Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir / Flash 90
Israeli police officers arrive to close synagogues in the city of Bnei Brak on April 1, 2020, following the government's decision in an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

In a move that was stated to be for the protection of the elderly, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered the evacuation of 4,500 Bnei Brak residents ages 80 and above, following a cabinet meeting Thursday night which approved via telephone the declaration of the municipal area of the city of Bnei Brak to be a “restricted zone.”

Under the designation, a “restricted zone” is an area in which there are indications of significant morbidity and a high rate of coronavirus infection, according to a government communique.


The approval enables the restriction of public movement into and out of the restricted zone beyond the general restrictions that have been determined by the Health Ministry’s emergency regulation, in order to maintain public health.

According to a report from the Health Ministry, one out of every seven Israelis with the COVID-19 coronavirus is from Bnei Brak.

Of those who are ill, at least 900 of those diagnosed so far were in Bnei Brak. It has been estimated by the head of one of the city’s HMOs that at least 38 percent of the city’s residents have the virus at this point.

The 4,500 elderly residents to be evacuated by IDF soldiers are to be placed into isolation hotels operated by the IDF Homefront Command “for their own protection.” The move is taking place under a project the military is calling, “Operation Golden Guards” to protect Israel’s elderly during the coronavirus crisis.

The cabinet also decided to establish a ministerial committee chaired by the Prime Minister to be authorized to declare an area to be a ‘restricted zone’ in the framework of the effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The committee is to be comprised of the Prime Minister (Chairman), Interior Minister (Deputy Chairman), Public Security Minister, Health Minister, Defense Minister and the Finance Minister.


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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, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.