Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson / Flash 90
Students arrive to the classroom ahead of the opening of the school, at Orot Etzion School in the Jewish community of Efrat, south of Jerusalem, on August 30, 2021.

Israeli society passed a grim milestone on Monday (Aug. 30) after the Health Ministry announced that more than 7,000 people have died from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

Updated figures indicated the national death toll now stands at 7,030. Of those, 550 Israelis succumbed this month alone to COVID-19.

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In addition, some 5,885 new cases of the virus were diagnosed since midnight Sunday into Monday. There are not 78,700 active cases of COVID-19 in Israel. Of those, 736 people are hospitalized with the coronavirus in serious/critical, including 211 patients listed in critical condition of which 163 patients being kept alive by ventilators which breathe for them.

Despite the numbers, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement after meeting with top health and education officials that the school year will open as planned on Wednesday, September 1.

Schools in the strictly Orthodox sector opened on August 8, at the start of the Hebrew calendar month of Elul.

The statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said it was also decided that current Green Pass rules will apply to all employees in the Israeli school system, requiring they be fully vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or present a negative PCR test result to enter their workplace.

Unvaccinated Israeli education workers will be required to present a negative PCR test result twice a week to remain at their jobs.

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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.