Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Police at a temporary roadblock in Jerusalem on January 19, 2021, during a third nationwide full lockdown, in an effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

Israel’s government cabinet has decided to extend the nation’s two-week coronavirus lockdown for another 10 days, through the end of January.

The lockdown, which was to expire on Thursday, has failed to reduce the number of daily new cases of COVID-19 infections in the country even though more than two million Israelis have now been vaccinated against the deadly virus.

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At the start of Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, “We are in a close race between the vaccines operation and the surging morbidity in the world due to the mutations. Instead of lifting the lockdown as planned, many countries in Europe are now preparing to extend it until March or even April,” he pointed out.

“We must continue to make the right decisions for the citizens of Israel. We need to decide immediately about an additional extension of the existing lockdown. Perhaps this will not be popular and is uncomfortable during an election period but this is what we need to decide on today and I expect everyone to support it.

“I know that this is a difficult decision for many citizens of Israel but what is required here is a final effort, a joint effort by all of us to emerge from the coronavirus and save lives.

“I expect everyone to put life before everything and support the correct decision,” he said.

“I call on all citizens, even those who participated in the scandalous wedding yesterday in Bnei Brak, to stop violating the law. This is bloodshed. I call on the police to treat all lawbreakers, whoever they are, with an iron fist.”

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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.