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After mass funeral, Gantz says won’t agree to extend ‘fake lockdown’

Blue and White party chief claims today’s mass funeral of a top ultra-Orthodox rabbi killed by the coronavirus shows authorities are currently failing to equally enforce the lockdown restrictions on all parts of Israeli society, reiterating his stance that he won’t support extending the lockdown in a cabinet meeting later today if fines for violators aren’t doubled.

An estimated 10,000 people are taking part in the funeral for the head of the Brisk Yeshiva, Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, who died at 99.

The Israel Police has said hundreds more have been prevented from attending, but an anonymous official has told Hebrew media: “We need to use logic. Nobody wants to see clashes that will likely lead to many casualties.”

“This is how unequal enforcement looks: Millions of families and children are closed in their homes and adhering to the rules while thousands of ultra-Orthodox crowd together at a funeral, mostly without wearing masks,” Gantz says in a statement.

“We won’t agree to continue an ineffective fake lockdown,” he adds. “Either everyone is locked down, or everyone isn’t. The days of manipulation are over.”

The Knesset is due to vote later today on doubling fines for violators, a bill that has been vehemently opposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Haredi allies. Later, the cabinet is set to vote on extending the lockdown, which currently is set to expire at midnight.

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