JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Interior Minister and Shas leader Aryeh Deri spoke very candidly in an interview with the Kikar Hashabat Chareidi news site, noting that the present coronavirus outbreak requires the Chareidi public to learn lessons for life about how to behave, when to avoid crowding and when to run after achievements at the expense of health.
Deri said that “although Hashem had done tremendous kindness with Israel in comparison to other countries, the Chareidi public in Israel still has to do some serious soul searching. Some 70% of those who contracted the coronavirus in Israel are Chareidi and this is not just in Chareidi towns but in the entire country.
“We have explanations for everything, whether it is Purim or big weddings which took place, but we truly had a miracle in Israel.
“I hope that we will emerge from this crisis now, and of course we must continue to exercise caution. People ask me how we are opening fitness centers but not Shuls and why we are cancelling the events in Meron and I answer them that ‘who more than me wants to open the Shuls, I’m the first one who would want to celebrate Lag Ba’Omer but take into account the statistics. It’s clear that from the hundreds of thousands who come to Meron, tens of them may be sick with coronavirus and they could infect the entire public.’
“Regarding the Shuls, thank G-d we are in a position to be able to daven with a minyan. There are minyanim in open spaces and we are not in the situation we were a month ago when we were davening at home. However we can’t relate to shuls uniformly since nobody can take responsibility for what goes on in Shtiblach (community shuls) or even in the larger shuls. This is not politics, believe me if I would insist on opening the Shuls I would succeed, but this is a directive from the rabbonim and on such an issue we need to take responsibility.”