Thousands Ignore Lockdown to Protest at Prime Minister’s Residence
From appearances in the streets surrounding the Israeli Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem Saturday night, one would not suspect the nation was in the midst of a lockdown. Once again, as has been the case for some fourteen weeks, thousands of citizens jammed into every available space near the Balfour Street home waving placards and chanting for an end to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s tenure. Ironically, those protesting the PM’s failure to control the raging coronavirus were themselves accused by others of increasing the danger of spreading the disease despite – some say futile — attempts by police and organizers to abide by social distancing restrictions. The rally was preceded by convoys of vehicles – estimated at more than 1,000 – making their way to the capital from all parts of the country. The number of new cases of COVID-19 dropped slightly over the weekend, but the contagion rate remains very high at 14%. The Prime Minister has asked the public to stay out of synagogues on the Jewish year’s holiest day, Yom Kippur, and to restrict public prayer to small outdoor groups. But it is unlikely the ultra-Orthodox community will heed the warning.