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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem


Corona Projector Meets with Mayor and Municipality to Discuss Corona Situation

"Mayor Lion to Projector Gamzu: ‘We need to allow Yeshiva students to quarantine in their Yeshiva – they should continue to study Torah’.
Corona Projector criticized the Jerusalem Municipality: ‘Every other city in this situation would have closed.’
Mayor: ′We are entering the month of Elul [1], we’ll soon have a month full of religious festivals and there is still no answer about synagogues.’ Lion pointed out that most of the sick people in the city are from East Jerusalem.
Home Command Representative: ‘The passageways from Judea and Samaria [2] must be closed.’

The national supervisor for the fight against the Coronavirus, Professor Roni Gamzu, arrived today (Wednesday 12 August, 2020) for a special meeting at City Hall with Jerusalem mayor Moshe Lion, Director-General Itzik Larry, Corona Projector for for the municipality Shalom Eisner, and other senior officials, to discuss the rate of infection in the city.

The mayor and the municipality's officials presented different data to Professor Gamzu, which among other things contended that over 50% of current Corona patients in the city are from East Jerusalem. They presented the Municipality's military operation room, data related to evacuating patients to Corona hotels and also the municipality’s ‘People of Valor’ project where neighborhood activists provide individualized care for each patient.

‘You may succeed in mitigating it – but the rate of infection is still high,’ Professor Gamzu said. ‘Every other city in the world with rates like this would have been locked down by now. Controlling the infection is also difficult with Corona: a person who looks healthy, infects another healthy person’. Professor Gamzu also referred to the situation on Balfour street: ′There are quite a few challenges in the city including the burden of the protests which also increases infections’.

Professor Gamzu discussed the municipality’s efforts and praised them: ′The Jerusalem municipality has an usual task, and I salute your attempts to control the rate of infection in the most complex city in Israel. You are succeeding in moderating the rate of infection and mitigating the virus. What you're doing here is unprecedented in the world’.

‘You're doing all this in an open city with transportation and businesses, all of which are facing big challenges. We need to continue to act to reduce crowds and break the chains of infection. I think Jerusalem’s way is the right way. You are most familiar with Jerusalem’s communities and know the best way of managing the crisis in a manner that gives security to families. If families need to go into isolation, the municipality will provide them with whatever they need. I was amazingly impressed by your ability to get down to the details and get to know every aspect – this is the right way to create routine while living with Corona.

Jerusalem Mayor, Moshe Lion: ‘The Jerusalem municipality will control the virus’ spread just as it did during the first wave. It's important to remember that the virus is also an economic epidemic and has a heavy economic toll. Jerusalem is the largest city in Israel, with over a million residents and if you look at the number of patients, you see that Jerusalem has less than five patients per thousand residents. I thank Professor Gamzu for his warm words and I promise that we will do everything for Jerusalem’s residents.

Lion added that ‘we should allow Yeshiva students to return to the study halls and they should continue to study Torah, that's the most important’. He also said to Gamzu that, ′we are entering the month of Elul, we’ll soon have a month full of religious festivals and we still do not have an answer about synagogues. We need to prepare and find a solution for the public’.

Mayor Moshe Lion pointed out that most patients in the city are from East Jerusalem. According to the municipality's data, about 2000 patients out of 3,600 are from the east of the city. The mayor claims that participating in weddings and multiple prayers on the Temple Mount caused a rise in East Jerusalem cases.

The representative of the Jerusalem Home Command Colonel Itay Levi said during the discussion: ‘The passageways from the Palestinian Authority into Israel must be closed in the Jerusalem area. There are many sick people in the Judea and Samaria region. We make great efforts on behalf of the people, but in the end we don't succeed, because for every hundred people who get better, there ends up being 300 new sick people from Judea and Samaria’.

Shalom Eisner, who is appointed as the one responsible for Corona matters in Jerusalem, said in response that they have been asking for a long time to reopen the drive-in Corona test centers in East Jerusalem but have not yet received an answer. In comparison, during the first wave, a testing compound was opened in Jabel Al Mukaber [3], and many residents came to be tested.

▶️Source: JDN

0202 Editor’s Notes:
[1] Elul is the 12th month of the Jewish calendar and is immediately followed by Tishrei, a month with many important festivals including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
[2] Judea and Samaria is the Israeli government’s term for the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem. The term corresponds to territories of the ancient Israelite kingdoms.
[3] Jabel Al Mukaber is a Palestinian neighborhood in southern East Jerusalem. It has a population of about 14,000.

#East_Jerusalem #Corona #Yeshiva
Picture Source: Yossi Zamir