A Holocaust survivor places tefillin on his arm on his arm above a concentration camp’s number tattoo, during a morning prayer at a synagogue that is limited to twenty people during Israel’s second lockdown
Israel, the first major country to impose a second nationwide lockdown, is poised to make those restrictions even tougher after the number of coronavirus infections approached 7,000 per day.
Some 6,900 cases were recorded on Tuesday, according to Israel’s health ministry, while the total number of confirmed cases, including those who have recovered, stands at nearly 200,000 in a country of 8.8m people.
Ronni Gamzu, the coronavirus csar, has criticised Israelis for failing to follow the rules required by the second lockdown, which include the closure of schools, many shops and a ban on travelling 1,000 yards beyond the home, excluding essential reasons.
“It should be noted that we do not currently see full cooperation from the public, neither the ultra-Orthodox public nor the secular public. We have also seen certain violations of the guidelines and this requires further tightening,” Mr Gamzu warned, according to the Times of Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israel prime minister, has reportedly urged his Cabinet to pass a resolution on Wednesday that will impose tougher lockdown rules, such as a ban on communal prayer and the temporary closure of Ben Gurion airport.
Unlike during the initial phase of the first lockdown, open air markets have been allowed to continue trading, while there are no restrictions on exercising alone outdoors.
Synagogues have stayed open, following pressure from religious leaders, but Israeli officials say indoor communal prayer may have to be banned as infections rise.
Israelis protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his residence in Jerusalem – Shutterstock
Outdoor demonstrations against the Israeli government are allowed to continue, though Mr Netanyahu is said to be in favour of imposing stricter limits on them.
Thousands of protesters continue to gather outside Mr Netanyahu’s residence each week, and demonstrations do not appear to be subsiding in the face of a second wave of coronavirus.
It came as the Israel Defence Forces said it would set up a field hospital to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients, following warnings that the civil healthcare system could soon be overwhelmed.
There have already been reports of at least one Israeli hospital turning away coronavirus patients due to overcrowding, while the death toll in the country has risen to 1,285.
In Gaza and the West Bank there has also been a steady increase in infections, with a record 1,118 cases recorded on September 16 in the latter area.