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IDF troops to begin distributing food, other necessities to elderly

Israeli troops will tomorrow take responsibility for the country’s senior living facilities, following a number of cases of coronavirus outbreaks in these homes, the Israel Defense Forces says.

IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says the Home Front Command will coordinate the effort through its five district headquarters, while soldiers from units located in those districts will be in touch with the roughly 250 facilities and provide them with whatever is necessary.

One commander and four soldiers will be assigned to each facility, IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says.

In a wide-ranging phone briefing, the spokesman says the IDF has yet to deploy soldiers to assist police in enforcing the government’s partial lockdown of the country, but that this is due to take place shortly, once the final approvals are received.

Asked about the military’s changing policy on whether the troops will be armed or not during these patrols, Zilberman says the issue is still being discussed, but it appears that all soldiers stationed in Israeli settlements in the West Bank will almost certainly carry weapons, while those operating inside the Green Line may not or may only partially do so.

Zilberman says the military is also working to establish two new coronavirus facilities, which will be converted from hotels, to treat members of the ultra-Orthodox community who contract the disease and display only light symptoms. These facilities — one in Bnei Brak and one in Beit Shemesh — are in addition to the six such converted hotels that the IDF is operating around the country, which currently hold over 1,000 people, both patients and those who need to be in monitored quarantine.

— Judah Ari Gross

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