Israeli mayor rebels, declares city open, disregarding corona regulations

The mayor of Karmiel has ordered his city open for business, website N12 reports.

By World Israel News Staff

The mayor of Karmiel, Moshe Koninsky, has had enough and he’s not gonna take it anymore.

Koninsky told residents and business owners of the northern Israeli city on Monday that he’s opening the city for business, whether the government likes it or not. The government likely doesn’t as the decision flies in the face of the nation’s still tight corona restrictions.

While Israel has loosened up a bit, cancelling the stringent no-more-than-one kilometer from home rule and allowing non-“front-facing” businesses to reopen, meaning those that don’t deal directly with the public, Mayor Koninsky has gone further. He says all shops and malls can open – at least those under his immediate jurisdiction.

However, there are caveats even for Koninsky. Only those who’ve had the second dose of the vaccine at least a week ago can participate in the opening. He also said the number of people in shops at one time will stay within government guidelines.

It appears that Koninsky is responding to the hardships businesses have endured from the repeated closures. One city resident told N12: “The closure is not over but people don’t make a living and have no choice, they must open.”

It remains to be seen if people will leave their homes and head to the mall. Some are hesitant. The website reports that Tal, who owns a flower shop, said, “I heard about the uprising but I’m a little scared.”

“I want and would be happy to open, but I feel that decisions made by the local authority aren’t valid on national decisions. If an inspector or a policeman comes, I can’t tell him that I was told it’s allowed. I try to abide by the law,” he said. For now, Tal is going to continue operating on a takeaway model.

There have been occasional uprisings in Israel before where businesses have threatened to open. Those threats have largely remained just that, and the rebellions have petered out.

The most dramatic violations have taken place in the haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, segment of society where clashes have occurred with police and property has been destroyed.

In those instances, the argument isn’t over business, but a way of life. Corona regulations interfere with the ability of haredim to pray, study and gather for important communal events, such as weddings and funerals.