Israeli minister steps down, with an impending coronavirus lockdown
JERUSALEM (ISRAEL) – An Israeli cabinet minister put down his resignation on Sunday protesting against an impending coronavirus lockdown. He argued that it would unfairly hamper religious celebrations of Jewish holidays.
The restrictions are expected to go into effect on Friday, the Jewish new year Rosh Hashana, and extend to the Yom Kippur fast day on Sept 27.
“This wrongs and scorns hundreds of thousands of citizens,” Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, said in his resignation letter.
“Where were you until now? Why have the Jewish holidays become a convenient address for tackling the coronavirus…?”
Although it indicated strained relations between Netanyahu and his ultra-Orthodox political partners, Litzman’s move had less chances to have any immediate impact on the stability of the veteran leader’s governing coalition.
Netanyahu expressed regret at Litzman’s move but added, “We have to move on, to make the decisions necessary for Israel in the coronavirus era, and that is what we will do in this session”.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who is leading another ultra-Orthodox Jewish party, supported the restrictions, saying in a video posted on Twitter that not following them over the upcoming holidays would be equivalent to murder.