalities hit hardest by the virus in Israel are ultra-Orthodox. The third nationwide lockdown imposed in Israel, now set to be extended on Monday, has so far failed to have the desired effects, as the British and South African variants have apparently ravaged the Jewish state. On Sunday, the total number of patients in serious condition again spiked, as did the rate of positive results among all those tested, which passed 10% after a week of remaining under 9.5%.