Netanyahu hopes to ‘gradually’ lift restrictions after Passover; death toll surpasses 100

After the Passover holiday, the government hopes to “gradually” allow “sections of the Israeli population to go out” said Netanyahu. 101 Israelis have died from coronavirus.

By Ebin Sandler, World Israel News

As the Passover holiday kicked off in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released optimistic comments hinting at a gradual end to government-mandated restrictions on movement imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Netanyahu made the remarks during a video conference with lone soldiers from around the country on Friday.

The prime minister told the IDF troops that the government is making a “great effort” to “gradually allow sections of the Israeli population to go out” following the end of the Passover holiday.

“This will be a gradual process that will take time. I am certain that throughout this process we will continue to rely on you,” Netanyahu added, referring to the Israeli army.

While the seven-day Passover festival is normally a time for large, celebratory meals with family and friends, Israel issued strict restrictions on movement and banned gatherings on the first night of the holiday, with the exception of people who currently reside in the same dwelling.

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In addition to a nationwide curfew on seder night, which fell on Thursday evening this year, the government also enforced a ban on intercity travel through Friday morning.

The steps were taken to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected at least 10,743 Israelis and killed 101, as of Saturday evening. The IDF has been called upon to help enforce compliance with restrictions, in addition to assisting in humanitarian efforts, such as bringing food and medical supplies to homebound senior citizens.

In addition to briefly addressing the end of lockdown for Israelis during the video conference on Friday, Netanyahu also thanked the soldiers for their efforts.

“We very much appreciate your service and the fact that despite the coronavirus, you are watching over not only our restrictions but also our security. These challenges are not disappearing; they remain with us,” Netanyahu said.

“You are being called upon to do two things: Guard the state and guard yourselves. I wish that you get through the holiday successfully, that you stay healthy and do well in every sense of the word,” he added.