The furiously contested bill doubling fines for violations of covid restrictions was carried by the Knesset on Sunday, thereby meeting the Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s condition for convening the government to approve a third week of lockdown. The cabinet will meet later on Sunday to address the Health Ministry’s urgent demand to extend the lockdown, in view of the covid infection and mortality levels which remain unacceptably high, despite the massive vaccination drive. Gantz’s case for forcible enforcement of the rules, with cash penalties. was bolstered on Sunday by a mass funeral of an estimated 10,000 ultra-Orthodox mourners at the funeral om Jerusalem for the distinguished Yeshiva head Rabbi Meshulam Solovetchk, who died aged 99. Police chiefs said there was no way they could prevent the funeral.
Another 2,596 new coronavirus cases were registered on Saturday and 10pc tested positive. The number of serious cases dipped slightly to 1,167 with 298 on ventilators However, 68 deaths over the weekend pushed the mortality total up to 4,745.