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Virus Endures in Israel – as does Indignation
Residents of Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood – few of them in masks – gather in a street on September 27 just prior to the start of Yom Kippur. (Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)

Virus Endures in Israel – as does Indignation

The spread of coronavirus is continuing to wreak havoc on Israel’s social fabric as more and more violent protests erupt throughout the country. On Sunday, police attempted to disperse thousands of ultra-Orthodox residents of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, a city near Tel Aviv, who had flouted health regulations by gathering at synagogues for Sukkot holiday prayers. The often forcible attempts to scatter the crowds enraged worshipers, who turned to rioting and began throwing trash cans and stones at police, two of whom were hurt. Protesters also attacked journalists. There were 18 arrests. Israel is also aflutter after news broke that Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel, a Likud associate of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, violated government emergency measures during last week’s Yom Kippur holiday. According to the daily Haaretz, not only did Gamliel flout the national lockdown by traveling over 100 miles from home and praying in a closed synagogue, she then attempted to dodge an epidemiological investigation and, when finally questioned, lied to health officials. Israel’s coronavirus positivity rate as of Monday remained a high 12%. Close to 900 people are in serious condition and over 100 have died in the past week.

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