Data published by Israel’s Health Ministry on Sunday shows that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Chareidi cities has doubled in the past week, which may be a result of Rosh Hashanah tefillos and Selichos.
“From the beginning of Elul we see a dramatic increase in the Chareidi population of twice the amount of coronavirus cases than the general population,” said Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the Health Ministry’s head of Public Health, in an interview on Radio Kol Chai. “In the past week alone, 20,000 Chareidim tested positive for the coronavirus, three times the number in the general population. About half of the seriously ill Chareidi patients are under the age of 60.”
There were over 7,000 active coronavirus cases in Jerusalem on Sunday and 60% of the recently diagnosed patients are Chareidi. In Bnei Brak, a city with a population a quarter the size of Jerusalem, there were 4,055 cases on Sunday, half of them diagnosed in the past week. There were 1724 active cases in Modiin Illit, 1189 in Elad, 1211 in Beit Shemesh, and 1087 in Beitar Illit.
Jerusalem mayor Moshe Lion sent a voice message to residents of the city shortly before Yom Kippur: “I turn to you with a call of emergency a few hours before Yom Kippur,” he said. “The data we’re receiving from the hospitals is very worrying. We see the severe outbreak as a result of the Rosh Hashanah tefillos and fear another outbreak from the Yom Kippur tefillos. Who like me understands the desire to daven in your regular shul – air-conditioned and comfortable. But this year you must refrain…for our parents, for our children, for us.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)