In Israel, hundreds of protesters against general containment

“When Netanyahu announced the reconfinement, I thought I would kill myself! », Launches Yaël, an Israeli who came to demonstrate Thursday evening in Tel Aviv against the new general confinement of the country, imposed to face a resurgence of the pandemic of new coronavirus.

In just a few hours, Friday at 2:00 p.m. (11:00 GMT) the Hebrew state will switch to “seger clali,” a three-week “general lockdown” that coincides with the start of the Jewish holidays – Rosh Hashana (New Year), Yom Kippur (day of forgiveness) and Sukkout (hut festivals) – which stretch until October 11.

For Yaël, 60, an office worker in an architectural firm who has lost her job because of the crisis, the buckling of the Israeli economy announced Sunday evening by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not bode well.

“The economy is falling, people are losing their jobs, are depressed. And why? For nothing ”, she breathes during an anti-confinement demonstration which brought together between 300 and 400 people Thursday evening in Tel Aviv.

The Israelis had generally accepted without complaint the first confinement in March-April, which coincided with the Jewish Passover, but this time the fed up, incomprehension and anger are obvious.

“Europe is gradually returning to normal and we, Israel, are going back,” laments Yaël.

A country of nine million people, Israel has officially recorded more than 172,000 cases of coronavirus, including 1,163 deaths, since the start of the pandemic.

The Hebrew state is the country before recorded the highest rate of contamination in the last two weeks, according to a world count carried out by AFP.

“The health system raised the red flag last week (…) We have done everything to try to find a balance between health needs and economic needs, but we are witnessing a worrying increase in contamination and the number of seriously ill over the past two days, ”Netanyahu said in a televised address Thursday evening.

He added that he would not hesitate, if necessary, to toughen the containment measures perceived as a sledgehammer by part of the population.

“Aggressive measure”

“It is an aggressive measure, which devastates the economy and which is not useful to stop the epidemic. The only reason why the government is imposing a re-containment is that it is completely lost (…), that it has completely failed to manage the coronavirus, ”replied the leader of the opposition, Yaïr Lapid, in an interview with AFP.

Israelis will not be able to travel more than 500 meters from their homes, except to go to the market, to the pharmacy or to work, if it is a profession considered essential.

Exceptions are planned, such as going to a “funeral or a circumcision”, said Thursday the Ministry of Health, which also imposed restrictions on places of worship.

Synagogues are generally full on the two days of Rosh Hashanah and especially on Yom Kippur.

But this year, worshipers will be able to pray in synagogues depending on the size of the building.

For the first time in its history, Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue will not host Jewish New Year celebrations due to restrictions imposed to tackle the epidemic.

This new confinement should also stop the demonstrations on Saturday evening in front of the official residence of the Prime Minister on Balfour Street in Jerusalem.

Since the summer, thousands of Israelis have gathered there once a week to denounce the government’s management, health and economics, of the pandemic.

For Yaniv Segal, a young member of the “Pink Front”, a group militant for the “weakest” in an “increasingly cruel” society, re-containment “is not the right solution to treat corona”.

“Containment is political! It’s to stop the demonstrations in Balfour, ”he said.

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