Isolated ultra-Orthodox Jews at epicentre of Jerusalem’s Covid-19 outbreak

The isolated ultra-Orthodox community of Jerusalem is at the epicenter of the city’s coronavirus epidemic, but traditional Jewish laws respected by its people mean that government containment measures have so far failed. that little effect. Israeli police officers who try to enforce the rules are often verbally and physically assaulted. FRANCE 24 reports.

Barriers, ribbons and in some places even padlocks: the district of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem has been demarcated as a “red zone”, or a hotspot, for the coronavirus epidemic.

The neighborhood is a kind of enclave, where the ultra-Orthodox community of Jerusalem lives according to its own traditional rules. Here people listen to their rabbis rather than the State of Israel. And few are seen wearing face masks or gloves to protect themselves coronavirus. The infection rate in the region is currently up to eight times higher than in the rest of Israel.

“The people inside the communities are very isolated, they don’t have a television or an iPhone. So what is happening is that our unit is talking to the rabbis and making sure that the rabbis get the message out to the community, “said Israeli police officer Micky Rosenfeld.

But entering the neighborhood is a challenge in itself. The police are not well received by residents, and they are often victims of verbal and physical violence.

“[If] they recognize someone in blue uniform, they could possibly stone the car, ”says Rosenfeld as he drives around the neighborhood.

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