Israel Roundup — Elections Coming, Lockdowns Remain

  • If Netanyahu's vaccination campaign fails to produce, it may jeopardize his chance in the elections.
  • Iran is close to producing a nuclear weapon.
  • Religious and secular communities clash over lockdown violations.

Israel’s attention is focused on the March elections. Many consider the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu insufficient to meet the needs of the public amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Israeli public is frustrated by the lockdown that is planned to be extended for another week because of the still-soaring infection rate.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits a nuclear plant.

Despite the vaccine drive, and its helpful influence, the virus reproduction number reached the number 1 benchmark amongst the general population for the first time in a while.

There is also a rise of young COVID patients requiring hospitalization, which never existed before.

The vaccination rate has slowed down over the past few days as the people are losing confidence in the vaccine as the vital answer to the Pandemic.

Prime Minister Netanyahu made claims that the light at the end of the tunnel was on the way when he began vaccinations, but his claims have still not become a reality. There are more hospitalizations and the mortality rate continues to be the highest in Israeli history.

The Prime Minister is urging Benny Gantz, his partner in the coalition, to continue the lockdown and travel restrictions amid the spread of the UK variant. His goal is to complete vaccination of 90% of the citizens of age 50 and over in two weeks.

Prime Minister Netanyahu still believes that the vaccination campaign is the only way out of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The virus variant is slowing down the progress and creating more opposition to Mr. Netanyahu remaining Prime Minister after the next elections.

Iran has deepened a key breach of the 2015 Nuclear Deal by enriching uranium with a larger number of advanced centrifuges in an underground plant. This is placing pressure on American President Joe Biden as both sides say they are willing to come back in compliance with the badly-eroded agreement.

Meanwhile, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that it would now take Iran six months to produce its first nuclear bomb.

There is greater friction than ever between the Haredi Ultra-Orthodox and the secular Israeli community due to violations by the Haredi of the prohibition of the lockdown initiated by the Minister of Health.

Mourners gather for a funeral, against lockdown restrictions, for a murdered Arab student.

This week, there were two funerals on the same day of major Orthodox Rabbis in Jerusalem, which were attended by tens of thousands of people from the religious community, against the strict regulations of the lockdown.

Also, in the Arab community, there was attendance at a funeral for a child murdered in the northern city of Tamara. The child was the innocent victim of a shootout between police and criminals in the city.

The Arab population, like the Haredi populations, have the highest percentages of infections from Coronavirus due to these violations of the lockdown.

The Labor Party, which once was the strongest competition to Likud, is reorganizing. They have chosen progressive lawmaker Merav Michaeli as their leader, as Amir Peretz has stepped down.

Likud is still in the lead, and the right-wing parties may have enough mandates alone to make a government. However, Gideon Sa’ar, from the right-wing New Hope, has pledged not to go into a government with Mr. Netanyahu as Prime Minister. This may force the end of Mr. Netanyahu as Israel’s Prime Minister.

David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites.

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