Israel’s President Apologizes To Nation For Inability Of Government To Control The Coronavirus

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President Reuven Rivlin meets with soldiers of the Givati Brigade's Tomer Company serving on the border with Gaza, Sept. 16, 2020. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – On the eve of the second lockdown in Israel for the coronavirus, President Reuven Rivlin apologized Wednesday evening in a nationally televised address for the government’s inability to manage the pandemic.

“I know that we have not done enough as a leadership to be worthy of your attention. You trusted us and we let you down,” he said.

“The announcement of the lockdown means that our ability to live together, to celebrate together, to mourn together, to pray together, to fulfill our most basic human needs together – all these are harmed. I am sharing these feelings with you, and at the same time I would like us to raise our heads and believe.”

Some 5,523 new cases of the coronavirus were diagnosed on Tuesday, the largest number diagnosed in one day. There were 57,165 tests conducted on Tuesday.

Earlier Wednesday, the government announced that all Israeli schools except special education will close on Thursday, a day ahead of the lockdown, citing the rapid spread of the coronavirus to teachers and students.

The lockdown comes with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, arriving on Friday evening.

Rivlin called on the country’s political leaders to “do everything to restore personal, medical and economic confidence to our fellow citizens. This is a second chance and we must take it because we will not, I fear, get a third one.”

“My fellow Israelis, you cannot beat corona alone, but no one can beat it without you. I believe in this people; I believe in our ability to prevail. I would like to ask you to believe in this people’s ability to prevail. This is the time to follow the instructions, to take care of yourselves and those dear to you, to join hands to help those around you in need of assistance. Because we have no other land, we have no other country, we have no other people and we have no other way.”

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