As Israel’s second nationwide mandatory lockdown went into effect on Friday, hundreds took the streets in Tel Aviv to protest what citizens complain is unnecessary government overreach which will only harm businesses while achieving little positive effect.
Israel’s Health ministry cited a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in making the argument last week that a new national lockdown is warranted; however, government ministers concerned about the devastating impact on small businesses as well as freedom of worship clashed with factions pushing the new lockdown.
The entire country has been declared a ‘hot zone’ and the lockdown took effect by Friday afternoon, just before the the start of Rosh Hashanah, the two day festive celebration marking the Jewish New Year.
It comes as new infections have risen 5,000 on some days, bringing the country to over 175,000 cases including 1,160 deaths.
The mainstay of the protests began Thursday night:
Hundreds of Israelis protested in Tel Aviv late Thursday against a second nationwide lockdown to combat Israel’s surging coronavirus outbreak.
“The economy is in free-fall, people are losing their jobs, they’re depressed,” said Yael, one of between 300 and 400 demonstrators at Habima Square.
And a recently laid off protester told The Times of Israel:
“And all this for what? For nothing!”
Ironically, though schools and business have been shuttered for at least two weeks starting Friday the government has said demonstrations still remain legal, so it’s expected more will pop up especially as the lockdown takes an economic toll, fueling resentment at the entire population being forced into quarantine.
Restaurants especially have been hit hard during the prior pandemic lockdown:
Protest groups in downtown Tel Aviv decried that it was all a ploy of Prime Minister Netanyahu, designed to ensure his personal political survival by continuing to sell fear, especially as he’s still facing serious corruption charges.
“The shutdown is in order to turn us into submissive, suppressed sheep,” one protester told Russia’s RT. She argued that ultimately the new measures are “to try to break us down.”