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Israeli cabinet minister quits over lockdown plan

Yaakov Litzman says action should have been taken before the situation became dire, 'not on the holidays'

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Yaakov Litzman has resigned as Israel’s Construction and Housing Minister over the government’s plans for a lockdown over the High Holy-Days.

The Charedi representative, chair of the United Torah Judaism party, told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he had warned against the intention of coronavirus czar Professor Ronni Gamzu  “to impose a full closure on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur which will prevent hundreds of thousands of Jews from all communities and sectors  from praying in synagogues”.

Mr Litzman had argued that action should have taken before the situation became dire – “a month ago, two weeks ago, not on the holidays”.

Coronavirus cases in Israel have reached 153,000, with more than 1,100 deaths.

Hospitals are now close to capacity, according to the Coronavirus Command and Control Centre, with around 500 patients seriously ill.

The country’s infection rate over the past fortnight was the highest during the pandemic, the centre reported.

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