Chief Rabbi: Lockdown can't be enforced only on synagogues

Also on Tuesday, Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch stressed that "synagogues are not the enemy of the nation."

Chief Rabbi David Lau prays at special prayer service during coronavirus outbreak, March 2020 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Chief Rabbi David Lau prays at special prayer service during coronavirus outbreak, March 2020
(photo credit: Courtesy)
As the coronavirus cabinet met on Tuesday to discuss closing synagogues on Yom Kippur, Chief Rabbi David Lau warned that if the lockdown is not enforced on the rest of the public it will not be enforceable on synagogues, in a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein on Tuesday.
"If there is no enforcement on gatherings in other things, then it is impossible to close synagogues because people will not listen," said Lau.

Also on Tuesday, Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch stressed that "synagogues are not the enemy of the nation."
"Yom Kippur is a day that centers on the common good of the people of Israel," said Bloch. "All of Israel visits the synagogue on Yom Kippur in all Israeli communities. Everything must be done to see how even on this day this year Yom Kippur will continues to center the common good."
"Rosh Hashanah taught us that the public understood the importance and made adjustments to its customs from years past," added the mayor. "The discussion should be that one does not close a synagogue but how to preserve the sanctity of Yom Kippur along with keeping all the rules and precepts on the health of the worshipers."
The coronavirus cabinet is expected to meet on Tuesday to outline a list of new restrictions that could be implemented immediately after Yom Kippur next week.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein are pushing to step up restrictions immediately following Yom Kippur next Monday. They could include shuttering synagogues, requiring worshipers to gather outside, stricter restrictions on private businesses and more constraints on demonstrations.
Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman and Sarah Chemla contributed to this report.