Archives For Ron Cantor

Despite most of the media’s focus being on COVID-19, the political scene got contentious this week when Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, defying a High Court of Justice ruling demanding he convene a vote on his replacement, resigned instead. Edelstein closed the Knesset because the Blue and White party would have brought a vote to replace him. However, he was really protecting Prime Minister Netanyahu—because once they replace Edelstein, the plan is to vote that no Knesset member under indictment could serve as Prime Minister, effectively causing Netanyahu to resign.

After Edelstein, instead shut down the Knesset, our Supreme Court demanded he reopened it, as both sides said the other was attacking the very fabric of democry in Israel. Rather than obey the court’s order, Edelstein said his resignation would not go into effect for 48 hours, leaving the Knesset closed for another two days. 

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Five Israelis have died and more than 2,000 have been infected with the coronavirus as of Wednesday as Israeli implemented more drastic measures in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus within its borders. 

As of Wednesday night, the government banned outdoor sports and walks anywhere within a 100-meter radius from home. Public transportation has been severely cut back and now cabs can take only one passenger at a time.

Israelis may still go to supermarkets and pharmacies or order food for delivery from restaurants that provide this service. Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov has pushed for a full lockdown of the country, however he has been at odds with the Finance Ministry which is fighting to keep what is left of the economy afloat. As it is, more than half a million Israelis have filed for unemployment in just the last few weeks. 

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Israel welcomed 72 new immigrants from Ethiopia just hours before the African nation officially closed its borders to prevent further coronavirus spread.

The 14 Ethiopian families landed at Ben-Gurion Airport this week. However, even this news was not without its controversy as the latest airlift excluded anyone over the age of 60.

“This policy is unacceptable,” said former Knesset member Avraham Neguise, who is of Ethiopian descent. “They, too, must be brought to Israel to fulfill their dream of returning to Zion, the Jewish homeland. No matter whether there is the coronavirus or not, I appeal to the government of Israel to reconsider its policy of age discrimination.”

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I knew there was a reason I am generally happy! Apparently I am living in the 8th happiest city in the world, Tel Aviv!

According to the 2020 World Happiness Report published last week, Israel is the world’s 14th-happiest country. The report, produced by the United Nations and the Ernesto Illy Foundation, tracks how citizens of different countries to access their level of happiness. 

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Schools are closed for at least the next five weeks, people have been asked to work from home, public transportation is running on a reduced schedule and the tourism industry is essentially shuttered due to travel restrictions in Israel. 

With no end in sight to restrictions placed on the country to stop to spread the coronavirus, Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered Israelis to voluntarily stay home and only go outside when it is a necessity. Other than a 50 minutes bike-ride, where I had no human contact, I was inside all day yesterday. From my balcony, the streets are mostly empty.

Though the government hasn’t yet imposed fines for violating any of these restrictions, it has approved wide ranging and invasive measures, including tracking Israelis on their cellphones to locate their whereabouts and any people with who they have come in contact.

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