In Israel, the coronavirus taken from very high by the ultra-Orthodox

This suggests that the epidemic has stopped in the heights of Jerusalem. A kind of microclimate. A misleading miracle … Walking through the crowded streets of the religious district of Geoulah, you would think you were projected into the world before the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. What a contrast to the rest of the country! Elsewhere, Israeli police are enforcing containment measures, which were tightened on March 17, and which should soon be applied harsher, to the French.

But in Geoulah, thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews still wander on the sidewalks. Young and old shop in long coats and black hats under the drizzle. The light sellers and the drapers are open. Schoolgirls, exempt from classes, are scattered everywhere with their mothers, in tight clusters. A cult warns of a crossroads against the dangers of the Internet and " girls " naked that populate it … Two policemen look at it with round eyes: they do nothing. Get around! God protects us.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Coronavirus gives supporters of Benjamin Netanyahu a chance to shut down Parliament

Wednesday, March 18 evening, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, however ended up cracking down on the haredim, those who "fear" God. This fragile and poor population accounts for about 12% of the nation and continues to grow. It is represented by parties which Mr. Netanyahu has a vital need to remain in power. For several days, he conducted careful negotiations with them, before demanding on Wednesday, in an interview on channel 12, that they stop celebrating marriages other than in small groups.

"He advised me to pray"

The day before, the country had been shocked to discover on television the images of a union gathering more than 150 ultra-Orthodox, in Bet Shemesh. Above all, Mr. Netanyahu demanded that they close their religious schools, in accordance with a decree issued in the afternoon by the health ministry.

The minister, Yaakov Litzman, is a haredi: he wants to be exemplary since the beginning of the crisis, like the chief rabbinate of Israel. The schools of his particular community within the ultraorthodox, Hasidic world, closed on March 14, like the secular schools. But Mr. Litzman does not have authority over all of the haredim.

Standing up to the minister, Israel's most influential rabbi, Chaim Kanievsky, who lives at 92 and very isolated from his contemporaries, has refused since Saturday to order the closure of hundreds of Ashkenazi Jewish educational institutions, which obey him. "Has the Israeli army laid down its arms? Have the soldiers stopped patrolling the borders? We believe that what saves the world is the children who study the Bible, explained Tuesday to World Yitzchak Pindrus, close adviser to Rabbi Kanievsky. Without them, the world will not survive and this danger is greater than the coronavirus. "


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here