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Deaths from the coronavirus in Israel have risen to 245. There are 68 people on ventilators. Only 28 new cases have been reported. Outdoor markets and malls opened in Israel yesterday, with limits on the amounts of people allowed in.
President Rivlin yesterday gave PM Netanyahu the mandate to form a new government, based on the recommendations of 72 Knesset members. Of the 72 MKs who supported Netanyahu, 36 were members of Likud, 16 came from Blue & White, two were from Derech Eretz party (formerly part of Blue and White), two from Labor, nine from Shas and seven from United Torah Judaism. Members of Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party did not add their support, and it is unclear whether they will be part of the government. The PM now has 2 weeks to form a new government, which will apparently be based on the agreement he has already signed with Benny Gantz, in which he will serve has PM for 18 months and then Gantz will become PM for the next 18 months.
Cordoned-off prayer areas have been set up at the Western Wall, which will permit up to 500 people from praying there at one time. All worshipers will be required to wear masks and have their temperatures taken. These requirements will continue over Shabbat, with temperatures being taken at the site until several minutes before Shabbat begins. Those wishing to enter afterwards will need a declaration that their temperature was taken on Friday before Shabbat and that they have no symptoms or other health issues.
A senior member of Hamas has denied reports that progress has been made in negotiations to release 2 Israelis and the bodies of Israeli soldiers from Gaza.