Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash 90
Mikvah supervisor Nora Edri at the Neve Neeman Mikvah, in Hod HaSharon, May 14, 2014.

The Netanyahu cabinet on Tuesday night convened in a conference call to approve amendments and extensions to “Emergency Regulations – Restricted Activity,” “Emergency Regulations – Restricted Zones,” and “Emergency Regulations – State Quarantine instead of Home Quarantine.” They didn’t really change much, other than extend the emergency by close to two weeks. And, of course, solve the mikvah controversy, how many Jews can go in a mikvah during a pandemic.

Here are the main points of the amendments:

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“Emergency Regulations – Restricted Activity”

The ratio of individuals present in ritual baths for men shall be identical to that for swimming pools – no more than one man per six square meters (replacing the rule of up to three men). Now, they probably don’t mean there should be a space of six square meters in the water, because no mikvah is this big.

The regulations shall be in effect until June 15, 2020.

“Emergency Regulations – Restricted Zones”

The emergency regulations that permit the designation of a restricted zone by the ministerial committee on restricted zones shall be extended until 16 June 2020. The composition of the committee shall be changed: The Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister, and the Economy and Industry Minister shall be added. A decision to designate a restricted zone shall be made by majority vote, with the concurrence of the Prime Minister and the Alternate Prime Minister.

“Emergency Regulations – State Quarantine instead of Home Quarantine”

The Cabinet has extended until June 16, 2020 the regulations requiring proof of a place for quarantine and the quarantine instructions for people returning from abroad. People that cannot carry out home quarantine will continue to be sent to hotels at state expense in order to prevent said returnees from being a source of infection.

The Health Ministry calls on the public to continue being partners in the effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Israel. In the past week there has been a certain increase in the scope of corona morbidity in the country; therefore, it is important to continue strict adherence to the three basic rules – physical distance, wearing masks and maintaining hygiene.

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