Israel’s 17th and youngest COVID-19 victim, 49, mother of twins, had struggled to conceive

A 49 year-old mother of young twins latest victim as number of infected Israelis leaps to 4,831 and police crack down on closure violators.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israel’s Ministry of Health reported Sunday that two middle-aged women are the latest coronavirus fatalities as the number of infected Israelis shot up to 4,831 Tuesday.

Both women had existing serious medical issues before becoming infected with the virus. The two were an unnamed woman in her 50s and Tamar Peretz, 49, of Lod who leaves behind four-year-old twin orphans, Channel 11 reported.

The mother’s death garnered wide attention in the Israeli media. Not only is Peretz the youngest victim of the disease, the engineer for an aeronautical products company had struggled for years to have children before the twins were born. The heartbreak was doubled as her husband and father of the twins, Shimon, died of a heart attack seven months after they were born, Ynet reported.

“We were sure she would survive it because she always survives,” her niece Mor Smadja said. “We are crushed,” adding the family would do everything for the twins.

“Initially, they told her it was just a sore throat and finally we demanded a test and didn’t imagine it would end like this.”

The health ministry reported that of the 573 coronavirus victims who are hospitalized, 83 are in serious condition with 69 on ventilators. There was some good news as the ministry announced that 27 new ventilators and 8 million surgical masks had arrived in the country.

On Monday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a further tightening of restrictions of movement, but stopped short of imposing a nationwide curfew. Netanyahu told the nation “there is no choice” as the government banned all public gatherings of more than two people and ordered an end to outside prayer except at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, where a quorum of 10 is permitted while keeping a two-meter distance between individuals.

Other exceptions are funerals, where a maximum of 20 is permitted, and weddings, which can be attended only by the immediate family.

In Jerusalem, police forces went through the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim where faithful who refused to comply with the orders were forcibly removed from synagogues that remained open in violation of health ministry rules.

The government crackdown came after test results showed the highest outbreaks of coronavirus are occurring in the densely populated religious neighborhoods of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv. Health ministry statistics released Monday showed the two cities account for 26 percent of all coronavirus infections in Israel.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, himself ultra-orthodox, has been calling for a nationwide curfew to force people to stay home.  Jewish religious law requires a quorum of at least 10 people for prayers that are held three times every day, and pockets of faithful in different neighborhoods had refused to halt the practice .