Israel’s corona czar: ‘These holidays won’t be like your normal holidays’

Israel’s corona czar said he would work to reduce the “endless round of meals” during the holiday, which he described as “classic contagion” events.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The Jewish New Year is fast approaching. It begins at sundown on Sept. 18. Judaism’s holiest day, Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, starts on the eve of Sept. 27. Israel’s corona czar says they won’t be celebrated as in year’s past.

“Holidays in Israel will not be ordinary holidays. We do want to reduce gatherings and family and mass meals. Corona catches when gathering to eat. This is a classic contagion event all over the world,” Gamzu told Israel Hayom on Tuesday.

“There will be a recommendation to reduce gatherings and to give up on the endless round of meals. The steps need to be exact, measured and not overly broad,” he said.

Gamzu had recommended a lockdown on 10 “red cities,” with a particularly high incidence of corona infections. Another 21 were to undergo a night curfew.

However, his plans were overturned at the last minute on Monday due to an outburst of protest from haredi communities, who said they were unfairly singled out. The incidence of corona is particularly high in some ultra-orthodox communities, as well as Arab ones.

Now, 40 cities will only have a night curfew imposed on them instead. None will be placed on a full lockdown.

The night curfew beings at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening Israel time.

Despite his disappointment at not seeing his plans implemented as he wished, Gamzu said he would not quit.

“You do not leave such a position during an event with such complexity, even if there are difficulties in making decisions along the way,” he said.

Gamzu’s ‘Traffic Light’ plan remains in place. He calls it a “powerful tool” for combating coronavirus. It classifies cities as red, yellow or green, depending on the rate of infection. Each city then theoretically has restrictions imposed on it based on their rating.

“Instead of handling it nationally you incentivize authorities to fight for their city,” Gamzu said.

Focusing on the positive, he told Israel Hayom: “I was able to get through a concept where a red city understands not only the current limitations, but that it will get additional limitations if it continues to be red.”

“The morbidity rate in the red cities in Israel is one of the highest in the world,” Gamzo said on Tuesday at a press conference. “There are not many such cities in the world. The scope of morbidity in the green cities is also large. The residents need to be protected.”