Israelis mob shopping centers, protest ‘senseless’ restrictions at shuk

Police were dispatched to break up a crowd of 150 shoppers in front of a sporting goods store in the northern city of Kiryat Ata on Tuesday

Protest against coronavirus regulations at Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, Nov. 17, 2020 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Protest against coronavirus regulations at Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, Nov. 17, 2020
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Shopping centers were allowed to reopen across the country on Tuesday morning and crowds of Israelis went shopping after more lockdown restrictions were lifted.
In the northern city of Kiryat Ata, police were dispatched when 150 shoppers gathered outside a sporting goods store located at Big Krayot where they were deemed to pose a health risk. 
In Tel Aviv, dozens of enraged stall owners at the Carmel Market protested against what they viewed as the unfair policy of allowing powerful companies such as Rami Levi, Big and Shufersal to open while their establishments remain closed. They carried signs asking “When do we open?” “We have no life any more” and “Let us breathe in the open air,” N12 reported.  
“There are people who have worked here for 60 years – and the cliche about ‘reinventing themselves’ does not exist for them and will never be an option,” said Lili Ben Shalom, the owner of Lala Georgian Restaurant.  
What could have been more refreshing than an outdoor market during a COVID-19 pandemic, she asked on Kan Bet radio.  
“Because all of this is devoid of reason, people can’t take it anymore and they no longer care,” she warned.  
“This is the cry of those who need to make a living. For eight months, this market was dead. Why are the people here being tossed into the rubbish heap?”
As one of the organizers of the protest, she called on the government to reopen the market under similar guidelines to those at shopping centers.  
A vegetable seller was fined NIS 5,000 for breaking the health regulations.
“I will not pay this,” Nasan Bacher told Ynet, “I had no choice [but to open]. I am out of money.” He added that the matter is not only about him but also about his ten workers, who are now facing extreme uncertainty.  
“One of them can’t afford rent,” he said, “and the other is fighting with his wife because they are broke. Why is Bezalel Market, which is close to us, open and I am not? I pay NIS 13,000 to City Hall every month in tax for operating a stall here!”
Since the lockdown policy was implemented, the number of domestic violence cases and calls for help due to depression and suicide attempts soared.  
The owner of a toy stall said that he is “losing my mind at home” and that he was willing to sell his shop but nobody is buying.
Some of the protesters argued that in predominantly Arab Jaffa, “everything is open, so why shouldn’t we take the law into our own hands?”  
At the Big shopping center in Beersheba customers queued early in the morning. “Sadly, we are seeing ‘the ugly Israeli’ here,” one shopper said, “but what can I do? I need to buy new clothes for my children.”