The Buzz | Amid rising infections, Israeli ultra-Orthodox defy lockdown

After a revered ultra-Orthodox rabbi died this week from COVID-19, Israeli police thought they had worked out an arrangement with his followers to allow a small, dignified funeral that would conform with public health guidelines under the current coronavirus lockdown.
But when it was time to bury the rabbi, thousands of people showed up — ignoring social distancing rules and clashing with police who tried to disperse the mass gathering.
Such violations of lockdown rules by segments of the ultra-Orthodox population have angered a broader Israeli public that is largely complying with the restrictions imposed to halt a raging coronavirus outbreak.
The defiance on display has confounded public health experts, tested Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s longstanding political alliance with religious leaders and triggered a new wave of resentment from secular Israelis who fear for their health and livelihoods.
“We’ve been asked to go into this lockdown, with its insane economic cost, that is causing people to go insane, because of the increase in coronavirus which is mostly occurring in the ultra-Orthodox sector and in large part because of criminal negligence,” wrote media personality Judy Shalom Nir Mozes.

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