The Israeli government convened Monday for an emergency meeting to deliberate on a number of proposed measures aimed at combating the spread of the coronavirus.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that the spread of the virus could force the government to return the country to a full, nationwide lockdown.
“We’re one step away from a full lockdown,” Netanyahu said.
Nevertheless, government ministers voted to adopt softened versions of proposed restrictions pushed by the Health Ministry, rejecting full closures of synagogues and instead agreeing to limit the number of worshippers permitted in at any given time to 19.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), who have strongly opposed the Health Ministry’s call to close down all synagogues, drafted the compromise arrangement which was passed by the government.
The government also voted to limit the number of diners at restaurants, with 20 diners permitted inside, and an additional 30 permitted outside.
Beaches and parks will not be closed at this time, despite proposals by the Health Ministry and National Security Council in favor of closures, though the government may back limiting the hours beaches and parks will be open to the public.
In addition, the government is expected to back the closure of gyms, night clubs, and the cancellation of major cultural events.