Netanyahu to hold 'decisive meeting' about Hasidic travel to Uman

Coronavirus czar says so many people traveling for Rosh Hashanah to "Uman could bring Israel to lockdown" as total cases surge past 100,000. “There should be no flights to Uman – period.”

Ichilov Medical team at the coronavirus unit, in the Ichilov hospital, Tel Aviv, Israel, July 28, 2020. (photo credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)
Ichilov Medical team at the coronavirus unit, in the Ichilov hospital, Tel Aviv, Israel, July 28, 2020.
(photo credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold a "decisive meeting" about whether or not to allow thousands of Hasidim to travel to Uman in the Ukraine for Rosh Hashanah to pray at the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.
The meeting comes the day after newly appointed coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu told N12 that "Uman will bring us to lockdown," and as Israel surpassed the milestone of 100,000 total cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic.
Present at the meeting, which will take place at 5:30 p.m., will be Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Housing and Construction Minister Ya'acov Litzman, Interior Minister Arye Deri, Transportation Minister Miri Regev and representatives of the Breslov sect. 
Over the weekend, Israel surpassed 100,000 cases of coronavirus and 800 fatalities, the Health Ministry reported.
There have been 100,856 cases since the start of the pandemic, the ministry showed Saturday night, including 22,393 who are still infected.
On average, some 1,378 people are diagnosed with the virus every day, a Friday morning report by the Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center said. On Friday, 1,492 people tested positive for the virus – 5.5% of those who were screened.
To bring the cases down to around 400 per day – Gamzu's goal – would take more than 90 days, the center said.
The coronavirus cabinet is set to convene on Monday to review and finalize a series of potential restrictions and closures meant to halt the spread of the virus. On Thursday, Gamzu presented two plans to the ministers for evaluation. Both plans include new restrictions and partial closures on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
However, in an interview with N12, Gamzu stressed that he still hopes to keep Israel out of lockdown over Rosh Hashanah. To do so, he said, the police will need to step up enforcement.
“Enforcement [of Health Ministry directives] in Israel is not good enough,” Gamzu told N12. “We need public order.”
He explained that the holidays themselves put Israel at risk due to large prayer services and family gatherings. He said his recommendation will be that Israelis celebrate the holidays with their nuclear families or minimally in smaller groups.
What Gamzu does want to do is put a stop to flights by Hassidic Jews to Uman for the holiday. Already, thousands of Hasidim have booked flights and plan to make the pilgrimage.
“There should be no flights to Uman – period,” Gamzu stressed in his N12 interview. “Enough!” He called on the government to “say no... This is not something holy.”
Gamzu added that, “Uman will bring us to lockdown.”
Last week, the commissioner sent a letter to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urging him to enforce a ban on these celebrations this year.
He has also called on the government to instruct the Airports Authority to halt flights to Ukraine during this period.
Regarding schools, Gamzu stressed that the school system will open in full on September 1, despite reservations he had expressed earlier. He told N12 that his expert team was divided on the subject, but that ultimately the majority of members felt that if the outline for opening schools is adhered to – capsules, masks, learning from home in combination with in-school classes – then it could be successful. Schools in red zones, however, will be closed.