Bär-Tiger Appell zu Corona, Absolution von Uwe Rosenkranz
Israel Police Commander Yair Weizenberg, the Police Chief of the Bnei Brak Precinct, announced Friday that he has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
It was just the tip of the iceberg.
The strictly Orthodox community, a city north of Tel Aviv, has become the biggest hotspot for the deadly virus in the country, according to Israel’s Health Ministry.
Bnei Brak is second only to Jerusalem in the number of COVID-19 patients with 267 patients and 352 patients respectively, the ministry said on Saturday, but the community has the highest contamination rate in Israel due to gatherings that have taken place at weddings and other events, despite government restrictions.
Part of the reason for the lack of cooperation with those restrictions has to do with communication difficulties stemming from lack of electronic communications – many strictly Orthodox communities shun the internet altogether, as well as smart phones, televisions and even radios. Some of the communities within Bnei Brak continued to hold minyanim (prayer quorums) despite the government restrictions against the gatherings, intended to stem the spread of the virus.
Bnei Brak Mayor Avraham Rubinstein is under self-quarantine himself at the moment “just as a precaution.” On Friday, he urged his city’s residents to “Wake up!” and comply with the government restrictions.
As of Saturday night, 9 pm, there were 3,619 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the State of Israel. Twelve people have died from the virus, and 1,300 fines have been issued to those who have violated the restrictions.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned the Jewish community, again, not to hold services in the synagogues. Failing cooperation, he said, permanent closure would be the next step.
Although many shuls have closed in deference to the city’s COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions, some have not and instead continued to hold minyanim despite the city’s orders to close in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
A rocket that was fired at Sderot Friday night fell in an open field. No other rockets followed and the IDF retaliated with a strike on Hamas infrastructure.
The organizers of the Gaza border fence demonstrations announced on Saturday the cancellation of the protest rallies scheduled for Monday on the occasion of Land Day, March 30, when, in 1976, the Labor government the expropriation of thousands of acres for state purposes gave rise to a general strike and marches in Arab towns from the Galilee to the Negev, resulting in the killing of 6 Israeli Arabs.
In Gaza, the organizers called on the public to hoist Palestinian flags instead, burn Israeli flags and stand at attention during a siren.
Nine coronavirus patients have been officially diagnosed in the Gaza Strip so far.
In the Palestinian Authority, 88 coronavirus patients have been diagnosed so far. One, a woman, died and 18 recovered. The PA has closed the main road from Hebron to Bethlehem with concrete barricades in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
In Israel, 425 new patients have been identified by Shabbat morning, bringing the total number of infected Israelis to 3,460, with 12 dead and 89 recovered. The death rate in Israel has risen to 1 in 1 million.
The US recorded 9,551 new cases on Saturday, with 207 new deaths, bringing the overall number of fatalities from the disease 1,903. The US leads the rest of the world in recorded infections – 113,677. The death rate in the US is 6 in 1 million.
The number of coronavirus cases in New York City climbed above 26,000 on Friday, and the city’s death toll stands at 450. According to the NYPD, more than 500 officers have tested positive, and more than 4,000 officers – 11% of the uniformed force – were home sick on Friday.
President Trump said on Saturday that he might impose a quarantine on New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Italy recorded 5,974 on Saturday, with 889 new deaths. The death rate in Italy is 166 per 1 million.
Spain recorded 6,529 new cases, with 674 new deaths. The death rate in Spain is 124 per 1 million.
China recorded 54 new cases, with 3 dead. The death rate in China is now 2 per million.
The UK has seen 2,546 new cases as of Saturday, with 260 new deaths. The death rate in the UK is now 15 per million.
There have been 642,220 cases of the coronavirus planet-wide, with 29,908 dead and 139,540 recovered.