The number of deaths in Israel related to the coronavirus has risen to 5, with the total cases rising to 2030. The health ministry has conducted 32,346 coronavirus tests. Stricter government guidelines to enforce social distancing will come into effect today. The restrictions include shutting down public transportation and prohibiting people from walking more than 100 meters from their homes.
Over 800,000 workers, 90% of whom are employees placed on unpaid leave, have filed for unemployment benefits. According to Bank of Israel estimates, current measures to contain the coronavirus are likely to result in an unemployment rate of approximately 7% – an overall increase of 150,000 people – by the end of 2020. Unemployment stood at about 4% prior to the outbreak.
A group of 14 sefardic orthodox rabbis have issued a ruling permitting people to use video streaming software Zoom to share their Passover seders with elderly relatives who cannot join them in person. The software must be opened before the holiday begins. Many rabbis, including Israel’s ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau and Tzohar head Rabbi Stav, have called the ruling wrong and irresponsible.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) resigned from his post today after being ordered by the High Court of Justice to convene the parliament to hold a vote on his replacement. Before resigning, Edelstein adjourned the Knesset until Monday. He plans on appealing the court’s decision.
The resignation effectively ends any hope of a unity government being formed as Blue & White prepares to replace the speaker with a member of their own party, a condition that Likud finds unacceptable.