Israeli Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman resigns in protest over holiday lockdown

Israeli Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman resigns in protest over holiday lockdown

The announcement comes despite pushback from part of the ultra-Orthodox contingent in government over enforcing a lockdown during the holidays.

Israel will enter a three-week nationwide lockdown, starting Friday, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus after a second-wave surge in new cases.

At the press conference Sunday announcing the lockdown, Netanyahu defended his response, saying Israel's economy had emerged from the first lockdown in a better state than many other developed nations and that while cases were high, the country's coronavirus mortality numbers were lower than other countries with similar outbreaks.

Additionally, indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people, with no more than 20 people congregating in one place outdoors.

In France, the Prime Minister Jean Castex said the situation was "obviously worsening" in the country as authorities report 9,843 new cases, the largest daily increase since the pandemic began.

In principle, people will have to stay within 500 meters of their homes.

"I know these measures will exact a heavy price from all of us", Mr Netanyahu said.

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Israelis angry with the government over the rise in cases have cited the rapid reopening of businesses, with some arguing insufficient financial measures forced people back to work prematurely. 'This is not the holiday we are used to'.

"My heart is with the thousands of Jews who come to synagogue once a year and this year won't come at all due to the lockdown", wrote Litzman in his resignation letter. As reported by the Times of Israel, Deri said he supports a general lockdown as opposed to localized closures in the cities.

Spain's cumulative incidence, a variable closely watched by epidemiologists, showed almost 240 coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks, the highest in Europe.

Israel earned praise last spring for its early handling of the virus crisis, moving quickly to seal the country's borders and appearing to bring an outbreak under control.

Israel has had more than 150,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 1,100 deaths.

They blocked roads to Ben Gurion airport, from where Mr Netanyahu flew to the USA to attend the signing of agreements normalising ties with Bahrain and the UAE.

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