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The Israelis impose Covid’s second blockade: citizens are ignoring him

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After a nearly two-month national quarantine last spring in which 9 million Israelis largely obeyed orders to stay home in the fall Lockdown II has proven to be much more fluid and controversial.

A vague public suspicion that restrictions are necessary, desperate to make a living, and angry at reports from politicians ignoring their rules has been less willing to fill itself since the second quarantine began Sept. 25.

Entire neighborhoods and cities have openly ignored anti-synagogue rules at synagogues, weddings, and funerals, especially in the ultra-Orthodox religious communities of Israel. With workplaces and schools closed, the parks are packed with families and exercise groups. Social media is filled with stories of citizens of all lines crossing the official 100-meter limit when traveling from home, with lots of visits to friends or family, as food is allowed.

A video of police pulling a celebrant out of an illegal marriage was shared and viewed on Wednesday. Police said an officer received minor injuries when members of the wedding party threw bottles.

‘Much less community spirit’

During the first blockade, we saw so many people who were focused on treating this pandemic as a united community, Brig said. General Sigal Bar-Tzvi, community policing commander for the Israeli Police. However, this time, people are more concerned about themselves and their needs. There is much less community spirit.

Confidence in the pandemic response of governments has collapsed, according to polls.

Public health officials, many of whom opposed a blanket blockade as too open, worry that dirty implementation, government warfare and shaky politics are creating cynicism that will make it harder to fight the blast in the coming months.

People have lost even more confidence and I fear they will not be so careful in the future, said Hagai Levine, president of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians. There is no public health without the public.

Small businesses, which have been devastated by the pandemic-driven economic collapse, have turned to guerrilla retail, risking fines of about $ 1,500 for passing homes and toys through the front half-open doors.

Along Emek Refaim, a popular shopping street in Jerusalem, a dry cleaner, hardware store and flower shop were the lights on, the doors open despite the blockade on Sunday, which is a regular working day in Israel. I am open if the police do not come and then I am closed, said Benny, the owner of a flower shop, who asked to give only his name.

Elsewhere on the street, a shadow trade was taking place, where the doors were closed but the owners could be seen inside. At Hoshen Jewellry, owner Ziva Mizrahi had just let two clients in while she was doing some paperwork.

If I’m here and they knock, I have to do it, she said. She does not want to violate coronavirus restrictions, but the business is down 90 percent since the blockade began. Otherwise, I do not know how long I can hold.

A flower shop in Tel Aviv has stayed open characterizing its plants as herbaceous as fresh food to call for a permissible exception, according to a dodge business review by the Haaretz newspaper. At least one clothing store put several boxes of fruit for sale between the shelves of clothes for the same reason.

A group of homeowners burn tires and unsold inventory on a street in Tel Aviv on Thursday to protest forced closures amid an economic collapse that saw more than 37,000 businesses fail in the first half of the year.

Thousands of small shops organized through Facebook opened their doors last Sunday in mass revolt. This Sunday, national retail chains announced plans to join them, with more than 6,000 stores expected to oppose regulations, according to the Association of Retail Chains, Fashion and Caf.

Record cases

Israel successfully flattened the rate of infections after the first outbreak of the new coronavirus in March. With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making inciting calls almost overnight on television, the government closed the airport, schools and told everyone mostly to stay home.

But within weeks of reopening in May very suddenly, critics said the infections started to grow. The new cases peaked at more than 4,000 a day in September, the highest per capita in the world, with most of the increase occurring in ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities. Covid-19 cases threatened to overload some hospitals.

Other countries facing revived numbers have chosen targeted restrictions, including banning overnight arrivals within Paris and other French cities this weekend. Israel, placing another national closure on the eve of the high Jewish holiday season, immediately encountered resistance.

People were more reluctant to meet this time, in part because they could see ultra-Orthodox communities, which have posted infection rates twice as high as the general population, refusing to cut the blockade. While some rabbis begged their followers not to hold holiday gatherings, many refused to stop synagogue prayers, close jeshiva schools, or disperse crowds in nature.

Memories were also fresh of law-breaking officials, including Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, both of whom had stopped Easter rallies during the first blockade. Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, was caught when a hair stylist came to her home and a former health minister attended the wedding, both against the law.

A key part of Israeli character is not to be freer, a Hebrew word translated loosely as a sucker, said Dan Ben-David, a professor at Tel Aviv University and president of the Shores Institute for Socioeconomic Research, who is following the answer. of the public. These people are ignoring it, so why not?

The decision to impose another full quarantine on the eve of the Jewish holiday season came amid a chaotic battle between health, education and finance ministers, all struggling for different rules and exceptions.

Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges, was accused of pushing for a shutdown to end massive protests against his rule that had become a weekly match outside the prime ministers residence in Jerusalem.

The result was a set of inconsistent adjustments that left the public confused and skeptical.

There is no logic to what Israel is doing, like Kafka, said Levine, of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians. Why can’t you swim in the sea? Why can’t you get away from a restaurant? It erodes trust.

As the infection rate shifted to target levels of 2,000 new cases per day, Israel began to rise some of the restrictions on Sunday. Preschools were allowed to reopen in the face of opposition from teachers’ unions, people could travel freely and gather in groups of up to 10 inside and 20 outside.

But neighborhoods of red areas with the highest rates of infection will remain under blockade.

The country risked falling into an extreme cycle, Levine said, with mass quarantines followed by spiked cases followed by mass quarantines, with no comprehensive strategy to keep infections low.

If we do not learn from our mistakes, Israel could move towards a third deadlock, he said.

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