PM Binyamin Netanyahu Thursday announced a decision to shut down the school system, for 1.5 million pupils, as of Friday, March 13, with some exceptions: preschools, special needs frameworks and youth-at-risk centers will stay open. The education ministry is to build programs for remote teaching. The education system will remain closed until after the Passover holiday. However, as the coronavirus infection spreads, as is predicted, more restrictions will be imposed.
The number of confirmed cases passed 109 on Thursday. Health Minister Yakov Litzman announced that tests for covid-19 now standing at around 400 a day, are to be boosted to 2,000 at least in the coming days after the Treasury made fresh funds available.
Netanyahu then made an appeal to all political parties to join Likud in setting up a national emergency government for a fixed period to cope with the coronavirus crisis. “The virus knows no borders, does not differentiate between Jews and others, religious or non-religious, right or left politics. We’re all in the same boat. Indeed, all of mankind is in the same boat,” he said. “It is time to set politics aside. Later, we can come back to the same point, but meanwhile national and personal responsibility must take precedence over any other consideration, so that together we can devote our full attention to the health and lives of our citizens.”
Thursday night, the prime minister invited the opposition Kahol Lavan leader, Benny Gantz, to meet him without delay and discuss setting up a national emergency government for dealing with the country’s coronavirus endemic. He notified President Reuven Rivlin of the invitation.