The tightened closure will last longer than planned: On Tuesday evening, the government approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to extend the tightened closure by 10 days. Thus, the severe restrictions that were supposed to expire after two weeks this coming Thursday - will last until Sunday 31 January at midnight. At the same time, it was decided that a negative corona test would apply 72 hours before departure from abroad to Israel. The tight closure was supposed to end on Thursday this week, but the morbidity data led to its extension. , Yesterday a record of more than 10,000 new infections was recorded in one day, and hospitals are reporting congestion due to the high number of hospitalized.
Interior Minister and Shas chairman Aryeh Deri said before the vote: "I supported the closure but abstained from the previous vote because of the closure of synagogues. Today, in light of the great urgency, I waive the protest. Me and Minister Avitan will vote in light of the rabbis' directive in favor of the closure."
Deri added: "It is blasphemy what the ultra-Orthodox public is doing to us. Not because of us closure, it is because of the mutation that is spreading throughout the country. Incitement against the ultra-Orthodox is breaking records in recent days and unfortunately not only Great adherence to all the guidelines of the Ministry of Health. "
Tourism Minister Orit Farkash HaCohen proposed allowing the economy to be opened as early as the morning of the closure. Prime Minister Netanyahu objected and insisted that the closure end on Sunday at midnight, "so that we can take advantage of another day for the vaccination campaign." However, some of the ministers claimed that there was no connection between the two.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "You are talking here about enforcement. I am talking to country leaders who say 'nothing helps', no night shutter, no differential, no matter all the colors of the traffic light. Everyone says nothing helped and they say it from experience. Enforcement has not helped, there are always different groups in the population that are less conservative in democracies.
"What the commissioner said here is important: that the police here enforce more than anywhere else. In the United States, your eyes see, there are police there and even there it does not help. The Israel Police is making a great effort together with the staffs of the Minister of Internal Security and the incoming commissioner. Enforcement should be talked about fairly and in a true international comparison. Any other statement is misleading. In Europe, we are talking about a closure until April and we are talking about a closure for another 10 days. "
Prime Minister Netanyahu said earlier in the debate that the existing closure must be extended immediately. "Many countries in Europe are extending the closure until March, and even until April. That's what we have to decide today. It may not be popular and uncomfortable during the election period, but that's what we have to decide today and I expect everyone to support it. Of all of us to get out of the corona and save lives. "
National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat reinforced Netanyahu's remarks and said at the hearing that "morbidity is high and widespread due to the mutations. Stands at 40% -30% of the total infected - and will remain the most dominant in the coming weeks.
Defense Minister Bnei Gantz said at the hearing that he demands increased enforcement in the ultra-Orthodox sector and increased police presence and fines, along with restricting entry and exit from the country. "I demand enforcement in places that violate the closure," Ganz said. "There is no proper discipline and conduct. This is human life. We need to look at the issue of leaving the quarantine and preparing for the green mark. If there is enforcement and discipline - we can end the quarantine within 9-7 days."
Corona projector Prof. Nachman Ash said that the coefficient of infection was declining, and that the effect of the closure would be felt in the coming days - and recommended extending the closure by two weeks, until February 4. "The public is tired, no doubt," Ash said. "The response will be lower, but the data do not allow otherwise." Netanyahu and Gantz said that vaccines should be promoted for 16- to 18-year-olds, and the director general of the Ministry of Health, Prof. Hezi Levy, said in response that the issue would be discussed in the priority committee as early as Thursday.
During the discussion at the cabinet meeting, a confrontation developed between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit regarding the conduct of Corona tests for pilots abroad and land in Israel. Mandelblit asked "to establish things to be accurate," ".
Mandelblit added: "I see reports and statements, possibly by mistake, of forcing an inspection at Ben Gurion Airport and an inspection in the countries of origin. There is a tongue in cheek: the issue that came up for the first time last week is conducting 72-hour tests before boarding a plane. It never came up as a request from any source from the Department of Transportation or Health.
"Even today, within the State of Israel, there is no ability to force an investigation. There is incitement following what was said against me, that I have blood on my hands. There were never things, they did not bring me a request before boarding the plane. I expect the head of the National Security Council to confirm these things. This is dramatic and possible, but it came up for the first time last week. "Minister Deri confirmed Mandelblit's remarks.
Netanyahu concluded: "Because of the contradiction that a person must not be required to perform a corona examination on the one hand and on the other hand it is said that it is not possible to prohibit an Israeli resident returning home. A misunderstanding has arisen. It is good that the issue has been clarified.
The tightened closure was due to end on Thursday this week, but morbidity figures led to its extension. The overall infection coefficient dropped to 1.05, but signs of improvement in the data are still not apparent. At the same time, yesterday a record of more than 10,000 new infections was recorded in one day, and hospitals are reporting congestion due to the high number of hospitalized.