Health minister reportedly okays some outdoor markets to open

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein has reportedly agreed to allow several outdoor markets to open, after Transportation Minister Miri Regev complained that malls were being okayed to open as part of a pilot program.

Jerusalemites wearing a face mask shop for grocery at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, on November 22, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

According to Channel 12, Edelstein will okay 10-15 outdoor markets, or shuks, to fully open.

The markets, which many Israelis rely on for produce and other goods, have been ostensibly shut since September, though food stalls have largely been allowed to remain open. It’s not clear if the plan will allow bars inside the markets to begin operating again.

Israel Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman tours Hacarmel Market in Tel Aviv on November23, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Some vendors not allowed to open have staged protests amid frustration over the Health Ministry okaying street-front stores to resume business, but keeping malls and markets closed, aside from stores deemed essential within them. Some malls have also opened in violation of virus rules.

On Monday, ministers agreed to allow 15 malls to open as part of a pilot program.

Regev’s role in negotiating the market plan with Edelstein is unclear, but according to the channel she had complained that malls were getting a pilot program because they were better at lobbying the government than shuk administrators.