Israeli Minister Quits Over COVID-19 Lockdown Plans

An ultra-Orthodox minister in Israel’s government resigned yesterday over nationwide lockdown plans to tackle one of the world’s highest coronavirus rates that would affect religious practices over Jewish holidays.

Yaakov Litzman stood down as housing minister, protesting at measures that he said will prevent Jews from attending synagogues over their upcoming festivals.

Israel is second only to Bahrain for the world’s highest coronavirus infection rate by population.

The surge in cases prompted Israel’s coronavirus cabinet to announce plans for a nationwide lockdown that will go into force ahead of the Jewish holidays, which start on September 18.

The broader coalition government met yesterday to vote on the plans, which are expected to see all non-essential shops shut and schools closed across the country.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he regretted Litzman’s resignation, but vowed to forge ahead with the new measures.

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