Chief Rabbi: Leave phones on during Shabbat

Yosef also ruled that all synagogues at hospitals should be closed since it is hard for people to keep a distance of two meters (6.6 feet) while in them.

SEPHARDI CHIEF Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
People should leave their phones on during Shabbat, Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said in a halachic ruling he sent to Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman on Wednesday.
“There is no doubt that all those tested for coronavirus have to have a phone on during Shabbat so [the Health Ministry] will be able to update him on his results and tell him where to evacuate,” he said.
“Even one who did not get tested should leave his phone on so he will be able to be briefed in case it is discovered that he is near a confirmed carrier,” he added.
Yosef ruled that all hospital synagogues should be closed because it is difficult for people to stay two meters apart while in them.
On Thursday, Blue and White MK Omer Yankelevich said she had been told that haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Israelis with “kosher phones,” which do not have Internet access, were not receiving messages from the Health Ministry. As a result, she contacted the ministry and was told that people with kosher phones will receive calls rather than texts.
The Health Ministry recently updated its recommendations for the public, calling on people to avoid person-to-person contact and keep a two-meter distance from each another.
The authorities also urged people to stay home and refrain from going to public places. All entertainment facilities have been shut down, and workplaces have reduced the number of active employees to 30% of their norm as per the ministry’s directive.
Since the beginning of March, nearly 250,000 Israelis have registered as unemployed, according to N12.
The ZAKA rescue and recovery organization announced Thursday morning it would deploy 32 ambulances in haredi population centers as per a Health Ministry directive.
ZAKA said it was examining the possibility of following the ministry’s instructions in consultation with its own rabbis.
“These days, ZAKA and its volunteers are on high alert for anything that may come,” said Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, the organization’s founder and chairman. “The organization’s volunteers are in nationwide deployment and are ready to respond at any moment.”
ZAKA has “supplied the volunteers with protective gear and specialized equipment designed to protect them,” he said.
“This coming Shabbat, 32 ZAKA ambulances will be deployed around the country to inform and alert the surroundings of a confirmed coronavirus patient so that anyone who has been in contact with the person would enter quarantine in accordance with the Health Ministry’s instructions,” Meshi-Zahav said.