Huge numbers of people assembled for the funerals of two notable rabbis in Jerusalem at the weekend, flouting the coronavirus restrictions announced by the Government as the country entered a third national lockdown.
On Sunday, the first public funeral carried out was of Rabbi Meshulam Soloveitchik, the head of the Brisk Yeshiva in Jerusalem, who died at the age of 99 after months of illness and COVID 19 infection.
Pictures showed his coffin being carried through the city of Jerusalem besieged by a crowd of thousands who came to pay their respects, the latest in several incidents where ultra-orthodox communities in the country disregarded the pandemic restrictions.
Thousands of black-garbed supporters assembled outside the rabbi’s home and proceeded through the city, unable to observe social distancing given the numbers involved and many not wearing a mask, towards the cemetery where he was to be buried.
Later on Sunday, another crowd assembled for the esteemed Rabbi Yitzhok Scheiner, once again flouting the lockdown rules. He’d also tested positive for COVID and died at the age of 98.
Alon Halfon, a Jerusalem police official, told Channel 13 that police had little choice but to allow the large procession for Soloveitchik to continue.
He said police action had helped subdue the crowd size and that some 100 tickets were issued for health violations, but in such a densely crowded environment, with children among the masses, trying to disband the crowd would have been ill-advised and dangerous.
The scenes brought intense criticism from deputy Prime Minister Benny Gantz, who described it as unequal enforcement of the lockdown.
Deputy Prime Minister Benny Gantz tweeted that millions of families were locked in their homes and abide by the rules while thousands of Haredim crowd the funeral, most of them even without masks, and he said that they would not agree to the continuation of an ineffective fake lockdown – either everyone is locked down, or everyone opens and that the days of indulgence were over.
The Netanyahu led coalition government is set to further prolong the national lockdown after a majority in favour by the cabinet on Sunday.
The country has limited gatherings to 10 people after a spike in infections in January, which saw the daily new caseload equating over 6,000. Israel recently announced its highest ever daily increase of 15,000 infections on 25 January.
However, despite the rising number of cases, Israel has been lauded globally for its rapid vaccination programme that has seen three million inoculations so far among a population of nine million, and on Sunday it was announced that Israel would transfer 5,000 vaccine doses to Palestinian communities.
Perhaps God will save them all, depending on what mood he’s in, especially when he sees these religious lunatics worshipping the man on sugar candy hill.
Perhaps it’s good that these people have their faith, and that’s their choice, but people should be staying at home, and what if the innocence of their faith fails them? Because hospitals are packed in Israel from the infection and they can’t cope with the virus especially in the religious communities.
And it’s shocking, because now many more people may die from the virus, and it seems that there are lot of very self-centred, self-important, shallow and irresponsible people out there that are just gratifying themselves and not thinking about everyone else around them.
Why should everyone else have to suffer? These people need to wake up and quit thinking it’s one huge joke because it’s no laughing matter when it comes down to all these people sadly passing away from this virus, and these selfish people can see that, but they still carry on what they’re doing, which is unacceptable behaviour.