Recent reports have focused on the reasons why the ultra-Orthodox (haredi) community in Israel would not follow the guidelines set by the Health Ministry to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Some, like Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, the founder of the ZAKA emergency response team, argue that a large portion of the ultra-Orthodox community, including in Jerusalem, do not have access to information or do not have connections to the outside world. “My parents live in Meah Shearim," Meshi-Zahav said. "They have no television or radio, no transistor, they will not bring a haredi newspaper into the house. They really do not know what is being talked about [regarding the virus]. They really don't know.”
In order to respond to their lack of access to information, senior doctors have signed a letter that was plastered on the walls of haredi neighborhoods, to alert the population of the emergency of the situation. They are urging them to follow guidelines, saying, "this is an emergency, medical instructions must be kept because this is a real life-threatening situation."
In the letter, the doctors list "life-saving" instructions, including keeping a 2-meter distance between each person, as well as following strict hygiene measures. They also inform the population that they must stay home, arguing that leaving would put them and their family into immediate danger.Communities are urged not to underestimate the guidelines "for the sake of your and your family's health."The notice ends with the verse, "You shall greatly beware for your souls," which is a verse taken from the Torah.