Israel Approves Night Curfew Over Purim Weekend Amid Fears of Renewed COVID Surge

As Israel faces outbreak of new COVID variants, government approves three-night curfew in the hopes of preventing Purim parties

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Shoppers look at Purim costumes in Tel Aviv, this week.
Shoppers look at Purim costumes in Tel Aviv, this week.Credit: Hadas Parush
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

The Israeli government approved on Tuesday a nightly curfew for Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the hopes of deterring people from holding parties for the Purim holiday.

The curfew will last from 8:30 P.M. until 5:00 A.M. each day. Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper was the only cabinet minister not to vote in favor of the curfew and abstained.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a visit to a vaccination center in Acre on Tuesday that the country "is still in a race against the virus, against the raging mutated variant. To this end, we must get through the coming days while we are vaccinating the population that is at risk and complete the vaccination drive."

On Monday, Netanyahu said that the country “should do everything to go through the holiday with as little infection and as few deaths as possible,” adding that authorities “must prevent” parties and other gatherings.  

In an interview with Kan Bet public radio, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein meanwhile said that the cabinet received updates on a spike in alcohol sales and event invitations on social media to celebrate the festival on Thursday evening

“To my great regret, I think there’s no escaping restrictions,” he said. In weighing the options, Edelstein said that “a night curfew” was in the cards, in order to allow people to hear the reading of the megillah while also preventing parties afterward.

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