Top ultra-Orthodox rabbi orders schools closed for ‘several days’

As Israel prepares to go back under lockdown, a powerful leader of the Haredi community has apparently ordered ultra-Orthodox schools to shut, following the intervention of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The grandson of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky says Netanyahu phoned him over the issue. He conveyed to the prime minister that the rabbi has ordered ultra-Orthodox schools closed “for several days” amid a huge spike in infections.

Kanievsky’s instructions, rather than the government order, is the final word for many in the ultra-Orthodox community.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky attends a campaign event for the ultra-Orthodox Degel HaTorah party in the northern city of Safed on February 26, 2020. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The lockdown set to begin at midnight is due to remain in place for at least two weeks.