The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they unfolded.

UK’s Johnson in stable condition, to remain at the hospital ‘for close monitoring’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will remain in the hospital “for close monitoring,” Downing Street says.

The UK leader is “comfortable, he’s stable, he’s in good spirits,” says Health Minister Edward Argar after the prime minister spends a second night in intensive care.

Johnson was moved to the intensive care unit of a London hospital on Monday after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.

His office says he is conscious and currently does not require ventilation.

Israel to expand virus grants to self-employed workers

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announce an expansion of grants to self-employed Israelis whose businesses are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to easing the criteria to receive the grant, they also decide on raising the maximum sum a self-employed worker can receive to NIS 10,500, according to a Finance Ministry statement.

After first flight canceled, group of Arab Israeli students returns from Turkey

A group of 110 Arab Israeli students lands in Israel on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

Their planned repatriation flight was canceled last week after Turkish authorities objected to the required presence of Israeli security guards, but the situation was resolved after Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi intervened.

The students are now in isolation at home or in specially designated hotels.

Israel has dispatched rescue flights to Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil, Australia and other destinations to bring travelers home, as international flights are slashed and countries placed on lockdown to weather the global outbreak of the highly contagious virus.

Streets quieter than usual as Israel braces for Passover curfew

Streets are quieter than usual as Israelis brace for the start of a mandatory Passover curfew that will see them confined to home beginning this afternoon at 3 p.m.

Travel between cities is barred from last night until Saturday evening as the government seeks to prevent a surge in fresh coronavirus cases over the holiday.

Health Ministry to send voice messages to Haredim whose phones block texts

The Health Ministry says it will begin to send out voice messages to members of the ultra-Orthodox community who must go into isolation as many in the community eschew smartphones.

According to a statement from the ministry, the system is now automated to send a voice message to a device that has blocked the text message from being received.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, who himself is not in possession of a smartphone, welcomes the initiative, saying it will “save lives and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

Israel uses surveillance tools to retrace the movements of coronavirus carriers and then messages people in contact with them to tell them they must enter quarantine.

Beit Shemesh man badly injured by blaze apparently started by hametz burning

A 45-year-old man in Beit Shemesh is badly injured in a fire at his home that apparently broke out from burning hametz.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says a woman, 40, suffered moderate to light injuries and a 12-year-old was lightly injured.

They are taken to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, while the man is brought to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

Health minister says he and his wife are doing well after contracting virus

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman says he and his wife Chava are feeling fine after being diagnosed with the coronavirus last week.

“I would like to thank all those worrying for my wellbeing, who called to bless and strengthen me,” Litzman writes in a letter to medical workers in Israel.

He adds: “The health system in Israel is strong and ready for any scenario… the day will come when hidden chapters of this effort are brought to the public’s notice.”

Litzman has been recovering at home since testing positive for the virus. He has denied reports he took part in group prayers in violation of his Health Ministry’s own guidelines in the days before he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman at a press conference about the coronavirus at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on March 11, 2020. (Flash90)

Gantz still committed to forming joint government with Likud, ‘but not at any cost’

Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz says he remains committed to forming a “national emergency government” after calling off coalition talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party this week, but there’s a limit to how much he’ll compromise to do so.

In a Facebook post, Gantz puts the blame for the stalled talks on Netanyahu, saying the sides had nearly reached a coalition agreement when Likud sought to change an understanding reached on judicial appointments.

“We informed them that we want a national emergency government, but not at any cost,” he says.

Gantz adds: “Joining forces in a crisis is important, but in times like these, protecting democracy and the rule of law for the future of Israel is critically important.”

As Passover marked under shadow of ‘coronavirus plague,’ Rivlin says hoping for better days ahead

President Reuven Rivlin puts out a holiday greeting to Israelis and Jews around the world ahead of the start of Passover this evening.

“Dear Israelis, this year we will mark seder night in difficult circumstances because of the ‘corona plague,’ the modern affliction that casts a dark shadow on us all. Suddenly, we realize how important the simple things that make up our daily lives are to us,” he says in a Hebrew-language video statement.

Rivlin adds: “Suddenly, when we are faced with ‘social distancing,’ closures and isolation at homes, we feel even more clearly the importance of the obligation to ‘tell the story to your children,’ of passing on the story from generation to generation, from grandparents to children to grandchildren to great-grandchildren. This is our story, our anchor, what binds us together – even when we need to be apart.”

He says all Jews are praying for better times to come.

“To next year, together,” the president says.

He also releases a separate video statement for English speakers.

French aircraft carrier returns to port due to possible virus outbreak

PARIS — France’s defense ministry announces that French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is heading back to port amid a possible virus outbreak onboard.

The ministry says in a statement today that around 40 troops are presenting symptoms compatible with the COVID-19 disease. They have been placed under strict medical observation.

A medical team equipped with tests will get onboard in order to confirm the potential cases and prevent the virus from further spreading, the ministry says.

The aircraft carrier, which was on a mission in the Atlantic Ocean, is returning immediately to its base in the port of Toulon, on the Mediterranean coast, where it was initially expected to dock on April 23. Its crew is composed of about 1,900 troops.

The announcement comes after a coronavirus outbreak hit US aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, now at port in Guam. As of yesterday, the US Navy said at least 230 crew had been tested positive. The firing last week of the Roosevelt’s captain created a combustible controversy in the country.

— AP

An aerial view of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier off the coast of Toulon, southern France, November 14, 2018. (Christophe Simon/ Pool photo via AP, File)

Likud says it was Gantz who walked away from coalition deal, accuses him of ‘spin’

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud says it was Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz who backed away from the agreements between the parties to form a government, and not vice versa as Gantz maintains.

A statement from Likud asserts that the basis of the “equal unity government” it is in talks on forming with Blue and White is “joint decision-making” and advancing Israel’s annexation of areas in the West Bank.

“The moment that Blue and White returns to the agreements it will be possible to complete the deal. Spin doesn’t bring unity closer but rather distances it,” Likud says.

Spain announces 757 virus deaths, second successive daily rise

Spain records a second successive daily rise in coronavirus-related deaths with 757 fatalities, lifting the total toll to 14,555, the health ministry says.

The number of new infections in the world’s second hardest-hit country after Italy grows to 146,690, up from 140,510, it adds.


90-year-old woman dies in Jerusalem from coronavirus, raising toll to 72

A 90-year-old woman dies from the coronavirus at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, raising the COVID-19 death toll in Israel to 72.

The woman had numerous preexisting medical conditions, according to the hospital.

WHO Europe says ‘not the time’ to relax virus restrictions

The World Health Organization’s European office says today that despite seeing “positive signs” from some countries, it is too early to scale back measures aimed at containing the spread of the new coronavirus.

“Now is not the time to relax measures. It is the time to once again double and triple our collective efforts to drive towards suppression with the whole support of society,” WHO regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, tells a press conference.


Israeli security staff work at foreign airports without protection, not told to isolate upon return

Israeli security officers are dealing with passengers at airports at coronavirus hotspots without protective gear and are being allowed back into the country without having to spend time in quarantine hotels, Channel 12 reports.

Footage broadcast by the channel from the unidentified airport shows Israeli staff wearing only masks and not the full protective gear worn by air crews bringing stranded travelers back.

One worker says they sometimes even have to buy their own masks and aren’t told to isolate.

“We return to Israel without protection. While the passengers were being detained we and the air crew passed and entered into the country without being obligated to isolate.

“Sometimes there is nothing, not even a mask and we have to get ourselves,” the worker adds.

Another says that many workers are forced to return to live with their parents as they come home due to decimation of the travel industry during the coronavirus crisis.

“We are endangering our parents’ lives and the citizens of Israel. We see the deliveries of equipment — why does it not come to us?” they ask.

Virus-stricken Iran urges IMF to approve $5 billion loan request

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urges the International Monetary Fund to give the sanctions-hit country a $5 billion emergency loan to combat its novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Islamic Republic is battling one of the world’s deadliest coronavirus outbreaks which it says has killed more than 3,800 people and infected more than 62,500.

There has been speculation abroad that the real number of deaths and infections could be higher.

Iran has said it needs the funds to continue fighting the virus.

But its nemesis the United States, which effectively holds a veto at the IMF, is reportedly set to block the loan, arguing Iran will use the funds for military purposes.

“I urge all international organizations to fulfill their duties,” Rouhani says today during a cabinet meeting.

“We are a member of the IMF… if there’s going to be any discrimination between Iran and others in giving loans, neither we nor world opinion will tolerate it.”

Iran announced on March 12 that it had requested the loan.

The country has not received assistance from the IMF since a “standby credit” issued between 1960 and 1962, according to IMF figures.

According to the IMF’s website, a Rapid Financial Instrument “is available to all member countries facing an urgent balance of payments need.”

“If they do not act on their duties in this difficult situation, the world will judge them in a different way,” Rouhani says.


Number of coronavirus cases in Europe passes 750,000

PARIS — More than 750,000 coronavirus cases have been recorded across Europe, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.

That accounts for more than half of the cases identified worldwide so far, although the official figures probably reflect a fraction of the actual number.

With at least 750,276 cases and 58,627 recorded, Europe remains the continent hit hardest by the pandemic.

To date, 1,438,291 cases of novel coronavirus have been recorded across the world, and 82,726 deaths.

Italy has been the worst-hit country, recording 17,127 fatalities out of 135,586 cases.

Spain has recorded 14,555 deaths from 146,690 cases.


Reported coronavirus death toll in Iran nears 4,000

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran reports 121 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing its overall number of fatalities to 3,993.

In the past 24 hours, 1,997 new cases of COVID-19 infection were detected in Iran, state news agency IRNA quotes health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour as saying.

That put the number of confirmed cases at 64,586, he adds.

Iran, which announced its first COVID-19 cases on February 19, is by far the worst hit by the pandemic in the Middle East, according to official tolls.

But there has been speculation abroad that the real number of deaths and infections in the country could be higher.

Jahanpour says that while 3,956 patients were in critical condition, those who recovered had reached 29,812.

The spokesman adds that Iran had carried out 220,975 COVID-19 tests to date, according to IRNA.


UK’s two main Jewish papers announce liquidation, but also talk of future hopes

Britain’s two major Jewish publications — the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish News — have simultaneously announced that they are going into liquidation. However, both the titles, which had previously announced a planned merger, are indicating that they will seek to continue to publish in some form in the future.

For now, their staff have been made redundant, and sources at the Jewish Chronicle told the Guardian that staff were informed the parent company had run out of cash and could not continue trading.

Separate similar statements on both the newspapers’ websites say they will not be able to continue to function in their existing forms, and therefore have taken the decision to “seek a creditors voluntary liquidation.”

Both publications say they will do their best to continue to publish in their current forms for the next two or three weeks, and to update their websites.

After that, they say, they will be working “to secure a future… after the liquidation.”

The Jewish Chronicle is the oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper in the world, having been founded in 1841.

The Jewish News, a Times of Israel partner, is a free newspaper established in 1997.

In February, the two titles announced “ambitious plans to merge their businesses to create one of the world’s leading community media brands.”

“The merger has been agreed in principle between the Jewish Chronicle’s owners, the Kessler Foundation, and the owners of the Jewish News, the Noé family,” they said at the time. However, they cautioned, “completion and the signing of a legal agreement is still dependent on necessary funds being raised to support the move.”

Netanyahu calls Gantz to wish him a Happy Passover; two agree on need for unity

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz and the two wished each other a “Happy Passover!”

“The two spoke about the need for a national emergency government for the good of the nation at this time and agreed to continue discussions following the holiday period,” according to a joint statement from their offices.

WTO: Global trade will plunge by up to a third in 2020 amid pandemic

Global trade growth is expected to plummet by up to a third in 2020 due to the new coronavirus pandemic, the World Trade Organization says, adding the numbers would be “ugly.”

“World trade is expected to fall by between 13 percent and 32 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world,” adds the WTO in a statement.


Virus-hit Iran urges IMF to approve $5bn loan

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urges the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday to give the sanctions-hit country a $5 billion emergency loan to combat its novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Islamic republic is battling one of the world’s deadliest coronavirus outbreaks which it says has killed close to 4,000 people and infected more than 64,500.

There has been speculation abroad that the real number of deaths and infections could be higher.

Iran has said it needs what would be its first IMF loan in over half a century to continue fighting the virus.

But its arch-enemy the United States, which effectively holds a veto at the IMF, is reportedly set to block the loan, arguing Iran will use the funds for military purposes.

“I urge all international organizations to fulfill their duties,” Rouhani says during a cabinet meeting.

“We are a member of the IMF… if there’s going to be any discrimination between Iran and others in giving loans, neither we nor world opinion will tolerate it.”

Iran announced on March 12 that it had requested the loan.

The country has not received assistance from the IMF since a “standby credit” issued between 1960 and 1962, according to IMF figures.

According to the IMF’s website, a Rapid Financial Instrument “is available to all member countries facing an urgent balance of payments need.”

“If they do not act on their duties in this difficult situation, the world will judge them in a different way,” Rouhani says.


Cabinet approves extension of Shin Bet coronavirus carrier surveillance operation

The cabinet has approved the extension of emergency regulations allowing the Shin Bet security services to continue its controversial mass surveillance program to track coronavirus carriers and those they have been in contact through a trove a cell phone and credit card data at its disposal, the PMO says in a statement.

Report: Likud MKs stripped of ministerial posts to be made ambassadors in Europe

Army Radio reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to appoint Likud ministers Ofir Akunis and Tzipi Hotovely as ambassadors to unnamed countries in Europe as compensation for them losing their current posts as a result of the brewing unity government with Blue and White.

Senior Hamas official reiterates group’s willingness to talk prisoner swap

Senior Hamas official Musa Dudin says the terror group is willing to enter talks “already tomorrow” to return two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two soldiers killed in the 2014 Gaza War.

In an appearance on a Hamas affiliated TV channel, Dudin says Israel has a “window of opportunity” that it can take advantage of before it will once again be forced to “negotiate under more difficult conditions.”

He says “Israel knows what the demands are and that they should not be discussed in the media.”

He calls on “mediators to be fair and not biased in favor of Israel.”

Dudin claims Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is only interested in “propaganda, and his last priority is to return the prisoners. He does nothing in practice.”

The remarks come days after Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar floated his willingness to agree to a “humanitarian measure” in which his group will provide “something partial” in exchange for Israel’s release of female, elderly and sick security prisoners.

Netanyahu’s office responded by saying it is prepared to take “constructive action” to bring back Israelis and soldiers’ remains held in Gaza.

Watchdog: Syria responsible for 2017 chemical attacks

The world’s chemical weapons watchdog for the first time explicitly has blamed Syria for toxic attacks in the country, saying President Bashar al-Assad’s regime used sarin and chlorine three times in 2017.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it “has concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the perpetrators of the use of sarin as a chemical weapon in Lataminah in 2017… and the use of chlorine… were individuals belonging to the Syrian Arab Air Force.”

The report is the first released by the Hague-based watchdog’s new Identification and Investigations Team (IIT), set up specifically to finger the perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria’s ongoing nine-year-long civil war.

“Attacks of such a strategic nature would have only taken place on the basis of orders from the higher authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic military command,” IIT coordinator Santiago Onate-Laborde says in the OPCW statement.

“Even if authority can be delegated, responsibility cannot. In the end, the IIT was unable to identify any other plausible explanation,” he says.

The report says the attacks were carried out by two SU-22 jet fighters which dropped two bombs containing sarin on March 24 and 30, 2017, as well as by a Syrian military helicopter that dropped a cylinder containing chlorine on a hospital in the town of Al-Lataminah on March 25 that year.


Liberman: Netanyahu is the messiah of lies, a lying machine

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman drops the gloves against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview with the Maariv daily.

“He’s the messiah of lies…a lying machine,” he says.

“He has no remorse or any qualms about lying. He doesn’t blink.”

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Senator Bernie Sanders, who saw his once strong lead in the Democratic primary evaporate as the party’s establishment lined swiftly up behind rival Joe Biden, has ended his presidential bid, an acknowledgment that the former vice president is too far ahead for him to have any reasonable hope of catching up.

The Vermont senator’s announcement makes Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge US President Donald Trump in November.

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later today.

— AP

Rivlin and Pope talk coronavirus in pre-Passover phone call

President Reuven Rivlin just got off the phone with the Pope Francis after the two discussed the coronavirus pandemic and exchanged holiday greetings.

“In his conversation with Pope Francis, the president expressed his thanks and appreciation for the Pope’s support of the fight against anti-Semitism and asked him to continue with the important message given rising numbers of anti-Semitic incidents as the coronavirus spreads,” Rivlin’s office says in a statement.

“The disease shows us that it respects no borders and that no one is immune. We are fighting a stubborn and cruel enemy together, and that is how we will overcome it, working together across the world,” Rivlin adds.

Rivlin also sent the blessings of the Jewish people to Christians celebrating Easter soon, on 12 April, his office says.

WATCH: Roads completely emptied as curfew takes hold

Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld posts footage of empty highways as the Passover seder curfew in Israel takes hold.

Trump says Sanders would’ve been nominee had Warren backed him

US President Donald Trump puts on his political analyst cap to explain why Bernie Sanders was forced to drop out.

Israeli medical staff get ready for quick seder in between caring for patients

Medical personnel across the country are finding time to celebrate the Passover seder in between caring for patients.

Biden: While Sanders campaign has been suspended, it’s impact will live on

Biden issues a lengthy statement, reacting to Bernie Sanders’s decision to drop out of the race.

Boris Johnson’s condition ‘improving,’ minister says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s condition is “improving” as he battles coronavirus but he remains in intensive care, finance minister Rishi Sunak says.

The prime minister was “responding to treatment” and in “good spirits” after spending his third night in London’s St Thomas’s Hospital, his official spokesman says.


Sanders vows to ‘work’ with Biden to defeat Trump in election

As he did after dropping out in 2016, Sanders has called on supporters to get behind the party’s frontrunner.

“I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win,” he says.

The senator vows to “work” with Biden to defeat Trump in November.

Britain reports a record 938 new coronavirus deaths

Britain has reported a record 938 new COVID-19 deaths in its daily update, 152 more than its previous highest toll, as the total number of deaths passed 7,000.

“As of 5pm on 7 April, of those hospitalized in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 7,097 have sadly died,” the health ministry tweets, up from 6,159 on Tuesday.


US tops 400,000 coronavirus cases

The United States has surpassed 400,000 novel coronavirus cases, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The pandemic has now claimed the lives of at least 12,936 people in the United States, which leads the world in the number of confirmed infections with 401,116, by the Baltimore-based school’s count.

The 300,000-case milestone was passed just four days ago.


Don’t politicize virus, WHO chief says after Trump blast

“Please don’t politicize this virus,” pleads World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, following stinging criticism of the WHO from US President Donald Trump.

“Quarantine, politicizing COVID… we shouldn’t waste time pointing fingers,” he tells a virtual briefing in Geneva, adding: “It’s like playing with fire… We need to behave.”

Yesterday, Trump tweeted, “The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”


Hawaii mayor: Florida man flouting quarantine was ‘Covidiot’

A mayor in Hawaii is calling a Florida man accused of trying to flout Hawaii’s traveler quarantine a “covidiot.”

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami isn’t taking credit for coining the word borne from the COVID-19 pandemic, but says he “may be the first elected official to bust it out in public.”

Bobby Edwards, of Boynton Beach, was arrested last week after police said he landed on the island without proof of having accommodations set up. A statewide order requires people arriving in the islands to quarantine for 14 days.

Edwards “was exhibiting belligerent behavior toward airport personnel and toward officers during his arrest,” police say.

Police add that Edwards, 31, “was also showing significant signs of intoxication and was not being cooperative.”

Earlier last week, another Florida man, Dwight Anthony Tucker of Tampa, was stopped in the tourist town of Hanalei a day after he arrived on Kauai, police said.

— AP

63-year-old man dies in Beersheba from coronavirus, raising toll to 73

A 63-year-old man has died from the coronavirus at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, raising the COVID-19 death toll in Israel to 73.

The men had preexisting medical conditions, according to the hospital.

New York reports record coronavirus deaths but curve flattening

New York records a new single-day high for coronavirus deaths on Wednesday but Governor Andrew Cuomo says the epidemic appeared to be stabilizing.

Cuomo says 779 people had died in the last 24 hours, out doing the previous high of 731 set on Monday.

“We are flattening the curve,” the governor tells reporters, stressing that social confinement orders were working.


Police official says only ‘handful’ of Israelis have sought to violate curfew

Senior Israel Police official Gilad Bahat tells Channel 13 that the vast majority of Israelis have been abiding by the nationwide curfew, saying that only a handful have sought to break it thus far.

Europe coronavirus death toll tops 60,000

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 60,000 people in Europe alone as of 1615 GMT Wednesday, according to a tally compiled from official sources.

That figure accounts for more than 70 percent of the deaths so far officially recorded worldwide.

Italy remains the worst hit country, with 17,669 deaths, followed by Spain with 14,555.


11 Congress members call on Israel to refrain from West Bank annexatoin

Eleven members of the US Congress have issued a statement responding to reports that Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz has agreed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition negotiation demand that the government move forward with West Bank annexation plans in the coming months.

“As strong supporters of Israel and the United States-Israel relationship, we are deeply concerned by reports that the coalition government being formed in Israel intends to move forward with unilateral annexation of West Bank territory. This runs counter to decades of bipartisan US foreign policy and to the will of the House of Representatives as recently expressed in H.Res.326, which opposes unilateral annexation and explicitly warns against the dangers of such an effort for peace in the region and Israel’s security,” the Congress members say.

The letter was signed by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Rep. David Price (NC-4), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Rep. Gerald Connolly (VA-11), Rep. Peter Welch (VT), Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-3), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Rep. Andy Levin (MI-9), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-1) and Lloyd Doggett (TX-35).

Report: German foreign ministry restricts Zoom use due to security concerns

Germany’s foreign ministry has restricted use the Zoom, telling employees in an internal memo that security and data protection weaknesses make the conference call service too risky for use, Reuters reports.

US State Department wishes Jews happy Passover

The US State Department wishes Jews around the world a happy Passover.


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