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Israel Discriminates Against Arabs, Religious Communities in Virus Preventive Measures

Israel Discriminates Against Arabs, Religious Communities in Virus Preventive Measures

Monday, 30 March, 2020 - 09:00
Palestinian workers make their way to disinfect religious sites as preventive measures against the coronavirus, in Ramallah (File Photo: Reuters)
Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat

Israel’s occupation army has been summoned to support the police in imposing measures announced by the Health Ministry and disinfecting the streets in light of the spread of coronavirus. However, the Ministry is accused of discriminating against Arabs and Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in imposing similar preventive measures.

Medical sources in Tel Aviv said that the ministry is not exerting similar efforts in all areas, as Arab and religious Jewish areas are expected to have much higher numbers of coronavirus cases than that in the occupied territories.

In Arab towns in general, virus cases are very low with official figures indicating there are about 4,000 infected persons in Israel.

Arabs constitute 18.5 percent of the population and live in areas near Jewish towns where COVID-19 is very prevalent, however, the number of the official Arab casualties does not exceed 40.

Arab medical teams attribute the small number of infected persons to Israeli negligence in examination and imposing the rule of law and forcing citizens into quarantine.

Medical sources revealed that the Health Ministry does not apply quarantine measures in the religious Jewish neighborhoods, either.

Following the harsh criticism, the Ministry began to improve the situation as large numbers of cases were reported in Ultra-Orthodox towns. Families have many children and the neighborhoods are crowded with residents and citizens who do not follow TV and radio to be aware of the instructions.

Jewish religious towns currently have the highest number of casualties.

On Saturday, police could not prevent a funeral attended by about 300 persons, violating the law which bans crowds over 10.

The sources also revealed a special situation in Jerusalem, as one local health official believes the number of newly infected persons with the coronavirus is higher than the figures published by the Israeli Health Ministry.

In religious neighborhoods, authorities announced there were 300 casualties, however, local officials believe that the number is at least twice that.

Health officials in East Jerusalem indicated that the 12 is a very small number of patients compared to reality. The low numbers shows that the Ministry does not conduct tests to detect the spread of the virus, and patients arrive at clinics after they have been infected meaning they infected many others including health workers.

The sources also noted that Palestinians who contacted or were close to coronavirus patients, did not receive messages from the Israeli Health Ministry informing them that they should self-quarantine, such as text messages sent to Israeli citizens.

Health officials warn of a catastrophe of unmanageable magnitude, which will not be limited to occupied Jerusalem.

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