Israelis will on Wednesday be put under full lockdown during next week’s Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays after the government approved special coronavirus measures.
As part of the restrictions similar to those imposed during the Passover holiday earlier this month, Israelis can leave their homes only for essential reasons such as picking up medicine or supplies.
More controversially, the government will ban access to cemeteries for cars and people.
Authorities are instead encouraging people to visit their loved ones’ gravesites ahead of Memorial Day – when Israelis pay tribute to fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.
The Defence Ministry said that every year, 1.5 million people visit the graves at the start of Memorial Day marked by blaring sirens.
Small ceremonies would be conducted at the country’s military cemeteries with just a few members, the Defence Ministry said.
The main ceremonies at Mount Herzl and the Western Wall would be held without an audience, but broadcast on major channels, it added.
Defence Minister, Naftali Bennett, on Wednesday apologized for the decision to close the cemeteries, saying that it was too dangerous in light of the coronavirus and pleading with Israelis to stay home.
The government also approved a nightly curfew on shops in Arab communities from Thursday through May 3.
Businesses that receive the public, except pharmacies, must close between 6:00 pm and 3:00 am.(dpa/NAN)