Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash 90
Checkpoint 300 - Between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. (Archive)

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday ordered a closure on the city of Bethlehem.

The IDF in coordination with the Palestinian Authority was ordered by the defense minister to implement the closure on the city due to concerns about the COVID-19 novel coronavirus infection.

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Seven residents of the city have been diagnosed with the virus, according to the Palestinian Authority government.

As a result, movement of Israelis and Palestinian Authority citizens into and out of the city is prohibited, the ministry said.

The minister’s decision was made after consultation with the National Security Office (NGO) and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukon.

The closure took effect Thursday evening, March 05, 2020, and continues until further notice.

In addition, the defense minister also issued an executive order stating “any workers from Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahur will not be allowed to work in Efrat, effective immediately.”

Workers from these areas are not being allowed out of these communities at this time due to the concerns about the novel coronavirus, and therefore are unable to work outside at this point, according to defense sources.

This order was also carried out in coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

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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.