Netanyahu says there are “particular groups” in the country not adhering to emergency directives — “deliberately breaching and even showing contempt” for the rules– and that he therefore ordered security forces to step up enforcement in areas with a high number of violations.
He stresses that most Israelis, including those in the ultra-Orthodox community, are acting responsibly. The “extremist groups” who are flouting the rules, he says, endanger themselves and everybody else, and are trampling on the principle of “love thy neighbor.”
“There won’t be gatherings of over two people who are not from the same nuclear family,” he announces.
Additionally, he says no kind of prayer will be allowed even in open areas — “pray only on your own” — and that religious events should be restricted as much as possible.
Even weddings must be restricted only to immediately family, he says. Funerals remain limited to 20 people, and circumcisions to 10 — all while maintaining two-meter social distancing.
Netanyahu also calls on Israelis not to visit family during the Passover holiday.
This year’s Passover Seder will be “the lockdown seder” — with only the nuclear family attending. “Don’t visit relatives on the eve of the festival either,” he stresses.
“These same restrictions apply as relevant to all faiths,” he notes.
He says companies will need to reduce their workforces to 15 percent.
Netanyahu says the government has approved a NIS 80 billion economic aid passage due to the coronavirus crisis.
He calls for an emergency unity government, as “the imperative of the hour.”
After hours of negotiations in recent days with his rival Benny Gantz over such a government, Netanyahu says: “Everybody has to compromise… Everybody has to help carry the stretcher.”
“This is an event we’ve never faced in all our years of independence. I wish I would could tell you this evening that were are near the end of it, but that would be premature, even very premature. Nobody knows what the next day will bring.”
Still, “with the help of God, we’ll overcome the coronavirus,” he says.
Speaking after Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon says he believes that economic activity will gradually resume after the Passover holiday.
“We won’t let the economy collapse,” he says.