In an effort to prevent the further spread of coronavirus, the cabinet has approved a nationwide lockdown for next week coinciding with Memorial Day and Independence Day. On Memorial Day, military cemeteries will be closed and police officers will be stationed outside to prevent violations.
The government will ban intercity travel as it did on Passover. It hopes this measure will be enough to reduce the number that do make it to the cemeteries to a more manageable size.
“This was a very, very difficult decision, but it was necessary as every year some 1.5 million people visit cemeteries, many of them elderly,” Israel’s Defense Minister Naftali Bennett
“This would have been a coronavirus bomb,” he added.
Many bereaved families are upset by the decision. Eli Ben Shem, chairman of the Yad Labanim organization, which supports families of fallen soldiers and terror victims, sent a letter to the prime minister and IDF chief of staff warning that “we are receiving hundreds of messages from families who are not accepting it and are threatening to force their way in.”