Prosecutors will not pursue criminal charges against a 25-year-old Israeli man who broke quarantine to attend a party after learning that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Despite tens of thousands of fines issued by police since March 2020, not a single Israeli has been criminally prosecuted for violating emergency coronavirus restrictions, reported Channel 13 News on Tuesday.
The report comes on the heels of new cases of the virus reaching numbers not seen for the last two months. The government announced increased fines for quarantine violators and is weighing a return to a recently lifted indoor mask mandate.
On Tuesday, 110 new cases of coronavirus were discovered in Israel.
According to the Channel 13 News report, prosecutors will not pursue criminal charges against a 25-year-old Israeli man who broke quarantine to attend a party after learning that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The man’s attorneys argued that the case against him was an example of “selective enforcement,” as he would be the only Israeli brought up on such charges.
During Israel’s three lockdowns, some Israeli commentators complained about authorities appearing to turn a blind eye to some segments of society who openly flouted the restrictions, while cracking down on others.
Two massive haredi funerals for prominent rabbis, in which tens of thousands of mourners gathered, sparked outrage among the public.
Similarly, a funeral for an Arab Israeli shot by police also drew mass crowds, with no tickets issued by the police.
As of February 2021, Israeli authorities issued some 540,000 fines for violations of the coronavirus restrictions. With violators given a 90-day window to pay their fines, almost 225 million shekels ($70 million) in fines remain unpaid.
The fines were issued for offenses such as failure to wear a face mask in a public space, holding or attending an unauthorized gathering above a set maximum number of guests, violating quarantine, and venturing further than one kilometer from one’s home for unapproved reasons.
Non-essential businesses operating during the lockdown periods were also fined.