Israelis in Hatikva Market in Tel Aviv on March 15, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90) Tomer Neuberg/Flash90
CORONAVIRUS

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 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Saturday Israel’s national strategy to address the deadly illness, referring to the effort as a “war” and the coronavirus as the “enemy.”

By United with Israel Staff

On Saturday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented to the nation new rules and regulations for confronting the coronavirus.

“In every war, you have to identify the enemy,” said Netanyahu, referring to COVID-19, which has infected around 200 Israelis and sent tens of thousands into self-quarantine.

Netanyahu announced on Saturday stringent new guidelines to contain the virus, including limiting public gatherings to 10 people or less and closing leisure venues, including restaurants, movie theaters and retails outlets.

Essential services will continue, Netanyahu stressed, meaning that banks, gas stations, medical facilities and pharmacies will be open.

Netanyahu also referred to the use of “technological measures” to track coronavirus cases, acknowledging the privacy issues this entails but adding, “We are fighting a war and public health comes first. It’s paramount,” JNS reported.

On Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin issued a statement on the coronavirus before beginning consultations related to the formation of Israel’s next government.

“Dealing with emergencies has never been at the expense of Israeli democracy, but has rather strengthened it and made our country, the State of Israel, more resilient,” said Rivlin. “We are committed, more than ever, in light of the urgent need for a government, to hold essential democratic processes, even in a time of crisis.”

He added, “The success of the State of Israel in dealing with this extreme crisis lies in the hands of our civil society. Now is when we are asked to keep calm and to avoid hysteria.”

“That is the spirit, our spirit, and if we maintain it, it will take care of us,” Rivlin concluded.

On Sunday, JNS reported that out of the 200 coronavirus diagnoses in Israel, two are hospitalized in “serious condition” and 11 are in “moderate condition,” according to Israel’s health ministry.

Around 40,000 Israelis are self-quarantined at home, including 2,500 healthcare workers and around 950 doctors.

“Israel is doing much better than most countries around the world. But this is a developing situation; this disease keeps changing and we’re constantly trying to keep one step ahead of it. We can overcome it and defeat it but that requires all of us to change our daily routine so as to stop the spread of the disease. This is about saving lives,” said Netanyahu on Saturday.

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