Benjamin Netanyahu. (Yehonatan Valtser/TPS) Yehonatan Valtser/TPS
Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu said Monday that this “once-in-a-century” pandemic is claiming victims around the world, but Israel’s “situation is better” than most other nations.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Israel is facing a “fateful week,” days that “will determine the direction – progress or retreat, and for many people, life or death” in the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, while noting positive signs on the horizon.”

In a special address he gave on Monday night, Netanyahu noted that “while his once-in-a-century wild storm is claiming victims around the world, from all peoples without distinction, and is rocking the economies of many countries” Israel’s “situation is better.”

“Thanks to the systematic steps that we have taken and that we are taking, simply put, the trend is improving. But whoever thinks that it is possible to end the corona crisis just like that is sorely mistaken,” he cautioned.

“Our wisdom, the product of generations, teaches that there is a short way that is long, and a long way that is short. When it comes to your health and your lives, citizens of Israel, there can be no shortcuts. We saw what happened one month ago with the events of Purim. Infection with the virus spread in broad circles. I will say it here as clearly as possible: Passover will not be Purim,” he declared.

The entire country will be placed under a full closure beginning on Tuesday evening and will last as late as Friday. Every family will have the Passover Seder on its own.

“Celebrate only with the immediate family members who are now with you at home,” Netanyahu implored the Israelis. “I ask you to follow our instructions. I ask you to do so with self-discipline and personal responsibility. Do so for yourselves, for your loved ones.”

While the directives are being stiffened, Netanyahu said he was pleased to say that “there are positive signs on the horizon. We are moving forward with preparations for the scenarios regarding the exit from the crisis. This will happen only after the end of Passover. But there is a real possibility that if the positive trends in Israel continue, we will gradually exit the lockdown after Passover.”

The gradual exit will “breathe life into the economy. It will give hope to the self-employed and to wage earners alike, to small businesses that are struggling, and also to large businesses that are also struggling. As soon as we change direction, as soon as we begin to increase economic activity, everything will begin to change,” he asserted

“In every generation we have overcome challenges and it seems that in the past 100 years we have not seen a challenge such as this, but I know that even though this is a global challenge being experienced by all humanity, I know that we are getting through it together and that we are getting through it successfully. Together we are writing a hard chapter but it is a great chapter in the history of our people and state,” the premier declared, wishing everyone “a happy and kosher Passover.”

The Ministry of Health updated Tuesday morning that the number of documented coronavirus patients in Israel was 9,006, of which 153 are in serious condition and 181 are in moderate conditions.

Sixty people have died of the virus, mostly elderly people who suffered from previous illnesses.

Some 700 have recovered.

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