The Israeli government voted Thursday morning to tighten the national lockdown imposed last week, in what seems to be a last-ditch effort to turn the quickly deteriorating health crisis around. The drastic steps, which were opposed during the emergency meeting by health experts and several ministers, include an immediate and total shutdown of the workplace and the closure of Israel’s airport. In addition, no more than 20 people will be allowed to gather in the same space, inside or out, at a distance of no more than 1 km from their homes. The most controversial item voted on Thursday was the decision to severely limit demonstrations, a move decried by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s detractors as an attempt to quell the growing protests against him in recent months. Notably, the entire team of health experts advising the government opposed the resolution passed Thursday, claiming it was illogical to grind the entire economy to a halt and ban protests while permitting indoor prayers in synagogues during the Jewish High Holidays.
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