Sat, 24 Oct 2020

by Keren Setton

JERUSALEM, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli cabinet convened to discuss harsher lockdown measures as the country's COVID-19 cases surpassed 200,000 on Wednesday.

The meeting came as Israelis celebrate a month of holidays marking the new year. Six months after the first lockdown, people are told again to tone down their festivities.

The streets of Jerusalem's city center are empty at a time which is usually one of the busiest of the year. Last week, the education system was shut down and many businesses closed or reduced their occupancy.

Since the beginning of the outbreak of the virus in March, over 200,000 Israelis have contracted the virus and more than 1,300 have died.

Last week Jews began one-month festivities with Rosh Ha Shana, the Jewish new year. Israelis were told to stay home and mark the holiday with their nuclear family and not host large feasts as is custom. Prayers in synagogues were scaled down.

For many it was somber holiday.

"I have very hard feelings. For me the holidays are the most important thing. Even though I am not religious, to be at home and not to go to the synagogue, it is very difficult," said Edmond Yamin, a resident of Jerusalem.

"It's not the same experience as it used to be with everyone out in the streets. It's a little sad," said Ross Levy who was passing by the empty city center.

Many people, however, have accepted that the country should take more measures in order to curb the pandemic, even at the price of holiday cheer.

"We've been prepared. It's been going on for months so it's just a continuity of events," said Natali Sherman on her way to work, "We accept it because we understand there is a good reason for all of that."

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