Photo Credit: Alex Kolomoisky / POOL.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly mulling a plan to tighten restrictions about to be imposed on Israeli society for the next three weeks.

The move may be necessary, according to Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, due to the skyrocketing rate of contagion of the coronavirus in the country.

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On Thursday, the Health Ministry reported 4,537 new cases of the virus in the last day. Some 549 people were in serious condition. The death toll spiked to 1,165.

“Once we get out of the difficult situation we are in, there will be a lot of time for soul-searching,” Edelstein told reporters Thursday in a briefing at the Health Ministry. “Right now, we’re at war for civil peace.”

During the day, Netanyahu and Edelstein met with Coronavirus Commissioner Roni Gamzu, Health Ministry director-general Chezy Levy and National Security Council chief Meir Ben-Shabbat to discuss expansion of steps to combat the pandemic.

Lawmakers in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee voted earlier in the day to change the lockdown limit keeping Israelis near their homes from 500 meters to one kilometer.

Committee chair MK Yaakov Asher said the government agreed to the expansion following the committee’s discussion. “Closure will not be comfortable,” he said. “With all its difficulties, this is good and important news.”

The prime minister will address the nation regarding the issue later this evening.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.