Deaths from the coronovirus in Israel have risen to 72. Ten of the dead are from one nursing home in Bersheva. There are currently over 9,404 people known to be infected with the virus. 740 people are being treated in hospitals. 122 are on ventilators. At least 801 patients have recovered.
A nationwide lockdown began Tuesday at 7pm and will last until Friday. There will be a curfew from 3pm Wednesday until Thursday morning, which includes the first night of Passover, when families conduct a Seder. 6,000 police officers and 1,400 IDF soldiers will be deployed around the country to enforce the curfew.
The nationwide lockdown essentially prevents most Israelis from leaving the municipal boundaries of their own cities, although they would be allowed to shop for essential supplies in their communities close to their homes. They will also be allowed to walk their dogs up to 100m from their homes. All public transport, including international and domestic flights, is halted during the lockdown. Taxi services are still operational. an order requiring Israelis to wear surgical masks when going outside will officially go into effect on at 7am Sunday.
The holiday of Passover begins tonight, when we celebrate our miraculous redemption from Egyptian bondage. On that historic night, the Jewish people were also confined to their homes as the 10th plague raged through Egypt, killing every Egyptian first born. Yet on that very night of fear and isolation, in the midst of our terror, came our redemption. As our sages teach, God’s salvation comes in the blink of an eye.
While we might not be able to celebrate Passover as usual this year, with family and friends, nor can we worship together in our houses of prayer, we still are united as one nation, just as our ancestors were on that fateful night in Egypt.
And just as that night of fear and terror turned, suddenly, into a night of redemption and salvation, may our time of fear and terror be turned into redemption and salvation — for each of us, and for all humanity.
Wishing you a very healthy and happy Passover.
NOTE: We will be taking a break for the week of Passover.